Ansu Fati fabulous for Barcelona, Man Metropolis pressured by Newcastle, Leeds humble Chelsea, PSG magic, extra

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It was one other wonderful weekend throughout Europe’s large leagues. Let’s evaluate, we could? There have been large wins for Barcelona and Real Madrid, even larger ones for Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, and drama galore within the Premier League as Manchester City had been put beneath stress by Newcastle United and Chelsea had been humbled by a fitter, happier, extra energetic Leeds United facet. Oh, and Arsenal stay good after three video games of the brand new season!

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

Bounce to: Fabulous Fati | Man City stressed | PSG romp | Leeds sting Chelsea | Tchouameni dazzles | Bayern don’t miss Lewandowski | Arsenal top table | Subs rescue Milan | Kane scores No. 250 | Dortmund collapse | Inter turn back the clock | Emery bests Atletico | “Kvara” on mark for Napoli


No matter protestations on the contrary could emanate from Catalunya, Barcelona have pushed all their chips to the center of the desk with their monetary levers this season. And while you’re on a knife edge financially — as they nonetheless are, as evidenced by the truth that Jules Kounde nonetheless hasn’t been registered — it’s important you get it proper on the pitch. Particularly after the disappointing opening day residence draw towards Rayo.

Reaction: Lewandowski, Fati dazzle as Barca win big
Report: Real Sociedad 1, Barcelona 4

Xavi, thankfully, will get this, and after a primary half that completed 1-1 and through which each groups may have scored three or extra, he doubled down, sending on Raphinha (Ferran Torres began in his place) and particularly Ansu Fati, successfully shifting to a 3-3-4 formation. The surprise child lived as much as his billing, inventing two assists in fast succession (a backheel for Ousmane Dembele and a flick for Robert Lewandowski) earlier than scoring the fourth within the 4-1 victory.

It is exhausting to overstate the significance of his contribution, and as I see it, if he is match, the one cause he should not be an computerized selection is that if Xavi would not wish to overburden him mentally or bodily, given he would not flip 20 till Halloween. I’ve heard tactical arguments that Xavi apparently prefers wingers who keep broad (therefore Raphinha and Dembele). Perhaps, however I am positive he above all prefers proficient gamers and, proper now, apart from Lewandowski, he is arguably probably the most technically gifted on the membership.

Past that, the match highlighted lots of Barca’s present shortcomings, tactical or in any other case. With Ronald Araujo because the nominal right-back and Alex Balde, who began forward of Jordi Alba, a digital wing-back on the left, it regarded too usually like a again three. This is able to be superb if that they had energy in depth at center-back, however they do not: they’ve Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia, neither of whom lined themselves in glory.

Frenkie de Jong additionally struggled filling in for the suspended Sergio Busquets, however given his present way of thinking amid hyperlinks to Manchester United, that is maybe comprehensible. At this stage, you assume he is going nowhere as a result of with Nico having joined Valencia on mortgage, there’s no one else to supply a substitute for Busquets (and no, Franck Kessie must reinvent himself to play that function.)

Barcelona in some way look each absurdly proficient and worryingly fragile on the similar time proper now. And admittedly, it is exhausting for Xavi to even plan when he is undecided what is going on to occur between now and the top of the window. That is why the win was so essential: three factors, a complete lot of enthusiasm and a fan base that may hold dreaming. And, possibly, they’ll hope it would not flip right into a nightmare.


Man Metropolis on the ropes towards Newcastle earlier than snatching a draw

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Janusz Michallik believes Newcastle are able to compete for a spot in a European competitors.

With practically an hour gone, Manchester City had been 3-1 down towards Newcastle United at a rocking St James’ Park, and it may have been worse, if the referee had given a penalty or John Stones‘ collision with Fabian Schar. But the defending Premier League champions roared again to a 3-3 draw and, in regular circumstances, you’d assume Pep Guardiola would wish to lead an inquest. However these weren’t regular circumstances: This was principally about Newcastle enjoying exceptionally effectively fairly than Metropolis’s flaws.

If there’s a concern for Metropolis, maybe, it is defensively. With Aymeric Laporte out till subsequent month following his surgical procedure and Nathan Ake coming off after 20 minutes with a groin damage, they could be a bit quick on the again. Stones did not have a terrific sport and Ruben Dias has been inconsistent in current weeks. And sure, Kyle Walker had a torrid afternoon towards Allan Saint-Maximin, however the excellent news is he solely performs him twice a yr.

ESPN FC’s VAR Review: Why wasn’t Trippier sent off?
Report: Man City fight back for draw at Newcastle

Moreover, Metropolis have greater than sufficient going ahead to make up for it. You realized this within the second half when, regardless of Newcastle’s yeoman effort, Metropolis got here alive. Erling Haaland hit the submit and compelled an amazing one-on-one save from the wonderful Nick Pope earlier than he scored to make it 2-1. After which got here a type of Kevin De Bruyne moments: he delivered the form of go few can execute — and fewer nonetheless can conceive — to arrange Bernardo Silva for the equalizer. This was the kind of sport the place you doff your cap to Newcastle’s efficiency, marvel at Metropolis’s stacked expertise, marvel on the leisure these two served up in 90 minutes and transfer on.

A remaining phrase on Newcastle. They’ve proven, as a few of us predicted, that for all of the Saudi wealth behind them, they’re searching for gradual progress fairly than a spending spree. Proper now, that makes a ton of sense; down the street, it might be tough to handle (i.e. how gradual ought to gradual be?). In the interim nonetheless, they’re doing all the pieces proper and when it comes to constructing confidence (in themselves and in Eddie Howe), Sunday was enormous.


Three video games into the brand new Ligue 1 season, and PSG’s Harlem Globetrotters schtick continues. After Sunday’s 7-1 thumping of Lille — the 2020-21 Ligue 1 champions, lest we overlook — they’ve 17 objectives in three video games and, extra importantly, the massive weapons are all firing.

Kylian Mbappe had a hat trick of objectives, Neymar a hat trick of assists (and two objectives) and Lionel Messi had a objective and an help. No matter considerations there might need been over “penalty-gate” have clearly been put to 1 facet.

Report: PSG smash Lille in Ligue 1

That first objective inside eight seconds despatched PSG on their method and Lille’s strategy did them no favours — there is a superb line between being assured and being cavalier — however seven continues to be seven, regardless of the opposition. Sure, it is a lengthy season with a World Cup smack within the center, however those that wrote off Neymar and Messi could need a rethink. The problem for Christophe Galtier is determining how one can handle the load all through the season: high quality, evidently, isn’t a problem.


Tuchel high-strung as Chelsea pay value for particular person errors vs. industrious Leeds

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Janusz Michallik feels Chelsea are severely missing in attacking choices and have to strengthen instantly in that space.

We have made the purpose earlier than that Thomas Tuchel is tightly wound for the time being and maybe understandably so, given what he and his membership have been via over the previous six months. Nonetheless, it was an odd look to counsel that Chelsea had been superior to Leeds and, in the end, paid the worth for particular person errors within the 3-0 thumping they acquired at Elland Street on Sunday.

When lots of your particular person errors are the results of an opponent urgent the heck out of you, it is also all the way down to the opposite man. And yeah, that features Edouard Mendy’s blunder, which despatched Leeds on their method. If Leeds hadn’t been urgent the way in which they did, he would not have tried to be intelligent and construct via the again to play via the press … and he would not have gifted Brenden Aaronson that objective. And if Leeds’ forwards weren’t working north-south at each event, Kalidou Koulibaly seemingly would not have gotten two yellow playing cards for pulling again opponents.

Tuchel: Chelsea won’t make panic signings
Chelsea ratings: Mendy 3/10 after howler
Report: Leeds 3-0 Chelsea

The truth is that Chelsea took a giant step again relative to the efficiency at residence towards Tottenham. They’ve points in each space of the pitch proper now. These points are fixable, although I would not depend solely on a buying spree within the remaining days of the switch window for that.

Chelsea have a bloated squad with an extra of gamers they should shift, and it is all the time powerful to convey guys in on the proper value when groups know you are determined (Wesley Fofana being Exhibit A). You surprise if, maybe, Tuchel will not find yourself needing to seek out his options in-house: He definitely has sufficient gamers at his disposal, and he made his repute by working with what he has.


With the all-but-certain departure of Casemiro, the main focus shifted to Aurelien Tchouameni, the inheritor obvious on the base of the Madrid midfield.

Given his struggles within the opener towards Almeria, you questioned simply how nervous Madridistas needs to be not simply concerning the younger Frenchman, however concerning the summer season as a complete: Casemiro gone, Kylian Mbappe saying “non” and now, possibly, doubts over Tchouameni. As an alternative, after some rocky moments, he confirmed loads of promise because the match wore on. The studying of the sport is there — the character, too — and his technical capacity was by no means in query.

I hate labels, however yeah: This isn’t the function he had at Monaco and but you’re feeling he has the instruments to get the job finished at a excessive stage. And that is what issues.

As for the sport itself, the difference-maker was his teammate Luka Modric who, a number of weeks shy of his thirty seventh birthday, ran the present, scoring a objective, setting one up for Vinicius and exiting to a standing ovation. It finished 4-1, and Madrid once more confirmed their ruthlessness. What they did not present was the flexibility to press excessive successfully.

Reaction: No Casemiro, no problem for Real Madrid

Chances are you’ll recall they tried to take action final season earlier than Ancelotti deserted the challenge, citing the age of Modric and Toni Kroos. Celta performed via them too usually and once more, they had been extra comfy in a decrease block. It is one thing Ancelotti will wish to revisit, nonetheless, as a result of he would not need his facet to be one-dimensional. And with that in thoughts, you surprise if the departure of Casemiro frees up funds for some last-minute buying. (Lest we overlook, as soon as Casemiro’s departure is official, they are going to have misplaced 4 gamers from final yr and added simply two.)

Past that, Eden Hazard missed a penalty, suggesting his confidence continues to be wanting. Between that and his accidents, something you get from him at this stage must be a bonus.


Might Bayern Munich really be higher with out Lewandowski?

That is the query some people are asking after their 7-0 away win at Bochum, giving them one of the best begin in Bundesliga historical past and an absurd +14 objective distinction after three video games, although it is most likely finest to pump the brakes on that one. They do look higher, but it surely’s not as if the one factor that occurred this summer season is Lewandowski leaving.

For a begin, he was changed by a man named Sadio Mane who’s, you already know, fairly good. Plus they added gamers like Matthijs de Ligt, Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch and whereas they solely have one begin between them to date, it feels as if the entire stage has been raised.

Baba: How Bayern will play without Lewandowski
O’Hanlon: Is the Bundesliga too weird for Bayern? (E+)

Most essential, maybe, is the truth that Julian Nagelsmann has had extra time with this group. And you may see the results, ranging from the defending: they’ve conceded only one objective and that was all the way down to a person error by Manuel Neuer (who would not make many). They could or might not be higher with out Lewandowski, however they do seem higher suited as a complete to what Nagelsmann desires to do.


What a distinction a yr makes for table-topping Arsenal

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Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol get into an argument over whether or not Arsenal are destined for the highest 4 within the Premier League.

Three video games into final season, the Gunners had zero factors. Now they’ve 9 and sit in first place.

What modified? A cynic would possibly counsel that final yr Mikel Arteta confronted Premier League champions Manchester Metropolis and European champions Chelsea in that point-less run, whereas this season he obtained Crystal Palace, an imploding Leicester and Saturday’s opponent, Bournemouth (who regarded horrible). However there’s a lot extra that is completely different right here at Arsenal, each when it comes to execution and strategy.

Gabriel Jesus could or might not be the reply up entrance — although he is regarded much better than I believed he would — however his work price and motion are a definite improve. Martin Odegaard, who scored twice, has discovered his ft and Oleksandr Zinchenko, enjoying fullback the Pep Guardiola method — coming inside and playmaking — affords a distinct dimension fully.

There is a wholly completely different manner to the membership proper now and having gone three for 3, there’s loads of probability the run can proceed between now and the top of September: They have residence video games towards Fulham and Aston Villa, adopted by a visit to Previous Trafford (hardly intimidating as of late), Everton at residence and Brentford away. Then the North London Derby when, you assume they will get a way of what their ceiling is.

Arteta’s problem between at times is maintaining the keenness and positivity, whereas managing expectations for what stays a really younger facet in lots of key areas.


Squad depth, subs to the rescue for Milan in Atalanta draw

Serie A’s defending champions went a objective down away to Atalanta and struggled for a lot of the primary half, earlier than coming again and grabbing a degree because of a neat objective from Ismael Bennacer. Some are questioning whether or not they’ve misplaced a few of their mojo, however as I see it, that is untimely.

For a begin, this was Atalanta away — a tricky nut to crack and a facet who, this season, are enjoying a bit extra on the counter. Past that, the truth that Stefano Pioli modified his complete entrance 4 (Ante Rebic, Rafael Leao, Brahim Diaz and Junior Messias changed by Olivier Giroud, Divock Origi, Alexis Saelemaekers and Charles De Ketelaere) to get again into the sport is not a weak point, it is a energy. With 5 subs at your disposal, you could have that luxurious.

If rotation is to be an indicator of Milan this season, that is not essentially a foul factor.


Kane hits 250 as Spurs get previous Wolves

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Steve Nicol and Mark Donaldson talk about Harry Kane making extra historical past within the Premier League and why he is probably the greatest strikers within the league.

It was the kind of efficiency (significantly within the first half) that seemingly gave Antonio Conte matches, however Tottenham however grabbed the three factors towards Wolves because of a Harry Kane strike. There’s work to be finished right here — and you may make sure Conte drove the purpose residence — however within the meantime, the three factors are large, simply because the draw at Stamford Bridge was large final week.

The 1-0 win marked Kane’s 250th objective for Spurs and, extra tellingly, his 185th within the Premier League, permitting him to maneuver previous Sergio Aguero into fourth place, behind Andy Cole (187), Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260). That mentioned, permit me to get pedantic for a minute. The Premier League right now could be very completely different from what the English prime flight was within the Nineteen Eighties, not to mention earlier than, however the change did not occur in a single day. In reality, issues actually weren’t any completely different between 1991-92 and 1992-93, when the Premier League was shaped, so it kinda rankles that the 21 objectives Shearer scored earlier than 1992-93 merely get wiped off the books.

Kane turned 29 final month and, if he stays injury-free, has a legit shot at beating Shearer’s mark — not simply the “Premier League report,” however the 283 top-flight objectives he scored. That he is doing it principally for a group that has been good with out being dominant (like Shearer did) is a testomony to his achievement.


Surreal comeback loss is all Dortmund deserve

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Jamie Bynoe-Gittens’ interview is interrupted by loud Werder Bremen celebrations after their comeback win over Borussia Dortmund.

When a group squanders a two-goal lead within the 89th minute and concedes 3 times to lose 3-2 at residence, you’d usually simply concentrate on the defensive meltdown and query their mentality and group. Positive, that applies to Borussia Dortmund after their 3-2 residence debacle towards Werder Bremen, however there’s extra to it, beginning with the attacking ineptitude they confirmed — each objectives had been random, if spectacular, long-range strikes — and whereas a few of that may be defined by Jamie Bynoe-Gittens‘ inexperience and Anthony Modeste‘s age, it goes deeper than that.

Replay: Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Werder Bremen (E+, U.S. only)

Accidents — although they do have many — can solely partially mitigate this case. Edin Terzic has proven earlier than he is a intelligent coach; he wants time to work, however he additionally wants gamers who do not consider their very own hype and who’re prepared to buckle down. Dortmund followers deserve higher.

As for Bremen, hats off to them. They made historical past although with a bit extra luck, they might have been out of sight a lot earlier on this sport, based mostly on what we noticed on the pitch.


Similar to previous instances for Lukaku, Lautaro partnership

Inter’s 3-0 demolition of Spezia turned again the clock (all the way in which to, erm, 2020-21) as Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku ripped via the opposition en path to a 3-0 win. Whereas it did not take a rocket scientist to determine Lukaku’s return would make Inter higher, it was not at all to be taken without any consideration that the “Lu-La” partnership ought to work so successfully 12 months later and beneath a distinct coach, Simone Inzaghi.

And to be truthful, this Inter facet is not a carbon copy of Conte’s, which is much more of a credit score to Lukaku and the way rapidly he has settled. Underneath Inzaghi, it is much less about completely executed patterns of play and extra about unpredictability and having the ability to assault in numerous methods. Regardless of: Lukaku has embraced it and Inter are off to a flying begin.


It was all the time going to be a struggle of attrition between Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, however this sport would have been a barn-burner if not for some stellar saves from Jan Oblak (no shock there) and Geronimo Rulli. From Atletico’s viewpoint, there have been some disappointing particular person performances (Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Nahuel Molina, along with his foolish crimson card, above all) and the end result clearly stings (Villarreal are a direct opponent within the race for prime 4), however there have been additionally encouraging indicators that the again three can maintain up.

For Villarreal, it is additional proof that few can discover edges in a match up the way in which Emery can. Nicolas Jackson continues to be uncooked, however there is a participant in there and if Gerard Moreno stays match, in contrast to final yr, there’s sufficient firepower between him, Samuel Chukwueze and Arnaut Danjuma to maintain issues ticking over on the attacking finish.

A remaining phrase on Molina’s crimson card. Sure, Alex Baena’s behaviour was embarassing and also you surprise why VAR cannot sanction that as a lot as Molina’s shove, however he actually ought to know higher at this stage.


The identify would not roll off the tongue, so the 21-year-old Georgian winger is ok with people calling him merely “Kvara.” If he has a number of extra performances like he did throughout Sunday’s 4-0 battering of Monza, and also you count on Neapolitan schoolchildren to be taught each the pronunciation and the spelling of his identify. He grabbed two objectives — the primary, an absolute peach — and battered Monza down the flank, linking effectively with the magnificent Victor Osimhen.

Napoli followers had been indignant on the membership following the departures of huge hitters like Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly and understandably so. But it surely seems to be like Napoli have managed to reload on the fly between Kvaratskhelia, Gio Simeone and Giacomo Raspadori up entrance and Leo Ostigaard and Min-Jae Kim on the again, whereas additionally reducing the wage invoice and bringing in some a lot wanted switch funds.

The facet feels refreshed and re-energized and if, as seems seemingly, Luciano Spalletti manages to herald Keylor Navas between the sticks (he is down on Alex Meret for some cause), one other top-four end, and possibly even a bit extra, might be on the playing cards.

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