Home » Most yellow cards, top scorers, relegation and more

Most yellow cards, top scorers, relegation and more

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The 2022-23 European soccer season will quickly start, with groups nonetheless fine-tuning their squads throughout an thrilling switch window. From the two-horse race within the Premier League, a brand new attacking rivalry in El Clasico to the French champions, Paris Saint-Germain, searching for European glory, our insiders share their picks and predictions throughout Europe’s Huge 5 leagues.

Which participant will win the Golden Boot? Which staff shall be topped champions of Europe? Who will rack up essentially the most yellow playing cards?

ESPN FC writers Rob Dawson, Gab Marcotti, Constantin Eckner, Julien Laurens and Alex Kirkland make their forecasts.


High 4

Barcelona’s summer time switch window has been ominously profitable, strengthening the staff in each key space. Xavi’s first season as coach was promising, and now he has the instruments at his disposal to take Barca again to the highest. Actual Madrid will not be distant, however a repeat of final 12 months’s near-perfect season feels unrealistic. Atletico Madrid ought to be extra constant this time round — particularly if Antoine Griezmann finds his type — and Villarreal have sufficient high quality to take fourth, with out the distraction of Champions League soccer this time.

1st place: Barcelona
2nd place: Actual Madrid
third place: Atletico Madrid
4th place: Villarreal

High scorer

Robert Lewandowski. Ultimately, some critical competitors for Karim Benzema! Actual Madrid’s captain high scored in LaLiga final 12 months with 27 targets, 9 greater than closest rival Iago Aspas, however that is a league tally Lewandowski has topped in six of his final seven seasons at Bayern Munich. Benzema will not hand over his crown with no struggle, and their rivalry shall be plenty of enjoyable to observe: not fairly classic Messi vs. Ronaldo degree, however not far off.


Cadiz, Actual Valladolid, Almeria. Cadiz solely survived by a single level final season — after an inconceivable escape on the ultimate day — they usually have not made any vital enhancements to the squad this summer time. Of the promoted sides, Girona ought to rating sufficient targets to remain up after including Taty Castellanos to an assault led by Cristhian Stuani, however Actual Valladolid look prone to wrestle. Almeria have been energetic available in the market but when they begin poorly, supervisor Rubi will come beneath fast stress.

Greatest goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois. Sevilla’s Bono gained Spain’s Zamora trophy for the goalkeeper with the bottom goals-to-games ratio final season, however there is no query that Courtois was the very best keeper within the nation. His Champions League remaining masterclass got here as no shock to these of us who’d watched him carry out miracles all 12 months. Actual Madrid’s defence ought to enhance with the incorporation of Antonio Rudiger, too.

Most yellow playing cards

The 2 dirtiest groups in LaLiga final season have been Valencia — then coached by Jose Bordalas — and his earlier facet, Getafe. Whereas Bordalas is now gone, his alternative at Mestalla Stadium, Gennaro Gattuso, has the same win-at-all-costs mentality. If we’ll decide one participant, although, let’s go for Getafe’s Urugayan full-back Damian Suarez, who has been certainly one of LaLiga’s most comically gratifying hard-men for years now.

Champions League winner

Identical to final 12 months, it is laborious to look past the 2 finest groups within the Premier League and Europe: Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis. Metropolis’s continued capability to choke within the latter phases of this competitors is inexplicable given their high quality and depth, if now not shocking; Liverpool will really feel they have been the higher facet in defeat to Actual Madrid in final season’s remaining. They’ve the expertise, and the coach in Jurgen Klopp, to go one step additional this time. — Kirkland



Julien Laurens explains why proper now he has Chelsea ending sixth within the Premier League desk.

Premier League

High 4

It is laborious to see both Manchester Metropolis or Liverpool dropping out of the highest 4, which leaves two spots for Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and presumably Newcastle. Tottenham have spent effectively this summer time and have had the advantage of a full preseason beneath Antonio Conte, and Chelsea nonetheless look sturdy regardless of one thing of a chaotic offseason. Arsenal and Man United will run them shut, however Spurs and Chelsea will make up the highest 4 alongside Man Metropolis and Liverpool.

1st place: Manchester Metropolis
2nd place: Liverpool
third place: Spurs
4th place: Chelsea

High scorer

Harry Kane. He is a confirmed Premier League objective scorer and Conte is a grasp at getting the very best out of his centre forwards. Tottenham ought to have season, which suggests loads of probabilities for Kane. The one situation shall be whether or not or not he can keep match and the way a lot the World Cup in Qatar takes out of him forward of the second half of the season.


Brentford, Bournemouth, Fulham. Brentford went via a poor spell final season when it seemed like they could get dragged into the relegation scrap, they usually’ve misplaced Christian Eriksen to Man United. As for Bournemouth and Fulham, it is at all times tough for newly promoted sides, and as issues stand, their summer time recruitment would not look ok to maintain them up.

Greatest goalkeeper

Man Metropolis and Liverpool are each thrilling attacking groups, however they’re additionally superb defensively — primarily as a result of opposition groups rarely have the ball. It means Brazilians Ederson and Alisson are the 2 prime candidates for the Golden Glove, and with Metropolis set to be with out centre-back Aymeric Laporte till no less than September, Alisson seems wager to say the title.

Most yellow playing cards

Granit Xhaka. At 29 years previous, the Switzerland midfielder is not going to alter the way in which he performs now. Whether or not Mikel Arteta needs him to or not, he is nonetheless going to fly into tackles and get on the unsuitable facet of referees. Solely three gamers had extra bookings than Xhaka final season and he is shout to high the record this time round.

Champions League winner

Manchester Metropolis. Pep Guardiola has obtained Man Metropolis recurrently reaching the latter phases of the Champions League and they’ll recover from the road sooner moderately than later. They’re too good a staff to not. Rather a lot will depend upon how shortly Erling Haaland settles and whether or not he can affect the most important video games at such a younger age, however all of the substances are there for a primary Champions League triumph. — Dawson



Arne Friedrich explains why Bayern Munich is hopeful that Sadio Mane can substitute a few of Robert Lewandowski’s manufacturing.


High 4

Earlier than Sebastien Haller’s testicular tumour prognosis, I might have confidently picked Borussia Dortmund to win the championship. Nonetheless, with their new first-string striker lacking giant chunks of the season, Dortmund drop again to 2 in my energy rating. This leaves Bayern Munich as the one logical option to win the league, and for an eleventh time in a row, with Dortmund ending second. Behind the 2 powerhouses, issues develop into unpredictable, as each RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have sturdy squads however might wrestle within the first half of the season.

Leverkusen ought to recuperate from early setbacks faster, as Florian Wirtz will come again from his knee harm sooner or later and assist them attain third place. Fourth goes to VfL Wolfsburg — not essentially essentially the most thrilling facet within the league however one which will get the job performed beneath former Bayern boss Niko Kovac.

1st place: Bayern Munich
2nd place: Borussia Dortmund
third place: Bayer Leverkusen
4th place: VfL Wolfsburg

Relegated groups

This season might be the season during which Augsburg lastly go down. The small membership positioned 40 miles northwest of Munich has been within the Bundesliga since 2011 and out of doors of 1 or two outlier seasons, Augsburg have normally been in survival mode. Enrico Maassen, their new supervisor, has no top-flight expertise, as he coached Dortmund’s reserve staff most just lately and semi-professional sides earlier than that. Whereas Maassen is undoubtedly proficient, conserving Augsburg within the league would possibly develop into an unattainable job.

The second staff that shall be relegated is Werder Bremen, who’ve made good signings following their promotion, however nonetheless do not possess sufficient high quality to complete above the relegation zone.

High scorer

If Patrik Schick may keep wholesome, he may simply be certainly one of Europe’s elite strikers. Ankle points and different accidents have impacted the Czech’s profession fairly considerably, but if he’s match, he turns into an virtually unstoppable objective scorer. Schick is tall and technical, agile and astute — in brief, he has all of it. With first rate distribution from his teammates at Bayer Leverkusen, he ought to be capable of rating 25 targets.

Greatest goalkeeper

This might develop into a detailed race between Bayern’s Manuel Neuer and Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel, provided that these two will work behind steady defences and infrequently make any errors. Whereas Neuer has been among the many finest goalkeepers on the planet for a decade, Kobel had his breakthrough moderately just lately. Nonetheless, it appears nothing can actually rattle the 24-year-old Swiss. He’ll put up a fantastic struggle in opposition to Neuer, however has to yield to Germany’s no. 1 another time.

Most yellow playing cards

This might be a detailed contest, as a result of a few gamers within the league have made a behavior out of choosing up yellow playing cards. Even the extremely gifted English worldwide Jude Bellingham will get within the books each different weekend, despite the fact that he appears head and shoulders above most of his opponents. Be that as it might, I decide Mainz’s Stefan Bell to obtain essentially the most yellow playing cards. The 30-year-old is just a bit bit too gradual and, on the similar time, fairly old-school in his strategy to defending. Some mistimed tackles and tactical fouls will get him to no less than 10 bookings this 12 months.

Champions League winner

We should always by no means get carried away by early-season outcomes, however Bayern Munich’s efficiency in opposition to RB Leipzig within the German Supercup final weekend makes you suppose that this facet is likely to be higher now than earlier than Robert Lewandowski left. With out a conventional goal participant up entrance, supervisor Julian Nagelsmann will exploit among the tactical concepts which have been behind his thoughts since he arrived in Munich. If Bayern preserve their staff wholesome, they’re my decide to win the cup subsequent June. — Eckner



Paulo Dybala receives a hero’s welcome as he’s unveiled as a Roma participant.

Serie A

High 4

I write this with an enormous caveat. The window would not shut till the top of the month and Serie A squads, for numerous causes, are prone to see main overhauls between from time to time. So I reserve the suitable to make completely different predictions come Sept 1. That mentioned, I feel we’re one other Milanese derby for the title, with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan transferring the needle in the direction of Inter (although “Prince” Charles de Ketelaere” is a captivating increase for Milan).

I’ve Juventus at third, although Paul Pogba’s harm state of affairs must be carefully monitored. And Jose Mourinho’s Roma, with the addition of Paulo Dybala, look effectively positioned to pip the Kalidou Koulibaly-less Napoli to fourth.

1st place: Inter
2nd place: AC Milan
third place: Juventus
4th place: Napoli

High Scorer

I feel it is a three-way race between Lukaku, Lazio’s Ciro Motionless (hey, he is already gained it 4 instances) and Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic. I am choosing Lukaku as a result of I feel Simone Inzaghi will tweak the assault to make it extra centre-forward targeted, whereas Motionless is a 12 months older and Juve nonetheless have unanswered provide chain questions for Vlahovic (How will Chiesa bounce again from his harm? How match will Pogba be? What situation is Angel Di Maria in?)


Sampdoria, Salernitana, Cremonese. I’ve a comfortable spot for Cremonese, however they misplaced 4 key contributors to their promotion run who returned to their dad or mum golf equipment on mortgage (Marco Carnesecchi, Gianluca Gaetano, Nicolo Fagioli and Caleb Okoli). Salernitana pulled off a miracle final 12 months, however lightning hardly ever strikes twice. Sampdoria are a multitude financially and are working on a shoestring: it is all the way down to them and Lecce, and I am backing Lecce to remain up.

Greatest goalkeeper

Mike Maignan. He conceded the fewest targets in Serie A final season and defensively Milan stay very sturdy. Inter ought to run them shut, however it’s not clear to me who their beginning keeper shall be, so Maignan is the safer wager.

Most yellow playing cards

Gianluca Mancini of Roma. He led the league final season and Roma are prone to be fired up once more this 12 months. Roma as a staff had the second-most yellow playing cards final season and Venezia have been relegated, so they give the impression of being well-placed to take the crown right here. Possibly it is a pure consequence of Jose Mourinho’s depth inflicting you to take extra dangers than you usually would.

Champions League winner

Manchester Metropolis. I actually do not know, and should effectively change my thoughts many instances between now and the beginning of the season. I really feel that Pep Guardiola is due and, making an allowance for how tough it’s to repeat, how final season took a lot out of Liverpool, how Bayern have unanswered questions, how Paris Saint-Germain have a brand new coach, how Kylian Mbappe did not be part of Actual Madrid and the way Erling Haaland’s season will not be affected by the World Cup, I am going to say Metropolis. — Marcotti



Frank Leboeuf reacts to Thiago Silva’s feedback about wanting Neymar to hitch him at Chelsea.

Ligue 1

High 4

Paris shall be too sturdy for Ligue 1 as soon as extra. New supervisor Christophe Galtier cannot mess it up and the staff performed effectively within the Trophée des Champions with Lionel Messi and Neymar trying sharp. It’s way more attention-grabbing to look behind PSG at who can end within the high 4. Lyon have performed a powerful recruitment (Lacazette, Tolisso, Tagliafico). Monaco will compete, Lucien Favre can do good issues at Good who recruited effectively. Marseille, who’re already going via a disaster with new supervisor Igor Tudor, will miss out.

1st place: PSG
2nd place: Lyon
third place: Monaco
4th place: Good

High scorer

Kylian Mbappe. He completed with 28 targets final season, 27 the 12 months earlier than, and 18 previous to that. So it’s three seasons not going over the 30 targets a season mark, like he did in 2018-2019 with 33 and that is the 12 months when he’ll recover from 30 once more. After extending his contract at PSG and having extra obligations, he shall be even stronger on the pitch. With Messi and Neymar trying sharp already, and Paris’ good recruitment this summer time (Vitinha, Ekitike, Sanches, Mukiele), Mbappe will star much more than traditional.


Auxerre, Clermont, Lorient, Troyes. This season, 4 groups are taking place as Ligue 1 is transferring again to an 18-club league as an alternative of 20 so it’s critical to remain up. It’s a battle between six golf equipment: the 2 promoted sides, Auxerre and Toulouse in addition to Brest, Lorient, Clermont and Troyes. Toulouse have been good this summer time and their challenge is promising. For Auxerre, will probably be robust. Similar for Lorient and their new supervisor Regis Le Bris. Clermont misplaced their finest participant Mohamed Bayo, whereas there are tensions between gamers and supervisor already at Troyes.

Greatest goalkeeper

Walter Benitez gained it with 14 clear sheets final season. He since left for PSV Eindhoven and has been changed by Kasper Schmeichel. My winner for this season is Donnarumma. The PSG defence shall be stronger with a again 3 and Galtier has chosen the Italian as his primary so he’ll play each league sport in contrast to final season, and can preserve many clear sheets. Alexander Nubel and Monaco might be up there too, alongside Patrick Pentz at Reims.

Most yellow playing cards

Facundo Medina. There are just a few contenders. Marco Verratti “gained” this award final season with 12, forward of Lille’s Benjamin André and Lens’ Facundo Medina with 11. Medina was additionally third the season earlier than with 11 once more. I feel he ought to be high this season. He’s an aggressive defender in a staff which presses so much. So it’s the proper match!

Champions League winner

PSG, lastly, that is their 12 months (I write this each summer time). The squad is significantly better than final 12 months, extra balanced, youthful and extra French, even. New supervisor Christophe Galtier will make this squad click on and the magic of Messi, Neymar and Mbappé, in addition to the management of Sergio Ramos, will do the remaining. “Paris, Champion of Europe” sounds nice. — Laurens

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