Barcelona sparkle, Erling Haaland rescues Man City, Karim Benzema delivers once more for Real Madrid, extra

What a weekend! Barcelona and Real Madrid made huge, however totally different, statements in LaLiga, Man City noticed Crystal Palace a two-goal lead earlier than Erling Haaland’s hat trick saved the day, Arsenal stay good 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 nice, dangerous and ugly in Paris Saint-Germain’s draw with AS Monaco.

– Weekend Evaluate: 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 most important moments on this planet of soccer.

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

Barcelona present the way it’s presupposed to work vs. Real Valladolid

If producing hype and leisure — together with, clearly, outcomes — was the large justification behind Joan Laporta’s large “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 objectives, assists and magic, respectively. Few locations on this planet 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 when you can think about him enjoying there completely — in what, with Alex Balde or Jordi Alba on the left, is extra like a “back three-and-a-half” — it is in all probability not what he was signed for and so they may use a specialist right-sided defender. (Sergino Dest does not appear to be the reply, and neither does Sergi Roberto).

– Report: Lewandowski scores twice in huge Barca win
– Response: Barca’s summer season signings rework Camp Nou
– 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 try this, they should both shift any person (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 reputable to wonder if, at 35 years previous and with two years left on his contract, he is likely to be finest suited to a task not within the enjoying squad.

However placing all that to 1 facet, Sunday night time was what Xavi desires to bottle this season, and it is price additionally noting how shortly a few of the items have gelled. Lewandowski has slot in seamlessly (and no, the previous cliche that “great players can fit anywhere” is solely 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 number of that is all the way down to the work Xavi has accomplished in troublesome circumstances, lest we overlook, as a result of for each “lever” cheerleader, there was one “lever” skeptic (and sometimes multiple).

The explanations to doubt Laporta’s actions this summer season — the “levers” which have successfully mortgaged the membership’s future, doubling down on spending fairly than attempting to claw your manner again in direction of breaking even through 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 venture as Laporta or anyone on the pitch.

Haaland powers one other Man City comeback… however this one is totally different



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

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

– VAR Evaluate: Ought to Haaland have been despatched off?
– Guardiola accuses City of being ‘comfortable’

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 web 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.

City, then again, 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 simple end after a pleasant transfer that noticed City string 5 passes collectively within the field.

Pep says City are nonetheless determining tips on how to play with Haaland and get the very best out of him. Provided that he is already scored six objectives in 4 video games, it is a fairly scary proposition.

Benzema delivers for Real 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 submit 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 damage 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 Real Madrid
– Replay: Espanyol 1-3 Real Madrid (E+)

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

Ideally, there would possibly 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 nasty place to be.

Liverpool bounce again in probably the most emphatic manner



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

I am unsure Jurgen Klopp may have devised a greater script for Liverpool following the defeat Aug. 22 at Outdated Trafford. Profitable 9-0 over Bournemouth is a thumping paying homage to a well-known win over Crystal Palace 33 years in the past (through which my ESPN FC colleague Steve Nicol opened and closed the scoring). As an added bonus, numerous 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.

– After Liverpool’s 9-0 win, what are the information in Europe’s huge leagues?
– Klopp did not wish to ‘humiliate’ Bournemouth
– How social media reacted to Liverpool’s large victory

I assume the script would have been even higher if Mohamed Salah had scored or assisted on a objective, and it is kinda unimaginable that he did not when his staff scored 9. Then once more, he certain as heck does not must 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 file 19 saves to disclaim Bayern
– Highlights: Take pleasure in all of Sommer’s gorgeous saves (U.S.)

Bayern had a whopping 20 photographs on track (33 general) 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 will have been 3.60 to 0.17. So yeah, this was a one-sided butt-kicking. It is simply that it is a low-scoring sport and you may run right into a keeper who stands on his head and saves every little thing in sight. Nicely, virtually every little thing: Leroy Sane ultimately broke by way 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 inside Daniel van Buyten and enjoying centre-forward. Most likely not the form of choice you wish to resort to (in the event you do, it means you are in hassle), however it might be one thing price revisiting.

Similar gamers, similar system, similar final result for Man United at Southampton



Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens talk about 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 — much more soccer folks are than chances are you’ll understand — however on paper, that facet constructed to counter so successfully in opposition to Liverpool did not look like a terrific match to face Southampton. Nor, you think about, is it a lot of a blueprint for a way Ten Hag desires to play.

– Olley: Ten Hag’s revolution takes one other ahead step
– Ogden: Ought to Man United let Ronaldo go without spending a dime?
– Sources: Man United near deal for Ajax’s Antony

In the long run, Bruno Fernandes’ end would show the distinction between the 2 sides. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s younger and inexperienced Southampton facet 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 manner, anticipate some form of 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with the Brazilian and Jadon Sancho out huge and one in all 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 exhausting to see each Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen discovering area.

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

It is exhausting to determine Neymar typically. 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.) Evidently, Neymar just isn’t a goon, nor do PSG pay him to play the goon. They’ll get another person to try 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 probabilities on this recreation, coming shut with Kylian Mbappe on a number of events. In Christophe Galtier’s sneakers, you would not fear in regards to the draw, however you would possibly select to have a phrase with Neymar. Given the shape he is in, it will be a disgrace to destroy it with pointless indiscipline.

Arsenal’s “maturity” shines by way of as they keep good



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

Mikel Arteta himself says his staff 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 form of recreation that, not too way back, they may have drawn and even misplaced. They created loads within the first half, went all the way down to a defensive blunder from Gabriel, equalised with a deflection after which obtained the winner by way 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 manner. However pushed by a powerful Martin Odegaard on Saturday, they persevered and obtained their reward.

Sterner assessments are to return, however proper now, they’re hitting all the precise 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 strategy to a 2-0 win. What’s spectacular, although, is how shortly he settled into Pioli’s system and whereas he will not match Franck Kessie’s depth, the truth that he is a “big kid with little man skills” offers Milan an entire different dimension.

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



Janusz Michallik debates whether or not Chelsea nonetheless must 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 “unlucky” that Conor Gallagher’s two rash challenges noticed him despatched off inside half an hour? Or was he “lucky” 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 exhausting on his crew. Towards free-falling (and depleted) Leicester City, Chelsea weren’t nice 11 vs. 11 both. Nor did his new setup — a riff on the previous 4-2-2-2 formation — work notably properly, notably up entrance (the place Kai Havertz supplied little apart from effort) or midfield (the place Mason Mount goes by way of a tough patch).

– Tuchel: Chelsea must 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 return: Wesley Fofana is seemingly on his manner, 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 mentioned. Jose Mourinho described Roma’s first half as embarrassing, whereas Max Allegri emphasised the progress his facet made.

I are likely to consider Allegri right here. There was progress relative to the turgid efficiency in opposition to Sampdoria and so they created a raft of possibilities they didn’t convert, apart from Dusan Vlahovic’s gorgeous free kick. I am extra involved with efficiency than outcomes and it was encouraging for Juve to show in that form 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 strategy with fledgling Juve squad

Roma got here again after the break — Mourinho’s system change had rather a lot to do with it — obtained the equaliser with Tammy Abraham (properly arrange by Paulo Dybala, on his return to Turin) and would possibly 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 precise chemistry has but to be discovered. On the again, supposedly an issue space with this top-heavy setup, there are fewer issues: in truth, they’ve but to concede from open play.

Modest objective and child steps Borussia in away win

Anthony Modeste clearly has huge sneakers to fill: they belong to Sebastian Haller, who himself was presupposed 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 someway nonetheless needed to depend on some huge Gregor Kobel saves to hold on to the win.

Proper now, it is a big work in progress, however there are encouraging indicators in midfield — newcomer Salih Ozcan served up the cross for the objective and appeared 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 truthful to say we have not seen the very best of Spurs this season as a lot as we have seen a strong staff that also manages to create sufficient possibilities. Till chemistry improves (and also you presume it’s going to), it is key that you just get outcomes and that is what they’re doing. Towards a really feisty Nottingham Forest facet, 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 properly — Harry Kane’s penalty was saved by Dean Henderson and so they settled for a 2-0 win in the long run — speaks volumes right here in regards to the effectivity of the system, particularly since neither Kane (close to hat trick however) nor Son-Heung Min had been wherever 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.