What a weekend! Barcelona seem to discovered a pleasant stability in assault — and maybe their new talisman in Memphis Depay — whereas Premier League sides Man Metropolis and Tottenham impress regardless of the continuing Harry Kane saga. There’s hassle for Actual Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal (are we stunned?), and Romelu Lukaku actually placed on a present in his second debut for Chelsea.
This is the massive stuff you should know in regards to the weekend earlier than Monday morning.
4 speaking factors
Depay is adjusting properly to being Barcelona’s essential man
Exchange Lionel Messi as Barcelona’s chief creator and aim menace? No drawback, says Memphis Depay. Sure, it has been solely two LaLiga video games, however the summer time signing from Lyon has been a joyous, electrical addition up to now and saved Barca some extent with a late equaliser (extra on this under) in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 21, 2021
“Memphis to the rescue” was the headline in not one, however two of the Catalan newspapers on Sunday morning. He is already being cited as a pacesetter in a group that has lots, at the least in concept, with veterans Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba nonetheless within the squad. Following Messi would cow most gamers, however Depay appears to be having fun with each minute. He will get the ball and also you sit up and concentrate as there’s at all times a way that one thing goes to occur.
– Barcelona rankings: Depay, De Jong paved the way
Credit score to teach Ronald Koeman, too, for figuring out Depay because the ahead he needed to herald this summer time — not everybody on the membership was essentially satisfied. Koeman is taking part in Depay as a false 9, with the liberty to drop deep and large, and with Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite both facet. No clear weak spot is clear but: He seems to be fast, sturdy and technically assured, working as a group participant and a gifted particular person. Let’s have a look at if he can stick with it. — Alex Kirkland
Alejandro Moreno shares his ideas on Barcelona’s 1-1 draw vs. Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga.
Are we certain Man Metropolis even want a striker?
If Manchester Metropolis have been trying to finish any doubts about their title probabilities, placing 5 objectives previous Norwich Metropolis is an honest begin. It is true that Norwich at all times appear decided to concede as many as doable on the Etihad Stadium, however Pep Guardiola’s group received with that attacking swagger that has received trophy after trophy throughout his time in England.
– Dawson: Grealish, Man Metropolis off and working
There merely was no let-up for Norwich. When Jack Grealish and Ferran Torres went off, on got here Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, whereas Kevin De Bruyne did not function in any respect due to damage. Guardiola’s attacking choices are unrivalled, and that is with out Harry Kane, who would possibly nonetheless arrive earlier than the switch deadline.
Solely Manchester United have been in a position to win the title after shedding their first sport of the season, however Metropolis are greater than able to repeating the feat. They are going to be higher if Kane arrives, however victory over Norwich was a well timed reminder that they will not wrestle with out him. The problem this season will probably be better as a result of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all have stronger squads than earlier than, however ask any Premier League supervisor and most will let you know the following champions would be the group that manages to complete above Guardiola and Metropolis. — Rob Dawson
Luis Garcia discusses Angel Correa’s fast begin for Atletico Madrid in LaLiga as Luis Suarez returns to health.
Atletico Madrid lastly have a good time with their followers
“The followers weren’t there, however the soul at all times was,” Diego Simeone had stated on Saturday, describing Atletico Madrid profitable LaLiga behind closed doorways final season. This weekend, the followers have been lastly again on the Wanda Metropolitano. There have been solely 24,926 of them — coronavirus restrictions in Spain imply attendances are nonetheless restricted — and the sport itself, a scrappy 1-0 win over Elche, was nothing particular. However the event was actually fairly transferring.
Earlier than kickoff, captain Koke was lastly in a position to current the LaLiga trophy to the house crowd, 92 days after clinching it on a dramatic last day. Alongside him was 90-year-old Pedro Palmero, Atletico’s socio No. 1 (in Spain, membership members are numbered based mostly on longevity). Tribute was additionally paid to the 379 members who’ve handed away in the course of the pandemic whereas the membership’s anthem was performed on the violin.
Atletico Madrid could be certainly one of Spain’s largest golf equipment, however they’re additionally a household. As coach Simeone had stated a day earlier: “Getting up on a Sunday along with your mum and pop and going to the stadium is one thing lovely. It has been a 12 months and a half that we’ve not been ready to try this. The followers want soccer as a lot as we’d like them.” — Kirkland
Don Hutchison delves into what Manchester Metropolis must do to get a deal for Harry Kane over the road.
Kane returns for Spurs… however will it final?
Harry Kane is again in a Tottenham shirt… in the interim. The 28-year-old continues to hunt a transfer to Manchester Metropolis in what has turn into the long-running switch saga of the summer time, however he lastly made his seasonal reappearance in its place in Spurs’ 1-0 win at Wolves. Followers chanted “Are you watching Harry Kane?” as their captain sat out final weekend’s victory over Metropolis, however the Spurs supporters at Molineux gave him a heat reception when launched for the ultimate 20 minutes on Sunday. Kane acknowledged these followers at full-time and coach Nuno Espirito Santo praised the present of togetherness in troublesome circumstances.
The battle traces have been drawn for a while: Metropolis need Kane however will not pay £150m, whereas Spurs do not need to promote him in any respect given his significance to the trigger. An enormous bid may shift the dial earlier than subsequent Tuesday’s switch deadline however as time ticks down, Kane seems to be extra more likely to keep and in that case, this was a step ahead in his reintegration to a central position. — James Olley
Honorable Point out: Chaos for 3 massive golf equipment
It isn’t all easy crusing for Europe’s elite golf equipment as three groups anticipating to contend of their respective leagues aren’t off to one of the best of begins. Actual Madrid wanted two objectives within the last 17 minutes from Vinicius Jr. to salvage a 3-3 draw at Levante. It was a spicy affair general, with Levante falling behind 1-0 solely to take a 2-1 and 3-2 lead over Carlo Ancelotti’s facet; there was additionally the added enjoyable of Ancelotti selecting a entrance three of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, just for the younger Brazilian to return off the bench and save the day. (Bale did rating the opening aim after simply 5 minutes, slotting dwelling Benzema’s low cross, however did little else from there.)
– Actual rankings: Vinicius Junior 9/10 off the bench
In Germany, Dortmund one way or the other misplaced 2-1 at Freiburg regardless of one of many extra dominant shows you may see this season: 76% possession, 18 pictures (although simply 4 on the right track) and absolute frustration. They did not even “rating” their one aim: Freiburg led 2-0 by means of Vincenzo Grifo and Roland Sallai earlier than a Yannik Keitel personal aim gave Erling Haaland & Co. a faint likelihood of getting on stage phrases. The defeat is not catastrophic — it is solely week two, in any case — however it’s a troubling stumble with the switch window nonetheless open and golf equipment very a lot excited about Haaland, to call only one Dortmund star.
Gab Marcotti analyses the switch rumours surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo and explains how this saga would possibly conclude.
Lastly, Juventus have a full-on saga growing with Cristiano Ronaldo maybe-going-maybe-staying — learn Gab Marcotti’s piece to get the backstory right here — and him reportedly asking not to begin their opener, an away journey to Udinese. Initially, it appeared superb, with Juve racing to a 2-0 lead through Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado within the opening 23 minutes. Then, Udinese got here again: a beneficiant penalty (transformed by Roberto Pereyra) and a Gerard Deulofeu strike, brought on by Wojciech Szczesny‘s horrendous error, had the scores stage. It set the scene for Ronaldo to be the hero off the bench, and he thought he’d scored the winner in damage time just for VAR to rain on the parade in a 2-2 draw.
These are usually not vital stumbles but, however when title races get tight down the stretch, these dropped factors usually make a distinction. — James Tyler
Three must-see objectives
Ings brings the warmth for Villa
It is a new period for Aston Villa after promoting their talisman and captain, Jack Grealish, over the summer time, however Danny Ings is doing a very good job of filling the void. Two objectives in two video games is an efficient begin for a striker, and scoring an acrobatic opener on your house debut in entrance of a capability crowd is immediate hero territory. What a option to announce your self to the Villa followers! — Dawson
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 21, 2021
Liverpool go from coast to coast
Liverpool’s ambition to reclaim the Premier League title centres as a lot on rediscovering their freeflowing finest in assault as their resilience in defence. Virgil Van Dijk has a job to play on each fronts, displaying his vary of passing to kickstart a transfer which noticed Harvey Elliott and Trent Alexander-Arnold to tee up Sadio Mane for a crisp first-time end.
– Liverpool rankings: Henderson, Alexander-Arnold stand out
It was the form of transfer that epitomises Jurgen Klopp’s facet at their strongest and a packed Anfield acquired to see it for the primary time in additional than a 12 months. — Olley
Virgil ➡️ Harvey ➡️ Trent ➡️ Sadio
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 21, 2021
Gerrit Holtmann goes it alone
For instance you are a winger for a German group that is again within the Bundesliga for the primary time in over a decade. Let’s additionally say that you simply’re ready to attain your first aim of the season after a 1-0 defeat at Wolfsburg in your season opener.
Gerrit Holtmann with an unimaginable solo aim for VfL Bochum 🔥 pic.twitter.com/DgCeN4NHNF
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 21, 2021
Effectively okay then, Vfl Bochum star, Gerrit Holtmann. This can be a aim that was clearly well worth the watch for participant and membership! — Tyler
Honorable Point out: Depay lets rip
This rocket for Barcelona in Bilbao has to make the checklist. The stage was set: Barca had their backs to the wall, 1-0 all the way down to a rampant Athletic with quarter-hour left and the house crowd at San Mames roaring. Depay silenced them with a strike that was fantastically easy: he wanted simply three touches to deliver Sergi Roberto‘s looped ball excessive beneath management, and a fourth to fireside an unstoppable left-footer previous goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala at his close to put up. He did all of it with a straightforward nonchalance that advised it was no massive deal. — Kirkland
DEPAY’S FIRST GOAL FOR BARCA!
WHAT A RIP 🔥 pic.twitter.com/q0MrIgaDec
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 21, 2021
Two groups that ought to be fearful
You may by no means write off Burnley beneath Sean Dyche, however shedding their opening two video games isn’t the best way to begin in a aggressive league. Most worrying for Burnley followers will probably be an absence of evolution of the squad. This group of gamers have executed remarkably effectively to retain their place within the Premier League however each group — regardless of how effectively drilled — wants contemporary blood to maintain the membership transferring ahead. Standing nonetheless within the Premier League is nearly as good as going backwards — Dawson
Steve Nicol believes Arsenal’s beginning lineup is not ok for them to compete in opposition to stronger groups within the Premier League.
Arsenal have spent massive within the switch window however optimism is already in brief provide at Emirates Stadium after two consecutive defeats. If their opening weekend loss to newly-promoted Brentford was a shock, their 2-0 reverse to Chelsea felt virtually inevitable.
– Olley: Strain’s on Arteta to ship
Mikel Arteta is with out a variety of first-team gamers — together with his £50m centre-back Ben White — however there should be extra indicators he can form this group right into a group better than the sum of its elements. Sadly, their subsequent League sport is on the dwelling of champions Manchester Metropolis. Issues may worsen earlier than they get higher. — Olley
MVP of the weekend: Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea spent almost 100 million kilos to welcome Romelu Lukaku again to the group, however constructed into the value was a close to assure of what Chelsea have been getting and the Belgian delivered every part anticipated of him on debut in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Arsenal.
His aim encapsulated what the Blues have been lacking final time period. Holding off Arsenal defender Pablo Mari together with his again to aim, Lukaku linked up a neat Chelsea assault earlier than sprinting into the field to satisfy Reece James‘ right-wing cross. Lukaku didn’t rating in 15 video games throughout his first spell at Stamford Bridge between 2011 and 2014, however he took quarter-hour to get off the mark this time. More durable assignments await given the porous nature of Arsenal’s defence nowadays, however this was a vastly promising begin for a participant signed to supply the objectives to fireside Chelsea to a Premier League title.
The sense of constructing up for misplaced time was palpable: Lukaku is a person on a mission, able to make a hit of himself on the membership he loves and silence any doubters from his earlier time in England at West Brom, Everton and Manchester United. On this proof, the remainder of the League are going to have a troublesome time stopping him. — Olley