10 Questions From The Weekend

  1. Are Sevilla only giant killers?

Real Madrid is no longer unbeaten and they lost in the same spot as Barcelona when they traveled south to the Andalusian capital of Sevilla.  Both teams ventured down there and came away with no points.  Sevilla has won five games this season in all competitions, all at home.  They have beaten Monchengladbach, Vallecano, Barcelona, Getafe, and lastly Real Madrid.  Madrid did not go down easy, they jumped out to a lead.  Ramos scored a great overhead kick to give Real the lead but it was at a cost.  Ramos injured his shoulder on the kick and tried to carry on but needed to be subbed off in the 31st minute.  Five minutes after he left, Sevilla sent in a corner that fell to Immobile on the back post and he smashed it into the net.  In the second half, Sevilla took the lead when Ever Banega found the net.  Then Fernando Llorente clinched the points with his 3rd goal for his new club.  Real Madrid pulled one back late when James Rodriguez scored on a great strike from outside the box.  Sevilla have now beaten both of the big boys in Spain at home.  For Real Madrid, it means that they are now 3 points behind Barcelona ahead of El Clasico.

  1. How many games will Chelsea lose this year?

With Jose Mourinho serving his 1 match ban, Chelsea was looking to right the ship as they traveled to Stoke City.  However, things didn’t go quite as planned as Chelsea played better but could not find the back of the net.  Marko Arnautovic scored the only goal in the game that meant Stoke would get 3 points.  At the final whistle, Chelsea sat in 16th place in the table with 7 losses.  They have lost more than half their games this season.  This was also their third loss in a row.  No defending champion has lost 7 games in the following season until now.  They still have to play Tottenham and Manchester United twice, plus trips to Arsenal, Liverpool, and Southampton, and they host Manchester City.  How many games will they lose?  It could be double digits by the end of the season.  But don’t count them out for that fourth spot if they can figure it all out.

  1. Is Germany back to the duopoly?

Both Munich and Dortmund won this week as Bayern beat Stuttgart 4-0 and Dortmund beat Schalke 3-2.  These wins coupled with the Wolfsburg and Schalke loses, means the gap from second to third is now 8 points.  The gap from first to second remains at 5.  Both of these teams look dominant and are set to battle for the title for years to come.  Can a third team get back in the mix?  Wolfsburg looked close last year but is struggling as of late losing 2-0 this weekend to Mainz.  Bayer Leverkusen was also expected to challenge for the top 4 but they sit in the middle of the table.  Is this becoming the new Spain?

  1. How long will Napoli’s unbeaten run go?

The Naples side is currently on an 11 game unbeaten streak.  They started the season with a road loss to Sassuolo but have not lost since.  They have won 7 of their last 9 games and are now in 4th place, just 2 points behind the leaders Fiorentina.  They have beaten Lazio, Juventus, Milan, and Fiorentina during this run.  They are being led by Gonzalo Higuian, who leads the league with 9 goals.  Allan has really stepped in the midfield and Napoli is a team to watch as the season continues.  As we are almost a third of the way through the season, Napoli will hope their form can continue as they host Inter Milan at the end of the month in what could be a huge 6 pointer.

  1. How long can Leicester stay in the top 4?

Leicester City has been amazing this season and the surprise team of the season.  They are currently 1 point behind leaders through the first 12 games of the season.  They have 25 points this season, and that is a big improvement from last season.  They were flirting with relegation last season and are now flirting with European competitions for next season.  The main reason for this has been Jamie Vardy.  He is the leading scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals.  He has now scored in nine consecutive Premier League games.   He is the second player ever to do this in the English Premier League.  Can they stay in the top 4? Can they stay in the European places?  I hope so, as they have been fantastic to watch.

  1. Can Lyon now push on to challenge PSG this season?

Lyon really stepped up and played a great game this weekend as they beat rivals St. Etienne 3-0.  Alexandre Lacazette took his goal total to 5 on the season as he scored his first hat-trick of the season.  This was an impressive performance from Lyon as they dominated possession and shots in the game.  Lacazette may finally be heating up and can be the force to drive Lyon.  Last season he was the top scorer in Ligue 1 with 27 goals.   He has really struggled this season before today and this has hurt Lyon.  Now that he seems to have kicked on, maybe they can challenge for the title.  However, it might be too late, as PSG remain one of the two teams left to have not lost a match in a top 5 league.  They are 10 points clear right now and beat Toulouse 5-0 this weekend.  PSG will not be caught this season, but maybe Lyon can make it a bit more interesting.

  1. How much longer does David Moyes have?

The former Manchester United manager might have lost his job by the time you read this as his Real Sociedad team have really struggled.  This weekend, they lost 2-0 to Las Palmas.  They are now level on points with Malaga and Las Palmas and only not in the relegation zone due to goal difference.  They have not been playing the brand of football that we have come to expect from Sociedad and Moyes looks set to pay the price.  He got off to such a great start last season but may struggle to reach a year at the club.  He has been the manager for 364 days as of today, so he might make it to 365 but most likely won’t finish the season.  Can he find some success after two rough jobs following his success at Everton?

  1. Will Augsburg go from a European spot to relegation?

The struggles for Augsburg continue as they lost their 8th game this past weekend of the season.  They hosted Werder Bremen this weekend and fell behind in the second half, 2-0.  They did get a late goal to make it 2-1, but that was not enough.  They have the second worst defense record in Germany and have really struggled.  They will need to start getting some points since they only have 1 win all season.  They are four points from safety, as only the bottom 2 gets automatically relegated.  The team in 16th place faces the third place team in the 2. Bundesliga.  They might miss out on the knockout stages of the Europa League, but they may benefit from that.

  1. Is Fiorentina for real?

La Viola sits on top of the table as they collected their ninth win in 12 games.  That is the most in all of Serie A.  They are yet to draw a game, but have lost 3 times.  Nikola Kalinic has been fantastic this season.  He has scored 7 goals which is good enough for third most in Serie A.  Josip Illicic has chipped in with 4 goals and 3 assists.  Fiorentina has the second best offensive record and the highest goal differential of the season.  While they failed a couple of big tests recently, they do remain on top with 12 games to go.  They are on a 3 game win streak in the league.  Their next goal has to be top on Christmas.

  1. Are two recent Ligue 1 champions in trouble?

The two teams to last win the title that are not Paris Saint-Germain are struggling.  Lille (2010-11) and Montpellier (2011-12) are in some trouble this season.  They are currently 16th and 17th in the table.  This weekend, they both needed some late help.  Lille were down 1-0 when Sofiane Boufal was shown a red card when he left his foot in and came down on Mathieu Peybernes.  Despite being down 1-0 and down a man, Lille continued to fight and leveled the score with 3 minutes left when Sidibe was played in and beat the keeper at the far post.  Montpellier took the lead 12 minutes in, then Nantes scored the equalizer just after the hour mark.  Then in injury time, Vitorino Hilton scored the winner following a nicely placed free kick and a bit of luck.  Montpellier is only outside of the relegation zone due to goal difference.  Lille is one point clear.  They should be able to survive, but they might be in trouble.

Picture of the Week…

The unbeaten season is over.

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Goals of the Week…

My Pick – There were a ton of spectacular goals this weekend but I have to go with Neymar and his spectacular flick over the defender and then volley into the back of the net.

James’ Pick – The goal from the man bun that made it 3 losses in a row for Chelsea and 7 for the season.

This upcoming weekend is the November International Break.  On Wednesday, I will break down the 4 playoff match ups for the final 4 spots in this summer’s European Championships.

Also to all the readers, yesterday was our 1 year anniversary of the blog.  Thanks for all of your time!  I hope you enjoy the blog and spread the word about the beautiful game!

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