Teamwork makes the dream work

Man United in turmoil after derby loss, Barcelona high LaLiga

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The worldwide break completed on Friday, and membership soccer returned this weekend throughout Europe in emphatic, entertaining trend. The Manchester derby was one-way visitors in Man Metropolis’s favor, as anticipated, and Arsenal thumped Tottenham within the first North London derby of the 2022-23 marketing campaign to indicate that Mikel Arteta’s work may be very a lot entering into the correct course. Elsewhere, Barcelona went again atop LaLiga with a win and Actual Madrid defeat, Napoli cemented their spot atop Serie A and Liverpool nonetheless have points regardless of a protracted spell with out video games through which to repair what was damaged.

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

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

Bounce to: Man Metropolis derby fallout | Actual Madrid drop factors | Arsenal beat Spurs | Roma pile stress on Inter | Liverpool nonetheless have points | Lots to cheer for Barca | Chelsea win, Palace proper to be indignant | Milan want greater than Leao | Messi leads for PSG | Respite for Juventus | Dortmund collapse once more | Napoli keep high | Atletico go old-school


Darkness returns to crimson aspect of Manchester as Phil Foden, Erling Haaland run rampant

Overlook Anthony Martial‘s two garbage-time objectives for Man United that got here when the sport was lengthy over. Heck, neglect Antony‘s solo effort, too: It was an amazing strike, however the kind of particular person whack-it-and-see that gamers flip to once they’re getting no assist. Now take into account that Man Metropolis might simply have reached double figures.

Ugly, ain’t it? That is the unfavorable actuality that Erik ten Hag has to banish from his thoughts following the 6-3 drubbing his aspect endured on the Etihad on Sunday. Coaches are educated to be constructive, to look ahead, to construct on strengths and masks weaknesses, however the place does he even start?

Ten Hag got here as near studying his crew the riot act as he is prone to get.

“For those who do not battle, you’ll have an issue in opposition to Manchester Metropolis,” he stated. “This was totally different to Brentford [when they were also 4-0 down at half-time]. In that sport we did not run, in opposition to Metropolis we wished to run, however we did not observe the precept and guidelines and had a scarcity of perception.” Translated from Dutch coachspeak: The gamers did not observe directions, made poor choices and did not imagine in what they’re doing.

Man United to carry inquest over Metropolis humiliation
Ogden: Haaland is one of the best participant on the earth proper now
Haaland solely the fifteenth participant to get a ten/10 score from L’Equipe

You must recognize Ten Hag’s honesty right here, as a result of he is going out on a limb. If gamers aren’t following tactical directions, if these directions are incorrect, if they do not purchase into what they’re being advised … effectively, often that is on the supervisor.

It is truthful to place a few of it on Ten Hag. United seemed solely unprepared for what hit them: That is a supervisor’s first job. Equally, the truth that Casemiro, the $80 million man who was beginning (and profitable) a Champions League closing simply final Could, has but to begin a Premier League sport this season would not assist, and that is on Ten Hag. It is not Bryan Robson, Paul Ince and Roy Keane rolled into one who’s conserving him out of the aspect: It is Scott McTominay.

A few of it’s on the gamers, particularly given the area Metropolis had been afforded on too many events. Not simply on the again, both, however up entrance, the place the press — even a half-hearted, half-assed model — was not often seen.

And, in fact, a variety of it’s all the way down to the truth that Metropolis are a greater aspect by a number of orders of magnitude. Not simply when it comes to having higher gamers — that too, although lest we neglect, we’re additionally speaking about Manuel Akanji, who was totally unspectacular at Dortmund final season; Nathan Ake, who made 19 league begins in two seasons earlier than this one at Metropolis; and, for a lot of the sport, Sergio Gomez, who arrived with little fanfare from Anderlecht — however relatively in having higher chemistry, organisation and training.

If United and Ten Hag are searching for solutions and hoping Sunday was only a blip in what many thought was a mini-revival, Metropolis and Pep Guardiola can do no incorrect proper now. Haaland has given them a special dimension, certain, however there is a familiarity to how they transfer the ball — with goal, high quality and tempo — that is been their hallmark for a number of years now. And whenever you parachute guys like Haaland, Gomez or Akanji into the crew, otherwise you transfer guys round (Ilkay Gundogan instead of the absent Rodri), they do not miss a beat. That is not simply good gamers, that is good teaching.

Ultimate level on — who else? — Cristiano Ronaldo, who stayed rooted to the bench and didn’t come on.

Some steered this was disrespectful, however I take the alternative view, with the caveat that Ten Hag and those that work with him daily know finest when it comes to what he would discover respectful and disrespectful. Sending Ronaldo on whenever you’re 4-0 down would have been hanging him out to dry. You do not deal with one of many respectable G.O.A.T. candidates within the sport that approach.


It is not the Osasuna curse: Actual Madrid had been merely poor in dropping factors…

Soccer people are notoriously superstitious, so when, for the second yr in a row, Actual Madrid drop factors at residence in opposition to a aspect they need to beat like Osasuna and Karim Benzema misses from the spot (twice final yr, as soon as this yr), you are tempted to see patterns. There are none. It is known as coincidence. These had been totally different video games, and the actual fact is that whereas Actual Madrid might have received, they did not play effectively (although they performed even worse final season).

Benzema returns, however Actual Madrid aren’t infallible

It is the primary time they’ve didn’t win this marketing campaign, it comes after a world break and it marked Benzema’s return after a month out. They nonetheless put collectively an xG of two.65 (to the Osasuna’s 0.50), so let’s not freak out. That stated, this crew wants extra leading edge than scoring as soon as with a bizarre long-range cross, like Vinicius did.

And no, the truth that Luka Modric was absent is not an excuse. Leaving apart the truth that your fortunes should not rely upon a 37-year-old, the problem wasn’t creating probabilities; it was changing them.


Arsenal are for actual after passing Spurs check, however they will want to search out one other stage

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Shaka Hislop nonetheless has reservations about Arsenal’s defence regardless of their spectacular attacking play of their 3-1 win vs. Tottenham.

Sunday’s North London derby was a reminder of why efficiency issues and why typically, to paraphrase Rafa Benitez, “Soccer is a lie.” What I imply by that’s that however for very advantageous margins — one in all Arsenal’s objectives was a low-percentage worldie from Thomas Partey, one other was a defensive error, the third got here in rubbish time in opposition to 10 males, Spurs uncharacteristically lacked high quality and precision on their counterattacks — Arsenal may need misplaced this sport, after which the narrative would have been about Mikel Arteta’s younger weapons being too inexperienced and dropping in opposition to one other Massive Six opponent (identical to they misplaced to Manchester United).

Luckily, you possibly can really watch the video games and never simply depend on incidents and highlights. And in the event you did, you noticed an Arsenal aspect that performed very effectively in opposition to an opponent who got down to hit on the counterattack and did it very effectively for a lot of the sport. So whereas the objectives themselves could have been incidental, the play was not.

Olley: Revenge for Arsenal as Conte’s sport plan comes unstuck

Arsenal had been assured and purposeful and in no way fazed by the opposition or the event. No matter limits are on this crew aren’t the kind of issues they’ll change, which is why Metropolis nonetheless stay favourites for the title (play the mixed XI sport, and you will see what I imply). However Arteta is affecting what he can have an effect on, and that is all you possibly can ask for proper now. Oh, and if Metropolis stumble, who is aware of?

As for Spurs, Conte’s plan appeared to be to soak up stress and hit in transition. He stated the latter space is the place they got here up quick, and he is proper. It is simply that, with hindsight, perhaps this sport known as for Tottenham taking the sport to the opposition just a little greater than they did.


Roma defeat makes it 4 losses in six video games for Inter and Inzaghi …

It is inevitable, however now the goal is squarely on Simone Inzaghi’s again after Inter’s 2-1 residence defeat to Roma. It is inevitable, and perhaps a bit harsh: Inter didn’t play poorly in opposition to Roma (Inzaghi stated it was their finest efficiency of the season, which is a bit OTT, however not far off), and once more, it was a Samir Handanovic blunder that led to Roma’s equalizer (paging Andre Onana).

Throw in that they had been with out arguably their two most essential gamers — Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic — and maybe some perspective is required.

However, the uncomfortable sense is that, even when Inter play effectively, it is the fashion that does not match. The possession sport is neatly executed, nevertheless it’s typically too sluggish, with patterns of play that grow to be predictable. When the celebrities are current and on high of their sport, they’ll harm you in some ways. If one thing is just a bit bit off, issues break down.

As for Roma, Jose Mourinho (who was suspended and watching from a van close by) obtained it proper in dropping Tammy Abraham and going for a extra light-weight assault, with Lorenzo Pellegrini as a de facto false 9 and Paulo Dybala and Nicolo Zaniolo given loads of freedom. Roma picked their spots and had been rewarded with a Mourinho-esque win that retains them simply 4 factors off the highest.


No options discovered over worldwide break as Liverpool concede three at residence to Brighton

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Shaka Hislop criticises the performances of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Brighton.

When issues go incorrect for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp offers a grown-up response, primarily saying he’ll go away, research what was wanting and work out tips on how to repair it. There’s not a lot else a supervisor can do after the actual fact. Those that thought the worldwide break may convey some knowledge, then, must wait on the proof of the 3-3 residence draw in opposition to Brighton.

Ogden: Will Liverpool’s hunch in kind impression Bellingham pursuit?
Firmino shines, Alexander-Arnold struggles once more in Reds draw

The excellent news is that this crew confirmed once more they’ve loads of character, coming from two objectives down. The unhealthy information is that they hold making particular person errors which can be typically compounded by a scarcity of depth additional up the pitch.

With out taking something away from Brighton, who had been distinctive in Roberto De Zerbi’s Premier League teaching debut, every of the three objectives conceded will be pinpointed to errors by Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil Van Dijk, respectively. And worryingly, they might have simply conceded two extra objectives if Leandro Trossard (who nonetheless bagged a hat-trick) and Danny Welbeck had taken their first-half alternatives.

Klopp blamed Liverpool’s tactical execution, describing their positioning at 3-2 as “horrible to look at,” however proper now, it is solely one of many issues he wants to repair.


It is not simply concerning the win: Lots to cheer for Barcelona regardless of so-so show

An absolute world-class objective of precision and misdirection from Robert Lewandowski (as much as 9 objectives in seven video games) was the distinction on the day for Barcelona away to Mallorca. It was a extra of a minimalist efficiency than we have been used to this season beneath Xavi, however that is OK, and never simply because the win, coupled with Actual Madrid’s draw the next day, sees them return to the highest of LaLiga.

Ansu Fati made his first begin of the marketing campaign, Marc-Andre ter Stegen prolonged his unbeaten streak between the posts, and regardless of the scare from Kang-in Lee on the finish, Barca confirmed they’ll handle a lead. Most encouraging, although, was the rejiggered again line.

Weekend Evaluate: Barcelona leapfrog Actual Madrid atop LaLiga

With Hector Bellerin, Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo all out (and Eric Garcia on the bench), we noticed Andreas Christensen and Gerard Pique crew up within the center, with Alejandro Balde switched to the correct. They got here by means of unscathed, and whereas there’s nonetheless an evident hole in high quality with the regulars (particularly in central defence), performances like these construct confidence. It is a lengthy season, and Barca will want this depth.


Potter’s Chelsea get first win, however Palace are proper to be livid

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Shaka Hislop offers his ideas on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first Chelsea objective and Conor Gallagher’s late stunner of their 2-1 win vs. Crystal Palace.

Moments change video games, and in the event you’re Crystal Palace, the choice to not ship off Thiago Silva when he dealt with the ball in a possible “denial of goal-scoring alternative” (DOGSO) turned the match on its head.

VAR Evaluate: Thiago Silva handball, Emerson Royal crimson card, extra

The referee felt Jordan Ayew was not heading towards objective and with 35 yards to go, Chelsea would have gotten a protecting defender again to problem him. The VAR was OK with it and didn’t ask for an on-field evaluate. Thiago Silva stayed on the pitch (in contrast to Nathaniel Clyne, with whom he clashed within the incident), and moments later, he arrange Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s equalizer. Late on, Conor Gallagher delivered the winner for Chelsea.

It is untimely to evaluate Graham Potter’s impression on this crew, so proper now it issues that he obtained his first win and Aubameyang opened his account. It is not clear how these items match collectively, particularly on the attacking finish, and also you ponder whether he’ll definitively abandon the again three (Chelsea performed a again 4 at Palace and a 3 in opposition to Salzburg in his different sport) or whether or not this midfield can maintain up. But there’s loads of time for him to reply these questions and others.


Rafael Leao and a ton of grit powers Milan to victory, however they want extra

You’ll be able to have a look at the glass as half-full and take into account the three factors and the truth that AC Milan, already with out Theo Hernandez, Alessandro Florenzi, Mike Maignan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (OK, he hasn’t been there since final season) additionally misplaced Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria and Alexis Saelemaekers alongside the way in which and nonetheless weathered an injury-time equaliser away to Empoli to win 3-1, scoring within the 94th and 97th minutes. Or you possibly can fear about how they conceded a number of late probabilities earlier than the equalizer and actually did not create a lot within the first half.

I lean a bit towards the latter. Sure, it is a crew which can be speculated to be constructed round depth and depth, however in actuality too typically need to journey their brightest stars, Rafael Leao and Sandro Tonali. And we noticed what occurs once they lose too many items alongside the way in which.

Milan are nonetheless very a lot within the hunt, however you are feeling much more comfy when Stefano Pioli would not need to depend on grit and character and late objectives to convey residence all three factors.


Messi free-kick sends PSG on their approach in opposition to Good as Ekitike makes his debut

Lionel Messi scored his first direct free-kick of the marketing campaign to open the scoring for Paris Saint-Germain with the kind of eye sweet strike that reminds you the way final season’s hiccups had been simply that: a nine-month hiccup. (October has solely simply began, and he has practically matched final season’s league whole already.)

This sport was nearer than it ought to have been till Kylian Mbappe got here on to switch Hugo Ekitike with half an hour to go. Ekitike was making his first begin of the marketing campaign, and, in fact, at 20 years of age, he is without doubt one of the most hyped children in Ligue 1. He did not get a shot off, and PSG kicked it up a notch after Mbappe changed him (duh…), however he did present flashes. And admittedly, coming right into a aspect and enjoying with Neymar and Messi immediately is not as simple because it sounds.

He is the one true central striker PSG have; he’ll get his likelihood to develop.


Juventus win first sport since August, giving Allegri some respite

I wrote earlier than about Juventus’ “Septembre horribilis,” and it issues that they returned from a break with a 3-0 win over Bologna. It wasn’t a stellar efficiency, nor an amazing opponent, nevertheless it’s a minimum of one thing to maintain the psychodrama at bay forward of a key stretch of video games (two must-wins in opposition to Maccabi Haifa within the Champions League, Milan away and the Turin derby).

The draw back is that in getting this win, Max Allegri switched to a 4-4-2 formation, a system that labored effectively on the day however that Juve are unlikely to make use of when their injured stars return. Which means it nonetheless would not really feel as in the event that they’re constructing towards something.

Sunday wasn’t about that, and that is advantageous. For now. The true check will come within the subsequent two weeks.


A second-half collapse prices injury-hit Dortmund

One of many issues I hoped to get from Edin Terzic’s return to Dortmund was some semblance of normality. No such factor! They traveled to Cologne and not using a bunch of attacking regulars (Giovanni Reyna, Marco Reus, Gregor Kobel and Sebastien Haller), however they nonetheless took the lead and created probabilities within the first half.

Then got here a staggering collapse after the break, as defensive errors — one from Thomas Meunier (not stunning) and one from Nico Schlotterbeck (extra stunning) — allowed Cologne to take the lead within the area of 4 minutes. They’d later add a 3rd earlier than Dortmund made it 3-2 in rubbish time.

The factor is, they’re nonetheless simply two factors out of first place within the Bundesliga, so it is comprehensible if Terzic figures it is best to not do main surgical procedure and as a substitute look forward to the injured to return. Possibly. However performances like these are gutting, and so they threat having knock-on results. And additional up the pitch, the shortage of leading edge is telling. Anthony Modeste was an emergency signing, advantageous, however he would not match this crew and he isn’t performing. It is time to give Youssoufa Moukoko a go, simply to see what you’ve.


Zambo Anguissa fires Napoli to victory as they keep high of Serie A

No one get overexcited, however Napoli seemed just like the kind of crew that win titles on Saturday of their 3-1 win over Torino. Nonetheless with out Victor Osimhen, they wrapped issues up within the first half with two objectives from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and another from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, earlier than seeing out the victory within the second half.

Some will concentrate on their prolific assault or a defence that hasn’t suffered with Min-jae Kim changing the departed Kalidou Koulibaly. However the place this crew has actually impressed is in the course of the park, and whereas Stanislav Lobotka and Piotr Zielinski have drawn loads of reward, do not forget Zambo Anguissa, who scored twice. At 26, he is coming into the prime of his profession and has ironed out a number of the poor choices that marred his time within the Premier League whereas sustaining the drive, high quality and unpredictability that make him such a mismatch for opponents.


Diego Simeone talked up how his Atletico aspect performed simply the way in which he likes it away to Sevilla: robust, compact traces, grating counter-attacks, physicality up entrance with Alvaro Morata and Matheus Cunha and moments of high quality (witness Marcos Llorente‘s beautiful objective). It is nice, and it really works in opposition to most opponents. The query is whether or not they can bottle this and churn it out usually. Or, whether or not it really works finest in opposition to an opponent on the verge of self-destruction with frayed nerves and a coach, Julen Lopetegui, who could possibly be out actual quickly.

Sevilla made wholesale modifications and gambled their approach again into the sport, dropping form and nerve earlier than Morata scored the second to kill the match. For what it is price, I assumed this set-up seemed more practical, with Cunha coming in from the left and Morata up entrance (and, in fact, Griezmann approaching for his customary cameo with half an hour to go).

It means no room — and fewer minutes off the bench — for Joao Felix, and he was reportedly sad at getting simply 4 minutes. So be it. For all his expertise, he isn’t pulling his weight and would not match this aspect most video games. I am Crew Cholo on this one.

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