Sports

Ronaldo’s Man United return, Atletico woe for Griezmann, mighty Bayern What you missed this weekend

Two huge gamers returned to their former golf equipment and had very totally different “debuts” in Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United and Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid, whereas Bayern Munich confirmed how they’re nonetheless the clear front-runners to win the Bundesliga this season and make it a shocking 10 titles in a row.

Here is the large stuff you want to know from the soccer weekend round Europe.

Bounce to: Talking points | Best goals | Teams in trouble | MVP of the Weekend


4 speaking factors

blank Not a straightforward “second debut” for Griezmann

The 58 minutes Antoine Griezmann spent on the pitch throughout Atletico Madrid’s dramatic 2-1 win at Espanyol on Sunday have been all it took to display that his reintegration after two years in Barcelona may be very a lot nonetheless a piece in progress. Diego Simeone was pressured to innovate so he may squeeze Griezmann into his beginning XI, fielding an unusually attacking line-up with the brand new arrival enjoying off Luis Suarez and alongside Angel Correa, Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco in a powerful assault.

Quite a few tactical tweaks adopted because the coach tried to make it work, together with a triple half-time swap and formation change (the 5-4-1 grew to become a 4-3-3) earlier than ultimately hauling Griezmann off after an hour with Atletico nonetheless 1-0 down. He had touched the ball 33 occasions, accomplished 17 passes and brought two photographs, each off track. France teammate Thomas Lemar, who went on to attain a dramatic late winner within the Tenth minute of damage time, was way more influential in the same period of time on the pitch.

It is a lot too early to start out drawing conclusions, and there is each likelihood Griezmann will ultimately come good. However with an even bigger, higher squad than ever earlier than, Simeone must begin making some robust choices about who performs and who does not. Anticipate fireworks if Griezmann and Suarez find yourself battling it out for one spot within the staff. — Alex Kirkland

blankblankMan Metropolis win quietly on huge Saturday

It appears unbelievable {that a} staff stuffed with superstars managed by one of many best coaches of all time can go below the radar however Manchester City appear to do it time and again. Final season, whereas everybody was speaking about the potential for Manchester United and Liverpool going head-to-head for the Premier League title, Metropolis quietly strung a run of wins collectively and received in a canter.

There weren’t many eyes on their journey to Leicester on Saturday, both. Hidden away on a Saturday at 3 p.m. and with the circus at Previous Trafford to observe Cristiano Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola’s staff received 1-0. Leicester (below supervisor Brendan Rodgers) at the moment are one of many Premier League’s established high groups, and to win there instantly after the disruption of the worldwide break is not any straightforward feat.

Man United and Chelsea are high of the desk after 4 video games, however Metropolis are only a level behind in third having scored 11 occasions already this season and conceding simply as soon as. They did not get Harry Kane or Ronaldo in the summertime switch window, however with Jack Grealish added to an already stacked squad, they’re stronger than they have been final 12 months. It’s straightforward to overlook, however they’re nonetheless the staff to beat. — Rob Dawson

blankBayern Munich’s kind is ominous for the Bundesliga

There was a faculty of thought that it may take Julian Nagelsmann a short while to settle into life at Bayern Munich. He’d gone from the chasing pack, as supervisor of RB Leipzig, to the chased. However on his return to the Purple Bull Enviornment, there was no room for sentimentality as his Bayern Munich aspect swept apart certainly one of their challengers with a 4-1 victory. In fact, they might’ve had a number of extra objectives, however Nagelsmann was so assured the job was accomplished that he took off Robert Lewandowski after 58 minutes with a Champions League recreation in opposition to Barcelona up subsequent in midweek.

We hoped Saturday’s Bundesliga blockbuster could be tighter and that Leipzig may land an early blow on Bayern’s hopes of successful a tenth straight Bundesliga. However as an alternative this was a flex from Bayern at their dominant finest, with Lewandowski scoring a penalty, Jamal Musiala coming off the bench to attain an incredible purpose simply earlier than half-time and Serge Gnabry and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting additionally getting in on the act. Joshua Kimmich was excellent for Bayern, Leroy Sane is enjoying himself again into kind, and Bayern’s versatility (they completed with Niklas Sule at right-back and Josip Stanisic in midfield) suggests Nagelsmann’s position-fluid philosophy is beginning to take form.

In the meantime, the result’s a physique blow for Jesse Marsch. He changed Nagelsmann at Leipzig and has endured a rocky begin; regardless of low season departures and surprising absences because of COVID-19, they’ve only one win from their first 4 matches. The primary problem shall be to work out their attacking fluidity, as they have been repeatedly caught offside by Bayern’s excessive press, however they’ve the brains in Emil Forsberg, Dominik Szoboszlai and Dani Olmo to kind that out. — Tom Hamilton

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Shaka Hislop breaks down Chelsea’s 3-0 win vs. Aston Villa, together with two objectives from Romelu Lukaku.

blankIt is going to be robust to cease Chelsea

After which there’s Chelsea, who’re real contenders below Thomas Tuchel and have constructed a squad able to lasting the gap.

Chelsea had made seven adjustments from their earlier journey to Liverpool earlier than the worldwide break, however nonetheless managed to clock up a formidable 3-0 victory over the ever-improving Aston Villa. Villa have been sensible in spells and had sufficient about them to get a consequence at Stamford Bridge, however Chelsea are displaying early title-challenging kind.

This was a story of two new signings. First, you had Romelu Lukaku who has returned to the Premier League with ease. He has three objectives in two matches, due to his brace in opposition to Villa on Saturday. The primary got here after as he darted on to a stunning through-ball from Mateo Kovacic to fit house, whereas the second was a late, completely judged effort from outdoors the field.

Whereas Lukaku performed as if he’d by no means been away, Saul struggled on his Chelsea debut. The midfielder, arriving on mortgage from Atletico Madrid with minutes left on deadline day, was responsible of surrendering the ball 3 times in harmful positions within the first half, with Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva holding Villa at bay. Saul was substituted at half-time and wishes time in an effort to be a hit, however Tuchel has the choices at his disposal to maintain his first XI match.

Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been each on the bench, as a reminder of their large squad, and Chelsea’s unbelievable energy in depth suggests they are going to be within the combine come Might. — Hamilton


Three must-see objectives

blankBruno‘s purpose the one to recollect

Cristiano Ronaldo made it his day in opposition to Newcastle, however Bruno Fernandes‘ purpose to make it 3-1 is value a watch. The end was chic to beat Freddie Woodman from outdoors the field, however David De Gea additionally deserves a point out. In any case, it was his pin-point kick out of his arms to Mason Greenwood that began the transfer and meant Newcastle’s defence have been in all places by the point Fernandes discovered the ball at his ft. — Dawson

blankCarrasco crushes one for Atletico Madrid

Thomas Lemar’s 99th-minute winner for Atletico Madrid at Espanyol will get the headlines, nevertheless it was Yannick Carrasco’s strike 20 minutes earlier that was the purpose of the sport. Atletico have been 1-0 down and in bother when Carrasco — who began the match at wing-back earlier than being pushed additional ahead seeking an equaliser — acquired the ball from Renan Lodi on the sting of the six-yard field. It appeared like he’d been crowded out by Espanyol’s defenders earlier than displaying a mix of tenacity to win the ball again, steadiness to show in the direction of purpose and poise to select his second to fireside low previous goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Carrasco’s contribution since his return to Atletico final 12 months has been drastically underrated. — Kirkland

blankEdouard’s dream debut

When a staff spends £14 million on a striker, you anticipate returns. Odsonne Edouard’s report in Scotland was excellent, with 86 objectives throughout 5 years with Celtic, however the Premier League is a distinct proposition. Besides it took Edouard simply 29 seconds to attain for his new aspect Crystal Palace, making it the quickest purpose by a debutant within the historical past of the Premier League.

The Eagles have been already 1-0 to the great in opposition to 10-man Tottenham when Edouard was launched within the 83rd minute. His first involvement was to problem for a header and when Wilfried Zaha picked up the free ball, Zaha charged down the left flank and located Edouard contained in the field. The striker took one contact along with his left after which positioned it by means of Ben Davies‘ legs, sneaking the ball inside Hugo Lloris‘ left put up. And he backed it up with one other purpose in damage time as he linked up with Michael Olise and Conor Gallagher.

“I am very joyful, it is a dream come true,” Edouard mentioned afterwards. “I labored very laborious for this second.” — TH


Two groups that must be apprehensive

blankCelta Vigo

Hopes have been excessive for Celta Vigo this season below Eduardo Coudet. The Argentinian coach took the Galicians from backside of the LaLiga desk to the brink of European qualification final 12 months, enjoying an thrilling, high-tempo type that noticed Coudet branded an attacking model of Diego Simeone. They’ve had a troublesome time of it to this point this marketing campaign, although, and went into Sunday evening’s recreation with Real Madrid with a draw and two losses to indicate for his or her opening three video games.

Issues have been trying up once they went forward 1-0 by means of Santi Mina — and once more once they led 2-1 due to Franco Cervi — as Celta threatened to spoil Madrid’s get together on their return to the Bernabeu after 560 days away through the coronavirus pandemic. The next Celta collapse to lose 5-2 was dispiriting and highlighted the truth that this staff are as defensively fragile as they’re vibrant in assault. Coudet had higher kind issues out quick. — Kirkland

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Gab Marcotti examines Juventus’ winless begin in Serie A after a 2-1 defeat at Napoli.

blankJuventus

Three video games into the contemporary Serie A season and Juventus are nonetheless with no win. After a summer time of change during which Massimiliano Allegri got here again to his outdated house, and Ronaldo and Andrea Pirlo left, it is turn out to be abundantly clear it’s going to take time for the Allegri magic to return.

Juve received 5 titles below their outdated boss, however have made a torrid begin to the 2021-22 marketing campaign. After a 2-2 draw at Udinese and a defeat at house to Empoli, they hoped to get their season again on monitor at Napoli. Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Alex Sandro, Danilo and Rodrigo Bentancur have been all absent and although they began nicely by means of Alvaro Morata’s Tenth-minute purpose, they surrendered the factors by means of Matteo Politano‘s second-half strike and Kalidou Koulibaly‘s late winner. Juve in charge of the match, however their leaky defence once more allow them to down.

Allegri mentioned they took “big steps ahead” in opposition to Napoli, however their subsequent match in opposition to AC Milan shall be a must-win. A crumb of consolation for Juve followers is that they had this many factors after their first three matches within the 2015-16 marketing campaign, and ended up successful the Scudetto anyway. — Hamilton


blankMVP of the weekend: Cristiano Ronaldo

It may solely be him. The eyes of the world have been on the start of his second spell at Manchester United, and the 36-year-old nonetheless delivered. He admitted afterwards he was “nervous” forward of his Previous Trafford comeback, nevertheless it was laborious to inform. With little or no coaching or match health below his belt, the Portuguese famous person scored twice in opposition to Newcastle. The primary was a tap-in after Woodman had spilled Greenwood’s speculative shot; the second got here due to a burst of tempo, a fragile contact and a snap-shot by means of the Newcastle goalkeeper. He is a really totally different participant to the one who left United for Actual Madrid in 2009, however nonetheless, clearly, an excellent one.

After deciding to go away Juventus this summer time, it will have been straightforward for Ronaldo to select a league not fairly as difficult as England‘s high flight. He has nothing to show right here after six trophy-laden years at Previous Trafford, however the starvation to attain an increasing number of remains to be there. There shouldn’t be any doubts about Ronaldo’s means after what he has accomplished over the course of an unbelievable profession, as any remaining questions have been answered in opposition to Newcastle. — Dawson

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