Liverpool-Man United draw helps Man Metropolis, Barca should shrug off Messi’s first crimson card, Inter dominate Juve

Liverpool-Man United draw helps Man Metropolis, Barca should shrug off Messi’s first crimson card, Inter dominate Juve

It was one other large weekend in soccer with a string of massive outcomes altering the narratives (and the title races) throughout Europe. Within the Premier League, Liverpool and Man United battled to a 0-Zero draw which may depart them each on the skin wanting in in terms of the title, whereas Inter Milan (led by Arturo Vidal) dominated Juventus within the Derby d’Italia to place the defending Serie A champions underneath some severe stress. There was additionally a little bit of historical past (although not of the great type) for Lionel Messi, who obtained his first Barca crimson card in over 750 profession appearances as they misplaced the Spanish Supercopa in further time to a deserving Athletic Bilbao team.

There have been additionally large outcomes for Bayern Munich, who seemed sharp once more within the Bundesliga, Man Metropolis and Napoli, whereas Mesut Ozil’s time at Arsenal was formally delivered to an finish after seven and a half years.

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It is Monday, and Gab Marcotti reacts to the most important moments on the planet of football from the previous week.

Bounce to: Liverpool, Man Utd draw | Inter’s assertion win | Barca cannot dwell on loss | Man Metropolis miss Aguero | Bayern look convincing | Ozil, Arsenal cut up | Dortmund’s good, unhealthy, ugly | Chelsea lean on Mount | Leipzig drop factors | New-look Spurs? | Do not sleep on Napoli | And at last…

Man Metropolis profit most from Liverpool, Man United stalemate

After the scoreless draw between Liverpool and Manchester United, Luke Shaw mentioned he felt United had been the higher team. When it was identified to Jordan Henderson that some felt United had been higher, his first response was: “Who mentioned that?!? Attention-grabbing…”

Clearly, he disagreed. Possibly it was simply the postmatch adrenaline, however all sides, considered from their very own perspective, may credibly make an argument. Liverpool had extra of the ball and seemed sharper, no less than till the ultimate third. United, after a purely counterattacking first half, ended up with two late clear-cut possibilities.

It is in all probability truthful to say that both aspect may have gained, and that neither did speaks to the truth that it is two factors dropped for each.

– Ogden: Man United’s title credentials boosted at Liverpool
– Liverpool rankings: Misfiring Firmino 5/10 up entrance
– Man United rankings: Maguire, Shaw impress

United’s sport plan was primary, however efficient. They counter nicely, so that is what they set as much as do. Shifting Paul Pogba to the appropriate gave them a little bit of attacking output on Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s flank, and helped uninteresting the impetus of Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson. Enterprise picked up after Edinson Cavani got here on for Anthony Martial, giving Fabinho and Henderson — Liverpool’s emergency centre-backs — a distinct form of risk.

There’s not a lot fault to seek out in Solskjaer’s work on Sunday. These are the gamers he has; that is what they do. The execution may have been higher, nevertheless it’s not right down to Solskjaer if Marcus Rashford is not timing his runs accurately, or in the event that they battle to maintain the ball underneath Liverpool’s press: the personnel is what it’s, and it wasn’t going to vary on the day.



Janusz Michallik explains why he believes Man Utd shall be proud of a degree, however argues they need to have pushed for extra.

Liverpool are extra advanced right here, as a result of Klopp modified much more — a few of it enforced (on the again), a few of it much less so. Shifting Henderson additional again was a logical selection when you are going to have loads of the ball, not a lot of an aerial risk and enormous areas to defend. Thiago Alcantara was a no brainer. Xherdan Shaqiri, maybe, a bit extra pondering out of the field (he hadn’t began a league sport since 2019), however that is nice.

The place Klopp was let down, although, was in two areas that had been his lynchpins to success lately. Trent Alexander-Arnold actually struggled, each on the ball and off. It is easy to overlook that he is nonetheless younger and gamers have ups and downs however, maybe greater than every other, it is a troublesome season for him and Liverpool miss the attacking dimension he brings whereas, defensively, his lapses are proving expensive. He’ll play his manner out of it; he is simply 22. However it might take time.

Liverpool and Man United earned a degree in Sunday’s 0-Zero draw, however each misplaced some useful floor to Man Metropolis, who look set to hit one other gear. Ash Donelon/Manchester United through Getty Photos

The opposite drawback space is up entrance. Liverpool have now gone 348 league minutes with out a objective — that is their longest run in 16 years. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have as many goals (24) as they did at this stage last season, which suggests rather than the three of them playing worse this season, it’s more a case of fatigue (Diogo Jota’s injury obviously didn’t help) and a different kind of service from a different kind of midfield (and from Alexander-Arnold).

Help from the transfer market seems unlikely, so it’s up to Klopp to work his way out of this jam. It’s a question of regaining sharpness and better exploiting what Thiago brings to the midfield. Ideally, of course, you’d work on this on the training pitch, but this season being what it is, he’ll have to fix it on the fly.

Either way, the evident big winner here was the team down the road, Manchester City.

Inter Milan deliver statement win vs. Juventus



Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss Andrea Pirlo’s approach in Juventus’ 2-0 loss to Inter Milan.

Make no mistake about it: this was a beatdown. Inter Milan emerged as 2-0 victors over Juventus on Sunday, they could have scored five or six. And, because Inter are still Inter, there was a typical moment when you felt they might throw it all away. Samir Handanovic made a superb save off Federico Chiesa’s shot three minutes from time. Had it gone in, it would have set up the sort of nervy, squeaky-bum finish that terrifies Inter supporters — particularly against Juventus — when a moment of magic, a mental lapse or a refereeing decision might have cost them three points.

But it didn’t, and so there was no psychodrama. Just a team that played with personality, purpose and outclassed the opposition in nearly every area of the pitch. Arturo Vidal was on his best behaviour on the pitch: disciplined, on-time with the opener and just the right kind of fiery. Which is a good thing, because after he inadvertently appeared to kiss the Juve badge. (Thought: how about we depart the cuddling and the kissing of the opponents till after the sport?) there was no manner he may afford to observe up with a poor efficiency.

Inter had been just about at full energy and made it depend. The one blot was some wayward ending from Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, however on nights like this, you are very happy to provide them a cross.



From earlier than the match to the ultimate whistle, Jurgen Klinsmann says Arturo Vidal dominated the day for Inter

The place Inter actually dominated was in the course of the park. Along with Vidal, we noticed a whirlwind efficiency from Nicolo Barella, who additionally scored the second objective. If he had a mohawk and extra tattoos, he’d be a extra disciplined, equally intense model of Vidal — the great Vidal, the circa-2014 Vidal. However, for me, the important thing was Marcelo Brozovic, AKA “The Broz.” He did precisely what a playmaker ought be doing: creating, dictating play, all the time being obtainable to obtain the ball. If Inter win the title, they want him to supply usually.

And Brozovic is precisely what Juventus do not have. That midfield was overrun and, as we have highlighted earlier than, it is the weakest a part of Andre Pirlo’s puzzle. You possibly can’t play a possession sport when you transfer the ball slowly or unimaginatively. With out creating play from midfield, you both rely on crosses — that wasn’t taking place with the fullbacks pinned again, and Chiesa blowing cold and warm — or people doing one thing particular. (And that wasn’t taking place both: Cristiano Ronaldo had considered one of his poorest video games, he cannot put on the Superman cape each time he steps on the pitch).

Andrea Pirlo’s Juve was out-thought and out-fought. They don’t seem to be able proper now to identify the opposition three (Mathijs De Ligt, Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro) and a half (Paulo Dybala) starters, however that may’t be an alibi both. Given the way in which they’re performing proper now — and given how nicely Inter performed — even with that quartet obtainable it is exhausting to think about a distinct final result Sunday night time.

Koeman, Barcelona cannot let Tremendous Cup defeat turn into greater than it’s



Football4cast FC’s Rodri Faez unpacks one other disappointing night time for Barcelona as Lionel Messi receives his first crimson card.

The only greatest mistake Ronald Koeman may make proper now’s to let Sunday’s 3-2 Spanish Supercopa defeat to Athletic Bilbao mushroom into one thing deeper and better. (To be truthful, I do not understand how he stops it…)

Already, we’re witnessing the aftermath. Lionel Messi’s crimson card — his first ever in a Barcelona shirt — is being handled like some sort of metaphor for his pent-up frustration and imminent (potential) exit. Barca’s toothless first half is seen as proof of the dearth of spine on this team (and, due to this fact, should be Koeman’s fault). On and on, the negativity grows.

– Hunter: How zen-like Messi lastly noticed crimson for Barca
– Report: Messi may face four-match ban for crimson card
– Barca rankings: Messi 5/10 in cup defeat

Make no mistake about it: this was not a superb efficiency, and neither was the semifinal in opposition to Actual Sociedad. This model of Barca is flimsy and flighty by nature — all Koeman can do is try to leverage the truth that more often than not, they will have higher gamers than the opposition and higher gamers typically generate one thing out of nothing. Barca will not beat you with patterns of play (aside from the tried-and-tested Messi-Jordi Alba schtick), they usually will not outmuscle you. The most effective you’ll be able to hope for is Ousmane Dembele stretching the opposition sufficient to create some area for Antoine Griezmann, Pedri and Messi to have an effect on the sport, whereas Marc-Andre ter Stegen works wonders on the different finish.

That is what they’re. And when Koeman can channel it — as he did not too long ago in La Liga — they get sufficient manufacturing to no less than punch their weight because the third-best team in Spain, which is what the desk says they’re. (On this event, it in all probability does not lie.) However when the opposition rattles them and when Messi is human, they’re susceptible. We knew that. This is not new. And it is important to Koeman’s prospects that it does not transcend that.

As for Messi, who is aware of what’s in his head?

Reality be informed, as I see it, it was fairly straight-forward. He was being held and man-handled, certain, however this wasn’t his first rodeo. He gambled on the truth that a swift whack to his opponent may set him free to do one thing and notch the equalizer, and that the officers weren’t going to punish him for one thing at this stage of the sport. Evidently, he caught Asier Villalibre extra clearly and extra forcefully than he had deliberate, and he received despatched off. That is it.

However for all this, let’s have fun Athletic Bilbao and Marcelino too. Let’s remind ourselves that he took over a aspect within the backside half of the desk and needed to face Barca twice and Actual Madrid as soon as in his three video games in cost. And, nonetheless, he concocted a sport plan that thwarted each of them.

Let’s additionally surprise at the truth that this membership with its Basque-only participant coverage can stand toe-to-toe with golf equipment that may recruit from each angle of the globe. For folks like Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain, each Basque to the molecule, this title is value a lot greater than a trophy case filled with silverware garnered elsewhere. Each Bilbao coach tries to faucet into this; Marcelino managed to do it in double quick-time. And his reward was listening to Villalibre’s celebration on the trumpet, the sweetest music he is heard in a very long time.

Man Metropolis are spectacular, however Aguero’s absence nonetheless weighs heavy



Football4cast FC’s Shaka Hislop says every thing is falling into place for Manchester Metropolis within the Premier League

John Stones bagged two objectives as Manchester Metropolis beat up Crystal Palace, 4-0, on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s crew have now gained eight video games in a row in all competitions and, in lower than a month, have whittled their deficit from the highest spot from eight factors to simply two. And, in fact, they’ve performed one fewer sport than the teams round them.

– Dawson: Stones’ revival key to Man Metropolis resurgence

There is not any query that they are trending in the appropriate route, which is why many have them as favourites to win the league, however there are placing variations. After 17 video games, they’ve scored 29 objectives and conceded 13. A lot has been made about their defensive enchancment this marketing campaign due to the re-emergence of Stones and the consistency of Ruben Dias, however actually, it is solely barely higher than their common at this stage over Guardiola’s earlier 4 seasons, which is 15. The place there’s an evident short-fall is in attacking output, the place the 29 scored is manner down on the 45.eight they’ve averaged.

What does it imply? Most likely that Sergio Aguero’s absence weighs so much heavier than many notice, no less than by way of changing possibilities into objectives. And that whereas they proceed to churn out outcomes, the margin of error by way of successful video games is that a lot smaller.

Bayern lastly look convincing in Bundesliga



Football4cast FC’s Gab Marcotti feels Bayern performed significantly better vs. Freiburg than they’ve had of late.

When you solely watched the condensed highlights of Bayern vs. Freiburg, you little doubt noticed former Bayern striker Nils Petersen rattle Manuel Neuer’s crossbar in damage time and should have concluded that, as soon as once more, the Bavarians received away with their 2-1 win. In reality, this was a much more rational and convincing efficiency — regardless of the late jitters — in opposition to an opponent that had gained 5 of their earlier six video games.

The David Alaba-Jerome Boateng partnership, maybe helped by a midfield that dropped slightly bit deeper, punched their weight defensively. Up entrance, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller did the remaining, they usually may have scored extra. If Hansi Flick was on the lookout for a no-nonsense response after the shock cup defeat to Holstein Kiel final week, nicely, he received it.

This team is way from what it was six months in the past, however the large hitters — those who matter, Mueller, Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich — are standing and delivering. If they’ll set the instance for among the others (Alphonso Davies, Leroy Sane, Benjamin Pavard, and so forth) Bayern shall be simply nice.

A lesson and a want following Ozil’s Arsenal exit



Former Arsenal star Mesut Özil says he is excited to play for Turkish membership Fenerbahce as he arrives to finish his transfer.

Mesut Ozil’s change to Fenerbahce is all performed and he leaves Arsenal after seven-and-a-half years, although most will in all probability wish to overlook the final two-and-a-half. The German grew to become the cautionary story for unhealthy contracts, panicked golf equipment paying for previous efficiency quite than future expectation. His detractors, who noticed him as grasping for not agreeing a pay minimize and exhibiting little emotion or chunk, are little doubt glad to see him gone.

Me? I’ve a lesson to be taught, and a want to specific. The lesson is that mega-contracts have penalties and that silly choices — like letting Ozil’s run down after which panicking into that £350,000-a-week deal — come again to chunk you. A little bit of fiscal prudence would not go amiss, and it is all the time harmful when the “pay-him-what-he-wants” and “who-else-are-you-going-to-get” brigades have the higher hand. (Although given the offers handed to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian this previous summer time, I am undecided Arsenal have gotten the message.)

The want is that we see Ozil again at one thing near his greatest. A minimum of sufficient to recollect the participant he was, the artistic drive that many — together with evidently Arsene Wenger and, for some time no less than, Mikel Arteta — fell in love with.

It did not need to be this manner, nevertheless it was. Arsenal can now transfer on, and so can Ozil.

Dortmund present their full Jekyll and Hyde vs. Mainz



Jurgen Klinsmann says Borussia Dortmund will not problem Bayern with performances like that they had in opposition to Mainz.

The knock in opposition to youthful gamers is that they are often inconsistent. Expertise lets you keep targeted, to climate bumps, to tempo your self and to react to conditions. I do not actually purchase it, personally, however Borussia Dortmund’s efficiency in opposition to Mainz provides loads of proof that there is one thing behind the idea.

Coach Edin Terzic lined up Erling Haaland (20), Jadon Sancho (20) and Jude Bellingham (17) subsequent to the wiser heads (24-year-old Julian Brandt and 31-year-old Marco Reus) and for 45 minutes battered Mainz, creating probability upon probability. Then, after a scoreless first half, their urgent grew sloppy, their positioning askew they usually went a objective down. It took a 16-year-old (Youssoufa Moukoko) to seek out the drive to arrange Thomas Meunier’s equalizer, earlier than Marco Reus missed what would have been the game-winning penalty.

I do not know what to make of this bunch aside from the truth that having gone from an skilled supervisor (Lucien Favre) to a youthful one (Terzic), this team soar over mountaintops one minute and crumble by your fingers like mud the following.

Chelsea lean on Mount, get three factors (and never a lot else)

Chelsea loved 70 p.c possession, a person benefit for greater than a half, managed 21 pictures and nonetheless wanted a late Mason Mount objective to down relegation-threatened Fulham 1-0. It is three factors that relieve among the stress, and certain, the Champions League spots are simply 4 factors away. However the incapacity to impose themselves in opposition to this stage of opposition tells you simply how a lot work Frank Lampard nonetheless has to do.

Maybe feeling he wanted a end result, Lampard opted for his most “rational,” veteran-packed lineup: Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in for Reece James and Kurt Zouma on the again, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in midfield (N’Golo Kante was suspended), Olivier Giroud up entrance and each Kai Havertz and Timo Werner on the bench. And nonetheless they needed to huff and puff to blow down Scott Parker’s little home. Mount, who’s rising into a real all-round midfielder, was one of many few brilliant spots, although it may take greater than that to shut the hole on the highest 4.

Leipzig drop factors, nevertheless it may have been worse

Enjoying with a lead — particularly an early lead — should make issues a complete heck of so much simpler and it normally does, notably for a team filled with power and tempo. But Leipzig, regardless of Noridi Mukiele’s early strike, contrived to concede two objectives to Wolfsburg, going into the break 2-1 down.

From there, it was all uphill. Wolfsburg are a superb aspect who defend nicely. Julian Nagelsmann’s crew created loads of possibilities, however aside from Willi Orban’s comedy equaliser, did not convert. It is a level, certain, nevertheless it means they slip additional behind. The much less typically they depart themselves in positions the place they should lay siege to the opposition objective, the higher.

New(ish) formation, new mentality for Tottenham



Janusz Michallik believes Tanguy Ndombele knew precisely what he was doing when he scored his wonderful objective in Spurs’ win.

Jose Mourinho’s change to a back-three coincided with a 3-1 win over Sheffield United and a sterling efficiency (to not point out a objective that can dwell on for a very long time on Youtube) from Tanguy Ndombele. Extra importantly, maybe, it resulted in a extra front-foot Tottenham quite than one which scores, invitations stress and finally concedes the equalizer, like we noticed in latest outings.

This model of 3-4-Three is especially efficient as a result of it frees up the wingbacks to offer width and permits Harry Kane to drop deeper to select up the ball. It does not flip right into a 5-4-1 when the opposition have the ball both, which can be essential. Mourinho had complained that in earlier video games, his gamers had sat too deep after going forward and, absolutely on message the gamers, led by Harry Kane, responded that it was Mourinho’s tactical directions that had prompted them to take action. Whether or not you purchase this or not — and it is a bit of a stretch to think about Mourinho accepting his team not following his directions — what issues right here is that there was one unified voice popping out of Spurs.

Will we see extra of this 3-4-3? Presumably, nevertheless it’s exhausting to see it turning into a fixture. It is not clear that they’ve sufficient depth at centre-back to do that usually with out sacrificing high quality and in opposition to higher teams, it leaves you outmanned in the course of the park. However so long as they’re snug switching programs, it is a viable choice. The important thing, nevertheless, shall be sustaining the mentality the 3-4-Three engenders even once you play a distinct system.



Gab Marcotti believes Napoli have a variety of depth and may undoubtedly be within the combine to win the Scudetto.

Do not ignore Napoli in Serie A title race

They’re shortly turning into the Rodney Dangerfield of Serie A: they get no respect.

With their 6-Zero thumping of Fiorentina, Napoli are again to 3rd within the desk. If hey win their sport in hand (it is in opposition to Juve, make of that what you’ll) they will be simply three factors again. And guess what? Their prime scorer in all competitions final yr, Dries Mertens, solely returned on Sunday after a month out, whereas their star signing final summer time, Victor Osimhen, has been out since early November.

The concept of a Milanese Derby for the title is way sexier, however low cost Napoli at your peril, notably when Lorenzo Insigne is within the form of type he confirmed Sunday.

And at last…

Bas Dost scored for Membership Brugge of their 3-Zero away win at Beerschot. He now has two objectives in two Belgian league look and is on tempo to attain 15 within the league. Counting his time at Eintracht Frankfurt, he has seven objectives in 16 video games general this season.

This concludes the newest instalment of #BasDostWatch.

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