Premier League sides look solid in International Champions Cup

SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 23: Anthony Martial
SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 23: Anthony Martial /

The annual friendly/exhibition tournament is underway in the United States, with a few games being played outside the country in Asia and Australia. In the main tournament here in the States, three Premier League clubs will play a few matches. Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur all look to be starting the upcoming season with momentum.

The International Champions Cup (ICC) is both the worst and best part of the summer. It’s the only feasible opportunity that European soccer fans and sports fans alike in the United States are able to see the best football clubs in the world. Also, it gives the players who spend at least 10 months of every year in Europe a chance to play in other parts of the world to experience the fanaticism of fans outside the continent.

The not so great aspect of the “tournament” is that during the very short 2 months of offseason these players get, they have to expend lots of energy by traveling extensively. This could be bad for top European clubs who are preparing for upcoming seasons and don’t want to risk potential injuries. Just ask Jose Mourinho after his starting midfielder Ander Herrera was forced to leave the friendly against Madrid in San Francisco yesterday with a rib injury.

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Obviously, the sides aren’t using their first-teams in these exhibition matches. The pre-season is time for hammering out personnel and tactical details, so a healthy mix of youth/reserve players always start alongside a few first-teamers. In terms of preparation, this is another positive aspect of the ICC. If a team is selected to participate in the tournament, managers can hammer out these details and really see their squads in action against other elite European clubs.

That’s exactly what Pochettino, Pep, and Mourinho are doing in this tournament. The Spurs can claim the most dominant and excellent performance of the clubs so far, when they handled French and global football giants PSG in Orlando. The Spurs ended up winning by a couple of goals in a 4-2 score line. Christian Eriksen scored a screamer, and Golden Boot holder Harry Kane added one at the end. Overall, PSG never looked threatening. Both clubs used about the same number of starters.

In Beijing earlier in the week, Chelsea took care of London rivals Arsenal beating them 2-0. On their official Facebook page, they seemed pretty satisfied about the pre-season friendly results. I don’t think they were as satisfied when they were defeated by the Gunners at Wembley in the FA Cup Final last term.

Manchester City were held to the same score line against crosstown rivals United in Houston last week, losing 2-0. In their defense, the Citizens used mostly reserve and youth players. The Red Devils looked much better in that match and yesterday’s match against Real Madrid which ended in a 1-1 draw. They scored on a purely magical run by French winger Anthony Martial, finished off by Jesse Lingard.

According to the match report, United was much more effective in possession and created more chances than Los Blancos. Madrid scored on a penalty caused by a brash challenge from new defender Victor Lindelof. This UEFA Supercup preamble might be proof that United might really stand a chance against the might Madrid side in the fixture.

Overall this pre-season, the top Premier League sides are looking very prepared and ready to fight to the finish against their much-improved counterparts. Tottenham is looking particularly threatening, dominating PSG and finishing 2nd overall in the last two seasons.

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