10 Big Takeaways From This Weekend
- Napoli have taken the mantel as the hottest team in Europe.
In the last three Serie A games, Napoli have faced Juventus, Milan, and this weekend Fiorentina. Having defeated both Juventus and Milan, Napoli set their sights on La Viola. Lorenzo Insigne opened up the scoring in the second half. However, Nikola Kalinic leveled the score up with just 17 minutes left. The lead didn’t last long, as Gonzalo Higuain scored just 2 minutes later. Napoli has won four of the last five games in the league and is unbeaten in the last seven matches. Napoli is now just three points from the top of the table. Can they continue their impressive run?
- Bayern edge past Bremen to stay perfect.
The Bavarians are the first team ever to go a perfect nine for nine in the Bundesliga thanks to Thomas Müller. Müller finished off a beautiful pass from Thiago to give them a first half lead. That was Müller’s ninth goal of the season. Bayern Munich is now 7 points clear at the top and might never lose. The only question that remains is how early will they clinch the league? Can they make another statement this week by ending the hopes of Arsenal in the Champions League?
- City, Arsenal, and United all look dominant at the top of the table.
City overcame their injury woes and got a hat trick from Raheem Sterling in a 5-1 win over Bournemouth. Arsenal went on to win 3-0 at Watford following their 3-0 win against United last week. United got back to winning ways by defeating Everton in Goodison 3-0. It was one of the most shocking performances from Everton, as they seemed to concede the game very early on. These three teams remain in the top three spots in the table. Arsenal and United are level on 19 points with City 2 points ahead of them. Next week, we will have another top 3 showdown as City and United face off in the Manchester Derby. The question now is who will join them in the top four this season?
- Ronaldo becomes all time leading scorer as Real go top.
Coming into the game this weekend, Cristiano was level with Raul on 323 goals for Real Madrid. In the 30th minute, Ronaldo stepped up and finished off a beauty to put Real up 2-0 and give him his 324th goal. It took Raul 741 games to score his 323 goals but Ronaldo was able to pass this is just 308 games. He has set a record that will probably stand for years. He is one of the best players in the world and he continues to show us why. Real Madrid would go on to win 3-0 and to the top of the league. The only other note from the game was Gareth Bale leaving early with an injury.
- PSG stay top but Angers and Caen keep pace.
The two surprise teams in France have maintained their five-point gap behind the leaders. as they both went on the road and won. Caen went to Reims and defeated Stade Reims. Angers went to Toulouse and defeated them 2-1. The leaders meanwhile rolled behind two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG defeated Bastia. The Parisians remained unbeaten in France with the win and look set to take on Real Madrid this week in the Champions League. While PSG look set to win the league again, could one of these new title rivals give them a challenge?
- Who wants to win the Scudetto?
This weekend in Italy, only Roma and Napoli won from teams that finished in the top 5 last season. Fiorentina lost to Napoli, Juventus drew with Inter Milan, and Lazio lost to Sassuolo. Of those five teams, only Fiorentina, Roma, and Lazio were in the top 5 this season. Now it is Fiorenitna, Roma, and Napoli. With the former champions struggling to find their form, there is a void at the top of the league. A new champion might be welcomed in Italy, but the question is which one of them. Will it be Fiorentina? Do they have what it takes to hold on at the top? Maybe Napoli? They are on fire right now. How about Inter Milan, they got off to a great start. Or is it finally Roma’s turn to get the title?
- Chelsea gets much needed three points.
After the rough start and a tough loss to Southampton before the break, Chelsea needed to beat Aston Villa. While they were given the first and probably second goal of the game, the team got a much-needed clean sheet. This is only their second clean sheet of the season. Is Jose righting the ship? He sent a message as he sat Matic, Cahil, Ivanovic, and most importantly Eden Hazard. Diego Costa scored his second goal of the season. He looked much better this weekend but the same cannot be said about the rest of the team. Aston Villa had more possession and more total shots. There is still room for improvement, but it is a big step for the blues.
- Neymar runs riot.
Without Messi, Barcelona is in need of a talisman and Neymar seems to have taken that calling. He was phenomenal this weekend as he was all over the field and a real menace to the Rayo defense. He was taken down twice in the box and awarded penalties which he finished off. He then added two more goals as Barcelona would go on to win 4-1. This drew them level with Real Madrid on points. However, there are still questions to answer at the back. The team looked very vulnerable and needs to be figured out soon by Enrique if he wants to repeat as champions.
- Augsburg’s struggles continue.
After finishing 5th last season, Augsburg were hoping to push on and challenge for the top four spots in the German league. Augsburg has only won 1 game so far and now sits on the bottom of the table following their 2-0 loss at home against Darnstadt 98. The only win that they recorded this year was at home against Hannover who was in the relegation zone before this weekend. They have really struggled to score this season, but the real issue is their defense. Can they fix their problems and right the ship or are they in trouble this season?
- Leicester City is the king of the comeback.
This weekend seems like déjà vu for most Leicester fans. Their team fell behind 2-0 and all of a sudden they came storming back in the second half to draw level and earn a point. Early on in the season they came back from 1-0 down to draw with Tottenham and Bournemouth. Then the comebacks really started as Aston Villa was 2-0 with under 30 minutes left. However, Leicester came back and won 3-2. Then just a week later they were down 2-0 to Stoke and came back to earn a 2-2 draw. This weekend was more of the same as they fell behind 2-0 to Southampton and came back to earn the draw. Leicester is never out of a game and look great under Claudio Ranieri.
Picture of the Week
Let the Klopp Era Begin…
Goals of the Week
My pick – My pick of the week is from Antoine Griezmann for his superb run against Real Sociedad. Koke was credited with an assist but the goal was really made by his fantastic run.
James’ Pick – For his pick, James is going down to Spain to pick Lucas Perez’s goal for Deportivo La Coruna. Perez controlled Juanfran’s cross and back-heeled the ball into the net in spectacular fashion.
Bonus goal from James is this wonder strike from Paul Scholes in a charity game in China.
European Playoff Matches
Following the draw on Sunday, we know who will face off for the final four spots in this summer’s tournament. These matches will be played between November 12th and 17th. The four matchups are:
Ukraine vs. Slovenia
Sweden vs. Denmark
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Republic of Ireland
Norway vs. Hungary
Champions League is Back!!!
Tuesdays Game of the Week – Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich – Emirates Stadium, London
The major story line from this game is whether Arsenal can still qualify or whether they will be all but out of the competition. Arsenal is on great form but nowhere close to the form of Bayern Munich.
Wednesdays Game of the Week – PSG vs. Real Madrid – Parc des Princes, Paris
This game fascinates me from a look to the future. PSG have a wonderful chance to make a huge statement this weekend and need to come up with a big result. Coming in second has hurt them in the past and a win this week can go a long way towards winning the group.
Other Games This Week
Zenit vs. Lyon – Petrovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
BATE vs. Barcelona – Borisov Arena, Barysaw
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Chelsea – Olympic Stadium, Kiev
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Olympiacos – Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb
Porto vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv – Estadio do Dragao, Porto
Valencia vs. Gent – Mestalla, Valencia
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Roma – BayArena, Leverkusen
CSKA Moscow vs. Manchester United – Arena Khimki, Khimki
Atletico Madrid vs. Astana – Vicente Calderon, Madrid
Juventus vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – Juventus Stadium, Turin
Galatasaray vs. Benfica – Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul
Malmo vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – Swedbank Stadion, Malmo
Wolfsburg vs. PSV Eindhoven – Volkswagon Arena, Wolfsburg
Manchester City vs. Sevilla – Eithad Stadium, Manchester