Dan Fitch recently shared his pre-season preview of the Emirates Cup on the Colossus Bets blog. Here is the first part of the post – click here to read the whole story.

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Pre-season fixtures are often tricky to predict and this is never more true than in a World Cup year, when the top clubs struggle to field a full strength side in their early friendlies, as they give their stars a well-earned rest.
Fortunately we’re now reaching the business end of pre-season where the players that featured in the World Cup return to action. What’s more, the Emirates Cup is a pre-season competition that comes with a little history for us to analyse.

Valencia v Monaco (Saturday, 2pm)

Monaco have faced plenty of upheaval this summer. Having sacked Claudio Ranieri, Monaco appointed Leonardo Jardim after a successful debut season in charge of Sporting Lisbon, but the new manager has not been afforded the same freedom in the transfer market as his predecessor.

New signings Aymen Abdennour and Tiemoue Bakayoko should add some defensive resilience to Monaco, yet they represent a clear change of philosophy when compared to the stellar purchases of last summer. Indeed, James Rodriguez has already been sold to Real Madrid, while rumours suggest that Radamel Falcao may follow him, though the striker does look set to feature in this match following a lengthy knee injury.

Valencia also have a new manager in the shape of Nuno Santo and like Jardim, he too has lost a star player, with Jeremy Mathieu having been sold to Barcelona. Los Che finished eighth last season and Nuno has yet to plug their leaky defence, with Valencia conceding in each of their friendlies.

Monaco’s pre-season has been more successful, winning four games in relative comfort. Even without Rodriguez they have more attacking talent in their locker and are the deserved favourites to win. There should be goals for both side though, so I’m tipping a narrow Monaco win, while covering the draw.

1-2, 1-3, 1-1

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