Manchester United’s Paul Pogba has been in the news for his master class against Liverpool, but he wasn’t the only player to have an outstanding performance. Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City 3-2 on Sunday without Harry Kane.
The erling haaland man city is a headline from the The Guardian. It discusses how erling haaland has been in form for the past few weeks.
It feels like just yesterday that we were in the midst of a historic Summer of Soccer, with Euro 2020, the CONCACAF Nations League and CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Copa America, and the Olympics making up for lost time, and now we’re about to embark on what promises to be an equally memorable club season. The 2021-22 seasons of the Premier League, German Bundesliga, and Spanish LaLiga began this weekend, and a number of elite teams (Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona) and top players (Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland) aren’t wasting any time.
Here’s everything you need to know about the weekend’s major events.
Jump to: Key Takeaways | Best Goals | Teams in Peril | Weekend MVP
There are four things to consider.
Isn’t it Harry Kane? Who is it?
We should have expected this. As soon as the story linking Harry Kane to a transfer from Tottenham to Manchester City got off this summer, it was written in the “narrative” stars. It seemed a clear conclusion that City, exuberant and pompous, would arrive in north London to discover a demoralized and befuddled Spurs team still getting to know their new manager (and fifth or sixth candidate for the job? ), Nuno Espirito Santo, and lose.
And lose they did, losing 1-0 to Son Heung-second-half Min’s goal and failing to bother Hugo Lloris in any manner throughout the 90 minutes. Instead of Spurs appearing befuddled, City looked like 11 guys who’d just met an hour before start. Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp was disruptive in midfield, City’s Ferran Torres was ineffective up front, and even Kevin De Bruyne, City’s primary offensive power, couldn’t summon the spark for which he has become renowned.
Kane’s future will undoubtedly be a source of frustration for another week or two, but in the meantime, Tottenham can rest easy knowing that they have the foundations of a great team — and about €150 million to spend on new players if he does go.
This is how you introduce a player.
Having fans back in the stands has been a joy this weekend, after going for so long with empty stadia, limited attendance and piped-in crowd noise to help bridge the emotional gap between what we’re watching and how we’re feeling. But the real boost of full houses again might be the chance for WWE-style entrances. We’re used to iconic songs and anthems as teams walk out, but I think the new vibe of “unveil your new signing right before kickoff at home” is right up there in terms of the most enjoyable sights on matchday.
That’s a proper Old Trafford greeting, @RaphaelVarane.
August 14, 2021 — Manchester United (@ManUtd)
Before thrashing Leeds 5-1 on Saturday, Manchester United took a moment to welcome Raphael Varane to Old Trafford (and, importantly, for Old Trafford to announce itself as a supporting, joyful presence), while Newcastle were eager to unveil Joe Willock before facing West Ham on Sunday. Willock was a revelation on loan from Arsenal, scoring eight goals in 14 league games to help the Magpies climb from 17th to 12th place in the last three months of the season. Newcastle supporters were overjoyed to express their gratitude after making a permanent transfer this summer.
Joe Willock made his debut in front of the SJP audience. #NUFC pic.twitter.com/1RI9LHg3Cy What a ruckus!
Jordan Cronin (@jordancronin_) (@jordancronin_) (@jordancronin_) (@jordancronin_ 15th of August, 2021
Before Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Strasbourg, Paris Saint-Germain had five players to present to the Parc des Princes, and despite the fact that everyone in the world knew these deals were done, it nevertheless resulted in a spectacular sight.
All clubs should do this from now on for every big arrival. The tweets and videos are good, but the real-world version is just infinitely better.
PSG supporters erupted in applause as Lionel Messi was revealed to them before of their match against Strasbourg.
The promoted clubs in the Premier League aren’t here to have a good time.
If you’re a major club, the worst thing you want on opening day is to play an away game against a promoted team, particularly after the supporters have returned to the stadiums following the epidemic. If you’re on the visiting side, the energy and optimism are at their peak, the excitement is tremendous, and the atmosphere is really gut-wrenching.
All three promoted teams — Norwich City, Watford, and Brentford — hosted major clubs — Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Arsenal, respectively — this weekend, and although the Canaries were beaten 3-0, the other two completely demolished their opponents and came away with statement victories.
Watford overcame a post-Jack Grealish Villa team, rushing to a 3-0 lead and having enough of cushion to withstand two late goals. (Congratulations to Ismaila Sarr, who continues to amaze, and Watford’s new signing Emmanuel Dennis, who will score often this season.) Brentford’s 2-0 triumph against Arsenal may not seem unexpected, but it was a testimony to the power of fans that the Bees flew past an usually listless Gunners side to earn a well-deserved victory.
These three clubs will face a lot of challenges this season, but there is no place like home if they want to stay in the Premier League next season.
Dortmund crank on the flair as Haaland shines.
Although Borussia Dortmund hasn’t won the Bundesliga in almost a decade (Bayern Munich continues to monopolize the trophies), we’ve had great expectations for them on many occasions throughout that time, and this season may be no different.
Erling Haaland continued where he left off last season, scoring twice and assisting on two more goals as Dortmund defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2. As all the stars connected in attack, U.S. international Giovanni Reyna was as electrifying, scoring one goal. Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard were similarly irrepressible as the front four were always on the move, opening passing lanes and creating space that Eintracht couldn’t handle.
Mind you, it wasn’t all perfect: Their defense is as shambolic as usual (Felix Passlack’s own goal was particularly shocking), and Mats Hummels can’t get back fast enough. For the time being, just enjoy Haaland, who now has 62 Dortmund goals in 61 games. And, oops, did we leave anything out? On Tuesday, they face Bayern Munich in the German SuperCup (watch LIVE on ESPN+ in the US, 2.30 p.m. ET), which will be a far more accurate gauge of where the Black and Yellow stand.
Erling Haaland, according to Shaka Hislop, is playing at a forward level well above his years.
Barcelona’s new era starts (honorable mention)
It’s just the first game, but Ronald Koeman’s team seems to be in excellent shape as they adjust to life without Lionel Messi. Martin Braithwaite’s two goals and a Gerard Pique header (without the facial hair, he looks 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger) were more than enough for Barca to get off to a winning start in the new LaLiga season, defeating Sociedad 4-2. Both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid started the 2021-22 season with victories, but Barcelona looked unfazed and even brighter without Messi.
Three objectives that you must see
What a start for Chelsea’s Nathaniel Chalobah!
Trevoh Chalobah has been a Chelsea player since the age of eight. The young defender earned his senior debut in midweek for the UEFA Super Cup (a victory on penalties), and he got to make his Premier League debut on Saturday after 14 years of serving the club at every level, including some time as a ballboy at Stamford Bridge. And after the Blues’ 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, he went into the attacking third and did just that.
What a stuff dreams are made of! pic.twitter.com/91bmHipKF3
August 14, 2021 — Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC)
What an ambition, what an emotion, and what a tale. Earlier in the game, Christian Pulisic scored for the Blues, but Chalobah’s goal will be remembered.
Real Madrid’s goal is Hazard + Benzema.
For obvious reasons, Real Madrid needs a huge year from Eden Hazard (he’s only played 31 games and scored four goals in two seasons since becoming their second-most expensive acquisition ever), and Saturday’s 4-1 victory against Alaves offered a glimpse of why they paid €100 million for him in 2019. Karim Benzema scored Real’s opening goal of the new season with a fast backheel flick: more, please.
This Hazard assist photo is still on my mind. twitter.com/JsqumW7lve
15 August 2021 — ESPN FC (@ESPNFC)
Plea (briefly) backs Gladbach over Bayern.
Borussia Monchengladbach may not be on everyone’s radar, but their dedication to offensive football and pushing players forward everytime they get the ball should be. They also had Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on the ropes many times during Friday’s season opener, eventually drawing 1-1, but Alassane Plea’s goal was evidence of their lightning-quick transition play: when Bayern gave it up cheaply in midfield, it only took three passes to score a goal. Take a look and enjoy.
THE CHAMPIONS OF THE BUNDESLIGA ARE ON THE WAY!
Plea takes the lead for Gladbach pic.twitter.com/JGwfUm0517
— August 13, 2021, ESPN FC (@ESPNFC)
Great goals by losing teams deserve special attention.
There’s no way to sugarcoat a 5-1 loss, but at least Leeds defender Luke Ayling was able to connect on one of the season’s sweeter finishes. In LaLiga, Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal’s fiery top-corner free kick gilded a 4-2 loss to Barcelona.
There are two teams that should be concerned.
The joy of beating PSG to win Ligue 1 last season didn’t last long, with a 3-3 draw against Metz last weekend, followed by a 4-0 home loss to Nice, who are coached by the man who led them to that championship (Christophe Galtier). With PSG’s leveling up and without Galtier’s coaching acumen, they may be in for a difficult season.
This season, I expect to see a lot more articles on them. We’re aware of Mikel Arteta’s team’s deficiencies in terms of squad quality and depth, but there’s a worrisome fragility to this group that will ruin whatever talent they bring in. Goalkeepers must not be prevented from reaching a long throw, and defenders must not allow the ball to bounce for an easy goal. Brentford seemed to huff and puff their way into Arteta’s home with ease, and although attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were out, this squad has to be stronger at the back.
Paul Pogba is the weekend’s MVP.
As Man United started their season with a statement of purpose against Leeds, Paul Pogba became the sixth player in Premier League history to record four assists in a single game. Getty Images/Alex Morton
For years, United supporters have been irritated by the seeming gap between the Man United version of Paul Pogba and the France version of Pogba. Despite the erroneous impression that he was only at his best for Les Bleus — when, in fact, it was simply because he had better players around him at the international level — Saturday’s master lesson in the 5-1 thrashing of Leeds United demonstrated that, hey, it’s all the same man.
Pogba picked up four assists in only 68 minutes against a generous Leeds side who allowed him far too much room in midfield, exceeding his entire tally for the 2020-21 Premier League season (three). Pogba was at the heart of everything United did in transition, displaying the vision to identify teammates in the final third and the deftness of touch to find them in stride. Bruno Fernandes got the headlines with his hat trick, but Pogba was at the heart of everything United did in transition.
It’s difficult to choose a favorite, just as it’s impossible to have a favorite kid, since each assist revealed a different aspect of the French brilliance.
The first was a deft first-time pass into Bruno’s path, leaving defender Pascal Struijk racing for the ball, for a quick finish between Ilan Meslier’s legs. Delicate, sassy, and inch-perfect The second demonstrated Pogba’s vision, as he no-looked the Leeds defense in transition to send a raking low ball up the left flank for Mason Greenwood, who raced past his defender and uncorked a thunderous left-footed strike into the corner. (Poor Struijk; he couldn’t keep up this time, having to watch the danger unfold like a character in a horror film who suddenly decides to investigate the abandoned house’s dark basement.)
Pogba found Fernandes in stride down the right channel for a nice finish in the third, which was simple — sometimes simple is best. (Even though Bruno did the most of the effort, Pogba did the right thing by delivering the ball in space for him to finish.) Above all, the fourth was deft; from a wide left position, his quick cut-back pass for Fred set up the Brazilian for a sweeping, one-time finish that effectively ended the game.
It won’t always be simple for Man United or Pogba — due to Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds will never defend deep or commit too many players behind the ball — but it was a hopeful indication of things to come this season.
- harry kane stats
- man city news
- tottenham transfer