The Weekend Special returns to bring you certain fixtures that we football fans should keep our eyes on with the upcoming weekend, whether it will be televised, or via some sort of online means, because if you can read this article, I can pretty much assume you can find your way to a means of watching something.
To recap here were my choices from last week.
1. Celtic vs Aberdeen. August 4, 7:45 PM at Celtic Park (Scottish Premier League)
Kris Commons' 79th minute goal proved to be enough for Celtic to kick off their season in the right note.
2. Paris Saint-Germain vs FC Barcelona. August 5, 2:00 AM at Parc de Princes (club friendly)
This friendly provided the first preseason action for the players who were involved in the Euro 2012 tournament. Goals from Rafinha and Messi got them ahead, before the hosts found a way to even the score via Ibrahimovic and Camara, forcing them to an eventual penalty shootout, which FCB won 4-1.
3. Great Britain vs South Korea. August 5, 2:30 AM at Millennium Stadium (2012 London Olympics)
The quest for an Olympic gold medal on home soil is denied in the most agonizing way possible, as Lee Bum Young saved Daniel Sturridge's penalty chance during the shootout, while Ki Sung Yeung slotted his in, for a 5-4 PSO victory. Aaron Ramsey and Ji Dong Won scored the goals during regulation, with the latter scoring first, then the former seven minutes afterwards.
4. Houston Dynamo vs New York Red Bulls. August 5, 8:00 AM at BBVA Compass Stadium (Major League Soccer)
Houston remains on a roll, spoiling Tim Cahill's debut with New York. It took 72 seconds for Jermaine Taylor to get the Dynamo up, then Calen Carr doubles the lead and sets the final score, extending their unbeaten streak to eight matches.
5. PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax Amsterdam. August 6, 12:00 AM at Amsterdam Arena (Netherlands Super Cup)
Dick Advocaat's first competitve match as PSV's manager ends with a victory, as a 4-2 win over Ajax enables them to life the Johan Cruyff Shield.
Here are my five choices for the week, by order of chronological appearances (dates are in Manila).
1. New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo. August 11, 8:00 AM at Red Bull Arena (Major League Soccer)
Vengeance is immediate. The Red Bulls get to avenge quickly their defeat against the Dynamo, this time at their home turf. The ertswhile leader fell to third in the Eastern Conference, behind co-leaders the Dynamo and Sporting KC. They still have a shot at retaking the overall lead as well as snagging the Supporters' Shield.
2. Juventus vs Napoli. August 11, 8:00 PM at Beijing National Stadium (Italian Super Cup)
You are probably wondering why is the Italian Super Cup played in China? Serie A has agreed to have it there for most of the forseeable future. They did it last year for the Milan derby. Both teams have their own issues, especially for the Bianconeri, now that their manager Antonio Conte has been effectively shelved for the entire 2012-13 Serie A season. It is interesting to note that the Partenopei have been relatively successful against the Serie A champions, with Juve only winning two of their last eight meetings. In fact, Juve's only loss against an Italian team last season was against Napoli in the Coppa Italia Final.
3. Mexico vs Brazil. August 11, 10:00 PM at Wembley Stadium (2012 London Olympics)
For Brazil, having the cachet of being the host of the next Summer Olympic Games and owning the gold medal of the sport they truly love will be huge. The pressure is on for Neymar and the crew against a Mexico team that would love to spoil the party. One of these teams will be guaranteed to be taking home an Olympic gold medal.
4. The Philippines vs Chicago Inferno. August 12, 8:00 AM at Joe Bean Stadium (International Friendly)
I am very sure Philippine football fans are looking forward to seeing the national team play, albeit in a friendly setting. This is of course, part of their preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup. There are some faces missing, but there are new ones coming.
5. Liverpool vs Bayer Leverkusen. August 12, 10:00 PM at Anfield (Club Friendly)
Former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia will be making his return to Anfield. This time, he returns as the manager of Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. This is their last friendly before the grind begins, a German Cup match against lower division side Carl Zeiss Jena next week and the league proper the week after that. For Brendan Rodgers, this is not bad a way to end the Premiership preseason; playing a team that finished 5th in their league and that could be a possible opponent in the Europa League down the line. Although they have had a couple of ACTUAL competitive matches before this (their Europa League tie with Belarus side FC Gomel), this might just be their most competitive match with the quest to dethrone Manchester City officially beginning next week. Speaking of Manchester City...
BONUS. Manchester City vs Chelsea. August 12 8:30 PM at Villa Park (Community Shield)
It is kinda odd that City haven't shelled the money (yet) for some newfangled transfer move, unlike their similary Arab-owned facsimile in Paris. But of course, why tinker with something that won you the league last season in dramatic fashion? Besides, there is still time to add someone into the mix, and Roberto Mancini will probably plan on adding a piece or two to do so until the transfer deadline. On the other hand, the FA Cup champions and concurrent kings of Europe have remade themselves since winning the trophies. Out goes the old guard in Drogba, Kalou and Bosingwa and in comes the likes of Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar.