The football season gets underway with a bang in August. Never a sport to do things by the half-measure, the football calendar serves up a feast of clashes that could prove key even during the early stages of the season.
Both the English and Spanish pre-season friendly exhibition matches, the Community Shield and the Super Cup respectively, will showcase two of world footballs fiercest rivalries. Wembley stadium plays host to a Manchester derby on 7 August 2011 while Real Madrid and Barcelona face a titanic encounter on 17 August 2011.
Manchester City will be looking for a return on the reported one billion invested in the club since Sheik Mansour took ownership of the club making them more than just “the noisy neighbours”. A financial spread that has encouraged Sir Alex Ferguson to splash more than 50 million on his United squad this summer despite his side winning the Premier League last season as well as reaching their third Champion’s League final in four years.
In Spain, Madrid’s appointment of motor-mouth and self-appointed ‘special one’, Jose Mourinho, was never going to build any bridges between themselves and their Catalonian adversaries. Last year Mourinho secured the Copa del Rey at the expense of Barcelona just as Manchester City secured the English FA Cup at the expense of Manchester United but ultimately it was both Barcelona and Manchester United who enjoyed greater success over the course of the season. Both clubs reaffirmed their position as the two best teams in Europe by facing each other in the Champions League final.
After these two fixtures are decided, the competitive season gets underway with some big games in the opening couple of weekends, the most notable being Arsenal hosting big spenders Liverpool on 20 August 2011, Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspurs on the same day with United then hosting Arsenal the weekend after. In Spain, Villareal will visit the Camp Nou in an attempt to break the monopoly that Barcelona has seized over La Liga in recent years.
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