16 Mar Arsenal’s Arteta will get ‘triple win’ vs. Spurs, Actual Madrid go away it late, Greenwood’s development for Man United
The place to start after one other huge weekend in soccer? Arsenal humbled Spurs within the North London Derby, Actual Madrid saved the strain on Atletico Madrid in La Liga, Inter Milan took one other huge step in the direction of the Collection title in Italy, and Bayern Munich bought somewhat little bit of respiratory room (due to Robert Lewandowski) over their rivals within the Bundesliga. There have been additionally speaking factors galore round Chelsea, Man United, Cristiano Ronaldo’s future (Juventus or elsewhere?) and PSG’s slimming hopes of defending their Ligue 1 title.
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It is Monday, and Gab Marcotti reacts to the largest moments on the earth of football from the previous week.
Bounce to: Arteta’s ‘triple win’ | Actual’s late, late win | Greenwood, Shaw impress | Ronaldo to go away Juve? | Tuchel’s work at Chelsea | Inter inching to Serie A title | Lewandowski leads Bayern | Man Metropolis rotate, preserve successful | Atletico held 0-0 | PSG’s title grip slips | Bellingham stars for Dortmund | Napoli beat Milan | Leipzig draw
Three wins in a single for Mikel Arteta: nice Arsenal efficiency, nice consequence, Aubameyang
At this stage of the Premier League season, with 9 or 10 video games remaining, efficiency has to matter greater than outcomes for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta. They’re 10th within the desk, 10 factors outdoors the highest 4. Even a spot within the Europa League for ending fifth is 5 factors away, and, what’s extra, there are 4 golf equipment they’d have to leapfrog. So the intention must be to develop, get to know your gamers higher, outline the chemistry you need and chase the one trophy you possibly can nonetheless win: the Europa League itself.
That mentioned, Arteta bought each a consequence and a efficiency within the North London Derby in opposition to Tottenham. Name it a “Double Win,” which turns into a “Triple Win” when you think about the benching of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a “disciplinary matter,” later broadly reported to be exhibiting up late to a team assembly on matchday. That issues too.
– Olley: Arteta’s Arsenal again up sturdy speak vs. Spurs
– Arsenal scores: Tierney, Lacazette come up huge
– Mourinho blasts gamers for ‘hiding’ throughout derby defeat
It isn’t a lot the substance of what Arteta did, both. It is a good thought to assume that every one gamers are handled equally and when you break team guidelines, you pay the worth however, in follow, no supervisor — heck, no boss or chief of individuals — constantly acts that manner. Stars are handled otherwise and (typically) rightly so, as a result of doing issues like this to make a degree can find yourself hurting all the team. For those who do resolve to crack down — and evidently, Arteta thought the time was ripe — it’s a must to make sure that it would not blow up in your face, which is what may have occurred if Arsenal had not received, or if Aubameyang had come on and scored and possibly had a go at his supervisor.
Disciplining Aubameyang — he is not simply Arsenal’s highest-paid participant and final season’s prime objective scorer, but additionally a captain — was an enormous name within the second, and the best way it panned out solely strengthens Arteta. This issues as a result of considered from the skin, you questioned if Arteta was a little bit of a “gentle contact” not simply when it comes to a few of his gamers, however a number of the membership’s odd transfers as nicely. This was a press release.
When it comes to efficiency, Arsenal once more shuffled the deck and bought top-drawer performances from Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith-Rowe in particular. They dominated Tottenham who, improbable as it sounds, managed just one shot for the first 70 minutes of the game — and that shot happened to be Erik Lamela’s “rabona” goal. That’s partly down to Tottenham’s deficiencies, and partly down to the way Arsenal kept winning back possession and controlled the middle of the park.
Losing Heung-Min Son to injury in the first half was a blow to Jose Mourinho, but as he himself conceded, it can’t alone justify a stinker of a first half. Indeed, Spurs only came alive at the end once they were down to 10 men (after two quick yellow cards for Lamela) and chasing the game. Too little, too late.
Former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann is disappointed by Spurs’ lacklustre display vs. Arsenal.
Postmatch, Mourinho pointed out the big decision that went against his team, when Davinson Sanchez’s leg collided with Alexandre Lacazette’s after the Frenchman whiffed on his shot and referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty, which Lacazette himself converted. It’s not hard to see why Mourinho was annoyed: there’s a case to be made that Sanchez was going to block the shot and only made contact because Lacazette missed the ball entirely.
Two points to be made here. One is that it’s entirely irrelevant whether Lacazette had a chance to get his shot off or not: it’s not as if a forward can’t be fouled after he takes a shot.
The other is that the video assistant referee, Paul Tierney, did not intervene, presumably because it wasn’t a clear and obvious error. There’s no question that there was contact and if the referee, Oliver, felt he saw it clearly, then it becomes a judgement call and not an error. What we don’t know is exactly what Oliver saw or what he told Tierney — chalk it up as another example where releasing the conversations between VAR and referee would add transparency to the game.
Certainly, if Tierney had asked him to take another look and then Oliver stuck by his decision, few would have had a problem with it. I know I wouldn’t. It’s the classic call that can go either way and is down to a referee’s interpretation, but is easier to accept when you’re sure he has all the facts and all the angles.
Ramos and Hazard are back, but Real Madrid leave it late (again)
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens react to Real Madrid’s last-minute win against Elche.
Against relegation-threatened Elche, you got the distinct impression that Zinedine Zidane expected little more than a training match. He played a back three to get Sergio Ramos (returning after a two-month absence) in a back three and allowed him a run-out without overly exerting himself, he gave Toni Kroos and Luka Modric a rest, and we even got to see Eden Hazard for the last 15 minutes (he’d been out since January, though it appears he’s headed to the doctor again after a setback on Monday).
– Benzema the star as Real Madrid win again
– Zidane can’t explain Hazard’s latest injury setback
The result was somewhat predictable. Real Madrid created little, failed to capitalise and went a goal down at the hour-mark before Zidane brought on the cavalry in the form of Modric and Kroos. And just as predictably, Karim Benzema bailed them out, scoring the equaliser and then the injury-time winner. (By the way, Benzema passed the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano to become the third leading goalscorer in the club’s history with 269. Only Raul, with 324, and Cristiano Ronaldo, with 450, are ahead of him.)
The dramatic 2-1 win leaves Real Madrid six points behind Atletico but, more importantly, it leaves them where we left them: a team that is hugely dependent on a clutch of players (Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, Benzema, Modric and Kroos) and that struggles to score. Will Sergio Ramos and Hazard change that? Real Madrid’s season rather depends on an affirmative answer.
Greenwood offers glimpse of what’s to come for Man United
Mark Ogden joins Gab and Juls to debate whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can lead Man United back to the top.
If your glass is permanently half-empty, then beyond the result, there’s little to cheer in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over West Ham. It was a dull game, Marcus Rashford missed a sitter, West Ham had a late chance and the only score came courtesy of a gifted own goal. Yeah, Man United stay second, but only through inertia.
– Dawson: Man United kick off huge week with win
– Fine-tuning, not revolution: Why Man United hired a Director of Football
– Solskjaer: Pogba could return for Europa League tie vs. Milan
Or you could look at it as United playing without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, and beating a side that are fifth in the table and had won three of four games prior to Sunday, with their only defeat coming against Manchester City.
The fact is, United’s season is what it is. Judge it by playing style and results, and there’s moderate progress overall — evolution, not revolution, as my colleague Mark Ogden calls it.
Judge it by the growth of individual players, and there’s a bit more to cheer. Luke Shaw and Mason Greenwood are two examples of this. Shaw is a reclamation process after years of injuries and issues with previous managers (one in particular). Greenwood, lest we forget, doesn’t turn 20 until October and has already made 90 appearances for the club. (And, no, his supposed lack of goals isn’t much of an issue to me given he’s played out wide for much of the year and scored 17 last season.)
These are marginal gains, but it’s important, I think, not to lose sight of them. At some point, the next step as I see it is to give Greenwood a run up front, maybe in a front two.
Ronaldo’s perfect hat trick answers critics, but speculation over his future won’t go away
Gab Marcotti dismisses Cristiano Ronaldo rejoining Real Madrid, but says he could help Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo notched a perfect hat trick (left foot, right foot, header) as Juventus romped past Cagliari 3-1 Sunday, a perfect riposte to the criticism he received against Porto. Yes, he had one of his worst games in recent memory and Juventus went out of the Champions League, but then his team were abjectly bad for the entire first leg and the first half of the second leg; when that happens, it’s not all down to one guy.
– Ogden: Assessing Ronaldo’s options including Man United return
– Pele salutes Ronaldo for passing official goal record
– Ronaldo’s perfect hat trick fuels big Juve win
Talk of whether Juventus would be better off without him (and his $60m-plus annual salary) may well have rankled him, and when he collided with Cagliari keeper Alessio Cragno going for the ball, you wondered for a minute if he’d lost control. It was the sort of challenge that could easily have been a red card and was exceedingly dangerous. Ronaldo was likely spared a sending off (he received a caution instead) because he appeared to pull out at the last second, blunting the force of the blow, immediately apologising. Cragno himself seemed fine after. But, in fact, he put on a master class taking his Serie A total to 23 goals, well on track to pass last year’s total of 31.
Italy’s top division is on Football4cast+. Can Juventus make it 10 straight league titles? If not, will the Milan clubs, Napoli or Atalanta take over?
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After the game, Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici reiterated that the club had no plans to shift him, but those remarks won’t stop speculation. Part of the issue here is folks conflating the exit against Porto with the season he’s having and Juve’s broader situation. He’s having a tremendous season (regardless of age), and Juve’s financial situation is poor, exacerbated by the pandemic. Other than the fact that they’ll earn a little less from the Champions League because of the exit, the latter two factors have zero to do with his performance against Porto, which was a one-off.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate to ask the question: Would Juventus be better off letting him go in the summer, making some money back and investing the enormous savings on younger players? Especially if they’re not going to extend his contract, which expires in 2022, which means they’ll lose him for free anyway.
My sense is that first and foremost it’s Cristiano’s decision, and every indication is that he has no plans to move on. He’s playing his best football under Andrea Pirlo, and free agency in 2022 isn’t necessarily a bad thing (on the contrary). From Juve’s perspective, it makes little sense to usher him out the door. His wages mean the market for him is hugely limited (aside, perhaps from Manchester United in a sort of Edinson Cavani-upgrade role) and not only is he producing on the pitch, he’s also an ideal role model for the youngsters they’re assembling.
It’s best to wait and revisit this in 12 months’ time.
The Tuchel era at Chelsea after 10 games: less in attack, a lot more in defense
Janusz Michallik says Thomas Tuchel will have to address Chelsea’s goal scoring problem in the summer.
One of the remarkable things about Thomas Tuchel’s stint at Chelsea is that only one opposing player (Southampton’s Takumi Minamino, for those who like their trivia) has scored against them. The only other goal they’ve conceded was this own goal by Antonio Rudiger. Tuchel was credited for settling down Paris Saint-Germain’s defence when he arrived, however the fewest objectives they conceded with him on the helm was 0.58 within the half-season earlier than he was sacked in December. And that was at PSG, whose sources dwarf the opposition domestically — definitely extra so than Chelsea. Previous to that, his teams had by no means conceded lower than a objective a recreation on common.
– Ogden: Hope for Pulisic amid worst spell at Chelsea
It is true that a few of it might be all the way down to scheduling: Chelsea have not performed Manchester Metropolis in that run, however they’ve performed Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton, all of whom are within the prime eight. And he is accomplished it whereas alternating wingbacks (we even bought to see Christian Pulisic there on Saturday) and central midfielders, whereas restoring guys like Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso, who performed little beneath his predecessor, Frank Lampard.
The flip aspect is that Chelsea are scoring much less — 1.1 objectives per recreation, in comparison with 1.73 with Lampard — and, for what it is value, the xG numbers additionally mirror this, each in assault and defence: the previous are down somewhat, the latter are down lots.
Is that this a cause to fret? Not proper now. Settling a defence is less complicated than checking out an assault. In Chelsea’s case, they’ve so many weapons that he’d be silly to not give everybody a shot, although once you try this, you lose chemistry. Kai Havertz was up this weekend in opposition to Leeds, he may have scored (however did not) and, clearly, when he performs it is fully completely different than when Timo Werner or Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham lead the road.
It feels as if his objective is twofold: get Chelsea into the highest 4 and determine what kind of team you need on the market subsequent season. The stingy defence and low-scoring assault we’re seeing is a byproduct of this. A short lived one, Chelsea hope.
Martinez comes up huge for Inter, however Conte is not stress-free but
Gab Marcotti says Lautaro Martinez is a participant who should keep wholesome for Inter Milan to win the Scudetto.
Inter’s 2-1 win over Torino on Sunday, coupled with Milan’s defeat at Napoli, means their lead on the prime of Serie A stretches to 9 factors with 11 video games to go. But it is nonetheless too early to crown them champions, if just for the truth that you will be certain supervisor Antonio Conte is not able to do it.
Realizing Conte somewhat, I can guarantee you he appears at this weekend’s recreation and realises that, regardless of a vivid begin, Inter have been heading in the direction of a 1-1 draw earlier than Lautaro Martinez’s magisterial header. For those who’re a supervisor — particularly when you’re Conte — you possibly can’t rely on moments of particular person brilliance to win video games. In the event that they occur, they are a bonus and ones you may fortunately take, nevertheless it’s not your recreation plan. And if something, you possibly can bet he is utilizing that Torino recreation as a wake-up name.
Lewandowski may have scored 5 as Bayern energy previous Werder Bremen
Janusz Michallik questions whether or not Robert Lewandowski will break Gerd Müller’s report of 40 objectives in a season.
They do not preserve correct historic statistics on the variety of instances you hit the woodwork (a minimum of so far as I do know). Heck, they do not even depend as pictures on goal for the stat-heads. However anyone who has performed, at any stage, is aware of full nicely how shut he got here to scoring 5 objectives for Bayern in opposition to Werder Bremen as he scored as soon as and hit the woodwork an unbelievable 4 instances in a 3-1 win.
The shot that did go on in marked his 268th objective, placing him into second place within the all-time Bundesliga scoring desk, stage with the legendary Klaus Fischer. After all, it is taken him simply 345 league video games to achieve that mark, whereas Fischer did it in 535.
Germany’s prime division is on Football4cast+. Can Bayern Munich keep on prime, or will the likes of Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig take over?
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Gerd Muller nonetheless has a 97-goal lead in first place, and with Lewandowski turning 33 in the summertime, the all-time report might be out of attain. What’s fully in attain, although, is the single-season mark set by (who else?) Muller in 1971-72. Lewandowski wants eight objectives to equal it and there are 9 video games left; however for the woodwork, he would have been a heck of lots nearer after this weekend.
General, there have been loads of encouraging indicators for Bayern of their victory. Lucas Hernandez slotted properly into the again line, Jerome Boateng regarded stable and Thomas Muller served up two assists, reminding us simply why he is so crucial to this team.
Man Metropolis are actually in “load administration” territory as Aguero ponders subsequent steps
Frank Leboeuf calls Manchester Metropolis the last word machine after their dominant second half vs. Fulham.
Manchester Metropolis’s 3-Zero win at Fulham wasn’t one in all their sterling, dominant performances, however then, it did not must be. They’ve received each single recreation they’ve performed up to now three months, bar one. We have entered “load administration” territory, the place Pep Guardiola can rotate and experiment and tempo his squad of their pursuit of the Quadruple (Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Champions League), which remains to be very a lot alive.
That is why, in opposition to an in-form Fulham, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne have been left on the bench, whereas Raheem Sterling was left at house. Guardiola little doubt has a greatest XI in his head, however he is attempting to make it a greatest XV or perhaps a greatest XX from which he can choose 11 guys based mostly on health, fatigue ranges and the extent of opposition. It is a luxurious, nevertheless it’s one Metropolis have earned this season.
– Olley: Aguero scores first objective in 14 months, however will Metropolis preserve him?
Metropolis’s third objective was a penalty scored by Sergio Aguero, who hadn’t scored a Premier League objective in practically 14 months. He has clearly had his accidents, however equally, along with his contract expiring in the summertime (and no indication that he’ll get a brand new one), you marvel how that has impacted on his taking part in time. Aguero turns 33 in June; if golf equipment consider he is match, he should not have any scarcity of affords. It is value remembering in any case that within the first six months of final season, he scored 21 objectives in 23 appearances for Metropolis in all competitions. That wasn’t that way back.
Atletico Madrid pissed off by “old-school” Getafe
Alejandro Moreno says outcomes that had been simply sufficient for Atletico Madrid usually are not sufficient now after a draw with Getafe.
It is simple to lampoon Getafe as some sort of off-brand “Diego Simeone 1.0” anti-football experiment on steroids. Simple, however not fully inaccurate. Atletico Madrid wanted a win in opposition to the aspect that everyone likes to hate and hates to play in opposition to. They may have outworked them and floor out a consequence, however they selected to try to outplay them.
It labored — to some extent. Luis Suarez hit the woodwork, Atletico created extra possibilities (as normally occurs in opposition to teams coached by Javier Bordalas), though principally after Allan Nyom was despatched off and David Soria did his Jan Oblak impression within the Getafe objective, making a minimum of two enormous saves.
On paper, it is a match Atletico ought to have received, however Getafe do not play on paper, and for a aspect like Atletico, this was at all times going to be a clumsy matchup. The 0-Zero draw shrinks Atletico’s lead by two factors over Actual Madrid as we look forward to Barcelona to play on Monday evening. Hey, if it was going to be simple, it would not be Atletico.
PSG’s evening to neglect cannot turn out to be a behavior with huge video games on the horizon
Julien Laurens recaps a horrible evening for Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos, who have been robbed throughout PSG-Nantes.
As a result of top-of-the-table Lille have been held to a scoreless draw by Monaco this weekend, the truth that PSG have been horrendous of their house defeat to Nantes means the harm to their Ligue 1 title protection is considerably restricted.
– PSG add safety after gamers’ properties burgled – Sources: Di Maria, Marquinhos’ properties robbed mid-game
Mauricio Pochettino’s aspect are three factors again now relatively than two, and the truth that Lyon additionally drew means they’re nonetheless second. However that is the place the excellent news ends. Two main blunders — one a surprising blind back-pass by Kylian Mbappe (sure, you learn that proper) — condemned them to a 2-1 defeat in opposition to Nantes, a aspect that had received only one recreation within the earlier 4 months. (Mockingly, they’re managed by former PSG boss, Antoine Kombouare).
That is the place the margin for error in Ligue 1 turns into wafer-thin provided that their subsequent two video games are head-to-heads: away in opposition to Lyon and residential to Lille. It is 180 minutes to show the season round and restore regular service to the French title race.
Bellingham shines once more as Dortmund stay in hunt for top-four end
Do not let the truth that, in opposition to Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund’s objectives consisted of a second half mega-blunder from the keeper (on a shot from a unique zip code) and a garbage-time strike by 16-year-old sensation, Youssoufa Moukoko. Dortmund dominated this recreation and will have been up by a number of objectives earlier.
The man who made all of it click on? Jude Bellingham, who’s simply 17 years of age and who put on an analogous grasp class in opposition to Sevilla within the Champions League just a few days earlier. It isn’t typically that we see gamers this younger make the grade at a prime membership, and when it occurs, it is normally up entrance or out huge although hardly ever in the course of the park, the place persona and tactical nous matter as a lot as ability and athleticism.
Loss in Naples leaves Milan’s title hopes hanging by a thread
The Football4cast FC guys clarify the title implications AC Milan’s 1-Zero loss vs. Napoli can have on the title race.
“Subsequent man up” is a pleasant slogan, however it may well solely work so many instances. A Milan aspect exhausted by a late return from the Europa League, lacking three of their beginning again 4 (and the fourth, Theo Hernandez, simply getting back from damage), in addition to their greatest midfielder (Ismael Bennacer) and a few man named Zlatan up entrance was at all times going to battle in opposition to a gifted team like Napoli.
Once you’re working on fumes and low on chemistry, you are inclined to concede extra, offsetting the truth that Milan tried to play open football and be optimistic. Napoli badly wanted the factors to maintain their top-four hopes alive and made their superior particular person high quality depend, successful 1-0.
Is the “scudetto” race over? Not simply but, nevertheless it clearly bought a complete heck of lots tougher for Milan. In the event that they knock out Manchester United on Thursday, they’d be proper to prioritise the Europa League, albeit with warning as a result of if Napoli win their recreation in hand, Milan’s lead over fourth place goes down to only three factors. That is how tight Serie A’s prime 4 race is that this 12 months.
RB Leipzig slip 4 factors again of Bundesliga leaders Bayern
In some methods, the most effective information of the weekend for Bayern Munich got here on Sunday, with Leipzig’s 1-1 draw in opposition to Eintracht Frankfurt. The hole between first and second is now 4 factors, which implies that Bayern may even afford to lose the head-to-head on April Three with Julian Nagelsmann’s males and keep in entrance.
It wasn’t a nasty efficiency. Emil Forsberg bought the objective they usually created loads of possibilities in opposition to an opponent who, lest we neglect, are fourth within the desk. Perhaps the distinction between them and Bayern is that, when Bayern play nicely, they hardly ever drop factors.