Barcelona placed on a present, Haaland rescues Man Metropolis, extra Benzema magic for Madrid

What a weekend! Barcelona and Actual Madrid made massive, however completely different, statements in LaLiga, Man Metropolis noticed Crystal Palace a two-goal lead earlier than Erling Haaland‘s hat trick saved the day, Arsenal stay excellent within the Premier League and Liverpool responded to final week’s loss at Man United with a record-equalling win over Bournemouth. Oh, and Bayern Munich ran right into a goalkeeper in kind and Neymar confirmed the great, dangerous and ugly in Paris Saint-Germain‘s draw with AS Monaco.

Weekend Assessment: Haaland’s hat-trick, Firmino’s renaissance
ESPN+ viewers information: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, extra
Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, extra (U.S.)

It is Monday, and Gab Marcotti reacts to the largest moments on the earth of soccer.

Soar to: Barca’s social gathering | Haaland powers Metropolis | Benzema delivers | Liverpool rating 9 | Sommer stops Bayern | Man United win once more | Neymar flare-up | Arsenal’s maturity reveals by means of | De Ketelaere stars for Milan | Tuchel, Chelsea’s ‘fortunate’ win | Juve, Roma draw | Dortmund win | Spurs preserve tempo with Arsenal

Barcelona present the way it’s speculated to work vs. Actual Valladolid

If producing hype and leisure — together with, clearly, outcomes — was the large justification behind Joan Laporta’s huge “lever gamble” this summer season, Sunday afternoon felt like a vindication. Barcelona demolished Valladolid 4-0, with Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Gavi cementing their reputations as dispensers of targets, assists and magic, respectively. Few locations on the earth can match the Camp Nou for glitz and sense of event, and Barcelona delivered this in spades.

After all, there are nonetheless query marks. Jules Kounde, lastly registered with LaLiga since transferring from Sevilla, slotted in at proper again and whilst you can think about him enjoying there completely — in what, with Alex Balde or Jordi Alba on the left, is extra like a “again three-and-a-half” — it is in all probability not what he was signed for they usually may use a specialist right-sided defender. (Sergino Dest would not appear to be the reply, and neither does Sergi Roberto).

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Sources: Aubameyang assaulted at residence by armed gang

Frenkie de Jong performed the ultimate half-hour, however whether or not he’ll nonetheless be a Barcelona participant on the finish of the week stays to be seen. Kounde’s registration was made attainable as a result of some Barca administrators supplied monetary ensures that the cash to fulfill LaLiga’s monetary necessities could be discovered by deadline day: to do this, they should both shift anyone (De Jong, presumably Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) or renegotiate some contracts. Gerard Pique was an unused substitute (once more) and in some unspecified time in the future will probably be official to wonder if, at 35 years outdated and with two years left on his contract, he may be finest suited to a job not within the enjoying squad.

However placing all that to 1 aspect, Sunday evening was what Xavi desires to bottle this season, and it is price additionally noting how rapidly a number of the items have gelled. Lewandowski has slot in seamlessly (and no, the outdated cliche that “nice gamers can match anyplace” is just not true), Gavi and Pedri (who did not play collectively that a lot final season) have already got large chemistry, and Ronald Araujo is already the chief on the again. A whole lot of that is right down to the work Xavi has performed in troublesome circumstances, lest we overlook, as a result of for each “lever” cheerleader, there was one “lever” skeptic (and infrequently a couple of).

The explanations to doubt Laporta’s actions this summer season — the “levers” which have successfully mortgaged the membership’s future, doubling down on spending reasonably than attempting to claw your approach again in direction of breaking even by way of austerity measures — stay, and they’re legitimate, however Xavi is channeling them as finest he can. If the large spin of the roulette wheel goes to work, Xavi might be as central to this undertaking as Laporta or anyone on the pitch.

Haaland powers one other Man Metropolis comeback… however this one is completely different



Janusz Michallik praises Erling Haaland after the striker scored a hat trick in opposition to Crystal Palace.

If per week in the past, it was a case of each groups enjoying very nicely and Manchester Metropolis‘s high quality making up the distinction once they got here from two targets down to grab a draw at Newcastle, the 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday was one other story. Aside from Metropolis being two targets down, there are few parallels.

VAR Assessment: Ought to Haaland have been despatched off?
Guardiola accuses Metropolis of being ‘smooth’

Palace took the lead when a double ricochet off a free kick caromed off John Stones and previous Ederson. They doubled it when Joachim Andersen‘s header discovered the again of the online after 20 minutes. From there on, there was nearly nothing, which is why Palace ended up with simply two photographs and an xG of 0.09.

Metropolis, however, ran rampant, much more so at 2-1, when Pep Guardiola shifted to a again three and easily squeezed the life out of Palace. Erling Haaland ended up with a hat trick: a header and a trademark run sandwiched across the objective that gave them the lead, a straightforward end after a pleasant transfer that noticed Metropolis string 5 passes collectively within the field.

Pep says Metropolis are nonetheless determining the best way to play with Haaland and get the perfect out of him. Provided that he is already scored six targets in 4 video games, it is a fairly scary proposition.

Benzema delivers for Actual Madrid… once more!

On Thursday, Karim Benzema was topped UEFA’s Participant of the Season. On Sunday, he was doing what he does finest, materialising on the far publish to faucet in with a minute to go for the sport winner, after which including the objective that made it 3-1 away to Espanyol in harm time. (Oh, and it was a free kick, no much less, and his first as a Madrid participant, though scored in opposition to an outfield participant who went in objective after Benjamin Lecomte had been despatched off.)

Response: Benzema rescues Actual Madrid
Replay: Espanyol 1-3 Actual Madrid (E+)

As nice as he’s, Benzema is to Actual Madrid what the blanket is to Linus and Carlo Ancelotti is aware of the membership must be weaned off him. (His backup, in any case, is Mariano Diaz.) In that sense, there have been encouraging indicators — Aurelien Tchouameni seemed sharp in midfield, as did Eduardo Camavinga after approaching — and fewer encouraging ones (Espanyol performed nicely, however Madrid wanted extra enter from Thibaut Courtois than they might have preferred).

Ideally, there may nonetheless be some motion on the switch entrance earlier than the window closes later this week. Nonetheless, it is an ideal begin to the marketing campaign having performed all three video games away from the Bernabeu. That is not a foul place to be.

Liverpool bounce again in probably the most emphatic approach



Janusz Michallik singles out Trent Alexander-Arnold because the driving pressure behind Liverpool’s record-equalling win.

I am undecided Jurgen Klopp may have devised a greater script for Liverpool following the defeat Aug. 22 at Outdated Trafford. Successful 9-0 over Bournemouth is a thumping paying homage to a well-known win over Crystal Palace 33 years in the past (wherein my ESPN FC colleague Steve Nicol opened and closed the scoring). As an added bonus, a lot of the blokes who had been poor in opposition to Manchester United obtained on the scoresheet (Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino) and there was a primary membership objective for the thrilling Fabio Carvalho.

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I suppose the script would have been even higher if Mohamed Salah had scored or assisted on a objective, and it is kinda unbelievable that he did not when his group scored 9. Then once more, he certain as heck would not have to pad his stats…

Sensational Sommer helps Gladbach maintain Bayern

OK, let’s get this out of the way in which. Bayern Munich dropped factors at residence in opposition to Borussia Monchengladbach and certain, that is noteworthy as a result of it hardly ever occurs. However let’s be clear, this was a freak occasion made attainable by two issues: a person error on the again and an opposing goalkeeper, Yann Sommer, who had a kind of mystical nights he’ll inform his grandkids about.

Sommer makes Bundesliga document 19 saves to disclaim Bayern
Highlights: Take pleasure in all of Sommer’s beautiful saves (U.S.)

Bayern had a whopping 20 photographs on the right track (33 total) and 19 of them had been saved by Sommer. The xG had been 3.60 to 0.65 for Bayern and with out Dayot Upamecano‘s error that led to Marcus Thuram‘s gallop and end, it might have been 3.60 to 0.17. So yeah, this was a one-sided butt-kicking. It is simply that this can be a low-scoring sport and you may run right into a keeper who stands on his head and saves all the pieces in sight. Properly, nearly all the pieces: Leroy Sane finally broke by means of within the 83rd minute.

I do not assume there’s a lot for Julian Nagelsmann to be involved about right here, and positively not Upamecano’s error (stuff occurs). He even obtained to experiment, late within the recreation, with a neat Plan B: Matthijs de Ligt channeling his interior Daniel van Buyten and enjoying centre-forward. Most likely not the kind of choice you wish to resort to (when you do, it means you are in hassle), however it might be one thing price revisiting.

Similar gamers, identical system, identical end result for Man United at Southampton



Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens focus on rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo is on the way in which to Napoli with striker Victor Osimhen presumably heading within the different course.

Erik ten Hag despatched out the identical XI that beat Liverpool in opposition to Southampton on Saturday, which meant no Luke Shaw, no Fred, no Harry Maguire and, after all, no Cristiano Ronaldo. I do not know if he is superstitious — way more soccer people are than you might understand — however on paper, that aspect constructed to counter so successfully in opposition to Liverpool did not look like an incredible match to face Southampton. Nor, you think about, is it a lot of a blueprint for the way Ten Hag desires to play.

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In the long run, Bruno Fernandes‘ end would show the distinction between the 2 sides. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s younger and inexperienced Southampton aspect really received the xG battle and outshot United. The three factors are nice, however it’s proof this setup is not what Ten Hag has in thoughts going ahead. With Antony reportedly on his approach, anticipate some kind of 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with the Brazilian and Jadon Sancho out vast and one among Marcus Rashford or Antony Martial (or presumably a last-minute switch signing) up entrance. In midfield, you’d think about Casemiro and Fred within the combine and with that entrance three, it is arduous to see each Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen discovering area.

PSG held by Monaco as Neymar’s nerves fray, after which settle

It is arduous to determine Neymar generally. There he’s, having a monstrous begin to the season heading into the large conflict with Monaco after which risking getting despatched off within the first half-hour for 2 frankly pointless clashes with opponents. (He was booked for the primary, spared for the second.) For sure, Neymar just isn’t a goon, nor do PSG pay him to play the goon. They’ll get another person to do this.

Fortunately, he settled down and scored PSG’s equaliser from the spot (no penalty controversy this time) within the 1-1 draw. It is two factors dropped in opposition to (theoretically) a direct opponent, however PSG had the majority of the possibilities on this recreation, coming shut with Kylian Mbappe on a number of events. In Christophe Galtier’s sneakers, you would not fear concerning the draw, however you may select to have a phrase with Neymar. Given the shape he is in, it might be a disgrace to smash it with pointless indiscipline.

Arsenal’s “maturity” shines by means of as they keep excellent



Janusz Michallik speaks about Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Fulham within the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta himself says his group are “maturing” and you may see what he means. The two-1 win in opposition to Fulham — which sees them keep prime of the Premier League — was the kind of recreation that, not too way back, they may have drawn and even misplaced. They created a lot within the first half, went right down to a defensive blunder from Gabriel, equalised with a deflection after which obtained the winner by means of — who else? — Gabriel.

Rankings: Odegaard sensational in comeback win

We have seen Arteta’s Arsenal dazzle solely to wilt when issues do not go their approach. However pushed by an impressive Martin Odegaard on Saturday, they persevered and obtained their reward.

Sterner assessments are to come back, however proper now, they’re hitting all the correct notes.

“Prince” Charles de Ketelaere drives Milan to prime of Serie A

It’s kind of reductive to name Charles De Ketelaere a “No. 10” — final season he performed everywhere in the park for Membership Brugge — however that is the place Stefano Pioli used him in opposition to Bologna and he responded with work price, physicality and a few scrumptious touches, just like the help to arrange Rafael Leao’s opener.

Bologna had been under-strength and Milan are only a notch above proper now, taking the lead and controlling the sport on their solution to a 2-0 win. What’s spectacular, although, is how rapidly he settled into Pioli’s system and whereas he will not match Franck Kessie‘s depth, the truth that he is a “massive child with little man abilities” provides Milan an entire different dimension.

Tuchel celebrates his birthday with Chelsea win he calls “fortunate”



Janusz Michallik debates whether or not Chelsea nonetheless have to signal a striker after Raheem Sterling’s brace vs. Leicester.

You may tie your self up in knots on this one. Was Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel “unfortunate” that Conor Gallagher‘s two rash challenges noticed him despatched off inside half an hour? Or was he “fortunate” that Raheem Sterling popped up with a tap-in and a deflection, and that Edouard Mendy got here up with a late miracle on Jamie Vardy, enabling Chelsea to get the three factors within the 2-1 win?

Tuchel plumped for the latter and no, he is in all probability not being arduous on his crew. In opposition to free-falling (and depleted) Leicester Metropolis, Chelsea weren’t nice 11 vs. 11 both. Nor did his new setup — a riff on the outdated 4-2-2-2 formation — work notably nicely, notably up entrance (the place Kai Havertz supplied little apart from effort) or midfield (the place Mason Mount goes by means of a tough patch).

Tuchel: Chelsea have to make extra signings
Ogden: Sterling saved Chelsea, however Blues nonetheless want a striker

Chelsea, after all, have spent near 1 / 4 of a billion {dollars} this summer season and there seems to be extra to come back: Wesley Fofana is seemingly on his approach, and presumably a ahead too. Chelsea’s switch window seems like Exhibit A in why golf equipment ought to have competent administrators of soccer in cost and Todd Boehly will presumably get round to hiring one. You are left with the three factors, which isn’t nothing: they’re joint fifth within the desk. However this nonetheless looks as if a kind of puzzles that is lacking a bunch of items.

Allegri happier than Mourinho as Juventus, Roma share the spoils

No less than, that is what they stated. Jose Mourinho described Roma’s first half as embarrassing, whereas Max Allegri emphasised the progress his aspect made.

I are inclined to imagine Allegri right here. There was progress relative to the turgid efficiency in opposition to Sampdoria they usually created a raft of possibilities they did not convert, apart from Dusan Vlahovic‘s beautiful free kick. I am extra involved with efficiency than outcomes and it was encouraging for Juve to show in that kind of first half, simply because it was good to see Allegri placing his religion in 19-year-old Fabio Miretti and the child repaying it totally.

Marcotti: Allegri should watch his method with fledgling Juve squad

Roma got here again after the break — Mourinho’s system change had so much to do with it — obtained the equaliser with Tammy Abraham (properly arrange by Paulo Dybala, on his return to Turin) and may even have snatched a win. I do not assume they had been fairly as poor as Mourinho says, however there’s clearly room to enhance, particularly in assault, the place the correct chemistry has but to be discovered. On the again, supposedly an issue space with this top-heavy setup, there are fewer considerations: actually, they’ve but to concede from open play.

Modest objective and child steps Borussia in away win

Anthony Modeste clearly has massive sneakers to fill: they belong to Sebastian Haller, who himself was speculated to fill (OK, partially, perhaps simply half a shoe) Erling Haaland’s. So it issues that Modeste obtained his first objective in Borussia Dortmund‘s 1-0 away win at Hertha, each for Dortmund — following that unbelievable collapse final weekend — and for Modeste himself, who’s 34 and had a tough begin at his new membership.

Take the three factors and hope for a greater day. Dortmund carved out the higher possibilities (Hertha have but to win a recreation all season) and but one way or the other nonetheless needed to depend on some massive Gregor Kobel saves to hold on to the win.

Proper now, this can be a large work in progress, however there are encouraging indicators in midfield — newcomer Salih Ozcan served up the cross for the objective and seemed strong in entrance of the again line — and on the again (not simply Kobel, however Nico Schlotterbeck resides as much as the hype).

Tottenham keep on Arsenal’s heels close to the highest…

It is honest to say we have not seen the perfect of Spurs this season as a lot as we have seen a strong group that also manages to create sufficient possibilities. Till chemistry improves (and also you presume it can), it is key that you just get outcomes and that is what they’re doing. In opposition to a really feisty Nottingham Forest aspect, Tottenham took an early lead and managed the sport: a dependable, if a bit conventional, script for Antonio Conte.

That they might simply have received 3-0 on the street in opposition to an opponent who was enjoying nicely — Harry Kane‘s penalty was saved by Dean Henderson they usually settled for a 2-0 win ultimately — speaks volumes right here concerning the effectivity of the system, particularly since neither Kane (close to hat trick however) nor Son-Heung Min had been anyplace close to their finest Sunday. The numbers help this too: apart from a header from Ryan Yates, there have been few harmful moments for Tottenham till rubbish time on the finish. In the meantime, with Dejan Kulusevski cuing up the counter, they racked up 2.73 xG.

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