What we Learned This Weekend

  1. Chelsea 2 – Arsenal 2

In the biggest match of the season, the story was not about the football but rather about the color red.  Chelsea scored two goals, but Arsenal received two red cards that really changed the game.  The first one was given to Gabriel Paulista.  It was given for his kickout on Diego Costa who, to be honest, was lucky to still be on the field.  Was Paulista guilty? Yes.  Should he have been sent off? Yes.  Should Costa have seen red? Yes.  I am personally getting very tired of his antics.  Listening to the pundits this weekend, they talked about how he is good at towing the line, but I don’t see it that way.  I think it is more about how poor Mike Dean was.  He missed three smacks to the face from Costa and should have given him about 5 different yellows.  In the end, Cazorla got two yellows and that was the end of the game.  It is three big points for Chelsea but there are still lots of questions. Costa might face some punishment after being charged with violent conduct.

  1. PSG stumbles again

After winning their first four games of the season, PSG have stumbled lately after they failed to win for the second weekend in a row.  After beating Monaco 3-0, PSG have drawn at home to Bordeaux and on the road against Stade de Reims.  The game was scoreless for 83 minutes before Nicolas de Preville broke free on the right side of the box and passed the ball to an open Theoson Jordan Siebatcheu.  Siebatcheu then passed the ball into the back of the net.  Almost instantly, Cavani and Pastore played a 1-2 that lead to Cavani smashing the ball into the back of the net.  Pastore’s ball was an amazing chip pass that sent was played just off Zlatan and perfectly for Cavani.  Cavani has been on fire but couldn’t find a winner.  PSG dominated the game but could not where it counted.

  1. Rafa is getting the defense right

Real Madrid brought in a new manager this summer with the aim of getting a better defensive setup.  They brought in Rafa Benitez to do this and early signs are good.  So far, Real has scored 12 goals and conceded 0.  They are the only team in the top 5 leagues that has not conceded.  There were so many questions about his appointment but so far so good.  The opening match could have been better but since then, the attack seems to have found their footing.  They are now scoring 5, 6, 4, and 1 goals in their last four games.  Their defense has anchored by a strong central partnership.  Ramos, Varane, and Pepe have been rotated and been really strong as a result.  Marcelo has the left back side locked down.  Danilo started the year but injury has given Carvajal the most recent starts.  The biggest growth in defense however has to be Kroos and Modric.  They are the key to the defense.  A strong start from Real Madrid has been down to their strong defense.

  1. Dortmund continue to roll

I feel like I write this every week, but Dortmund continues to look good.  They have won by an average of 3 goals each game this season.  Thomas Tuchel has this team humming and they continue to look ready to challenge Bayern Munich.  This weekend, they faced off with Bayer Leverkusen.  Bayer was coming off a nice win in the Champions League.  They had been struggling in the league but are a solid team.  However, that did not matter to Dortmund.  Jonas Hofmann scored the opener in the 19th minute.  Then in the second half, Kagawa and Aubameyang scored to give Dortmund a resounding 3-0 win.

  1. West Ham Dominate on Road

Slaven Bilic must have the secret to winning on the road in the EPL.  So far on his travels, he has beaten Arsenal and Liverpool before heading to Manchester to face the hottest team in England.  However, that did not stop West Ham as they went on to jump out to an early two goal lead.  Victor Moses shocked the defense as he let a long range shot fire and beat Joe Hart for the opener just 6 minutes into the game.  Just after the half hour mark, Diafra Sakho got on the end of a loose ball and slotted it away.  That, however, was the end of the West Ham domination and City really started to show up after that.  Kevin De Bruyne scored his first goal for City to give them hope.  The second half of the game was all City, but Adrian was on fire and had the game of his life.  West Ham was able to hold on for all three points.  West Ham has now scored 7 goals and only conceded 1 goal.  Can Bilic keep this up?  It is important if he wants to reach midtable this season.

  1. What is wrong with Monchengladbach?

Last season, Monchengladbach finished in fourth place after a fantastic season.  This season is a different story.  They did not have the easiest start to the season, starting at Dortmund.  They faced Mainz, Werder Bremen, Hamburger SV, and Koln this weekend.   Monchengladbach has only scored in two games and conceded 12 goals this season.  Their schedule is not going to get any easier.  This team should be much stronger, and I hope they can figure it out soon as they face Manchester City, Wolfsburg, and Juventus in the upcoming weeks.  Due to this poor run of form, Lucien Favre has resigned as head coach.  The future is really up in the air now and it will be a very interesting appointment.

  1. Juventus get their first win.

The Old Lady finally has three points following their win in Genoa.  Coming off a great win in Manchester, Juventus continued with another win this weekend.  Juventus switched to a 4-3-3 and this led to another victory.  The first goal was an own goal from Lamanna.  Then Juventus really got a big break when Armando Izzo was shown his second yellow card.  Paul Pogba converted a penalty kick in the second half to give Juventus all three points.  They seemed to have turned the corner and are back to looking like the Juventus of last season.

  1. Celta Vigo is for real

Celta Vigo is one of just five teams in Spain to have not suffered defeat.  The other four teams are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Villarreal, and Valencia.  While their first three games were not against the toughest opponents, this week, Celta traveled down to Andalusia to face Sevilla.  Sevilla has been struggling in the league but just won 3-0 in the Champions League.  The Rojiblancos were hoping to get off the bottom of the table and get their first win.  However, they would have to wait as Celta scored two goals in the first half.  Fernando Llorente would add a goal in the second half but it was not enough.  Celta earned all three points and kept their place in the top 4.   Can they stay there all year?  Probably not, but Europe is a definite possibility.

  1. Lyon fails to put away Marseille.

While PSG has been dropping points, so has Lyon.  This weekend they took on Marseille and had the chance to cut into PSG’s lead at the top.  Lyon got an opening goal from the penalty spot.  Lacazette was played in and then taken out by Mandanda.  He then finished off the spot kick to give Lyon the lead.  This was his first goal of the season.  He has to start scoring more if Lyon wants to start climbing up the table.  Romain Alessandrini went straight into the back of Mathieu Valbuena.  Valbuena was making his return to Marseille and was targeted all match.  Alessandrini was shown a straight red and it should have lead to a Lyon win.  Marseille fans were throwing missiles and flares on the pitch so much so that the match needed to be suspended for 20 minutes.  When the teams came back on the field, Karim Rekik headed in the corner to draw Marseille level.  It was a good point for Marseille, but a bad performance from their fans.  Lyon should have come away with all three points and will need to step up their game in the future.

  1. Inter stay perfect.

Inter, meanwhile, is one of four teams in the top 5 leagues that have won all of their games.  Following their 1-0 win in the Milan Derby, Inter went to Chievo Verona and came away with another big 1-0 win. Mauro Icardi was the first to react to a great ball played into the box and got the ball into the back of the net.  That was the only goal in the match and all that Inter needed.  They have now played four games and won four games.  Three of those games have been 1-0 wins.  They have conceded just 1 goal all season and that came in the only game they scored 2 goals in.  There is no distraction from Europe for Inter, so it will be interesting to see how long they can keep this going.

Picture of the Week…

Diego Costa complaining

IMG_5085

Goals of the Week…

My Pick – I am going with Matt Ritchie’s stunner for Bournemouth against Sunderland.

https://vine.co/v/eP5AaH7Xviz/embed/simple

James’ Pick – James is going with Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal of his brace against Lazio.

https://vine.co/v/ePAUgiAJmVX/embed/simple

Games This Week…

In Germany, Italy, France and Spain, we have a midweek round of league games.  Here is a quick look at the games to watch in each league.

Germany –Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg.  This is an absolutely huge match between 2nd and 3rd this weekend. It is Tuesday afternoon on Fox Sports 1.

Italy – Internazionale vs. Hellas Verona. The only perfect team in Italy hosts Hellas Verona as they look to keep up the pace.  The game is Wednesday afternoon.

France – PSG cs. Guingamp.  Can PSG get back to their winning ways in Ligue 1? It is Tuesday afternoon.

Spain – Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona. This features two of the unbeaten teams in La Liga.  It is Wednesday afternoon on beIN Sports Connect.

In England we have the League Cup taking place this week.  The game to watch has to been Tottenham Hotspur hosting Arsenal.  How will the Gunners respond to their defeat at the weekend?  The match is Wednesday afternoon on beIN Sports.

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