This weekend in European soccer: Previews, predictions for 5 must-see games

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Every week, theScore will pick out the standout matches to watch across Europe. This weekend's slate features a heated London rivalry and the big Serie A kickoff.

Premier League

Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty

When: Sunday, Aug. 22 (11:30 a.m. ET)
Where: Emirates Stadium

"Yes, I have the No. 9. I am happy and fortunate to be in this situation," Romelu Lukaku said at his official unveiling, no doubt feeling the weight of expectation after luminaries such as Mateja Kezman and Khalid Boulahrouz wore the same digit at Chelsea this millennium.

Jokes aside, the Blues have brokered the return of a player who, in his words, is "more complete" - and that's a frightening proposition for title rivals. Lukaku was criminally underrated when he left for Italy in 2019 after 113 goals over 252 Premier League appearances. In Serie A, he scored 47 times in 72 outings and helped fire Inter Milan to their first Scudetto in 11 years.

The timing of Lukaku's expected debut couldn't be worse for Arsenal. Ben White's £50-million price tag was already under scrutiny before he was overpowered in aerial duels during last week's defeat at Brentford, and Pablo Mari struggled throughout that match under the weight of a high press.

Things could soon look very ugly for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta. A season-opening loss to the Bees and this Sunday's daunting visit from Chelsea is followed by next weekend's trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

Prediction: Chelsea make things worse for their London rivals

Serie A

Inter Milan vs. Genoa

Mattia Ozbot - Inter / FC Internazionale / Getty

When: Saturday, Aug. 21 (12:30 p.m. ET)
Where: San Siro

Antonio Conte and Lukaku, the most important figures of last season's Scudetto success, are gone. The excellent defensive trio of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij, and Alessandro Bastoni remain, but otherwise new boss Simone Inzaghi is navigating a turbulent period that is unlikely to end with back-to-back titles for Inter

That doesn't make the Nerazzurri's latest campaign any less intriguing for onlookers, though.

Denzel Dumfries' stock is high after his excellent displays for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, and he could prove a sensible replacement at right wing-back for Achraf Hakimi. It will also be interesting to see if Inzaghi can get the best out of Hakan Calhanoglu, who was often a frustration for AC Milan fans, and if Edin Dzeko can still be a reliable source of goals at 35.

Inter have won each of their past six league meetings with Genoa, scoring 21 and conceding none.

Prediction: Narrow win for Inter

Roma vs. Fiorentina

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency / Getty

When: Sunday, Aug. 22 (2:45 p.m. ET)
Where: Stadio Olimpico

Jose Mourinho's second stint in Italian football officially begins this weekend as he makes his league debut on the Roma touchline.

The Giallorossi kick off their new season by welcoming Fiorentina to the capital. On paper, the fixture is easily the most intriguing of Serie A's opening weekend. There are certainly compelling storylines to follow with the Tuscan club going into the campaign - Dusan Vlahovic's continued rise, assuming he stays put, is chief among them - but let's be honest, we're all here for Mourinho and his antics.

History, and Roma's explosive preseason, suggest the bombastic Portuguese bench boss will once again be entertaining, even if his shtick has lost its freshness over the years.

Roma have been involved in multiple brawls during preseason - one of them was instigated by Porto madman Pepe, in fairness - and had three players sent off in a 5-2 loss to Real Betis. Fireworks follow Mourinho everywhere. He'll be hoping new signing Tammy Abraham, brought aboard as the replacement for Edin Dzeko, and a fully fit Nicolo Zaniolo can provide pyrotechnics on the pitch this season as Roma look to improve on last season's seventh-place finish.

Prediction: Slim win for Roma

Ligue 1

Nice vs. Marseille

PASCAL GUYOT / AFP / Getty

When: Sunday, Aug. 22 (2:45 p.m. ET)
Where: Stade de Nice

Marseille have surprised many with their aggressive approach in the transfer market. Their summer outlay is already close to exceeding their spend from the previous two seasons combined as president Pablo Longoria invests in the work of animated coach Jorge Sampaoli.

The shrewder acquisitions have been most impressive so far. On-loan Roma attacker Cengiz Under has scored twice in two appearances on the right flank and American youngster Konrad de la Fuente, a bargain buy from Barcelona's backup team, has been electrifying down the left.

Longtime OM favorite Dimitri Payet, now 34, continues to be influential, too, with his precise manipulation of the ball and a confidence which borders on arrogance.

Nice can test whether Marseille are for real. Christophe Galtier's side hasn't conceded in its opening two matches and Amine Gouiri, 21, could be set for an explosive campaign after his unheralded excellence for much of last season.

Prediction: Entertaining draw

Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

DeFodi Images / DeFodi Images / Getty

When: Saturday, Aug. 21 (12:30 p.m. ET)
Where: BayArena

Get ready for some goals.

Whenever Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach face off, they entertain; the two Bundesliga stalwarts have combined for 261 goals in 78 league meetings, good enough for an average of 3.3 tallies per game. Here's hoping they maintain that pace on Saturday.

Leverkusen will rely primarily on Euro 2020 star Patrik Schick, who settled proceedings the last time the two clubs met in March. Teen phenom Florian Wirtz may also be available after dealing with a groin injury to start the season.

Monchengladbach, meanwhile, will look to build on last week's solid draw against reigning champions Bayern Munich and have a multitude of scoring options. Watch out for Patrick Herrmann, in particular; the German winger has scored more goals against Leverkusen (six) than any other team and will likely see action off the bench at some point in the contest.

Prediction: High-scoring draw

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This weekend in European soccer: Previews, predictions for 5 must-see games
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