10 Things We Learned This Weekend!
- Roma has a mental advantage in Serie A.
Roma got a huge three points when they beat Juventus 2-1 this Sunday. This means that Roma is now 4 points ahead of Juve. Roma looked the better team from start to finish and if not for the great goalkeeping of Gigi Buffon, would have been up earlier. Pjanic was able to strike a beautiful free kick just after the hour mark. Then Evra was shown two yellow cards in the period of 4 minutes and sent off. Edin Dzeko then scored his first, to give the home side a solid 2-0 lead with 11 minutes to play. Paulo Dybala was able to get one back but Juventus never looked the stronger side. Juventus is still yet to get a point as they have lost both their games this season. Could their misery continue when they host top of the table Chievo Verona after the international break? While this in no means that Roma will now win the title, it is an important three points and more importantly can give Roma a great energy boost.
- Real Madrid showed their teeth.
While facing their second newly promoted team of the season, The Royal Whites got off the mark quickly as Gareth Bale headed in a beautiful pass from James Rodriguez. Then James Rodriguez would go on to score two beautiful goals. His first was a stunning strike from a free kick. The second was a magical overhead kick. In between these goals, Karim Benzema scored a wonderful header on a cross from Bale. Bale then added his second on a superb strike from outside the box. Real Madrid really showed their attacking prowess in this game. It is something they will need this year. Quick side note, Ronaldo was a bit absent during the game.
- PSG is off to the races.
This weekend, PSG told the world that they are here to win the league and more as they traveled to Monaco and won 3-0. Monaco was set to be their closest rival this year and looked off the paces. Cavani continued his great form with two goals and Lavezzi added the third. Di Maria was great off the bench and the team looks set to win potentially another French treble. They have scored 7 goals this season and are yet to concede a goal. They have a 3 point lead on second place Reims. Monaco is now 7 points back. Could the title race be over before Christmas?
- Red is the color of the weekend.
This weekend there seemed to be a large number of red cards given out. There were three teams that received two cards and one game in which both teams saw a red card. In total there were 18 red cards. The breakdown is France 4, Italy 3, Germany 3, Spain 2, and England 6. Bastia, Juventus, and Stoke all saw two players sent off. Is this going to be a trend this season? Were they all the right decision? Some of them might have been a little harsh, but players need to be careful as a ban can really hurt their team, like Coutinho and missing the United match.
- Lyon looked back at their best.
After stuttering out of the gate, drawing their first game and losing their third game, Lyon finally looked like a team worthy of challenging PSG. Nabil Fekir scored a hat trick and assisted another goal as they beat Caen 4-0. While PSG seem looking for someone to challenge them, Lyon seem to be the last team standing and could be finally finding their form. Lyon now has 7 points. They are 5 back of PSG. They will need to maintain the form they showed this weekend if they want to catch up to PSG or make a deep run in the Champions League.
- Stevan Jovetic is happy to be back in Italy.
While I am not ready to say that Inter are a title contender just yet, Stevan Jovetic looks happy to be back in Italy. While at Manchester City, Jovetic struggled to find game time and the back of the net. In his two seasons there, he scored just 8 league goals and a total of 11 in all competitions. For Inter Milan, Stevan has scored a total of 3 goals in 2 games. He is really finding his feet fast and has helped get Inter off to a perfect start.
- Germany could be a three horse race.
In what has typically been a one horse race, Germany looks poised to be a three horse race this season. Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund appear ready to join Bayern Munich. Dormund just gave up their first goal of the season sitting on top of the table following their 3-1 win over Hertha. They have been playing some beautiful football. Wolfsburg is really starting to play well and they have just lost two very important players in Ivan Perisic to Inter Milan and Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City. They are not sitting on their hands though, as they are close to adding Julian Draxler from Schalke and Dante from Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich looked very strong this weekend as well. It should be a fascinating season and I am glad this could be a great three horse race.
- Increased money in the EPL has strengthened the middle of the table.
Last season, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Leicester, and Swansea were in the middle of the table. Now they are running up the table and claiming some big scalps. This weekend Crystal Palace went to Stamford Bridge and came away with all three points. They were strong and not afraid. In Jose’s 100 home premier league games, he lost just his second game. Bakary Sako gave the Eagles the lead. Falcao scored his goal for Chelsea to level the score. However, this did not last long as Joe Ward put Crystal Palace back in front. West Ham United has now beaten both Arsenal and Liverpool at home following their 3-0 win over Liverpool. In what was an awful game for Liverpool, West Ham looked great on the counter. Lastly, Swansea defeated Manchester United 2-1. Swansea fell behind to United but was able to keep going. A great tactical change from Gary Monk really changed the game. Leicester also sits in the top 4, but is yet to play any of the big teams. Is this the year that a new team cracks the top 4?
- Atletico Madrid put down marker.
In La Liga, there are five teams that are tipped for the top 4 spots. In the first match between two teams in that group of five, Atletico Madrid laid down a nice marker. They beat Sevilla 3-0 in Andalusia. Koke opened the scoring. Then Gabi and Jackson Martinez added goals in the second half. A solid 3-0 win is exactly what Diego Simeone wants. Sevilla had plenty of possession but created just as many shots on goal as Atleti. Atleti was able to make their shots count. With Barcelona next on the schedule, this was a perfect match for Madrid. While we will learn more about their title hopes next week, they maintained their perfect start.
- Chelsea could really be in trouble.
While I should say I fully expect them to be in the title race and finish in the top 4 at the worst, Chelsea might be in some trouble. Some of their best players are really having off years. Matic looks really off the pace. Cesc is too deep in the midfield. Terry is actually looking his age. But for me, the issues start with Hazard. Hazard does not look like the player he was last year when Mourinho said he was as good, if not better than Ronaldo and Messi. He is not tracking back as much as he was last year and his defensive work is really missing. This could be the difference for the team. Can Jose correct these errors? Will Chelsea panic buy on deadline day?
Picture of the Week
When you have that moment of WOW!!!
Goals of the Week
James’ Pick – James is going with James Rodriguez’s second goal. The shot came in from Toni Kroos. James stuck his foot out popped the ball up and finished it off in amazing style.
My Pick – I am going with Miralem Pjanic’s beautiful free kick. With the game poised at 0-0, Pjanic stepped up and finished off a beautiful free kick to give Roma a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute.
This weekend is an international break. I will give you a quick glimpse at some games on TV this week and weekend. I will also be putting out my Champions League Preview this week, as well as a transfer deadline round up.
Games on TV This Week
Thursday September 3rd
2:45 pm EST – Italy vs. Malta – Fox Sports 1
2:45 pm EST – Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Fox Sports 2
2:45 pm EST – Czech Republic vs. Kazakhstan – Fox Soccer Plus
Friday September 4th
2:45 pm EST – Germany vs. Poland – Fox Sports 1
2:45 pm EST – Hungary vs. Romania – Fox Sports 2
World Cup Qualifying
4:14 pm EST– Grenada vs. Haiti – beIN Sports
7:00 pm EST – Curacao vs. El Salvador – beIN Sports
9:00 pm EST – Jamaica vs. Nicaragua – beIN Sports
4:45 pm EST – Portugal vs. France – Fox Soccer Plus
7:30 pm EST – USA vs. Peru – Fox Sports 1