Our football match prediction:
French champions AS Monaco and the national Cup winners Paris Saint-Germain lock horns in what is expected to be a highly-anticipated Trophee des Champions match at Grand Stade de Tanger. After a remarkably successful season which saw Leonardo Jardim and his young squad assert themselves as one of Europe’s most exciting team, AS Monaco have a big mountain to climb if they want to preserve their status and build upon the last year’s success. Having already lost a couple of key players from last campaign, the Principality club will be looking to hold on to their most prized possession Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to shine against PSG in the first match of the season. Paris Saint-Germain are coming off from a disappointing season and the club owners have challenged Unai Emery to lift the team up from its knees and get back to the top of French football. Europe remains the biggest dream for Les Parisiens and their attempt to recruit Barcelona superstar Neymar is a clear message of intent to climb the continent’s summit. Still, PSG must go one step at the time as a possible defeat against AS Monaco early on can be a huge blow to the team’s morale.
Highlighted Player (Draxler):
Julian Draxler is arguably one of the most impressive footballers to have come out of Schalke’s youth academy in recent years and he spent ten years in the academy before he was promoted to the senior side in January 2011. The attacking midfielder soon started showcasing his skills at the biggest stage and just a year later received his first Germany call-up. Draxler scored 18 goals in 119 league appearances for Schalke before moving to Wolfsburg in a high-profile deal in the closing stages of the 2015 summer transfer window. Despite his fragile age, the talented footballer has already made over 15 outings for the Germany national team, making one substitute appearance as Die Mannschaft went on to claim the 2014 World Cup trophy. An exciting player capable of playing on either wing or through the middle, Draxler boasts a good goalscoring record and also regularly creates chances for his teammates, although he has yet to fully realise his potential.
Highlighted Team (Monaco):
Though based in Monaco, Les Rouges et Blances – as they are commonly referred to – play their games in the French football league system. Members of the top tier Ligue 1, Monaco play their home matches at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille in front of 18,500 people. The Principality club boasts a turbulent history, which saw Monaco reach the highest heights of both domestic and international scene, but also get relegated to the amateur leagues at the very beginnings and to Ligue 2 in 2010-11 season. The following year AS Monaco were acquired by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, whose heavy investments turned the Principality club into one of the biggest spenders in Europe in 2013 and reestablishing its place among Europe’s top clubs. AS Monaco have had notable European results in the modern football era having been runners-up in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992 and the UEFA Champions League in 2004. One of the most successful clubs in France AS Monaco have so far won seven league titles and five Coupe de France trophies.