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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Arsenal slip up vs. Liverpool; Actual Madrid counting on Champions League

What a weekend in European soccer! The English Premier League title race took one other twist after Liverpool and Arsenal drew 2-2, Villarreal surprised Actual Madrid on the Bernabeu, Frank Lampard began his second Chelsea stint on a downer, and Erling Haaland broke one other goal-scoring file.

In the meantime, Lazio are on the up and up and Manchester United are preventing for a top-four end, whereas VAR drama took the highlight at Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton and Napoli are wrapping up Serie A early.

It is Monday, and Gab Marcotti reacts to the largest moments on the earth of soccer.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

Some extent gained, somewhat than two dropped for Arsenal at Anfield

Liverpool and Arsenal placed on an absolute present on Easter Sunday as they battled to a 2-2 draw. Sure, there have been errors, however the leisure angle is what’s going to stick to you. Greatest takeaway? Tempting because it could be to conclude that, by failing to hold on to a two-goal lead, Arsenal threw away two factors towards Liverpool, given the best way the sport turned within the second half, Arsenal might simply have misplaced this. After which the harm — each actual and psychological — would have been considerably better.

(After all, they might even have received it, had Gabriel Martinelli‘s injury-time move discovered its mark, however that is soccer and that is what makes it nice.)

Let a two-nil lead slip and you have to maintain any individual accountable. Some blame Granit Xhaka for his conflict with Trent Alexander-Arnold, citing it as some form of turning level, stirring Anfield and Liverpool awake. An easier rationalization was Mohamed Salah halving the deficit simply earlier than the break and reopening the sport.

We noticed a special Liverpool within the second half, and Arsenal supervisor Mikel Arteta might do little to disrupt them. Actually, Arsenal managed simply 4 photographs for a complete anticipated objectives of 0.20 within the second half, and far of that was right down to Liverpool’s relentlessness. So many individuals discuss eager to see high quality soccer and but this was a fascinating sport regardless of it being strewn with errors. Gabriel Jesus lacking on the far submit, Oleksandr Zinchenko getting nutmegged, Martinelli’s wayward move for Arsenal. Virgil Van Dijk’s mishit on the opener, Salah pulling his penalty vast and, in fact, Ibrahima Konate (who was distinctive in any other case) by some means failing to place the ball into the again of the online from inches away. Errors and lack of high quality are two various things. This sport had loads of the previous and, nonetheless, the latter was not the problem.

As a substitute of errors, higher to speak about heroes. Like Aaron Ramsdale, whose two saves — from Darwin Nunez and Salah — restricted Liverpool to 2 objectives. Or Roberto Firmino, approaching late, luggage already packed to depart this summer time and grabbing the late purpose. There are extra you may cite.

Arsenal can inform themselves that they’ve a poor file at Anfield and that, as soon as Liverpool are roused (which hasn’t occurred typically this season), they’re laborious to cease. And, yeah, in these circumstances, take the purpose. Metropolis’s victory the day earlier than implies that in the event that they win their sport in hand and the head-to-head, these groups will end degree on factors. And purpose distinction favours Metropolis (and can most likely favour them on the finish of the season).

Equally although, Arsenal management their future and, not like Metropolis, the head-to-head is not a must-win for them. I nonetheless assume they’ve the sting, however, positive, the odds simply bought an entire heck of rather a lot tighter.

As for Liverpool, supervisor Jurgen Klopp will wish to channel that second half. That is how he wants them to play the remainder of the season if they’ll have a prayer of creating up the 12-point hole and breaking into the highest 4 to qualify for subsequent season’s Champions League.

The opposite speaking level right here was the weird incident the place linesman Constantine Hatzidakis appeared to elbow Andy Robertson on the half-time break.

Whereas we wait to be taught extra particulars from each side, for now, Hatzidakis been dropped. Take a look at our reporting pending the result of the investigation.



Chukwueze’s stunner all however ends Madrid’s LaLiga hopes

Samu Chukwueze finds the again of the online from exterior of the field to offer Villarreal a 3-2 lead.

Chukwueze present prices Actual Madrid, however no must freak out

Sure, it stings to surrender a lead and lose at dwelling, as Actual Madrid did to Villarreal on Saturday. However context issues too. Madrid really performed nicely for the primary hour or so (Vinicius, once more, glowing) and had an opportunity to go 3-1 up. With a house Champions League sport arising towards Chelsea on Wednesday, they made a bunch of modifications (Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Eder Militao, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde had been all on the bench). They know they will not win the league, trailing table-toppers Barcelona by 12 factors, and this season might be outlined by how they carry out within the Copa del Rey and Champions League, whereas Villarreal are desperately chasing a top-four end.

– Stream replay: Madrid 2-3 Villarreal (ESPN+, U.S. solely)

And, yeah, Villarreal’s Samu Chukwueze had a monster sport. The Nigerian scored two objectives and arrange “El Comandante” Jose Luis Morales for the opposite. That final purpose specifically is not something you may legislate for. It is simply spotlight reel stuff that you could settle for. Madrid can and will transfer on shortly from this consequence.



Matthijs de Ligt purpose 51st minute SC Freiburg 0-1 Bayern Munich

Matthijs de Ligt purpose 51st minute SC Freiburg 0-1 Bayern Munich

De Ligt wonder-strike delivers hard-fought, however deserved, Bayern win

We knew this was going to be a troublesome stretch for Bayern. Two weeks in the past, Julian Nagelsmann was sacked as head coach, and Thomas Tuchel was introduced in. Defeat to Freiburg within the German Cup. Freiburg away on Saturday within the league, adopted by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis on Tuesday. In conditions like these, the margin of error is slim, particularly towards an opponent who can pack the field with the perfect of them.

It was vital to get the three factors and, after a shaky first half, Bayern made the breakthrough with a long-range effort from Matthijs De Ligt. Stands to purpose, on a day when Bayern took 22 photographs on purpose, it will be a defender making an attempt his luck that made all of the distinction. Bayern put collectively a gaudy xG of three.11 and had 66% possession, however Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane had been wasteful.

Jamal Musiala bought his first begin of the Thomas Tuchel period, enjoying within the gap alongside Thomas Mueller, which, I suppose, is a method of shoe-horning each into the formation. It means giving up a central midfielder, which is okay towards Freiburg, however clearly not a long-term plan (actually not towards Metropolis). However Tuchel is in react mode proper now, which is honest sufficient: he hasn’t had time to work. Subsequent season will have to be totally different if Bayern are so as to add as much as greater than the sum of their components.



Are Chelsea ‘simply one other Premier League staff’ proper now?

Janusz Michallik pulls no punches in his evaluation of Frank Lampard’s first sport again answerable for Chelsea.

No Lampard bounce for Chelsea away to Wolves

I can see why Frank Lampard would wish to return to Chelsea on an interim foundation: a shot on the Champions League, some high-level publicity and, yeah, he loves the membership. I am not 100% on why the homeowners thought it made sense. If he does poorly, it will not transfer the needle. If he does nicely, they will be underneath stress to maintain him round in the summertime. And, actually, that is what they need to be specializing in: the long run.

Lampard’s Chelsea did not look dissimilar to Graham Potter’s, which is comprehensible, given he’d been within the job just a few days. Enzo Fernandez as a defensive midfielder blunts his means to contribute, however we knew that. Marc Cucurella is common proper now, however we knew that. It solely takes an in-form opponent (Matheus Nunes on Saturday) to dismantle the left flank, however we knew that. And Chelsea has hassle scoring — they’ve extra video games than objectives after 30 matches, and it is the primary time that has occurred since 1924. However we knew that too.

Dortmund bounce again towards Union Berlin to indicate loads of indicators of life

In opposition to Bayern within the league, Dortmund had been flattened by goalkeeping errors and the early deficit, however towards Leipzig they had been nicely off the mark. Whichever method you form it, given this membership’s current historical past, they had been ripe to fold. Particularly when, after going a purpose up and enjoying nicely, they gave up the equaliser on the hour mark. However they saved at it, pushed themselves and ultimately bought the winner by way of Youssoufa Moukoko. It was laborious work, positive, however totally deserved when you think about the xG (a whopping 2.38 to 0.42).

A phrase on Moukoko too. He bought a little bit of luck (however then he additionally made his personal luck) on the purpose, however this was his first since November. His purpose drought is partly right down to harm, partly due to Sebastien Haller‘s return. However Moukoko offers you one thing totally different up entrance, and he might play an enormous position down the stretch.



Will Haaland outscore Messi and Ronaldo in his profession?

Gab Marcotti and Don Hutchison evaluate Erling Haaland’s purpose scoring file with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s.

Two extra for Haaland as Pep goes there in citing Messi and Cristiano

“You see what number of video games Erling has performed throughout his skilled profession and also you evaluate the objectives he has scored in that point to Messi and Cristiano, it is fairly comparable,” mentioned Manchester Metropolis boss Pep Guardiola after the 4-1 away win at Southampton.

We’re so used to managers avoiding comparisons with GOAT candidates in the case of younger gamers, that it was a bit stunning to listen to. Much more stunning is the truth that Haaland has scored 179 objectives in his first 204 video games at senior degree, in comparison with Messi’s 119 and Ronaldo’s 48, after the identical variety of matches.

Earlier than the Messi/Cristiano armies stand up, positive, it is apples and oranges as a result of their objectives got here largely in LaLiga and the Premier League and 49 of Haaland’s got here in Norway and Austria. And, in fact, as Guardiola factors out, what units the opposite two aside is their extraordinary longevity and all-around play. However nonetheless, take a look at the numbers and so they provide you with goose bumps.

As for Manchester Metropolis, Arsenal’s draw means they pull that little bit nearer and get an enormous increase heading into the Bayern conflict midweek. Proper now, Pep cannot ask for extra.

“Sarriball” fires Lazio previous Juve to strengthen grip on second place

Maurizio Sarri has had his highs and lows, maybe paying the value for being caught between his considerably utopian view of how the sport must be performed (yeah, “Sarriball”) and his groups’ wants for outcomes (which, to be honest, he delivered, profitable a title at Juventus and the Europa League at Chelsea). This season, at Lazio, he has provided up each, taking the aspect to second within the desk with out vital funding and along with his key center-forward, Ciro Motionless, lacking a 3rd of the staff’s begins.

In opposition to a Juve aspect who opted to take a seat and look forward to probabilities on the break, Sarri’s Lazio had been a bit extra circumspect, sustaining steadiness and turning on the Sarriball when it mattered. Aside from set items (headers from Arkadiusz Milik and Dusan Vlahovic, Adrien Rabiot‘s purpose), Juve provided little or no and Lazio appeared in management all through.

Juve will recriminate over the Sergej Milinkovic-Savic purpose and the hand to Sandro’s again. It is all the time difficult to determine simply how sturdy the push is; as I see it, Alex Sandro did not assist himself by throwing his arms within the air and falling over the best way he did. And if you wish to make it concerning the officers, then you could convey up Manuel Locatelli‘s deal with on Milinkovic-Savic, which might simply have been a pink.

Finest to focus as an alternative on the efficiency, which was poor. The mix of outcomes (Europa League, Coppa Italia, high 4, which continues to be in play even when the appeals court docket would not give them again their factors) and his huge wage will hold Juventus supervisor Max Allegri in a job. Nevertheless it’s miserable to see them proceed to play like this.

Managers despatched off and VAR chaos, however three factors for Spurs

“Stellini” means “little stars” in Italian, and whereas nominative determinism takes you solely to date, Spurs supervisor Cristian Stellini would possibly wish to thank his fortunate stars for what occurred on Saturday. Tottenham beat Brighton 2-1 to maintain their top-four hopes alive, however additionally they bought a ton of assist from the officiating, as each large VAR resolution seemingly went their method.

From Kaoru Mitoma’s disallowed purpose to Alexis Mac Allister’s minimal deflection from Danny Welbeck‘s strike to the penalty not given when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg felled Mitoma within the space, this was some atrocious officiating (which is why referee boss Howard Webb apologised to Brighton). The Hojbjerg non-call was essentially the most egregious of the three, however every might simply have gone the opposite method. Both method, not a terrific efficiency for Spurs, and Brighton are proper to really feel aggrieved.

We additionally noticed the bizarre spectacle of each Stellini and Brighton’s head coach Roberto De Zerbi getting despatched off after clashing earlier than and in the course of the sport. I’ve heard variations of occasions from each side and, frankly, on the danger of sounding like an elementary college instructor, they’re each flawed. It is one factor to lose your cool and overstep the mark over a refereeing name (should not occur, however it does), fairly one other since you and your reverse quantity really feel the necessity to take centre stage and go at one another. To me, it is easy. Each Stellini and De Zerbi ought to effective themselves for letting down their membership and their gamers.



Laurens: Messi’s future at PSG trying unlikely

Julien Laurens explains the obstacles stopping Lionel Messi from signing a contract extension with PSG.

PSG make it ugly at Good, as free agents-to-be ship big three factors

After two straight defeats, a loss at Good would have left Paris St Germain at risk of surrendering high spot subsequent weekend towards Lens, who beat Strasbourg 2-1 on Friday. That is how dramatic PSG’s collapse has been this season. It wasn’t a far-fetched chance, on condition that Good hadn’t misplaced in 14 video games in all competitions. And it actually felt prefer it might occur as the sport unfolded.

Regardless of PSG beginning nicely and taking the lead by way of Lionel Messi, Good got here alive and had been the extra threatening aspect for a lot of the sport. They hit the woodwork twice, compelled some big saves from Gigi Donnarumma and had been saved out by goal-line know-how on one other event. Sergio Ramos added a second quarter-hour from time, however it was tense all through.

In some methods it is emblematic that Messi and Ramos, each free brokers in June, had been the purpose scorers. Neither is more likely to be again subsequent yr, neither is coach Christophe Galtier, who was roundly abused by each units of followers. We have mentioned it earlier than, however this season cannot finish quickly sufficient for PSG.

Ten Hag reinvents Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United beat Everton

Man United supervisor Erik ten Hag could or will not be a long-term success at Previous Trafford, however he has already proven a versatility and a persona that some did not assume he had when he arrived. We have praised him for his man-management and pragmatism, time to do the identical for his use of Fernandes.

With Casemiro suspended and Christian Eriksen solely simply coming back from harm (he got here on as a sub), he deployed Fernandes deeper and successfully handed him the playmaking keys towards a aspect who are likely to defend deeper.

Fernandes is clearly versatile — we have seen him as a “No. 10” and out vast — however sitting in entrance of the again 4 and quarterbacking the aspect was considerably new (although he did for a bit in United’s final outing too). It labored a deal with as United dominated greater than the two-nil scoreline suggests.

We could not see this once more — Casemiro and Eriksen might be out there and Bruno is extra useful additional up the pitch towards most opponents — however it’s an indication that Ten Hag is way extra multifaceted than some thought.



Nahuel Molina purpose twenty second minute Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Nahuel Molina purpose twenty second minute Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Atletico run continues with large win over Rayo

For the reason that World Cup, Atletico Madrid have collected 33 factors in 14 video games, which is one fewer than Barca (who’ve a sport in hand). In different phrases, this staff has come alive underneath Diego Simeone in a method that felt unbelievable final autumn. Atletico confirmed it once more away to Rayo, blunting the opposition’s press within the first half to take a two-nil lead after which seeing out the sport, particularly with a person benefit.

Simeone has discovered the precise steadiness within the aspect and he is additionally discovered the correct mix of high quality on the ball, to the purpose that this staff feels better-rounded than nearly at any time over the previous few years (even after they had been profitable titles). It solely serves to sharpen the remorse for his or her early-season Champions League debacle, however it does improve the probabilities that “El Cholo” could choose to stay round.

Efficiency issues … or why reactions to Friday night time in Italy are flawed

Napoli received away to Lecce on Friday, which implies they’re simply 12 factors away from mathematically clinching the title. Milan and Inter had been each held by lowly opponents, Empoli and Salernitana, respectively. Cue celebrations in Naples, desperation within the two Milan sides.

Here is some context. Napoli had been distracted and, understandably, looking forward to the Champions League after they visited AC Milan on Tuesday. Because of this, they had been poor however nonetheless discovered the win because of a defensive blunder. Fortunate? Sure. Does it matter? No, within the sense the league is wrapped up and so they can get a move for fascinated with Wednesday night time in Europe.

Inter dominated Salernitana on the street. They created dozens of probabilities, missed some veritable sitters (Romelu Lukaku, once more …), put collectively an xG of two.79 and solely conceded because of an unbelievable looping shot/goalkeeping error in harm time. Unfortunate? Sure. Does it matter? Sure, when it comes to high 4, no when it comes to their possibilities of advancing previous Benfica on Tuesday night time. Actually, the efficiency is encouraging.

Milan took 23 photographs on purpose and held Empoli to an xG of 0.11. Their opponents did not even take a single shot till the 83rd minute. They did not create fairly as a lot as Inter, however they too had been wasteful after they did get alternatives. Unfortunate? Sure. Does it matter? Once more, sure, when it comes to high 4, no, when it comes to assessing their general well being forward of the Napoli sport within the Champions League.

It could assist if some of us did not simply assess a staff primarily based on the consequence, however as an alternative paid consideration to what occurs on the pitch. It is time to develop up. You’d nearly assume that, as an alternative of watching video games, some of us merely choose primarily based on the dwell rating apps on their telephones.


Bas Dost got here off the bench for Utrecht and scored the winner of their 2-1 away win at Groningen. He now has eight objectives in 19 appearances for Utrecht. This concludes this installment of #BasDostWatch.

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