B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football This Weekend

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 8, 2014

B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football This Weekend

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    The new football season is almost upon us with the Community Shield opening the English top-flight season.

    Ligue 1 gets underway in France, while other major European clubs continue their pre-season preparations.

    The Scottish leagues begin with all eyes on the second tier, where Rangers, Hearts and Hibernian will be vying for promotion to the Premiership.

    Our Bleacher Report experts are also returning to action, giving their predictions for the weekend's biggest matches.

    Do you agree with them?

Arsenal vs. Manchester City

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    Alex Livie: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City

    First goalscorer: Samir Nasri

    Nasri will come back and bite the hand that fed him by bagging the opener in the season curtain-raiser.

     

    Sam Tighe: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City

    First goalscorer: Stevan Jovetic

    City feel better prepared and have more star players back in the fold following the World Cup.

     

    Michael Cummings: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester City

    First goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez

    Arsenal have more reason to want to win this match. Yes, it's a mostly meaningless exhibition, but for the Gunners, it's potentially an opportunity to start the season—and a possible title challenge—with a bang.

     

    Karl Matchett: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City

    First goalscorer: Olivier Giroud

    Arsenal will provide their fans with a huge opportunity for overreaction and over-ambition by taking the title.

     

    Will Tidey: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City

    First goalscorer: Sergio Aguero

    Manchester City have had a fairly low-key summer by their standards, but the champions are in good shape and ready to make a point against Arsenal.

Ipswich Town vs. Fulham

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    Alex Livie: Ipswich 1-0 Fulham

    First goalscorer: Daryl Murphy

    Fulham will be given a rude awakening about life in the Championship, with the Tractor Boys proving too strong.

     

    Sam Tighe: Ipswich 0-2 Fulham

    First goalscorer: Ross McCormack

    Fulham's pre-season has been excellent. Felix Magath is making a strong impact, and they'll start well here.

     

    Michael Cummings: Ipswich 1-1 Fulham

    First goalscorer: Ross McCormack

    It will be a tough first test in the Championship for big-spending Fulham.

     

    Karl Matchett: Ipswich 1-1 Fulham

    First goalscorer: Daryl Murphy

    Fulham will get off to a tough start to life in the second tier. Home form will be key if Ipswich want to challenge for the play-offs.

     

    Will Tidey: Ipswich 1-1 Fulham

    First goalscorer: Darren Bent

    Not the easiest of starts for Fulham in the Championship, but they'll escape with a solid point I think.

Monaco vs. Lorient

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    Alex Livie: Monaco 3-1 Lorient

    First goalscorer: Radamel Falcao

    James Rodriguez may have left Monaco, but they are still a formidable outfit and will be too classy for Lorient.

     

    Sam Tighe: Monaco 2-0 Lorient

    First goalscorer: Lucas Ocampos

    All is not well at Monaco, but they're still a stronger side than Lorient and should find a win.

     

    Michael Cummings: Monaco 2-1 Lorient

    First goalscorer: Radamel Falcao

    Look for Falcao to score in his first league match back from injury, and expect Monaco to start strongly in Ligue 1, despite the departure of James Rodriguez.

     

    Karl Matchett: Monaco 1-0 Lorient

    First goalscorer: Lucas Ocampos

    It should be a low-key start to the season, prompting worries over Monaco’s lack of strengthening.

     

    Will Tidey: Monaco 3-0 Lorient

    First goalscorer: Dimitar Berbatov

    Monaco are still strong and in Berbatov have a player who should be well rested and acclimatised now.

Rangers vs. Hearts

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    Alex Livie: Rangers 1-1 Hearts

    First goalscorer: Kris Boyd

    It still seems odd that this game is not a top-flight fixture. No matter, it will be a full-blooded affair with nothing to split the teams.

     

    Sam Tighe: Rangers 1-1 Hearts

    First goalscorer: Kris Boyd

    Rangers and Hearts will play out a stalemate in the opener, giving us a taste of just how close Scotland's second-tier league will be this season... again.

     

    Michael Cummings: Rangers 1-0 Hearts

    First goalscorer: Kris Boyd

    Look for Boyd to make a scoring debut as Rangers try to make a good first impression on the Scottish Championship.

     

    Karl Matchett: Rangers 1-1 Hearts

    First goalscorer: David Templeton

    This match will pit the promoted against the relegated, and both will feel they belong in the top flight.

     

    Will Tidey: Rangers 0-0 Hearts

    First goalscorer: None

    Two of the big boys, scrapping it out in Scotland's second tier. I'm going for a dour 0-0, with a red card or two thrown in.

Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund

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    Alex Livie: Liverpool 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    Dortmund are expected to take a decent following to Anfield for this friendly. I expect the visiting fans to have plenty to smile about.

     

    Sam Tighe: Liverpool 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Rickie Lambert

    It's not been an ideal pre-season for Lambert so far, but being "home" at Anfield could change things.

     

    Michael Cummings: Liverpool 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Daniel Sturridge

    Sturridge is expected to return for the Dortmund game, and I expect that Liverpool will need his contribution. But I also expect Dortmund to nick a result.

     

    Karl Matchett: Liverpool 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

    First goalscorer: Raheem Sterling

    This will hopefully be a fast-paced game between two sides who are deadly at attacking transition play.