10 Biggest Pre-Season Friendlies Happening This Summer
If we're being honest, pre-season fixtures aren't normally much to shout about. Often it's all about improving fitness levels and trialling new things going into the new campaign and of course, it's where the well-travelled 'Trialist' gets about as much as he can.
But despite that, pre-season does bring about some tasty fixtures, which even at 50% of performance levels, will be worth a watch.
Here are the ten biggest pre-season friendlies happening this summer, with details as to when you can find them.
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will be back at the Allianz Arena sooner than expected, bringing his Manchester City side to Munich to play his former employers on July 20. Even with a good chunk of the stars missing, this fixture has plenty of intrigue. After all, a tactical battle between Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola isn't one to miss. You can see all of the action at 7:30pm on Sky Sports 1.
Barcelona vs Leicester City
As part of the International Champions Cup, La Liga winners Barcelona will take on Premier League winners Leicester in what will be the Foxes' third and final game in the competition. The game happens on August 3 at Friends Arena, Stockholm and will be serve as great preparation as they enter their first season mixing it up with Europe's elite.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Atletico Madrid
In the Australia version of the tournament, Spain meets England once again as Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs take on Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid. MCG Stadium, Melbourne hosts this high-profile contest on July 21 at 11am.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
The Manchester derby happens in Beijing as part of China's participation in the International Champions Cup. On July 25, it's Guardiola vs Mourinho; Manchester City vs Manchester United. Even for pre-season, both teams will not want to lose this one - if you watch one pre-season game this summer, make sure it's this one. 1pm, Bird's Nest Stadium is when and where it's all going down.
Manchester United vs Borussia Dortmund
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Another big one in China sees Manchester United take on Borussia Dortmund, which happens a few days before that big showdown with Manchester City. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will come up against his ex employers on July 22 at Shanghai Stadium, 1pm start time.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Elsewhere, in the USA/Europe edition of the International Champions Cup, Antonio Conte's Chelsea and Champions League winners Real Madrid will battle on July 30 at Michigan Stadium. This match will also have a competitive edge and promises to be a enjoyable watch. 8pm kick-off for this one.
Liverpool vs Barcelona
The battle between Premier League and La Liga continues at Wembley Stadium on August 6 when Liverpool take on Barcelona. Both clubs have a deep history and have had some memorable meetings in the past in the Champions League. Though this one is not in Europe's coveted competition, it promises to be very exciting and you'll be able to see it on Sky Sports 1.
West Ham United vs Juventus
Another huge pre-season match-up happening on English soil is the game between West Ham and Juventus, which will be the first game played at the Hammers' shiny new Olympic Stadium. Who better to open the new ground than Juventus, who have been utterly dominant in Serie A for a number of years now. On August 7, BT Sport will be showing this fixture live at 1pm.
Arsenal vs Manchester City
In recent years, it has become fairly normal for Premier League sides to square off ahead of the new campaign and this year it's no different. One of the most appealing contests this time around is Arsenal's game against Manchester City, which happens at Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg on August 7. The two sides have faced each-other quite regularly in pre-season over the years and this team there's extra spice as Pep Guardiola will be in the opposite dugout to Arsene Wenger. It should be a good one and it gets underway at 6pm.
Manchester United vs Everton
Testimonials go hand-in-hand with pre-season and this year sees one of the biggest as Wayne Rooney is honoured with a fixture pitting his current side, Manchester United against his beloved Everton. At Old Trafford on August 3rd, the England and United skipper's career achievements will be celebrated with a game against the Toffees at 8pm, just days before United travel to Wembley for the Community Shield match with Leicester.
Words by Josh Lawless
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