Haaland’s ominous hat trick, Lewandowski on hearth, Firmino’s renaissance: Weekend evaluate

One other weekend of headlines, golazos and unpredictable finishes throughout Europe’s greatest leagues. From Liverpool‘s 9-0 shellacking of Bournemouth, to Robert Lewandowski scoring yet one more brace for Barcelona, there was no scarcity of drama.

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden, James Tyler and James Olley break down the large stuff it is advisable know concerning the weekend.

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Bounce to: Speaking factors | Greatest targets | Groups in bother | MVP of the Weekend

Speaking factors

Haaland has Metropolis trying ominous

Manchester Metropolis scored 99 league targets final season on their option to a fourth title in 5 years, however they’re already heading in the right direction to smash that mark after simply 4 video games this time round.

Due to Erling Haaland‘s hat trick within the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Pep Guardiola’s facet have already plundered 13 targets this season and it’s a must to go all the way in which again to March for the final time they failed to attain no less than twice in a Premier League match.

It is fortunate they’re scoring so freely as a result of, for now, they’re having bother conserving them out on the different finish. Palace raced right into a two-goal lead on the Etihad as Metropolis went two targets down for the fourth time of their final six league video games. Remarkably although, they have not misplaced any of them, profitable two and drawing two. Palace appeared comfy at half-time however when Metropolis stepped it up a gear after the break, that they had no reply.

Haaland, in the meantime, is making a mockery of the claims he won’t be capable to do it within the Premier League with six targets in his first 4 video games. Solely three different gamers — Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero and Mick Quinn — can match that begin within the Premier League period and, worryingly for the remainder, Guardiola says there’s extra to return. — Dawson

Premier League’s finest and worst kits of the previous 30 years

Tremendous Sommer stifles Bayern

Why do individuals counsel Bayern Munich want to start out each sport 1-0 down when there are goalkeepers like Yann Sommer round? The ageless Switzerland worldwide spent his Saturday stymying the Bundesliga champions to a 1-1 draw that they actually needed to work laborious for, which I did not suppose occurred on this league anymore? (Ahem.)

After Borussia Monchengladbach took the lead very a lot in opposition to the run of play earlier than half-time — and we should always acknowledge Sadio Mane having two targets disallowed for offside right here, regardless that Dayot Upamecano ought to have accomplished higher slicing out a protracted ball, as a substitute giving Marcus Thuram an unobstructed 40-yard run and end — Bayern threw the kitchen sink at Sommer and he was prepared for it, making a league document 19 saves throughout the 90 minutes to protect the draw. Bayern tried every part (together with 33 photographs at 2.82 xG) to crack Sommer, however needed to accept some extent because of Leroy Sane, who popped up unmarked on the fringe of the field to comb house a low cross along with his left foot.

– Watch once more: Bayern Munich 1-1 Gladbach (ESPN+, U.S. solely)

Sommer was caught flat-footed on that event, however was standing on his head for almost all of the sport; beginning with a sprawling parry to disclaim Upamecano’s header within the first minute, he not often discovered peace on the Allianz Area all afternoon, utilizing each little bit of his veteran expertise to frustrate the raucous Bayern crowd.

This draw should not cease Bayern from romping this season to get one other league crown, however Sommer did present the Bundesliga’s critics that it may be accomplished. Perhaps. — Tyler

Peace in Paris

When Paris Saint-Germain obtained a penalty on Sunday night time on the Parc des Princes in opposition to AS Monaco, everybody waited to see what was going to occur.

Two weeks after “penalty-gate” and the argument between Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over who was going to take the spot kick, there was no story this time round. Mbappe is PSG’s first-choice penalty taker, however the two superstars had a chat after the spot-kick was given by the referee and the Frenchman determined to let the Brazilian take it. There isn’t any controversy or new story, only a grown up dialog between two teammates to determine who was the very best taker at that second in time.

Credit score goes to Mbappe for letting Neymar take it. He scored to degree the rating for Paris and regardless of not occurring to win (it completed 1-1), no less than the French champions averted extra drama! — Laurens

Lewandowski delivering for Barca

The main focus earlier than Barcelona kicked off in opposition to Actual Valladolid on Sunday was on Jules Kounde, lastly registered with LaLiga and obtainable to make his debut in defence.

However by the point the ultimate whistle went at Camp Nou it was one other summer season signing, Lewandowski, who had seized the highlight with an irresistible efficiency. Lewandowski scored a brace — and hit the woodwork twice — in Barca’s 4-0 win and appeared each inch the world class participant the membership labored so laborious to signal from Bayern Munich.

His ending took centre stage, with an acrobatic, deft far-post contact to attach with Raphinha‘s cross and put Barca forward, adopted later by a intelligent back-heel flick — albeit helped by a deflection off defender Joaquin Fernandez — to make it 3-0.

Lewandowski already has 4 targets this season and there might be many, many extra to return.

It is not simply the targets, although. He may need a status as an old-school penalty field predator, however his contact, imaginative and prescient and link-up play have impressed in a Barcelona shirt thus far. Whether or not it is Raphinha, Ousmane Dembele or Ansu Fati alongside him, Lewandowski’s intelligence means he is already developed a eager understanding along with his ahead line teammates, and that is dangerous information for LaLiga defences. — Kirkland


Luxurious once more from Trent

These persistent questions on Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s defending have already resurfaced this season however there isn’t any doubting his high quality on the ball and Saturday’s third objective in Liverpool’s record-equalling 9-0 rout of Southampton offered yet one more instance.

Initially dropping possession simply contained in the Bournemouth half, the 23-year-old regained the ball and performed a one-two with Roberto Firmino earlier than lining up a 25-yard drive which flew previous Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers excessive into the online. It was a end any striker would have been pleased with. — Olley

Tchouameni helps Actual transfer on from Casemiro

Vinicius Junior capped a high-quality workforce transfer to open the scoring as Actual Madrid made it three wins from three with a 3-1 victory in opposition to Espanyol on Sunday. Summer season signing Aurelien Tchouameni was on the coronary heart of the objective as he produced a efficiency to counsel Madrid might not miss Casemiro as a lot as they may have feared.

After a interval of possession, Tchouameni performed a one-two with Karim Benzema earlier than feeding Vinicius to provide a luxurious end from simply inside the realm.

Madrid did not have all of it their very own approach in Barcelona, although, with Espanyol equalising by way of Joselu and a few late Benzema targets wanted to earn the three factors. Benzema completed on the far submit after nice work from Rodrygo within the 88th minute after which fired house a stoppage-time free kick after goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte had been despatched off, with defender Leandro Cabrera compelled to fill in for him. — Marsden

Sargent has us paying consideration

Is that this pandering? Perhaps, however the United States want a striker within the expertise pool to seek out some kind forward of the 2022 World Cup and Josh Sargent is definitely delivering thus far for Norwich Metropolis this season. His game-winning objective in opposition to Sunderland on Saturday was his fourth Championship objective of the season and, whereas not a masterpiece, he was within the excellent place to transform a neat passage of play into three factors for the assured Canaries.

Contemplating the inventive expertise that the Individuals ought to have in Qatar this winter, typically being in the best spot is all you want out of your No. 9. Lengthy might it proceed. — Tyler

Groups in bother

Sevilla‘s struggles proceed

The look on Julen Lopotegui’s face on Saturday at Almeria stated all of it.

Sevilla have been overwhelmed once more and their frustration and anger have been clearly seen on their supervisor’s face. Three league matches, one draw and two defeats, solely 3 targets scored, 5 conceded and a fifteenth place within the desk will not be the place they need to be on the finish of August and never the place they have been aiming to be both.

Lopetegui might be cross, however he’s partly in charge. A few of his calls have been unusual — like taking off Oliver Torres in opposition to Valladolid for instance — but it surely’s not all his fault. The summer season has been powerful for Sevilla, dropping their two centre-backs — Kounde and Diego Carlos — to solely exchange them thus far with Tanguy Nianzou, who’s a promising expertise however has not performed a lot within the final two seasons at Bayern, and Marcao from Galatasaray.

Sporting director Monchi has let Sevilla and Lopetegui down thus far. Recruiting Isco is a chance and the workforce nonetheless lacks an actual goalscorer. The longer term does not look nice both with the reception of Barcelona subsequent weekend in LaLiga and Manchester Metropolis within the Champions League again to again. — Laurens

Die Knappen caught napping

It appears merciless to maintain bashing on a proud membership that has endured loads of ache previously 2-3 seasons — together with one of many worst Bundesliga campaigns of all-time in 2020-21– however Schalke 044’s first 12 months again within the high flight after that ignominy augurs at one other lengthy marketing campaign forward.

Winless to open the season and with two wobbly attracts (together with an harm time penalty to get some extent in opposition to Gladbach), Saturday’s 6-1 thrashing at house to Union Berlin confirmed that this workforce is not geared up for the problem. They usually have already launched over a dozen new gamers to the Veltins Area this summer season! A few gentler video games await earlier than Sept. 17 journey to Dortmund, however kind will not be their buddy proper now. — Tyler

Weekend MVP

Firmino pulls out efficiency from the previous

It felt like a scene from a number of seasons in the past. Anfield, packed within the solar, singing its coronary heart out: “Si senor, move it to Bobby Firmino and he’ll rating.”

Saturday was very a lot Firmino’s day. He owned the sport from the beginning with two targets, three assists within the 69 minutes he stayed on the pitch for. He was again to his finest, like within the good previous days the place he made Liverpool such a particular workforce. He was a key a part of every part good Jurgen Klopp’s facet achieved however then, between the accidents, the dangerous kind, the arrival of recent new blood, he walked alone for some time.

At 30 (he might be 31 on Oct. 2), he won’t ever be constantly like he was on Saturday in opposition to a Bournemouth workforce that shipped 9 targets and have been dreadful, however he proved that he can nonetheless do a job for this membership the place his contract expires in a 12 months. — Laurens

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