10 Things From This Weekend

  1. Bayern shows strength.

Coming into the Der Klassiker, Bayern Munich was looking to remind everyone that they were the kings of Germany and it would take a lot to knock them off their perch.  They are the most in-form team in the world, having won every competitive game since the German Super Cup.  They have only conceded 5 goals all year, including the one today against Dortmund.  They are yet to concede more than one goal in a game all year.  It didn’t take long, as 35 minutes in Muller had a brace and the game seemed over.  Aubameyang scored a late first half goal to give Dortmund hope, but Lewandowski did what he does.  He scored 2 goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half and the game was over.  To make matters worse, another former Dortmund player, Mario Gotze, scored the 5th goal.  So far this season against Dortmund and Wolfsburg, Bayern is ahead 10-2.  No German team has ever had a 7 point lead at the top with 8 games played.  Will they have this one wrapped up by Christmas?

  1. PSG reigns supreme.

In the biggest game on the French calendar, PSG came away winners thanks to their all time leading goal scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  He scored two penalties within 3 minutes and gave PSG the lead.  He has 110 goals for the Paris side.  Michy Batshuayi gave Marseille the lead on the half hour mark.  That lead would last for 11 minutes.  The first penalty was given when Steve Mandanda clattered into Zlatan.  The second was given for a hand ball in the box on Rolando.  Both were a little bit harsh but expertly finished by Zlatan.  PSG then took their 2-1 lead into half time.  10 minutes into the second half, Serge Aurier took down Abdelaziz Barrada in the box.  Barrada stepped up to the spot with the chance to tie the game, but Kevin Trapp came up with a fantastic save.  It meant that PSG got all three points and now has a 15 point lead on Marseille and 5 point lead on second place Angers.

  1. United fail first big four test of season.

This past weekend, United traveled down to London for their first big test of the English Premier Season.  They came back to Manchester having failed the test from the start.  The United back line looked in shambles from the very start, as Arsenal looked two to three steps faster at just about every position.  Within the first 20 minutes, Sanchez had scored a brace with an Ozil goal in between.  Arsenal should have made it even worse, as Aaron Ramsey missed some great chances.  While they have been hit by injuries, I find it hard to believe that Ashley Young is the best option at left back.  Then in order to change it up, Van Gaal brought on Valencia for one of his best defenders in Matteo Darmien.  Darmien and Smalling have been the rocks at the back for United.  The other two spots have been shaky since Shaw’s injury.  Should Van Gaal have strengthened his defense better in the summer?  I think so.  What will it cost him, is the question.

  1. Atletico blows chances to win but get a point against rivals.

There is no doubt in my mind that the better team in the Madrid derby was Atletico Madrid.  They had a plan for the game and executed to near perfection.  Real Madrid did score the early goal but then seemed to be content with their lead and were just trying to hold on.  Griezmann had a penalty saved in the first half and then the hosts missed a bunch of great chances in the second half.  The introduction of Jackson Martinez was critical.  Just as it looked like the hosts would be without a point for the night, Luciano Vetto tapped in the ball to give Atleti a 1-1 draw. In a weekend where the top 6 all failed to win, Atleti could rue not taking their chances.

  1. Is Top 4 okay for Chelsea?

Another week, another poor result for Chelsea.  This week it was at home against Southampton.  The Saints played very well as they took the game to Chelsea.  Chelsea took the lead from a wonderful free kick,  Willian scored his third free kick in as many games.  Then the game changed as Jose Fonte played a wonderful ball in towards Pelle, who chests the ball down to Steven Davis, who then smashes the ball past Begovic.  After halftime, the rout was on, as Southampton really started to take the game to Chelsea.  Mane and Pelle both scored to make it 3-1.  After the game, Jose Mourinho went on a long 7 minute rant that covered many different points.  One that I think was really important was his claim that making the top four was okay for Chelsea right now.  Is it?  For a manager who constantly rips on another manager for just finishing fourth, I do not see how it can be.  Is fourth obtainable for Chelsea?

  1. Barcelona missing cutting edge without Messi.

In the first league game since Messi went down injured, Barcelona stumbled as they traveled to Sevilla.  Sevilla was a team that was in a really poor run of form and had lost three of their last four games.  After a rather dull first half, Sevilla scored two quick goals in the span of 6 minutes.  Just like that, the game was flipped on its head.  Neymar would add a goal late in the game, but it was more about the missed shots.  Barcelona had a total of 28 shots during the game but could only score one goal and that was from the spot.  Barcelona missed Messi and it showed, as he was not able to provide the clinical finishing he has in the past.  It could be a rough couple months for Barcelona.  It will be a tough time for Luis Enrique, and he will need to figure out how to get the best out of the thin squad.

  1. Inter stumble and drop to second. Fiorentina continue to Roll on.

Coming into the weekend, Fiorentina and Inter were tied on 15 points.  In what looks like one of the better title races on the continent, Inter was traveling to Sampdoria this past weekend and Fiorentina hosted Atalanta.  Inter fell behind early in the second half but fought their way back to earn the point as Perisic scored the equalizing goal.  Fiorentina were gifted an early red card and Fiorentina didn’t take long to put the game out of reach.  The final was 3-0.  Fiorentina are now two points clear at the top.  With Roma, Napoli, and Juventus all struggling at the start of the season, a new champion could be crowned this season.  Inter are looking to get back to the top of the table and have been great this season. Fiorentina have been great having only lost one game so far and winning their other 6.  Can either of these teams keep it up all season?

  1. Angers make it four in a row unbeaten.

Last season, Angers was plying their trade in Ligue 2.  Last year they finished in third place in the Ligue and were promoted to Ligue 1. In their nine games in Ligue 1, Angers has 5 wins, 3 draws, and just 1 loss.  This is good enough for second in the table. They have beaten Montpellier, Gazelec Ajaccio, Troyes, Marseille, and most recently Bastia.   They are currently on a two game winning streak and a four game unbeaten run.  While the run cannot last, it has been a great start to the season.  I hope that they are able to keep this going for as long as possible.

  1. Napoli run riot in Milan

Napoli and Milan were both in need of a big result and one team answered the bell.  Napoli was all over Milan from the start and got their reward after 13 minutes as Allan finished.  After assisting the first goal, Lorenzo Insigne scored twice in the second half to make it 3-0.  Rodrigo Ely then scored an own goal to give Napoli a 4-0 win.  Napoli has now won 2 in a row and are starting to climb their way back up the table.  Higuain and Insigne are playing some of the best football in the world right now and are essential to Napoli being successful.

  1. Brendan and Dick Out. Who’s next?

The first manager of the season was fired this weekend, as Brendan Rodgers was ousted by Liverpool’s owners, FSG.  After a series of poor results, FSG felt they had no choice.  Brendan has had terrible results against the top four teams and Everton, recording just one win in 18 tries.  The same weekend, Dick Advocaat became the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season.  He resigned from his post at Sunderland.  His team threw away a two goal lead this weekend and he made his choice Sunday morning.  First, let’s take a quick look at who will replace them.  Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti are the favorites for Liverpool.  Sam Allardyce, Nigel Pearson, and Sean Dyche are the favorites for the Sunderland job but not many seem to want it.  Now the question is who goes next.  The easy money is on Steve McClaren, as Newcastle sit at the bottom of the table with just 3 points.  However, Jose Mourinho has picked up some momentum as he is now 3/1 to be the next manager to leave.  Tim Sherwood is also being talked about.  It will be interesting to see who is next and who makes the change with some very good managers available.

Picture of the Week

henry

Image taken From http://www.independent.co.uk/

Goal of the Week

My Pick – While he may have been sent off later in the game, I am going to go with the man who scored the last goal for Dick Advocaat at Sunderland, Jermain Lens

https://vine.co/v/e2zJwxVMKMx/embed/simple

James’ Pick – While Sergio Aguero is getting all the headlines, James is going for the goal in the middle of Aguero’s goals, scored by Kevin De Bruyne.

https://vine.co/v/e2Mb6iT2I6q/embed/simple

This Upcoming Week

I will be putting out a look at the upcoming qualifying rounds later this week as we go on the October International Break.

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