Rafael Leao the king of Milan Vinicius all class VAR spoils Premier League

One other weekend of headlines, golazos and unpredictable finishes throughout Europe’s greatest leagues. From AC Milan securing the primary derby win of the Serie A season to followers, coaches and gamers raging at VAR within the Premier League, there was no scarcity of drama.

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, James Tyler and Mark Ogden break down the massive stuff it’s good to know concerning the weekend.

– ESPN+ information: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, extra (U.S.)
– Stream ESPN FC Each day on ESPN+ (U.S. solely)
– Do not have ESPN? Get prompt entry

Leap to: Speaking factors | Greatest targets | Groups in hassle | MVP of the Weekend

Speaking factors

Milan draw first blood in Serie A

Whereas we await different huge derbies, different huge high of the desk clashes or different mouthwatering matches between European giants, Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Internazionale was the primary huge blockbuster of the present season and it was superior.

It had the whole lot: targets, drama, suspense, high quality particular person performances, errors (look away now Hakan Calhanoglu) and a winner. Milan, for now, is AC Milan’s kingdom whereas Inter at the moment are two factors behind their archrivals within the desk. And Rafael Leao is the undisputed king of town. Serie A’s participant of final season was excellent with two targets and an help. His second one is a tribute to the good George Weah with so many similarities in how he took that objective, his little hook and end. This 3-2 win for the reigning champions is just not decisive within the title race however it confirmed that whoever needs their crown should struggle arduous to get it. — Laurens

Dortmund purring … for now

Watching Borussia Dortmund can at instances really feel like a horror movie, with serene moments sharply interrupted by the stuff of nightmares. Anybody recall their exceptional collapse at house to Werder Bremen two matchdays in the past? Taking that bounce scare out of the equation, they have been excellent to open the marketing campaign, broadly going again to fundamentals and selecting up their second straight 1-0 win within the Bundesliga, and their fourth win in 5. It is also their third 1-0 in that streak.

– Watch once more: Dortmund 1-0 Hoffenheim (ESPN+, U.S. solely)

They’re even above Bayern Munich proper now, proof that Edin Terzic is value backing. Friday’s slender win over Hoffenheim was pretty routine: Marco Reus (two targets, two assists this season) was his classic self in stroking a Julian Brandt first time cross past Oliver Baumann to provide Dortmund a sixteenth minute lead they’d grasp onto with little issue.

The trick from right here might be persevering with to construct momentum whereas sustaining perspective as to what Terzic is constructing: Along with a visit to Manchester Metropolis within the Champions League in two weeks, Dortmund will should be as cohesive as doable for Bayern’s go to at first of October. That can inform us as a lot about Dortmund’s title rivalry as video games in opposition to RB Leipzig, FC Koln and Schalke 04. — Tyler



Marco Reus objective sixteenth minute Borussia Dortmund 1-0 TSG Hoffenheim

Honours even on Merseyside

It was an emotional afternoon at Goodison Park with two golf equipment and units of followers united in sorrow after a nine-year previous lady was shot lifeless in her home final week in Liverpool, and it was possibly becoming that there was no winner within the Merseyside Derby this time round.

The 2 keepers, Alisson and particularly Jordan Pickford, have been the explanations for the stalemate after some incredible saves and if the sport took some time to get going, it turned epic within the second half and, in the long run, it was 0-0 draw however this can be a end result that does not swimsuit anybody.

Liverpool really feel like they’ve dropped two factors whereas Everton might additionally odor victory at instances. The sport additionally reminded us that there’s something not proper about Mohamed Salah in the meanwhile. With out having a foul sport (0.19 xG and 0.24 xA for him in the long run), he did not take a look at his greatest. — Laurens



Janusz Michallik factors the finger at Mohamed Salah & Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool are held by Everton.

Gavi lights up the Sanchez Pizjuan

We might single out half the Barcelona group for reward after their 3-0 win at Sevilla on Saturday night time. Robert Lewandowski scored once more to make it 5 LaLiga targets in 4 video games. Jules Kounde supplied two assists in opposition to his former membership. Raphinha impressed once more, opening the scoring and contributing to Barca’s third. And Eric Garcia grabbed the primary objective of his skilled profession.

It was one other participant who was named man of the match although. Gavi,18, was in every single place on the Sanchez Pizjuan, working tirelessly to press when out of possession and caring for the ball when he had it, with a 90.9% cross completion charge. With all of the noise round Barca’s frantic summer time switch window, we should not neglect that two of essentially the most thrilling younger gamers anyplace — Gavi and Pedri — have been already proper there at Camp Nou.

This might be a giant season for Gavi. He already seemed a star within the dysfunctional Barca of early final season. Now, in a aspect remodeled by Xavi’s teaching and taking part in alongside world-class professionals and leaders like Lewandowski, it is time to shine. And that is earlier than we even point out the important thing function he ought to play for Spain on the World Cup. — Kirkland



Eric García objective fiftieth minute Sevilla FC 0-3 Barcelona


Man Utd ship the products

The end from Marcus Rashford is nice however the cross from Bruno Fernandes is classy. It begins with a fast cross ahead from Christian Eriksen — Manchester United’s greatest participant within the 3-1 win over Arsenal — however it’s made by the imaginative and prescient and supply from Fernandes.

A phrase, too, for the end from Rashford. He has struggled for kind for practically two years however that was a high-pressure second in a giant sport and he saved a cool head — Dawson

All class from Vinicius

Vinicius Junior’s improvement right into a cool-headed, scientific goal-scorer is not information. In spite of everything, this can be a participant who scored 17 targets in LaLiga final season. The standard of his ending nonetheless has the flexibility to shock, although, and that was the case on Saturday when he opened the scoring in Actual Madrid’s 2-1 win over Actual Betis on the Santiago Bernabeu.

His intelligent motion within the ninth minute noticed him beat the Betis offside entice, stepping inside full-back Youssouf Sabaly and setting off protected within the information that teammate David Alaba has the imaginative and prescient and approach to seek out him with the cross. It was Vinicius’ subsequent contact that was actually particular, scooping the ball over goalkeeper Rui Silva, and working off in celebration earlier than it had nestled at the back of the online. It is three targets in his final three video games for Vinicius, serving to fireplace Madrid to the highest of the desk with most factors to this point. — Kirkland

Sensible Becker befuddles Bayern

There have been many issues to frustrate the Bavarians on Saturday — Leroy Sane’s wasteful ending, the heroics of goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow to call simply two — of their 1-1 draw with Union Berlin, however certainly even essentially the most depressing Bayern fan might recognize Sheraldo Becker’s sensible objective to open the scoring.

Union’s high scorer pulled off a sublime volley from Christopher Trimmel’s looping set piece to go away Manuel Neuer greedy for air, and it have to be stated how tough a shot this was to tug off: significantly, do that at your subsequent pick-up sport and see the place it finally ends up. Although Bayern would swiftly degree by means of an equally thundering end by Joshua Kimmich, Union had greater than sufficient to hold on for a well-earned level. — Tyler

Groups in hassle

Stress on Cooper at Forest

Nottingham Forest can’t be accused of not exhibiting ambition following their return to the Premier League however, regardless of spending near £150 million on new gamers this summer time, they nonetheless discover themselves within the relegation locations after six video games.

The three-2 defeat at house to Bournemouth on Saturday is a devastating blow after getting in at half-time 2-0 up — notably after enduring a 6-0 demolition by Manchester Metropolis three days earlier. Steve Cooper must get his new-look squad to gel shortly to keep away from an instantaneous return to the Championship and the subsequent three video games in opposition to Leeds United, Fulham and Leicester Metropolis might be very important if they’ll get their season up and working shortly.

The hazard for Cooper is that, if he can not flip issues round, it will likely be very tempting for Forest to alter managers when the Premier League breaks for the World Cup in November. Forest most likely would not even be within the top-flight if it wasn’t for Cooper however soccer is an ungiving enterprise, particularly when there’s a lot cash on the road. With so many new gamers arriving, Cooper remains to be making an attempt to determine his greatest group however it must occur sooner somewhat than later — Dawson

Leipzig in freefall

You hate to panic this early within the season for any group, however one thing is just not proper in Leipzig in the meanwhile. Saturday’s 4-0 shellacking at Eintracht Frankfurt, their second defeat of their final three Bundesliga video games, boasted nothing to be ok with. From the xG battle (3.10 to 0.18) to having zero pictures on the right track in comparison with Frankfurt’s 9, the Crimson Bull boys endured a kind of afternoons by which you concede early targets after which simply need to grit the enamel, hanging on for the full-time whistle.

Issues ought to clear up over time as Timo Werner settles again in at his former membership and unlearns among the unhealthy habits he should have collected at Chelsea, however the schedule forward is way from forgiving: Champions League clashes with Shakhtar Donetsk and Actual Madrid both aspect of a league sport with Dortmund await over the subsequent 10 days. This is hoping Domenico Tedesco has the magic phrases to rally a group seeking confidence. — Tyler



Watch the Sport Highlights from Eintracht Frankfurt vs. RB Leipzig, 09/03/2022

Weekend MVP

VAR-cical scenes within the Premier League

On some other weekend, Eriksen would have had the MVP title within the bag following an excellent efficiency throughout Manchester United’s 3-1 win in opposition to Arsenal at Previous Trafford, however regardless of dominating the sport for Erik ten Hag’s aspect, the previous Tottenham Hotspur midfielder cannot compete with VAR by way of the affect made.

VAR — the video-assistant referee — is meant to be there to assist tidy up clear and apparent errors by officers and likewise be sure that no targets are incorrectly awarded if any infringement has taken place.

However this weekend, the VAR dominated the Premier League for all of the mistaken causes.

Newcastle and West Ham each had seemingly good targets disallowed in opposition to Crystal Palace and Chelsea, respectively, after VAR instructed the match referee to evaluate his preliminary choice to award it. The Premier League has now ordered the referees’ physique — PGMOL — to elucidate how each choices have been so incorrectly made.

Then there was the failure to identify a foul Virgil van Dijk foul on Amadou Onana throughout Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Everton, the size of time it took to determine that Alexis Mac Allister’s objective for Brighton in opposition to Leicester was offside and, equally, why it took nearly three minutes to determine that Eriksen was shoved off the ball within the build-up to an Arsenal objective which was finally dominated out.

VAR must be there to make the sport higher, however this weekend, it made it worse and took the headlines away from so many nice performances of gamers and groups on the pitch. — Ogden