Ten to Watch in September


In the past, I’ve occasionally done posts about the 10 best games of the past month. I’m still doing that, but I thought it might be more useful to highlight some games to look forward to rather than just pointing out the ones you missed. So here’s a look at some of next month’s most promising games.

6th – United States – Trinidad and Tobago (World Cup Qualifying). Everyone’s a homer when it comes to international football, right? If the US doesn’t float your boat, swap this out for Slovakia – England (4th) and Big Sam’s first go-round, or Mexico – Honduras (6th), or go the hipster route and catch a Euro rematch in Croatia – Turkey (5th). Oh, and for the hard core Outlaws, you won’t want to miss the United States away at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (no, that’s not an 80’s band) on the 2nd.

9th – Paris Saint-Germain – Saint-Étienne. Ligue 1 is increasingly difficult to follow in the US, but PSG remains a staple of Bein Sports coverage. The first loss under new manager Unai Emery this weekend won’t mean much for the Ligue 1 title race, but it should add some spice to this first game back after the international break (though technically, Schalke – Bayern Munich starts 15 minutes earlier).

10th – Manchester United – Manchester City. Following the international break, this is a tasty one. As if the Manchester derby wasn’t enough, it’s the return of Guardiola – Mourinho. El Clásico Norte, with Zlatan facing off against the Philosopher’s new side just to further spice things up. This one goes to eleven, so wear your protective goggles.

13th – Manchester City – Borussia Monchengladbach (Champions League). This is probably the best game amongst the opening fixtures of the Champions League group stage, one of two excellent ties from this year’s group of death (Barcelona – Celtic face-off in the other Group C game). The best of the Wednesday games is probably Juventus – Sevilla (14th), but Leicester City’s opening game away to Club Brugge will also garner a lot of attention. Pick what works best for you.

18th – Internationale – Juventus. I’ll be honest, this one doesn’t look to be much of a football game really. Juventus looks a good bet to win a record sixth straight league title (with a third straight domestic double also on the cards), while Inter-Milan continue to look a terrible mess under new coach Frank De Boer. Let’s hope De Boer has time to make something of a side that still has plenty of individual talent in time to make the Derby d’Italia into a game worth watching. You can hedge your bets by catching Chelsea – Liverpool (16th) on Friday.

21st – Barcelona – Atlético Madrid. The Manchester derby may produce more light, but look to this game for the greatest heat in September. Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid have struggled in August, but remain firmly established as one of the elite sides in world football. If you want a tasty appetizer for this first heavyweight bout of the La Liga season, be sure to tune in for Real Madrid – Sevilla earlier on the 21st.

24th – Arsenal – Chelsea. This London derby will probably be the 2nd most eagerly awaited Premier League fixture in September. It should also be a clash of philosophies, as Wenger’s free-flowing possession football meets Conte’s counter-attacking side. How will new signings Lucas Pérez and Shkodran Mustafi perform in this first major test of the campaign? Who will Diego Costa try to injure?

27th – Borussia Dortmund – Real Madrid (Champions League). This is what people love about the Champions league. The first of two heavyweight La Liga – Bundesliga showdowns. Dortmund and Real are overwhelming favorites to advance regardless of what happens in this game, but that won’t make it any less serious.

28th – Atlético Madrid – Bayern Munich (Champions League). Ditto works pretty well here, as everything I said about Dortmund – Real applies equally to Atlético – Bayern. Simeone will hope his team can repeat their defensive dominance from last season, while Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to improve on Pep Guardiola’s European record at Munich.

30th Bayer Leverkusen – Borussia Dortmund. If Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund want to pose a real challenge to Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich this season, it’s games like this one that they will have to win. OK, they’ll probably have to win all the games to pose a challenge, but Roger Schmidt’s Leverkusen are a serious side. This tie should provide a lovely finale for football in September.

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