European Soccer Round-up: Man City, Chelsea and Bayern Continue to Dominate While Atletico, PSG Struggle
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City continue to impress as they defeated West Ham United 3-1 at home on Sunday. West Ham — plagued by injuries of key players such as Dimitri Payet, Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll, Aaron Cresswell and Sofiane Feghouli — were outplayed in the first half by a dominant Man City side and went down 2-0 by goals from Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho.
The second half saw a much better display from the away side as Michail Antonio scored a great header in the 58th minute to make it a one-goal game. However, a stoppage time goal from Sterling assured the victory for the Citizens as the match ended by a scoreline of 3-1.
Big blows for the hosts came at the 59th minute when new signing John Stones had to leave the game due to eye injury and star striker Sergio Aguero’s elbow on Winston Reid means he could be charged with violent conduct and suspended for three games — starting with the big derby game against United on September 10th.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Manchester United had to wait until the 92nd minute to get a win over Hull City. United, who came out with the same lineup as last week’s game against Southampton, dominated the entire match and out-shot the hosts 29 to 8. Hull City, a team in crisis with only 14 senior players available with no permanent coach, defended well and kept their composure throughout the match to frustrate the away side. However, a very late Marcus Rashford strike got the slim 1-0 victory for United as they join Chelsea and Manchester City as the only teams with a 100% winning record.
Over in London, Chelsea cruised past Burnley to get a comfortable 3-0 win at home. Burnley, who got an upset win against Liverpool last weekend, struggled to give the hosts any sort of problems throughout the match. Eden Hazard scored a wonder strike in the 9th minute to give the Blues an early lead before Willian and Victor Moses added in two more goals to finish out the game.
In north London, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw to share points. James Milner converted a penalty in the 43rd minute to put Liverpool ahead, but the Spurs received an equalizer through Danny Rose in the 72nd minute. Both teams did very little for the rest of the match and the match ended as a draw.
Other big matches from the Premier League include Arsenal beating Watford away from home 3-1 and defending champions Leicester getting a well deserved 2-1 win at home against Swansea.
In La Liga, Real Madrid needed a late strike from Toni Kroos to get a tight win over Celta Vigo at home. Los Blancos, who only made one change from last weekend’s win over Sociedad by bringing Modric back to the team, struggled to give any sort of problems to the defense of Celta during the first half.
The second half saw a more lethal attack from the hosts and they took the controversial lead in the 60th minute as goalscorer Alvaro Morata appeared to be in an offside position. Chile international Fabian Orellana scored a great goal for Celta to keep the score level in the 67th minute, but Kroos scored a special goal of his own in the 82nd minute to get the victory for the home side.
In Basque Country, Athletic Bilbao threw away many chances to score as they went down 1-0 to the defending champions Barcelona. Bilbao, who had more shots on target, couldn’t capitalize on the chances they got and were also denied a late penalty when Ivan Rakitic fouled Iker Muniain in the penalty box.
The only goal of the game came in the 21st minute when Rakitic headed in a tremendous cross that was put in by Arda Turan. Bilbao’s biggest opportunity to score came when Barcelona keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen made a mistake of passing the ball to Beñat Etxebarria. However, Beñat’s shot couldn’t find the back of the net as it bounced off the 24 year old keeper’s face.
Atletico Madrid continues to disappoint as they struggled to beat yet another recently promoted side, Leganes. Leganes — who was playing their first ever La Liga match at home — defended extremely well to keep the game at 0-0. Atletico’s questionable lineup (4-4-2) with two holding midfielders backfired as the visitors lacked an attacking spark — even with their star player Antoine Greizmann.
New signing Kevin Gameiro also continues to struggle to fit in with his new team. Coach Simeone will have many tactical changes to make if he wants his team to challenge for any titles this season.
Meanwhile, in what seemed to be the biggest match in La Liga this weekend, Villarreal and Sevilla played out a dull 0-0 draw to share points. Sevilla, who scored six past Espanyol last weekend, made some changes to the team coming into this match and it failed to pay off as they registered zero shots on target. Villarreal did score during a corner kick through Rafael Santos Borre, but it was ruled offside.
Both teams did very little attacking throughout the game as Fran Escriba’s Villarreal side still has zero wins after four official matches.
The Rest of Europe
Over in Germany, Bayern Munich got a very comfortable win as they opened up a new Bundesliga season with a whopping 6-0 victory over Werder Bremen. Robert Lewandowski got a hat trick while Xabi Alonso, Phillip Lahm and Franck Ribery scored a goal each for the Bavarian giants.
A new look Borussia Dortmund also started their season with a win as they defeated Mainz 2-1 at home. Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a brace for the home side, while Japan international Yoshinori Muto scored a late consolation goal for the visitors.
In Italy, Juventus continues to dominate as they defeated Lazio 1-0 away from home. The only goal of the game came in the 66th minute from Sami Khedira as Juve gets two wins out of two games.
In the big match up of Serie A this weekend, Napoli defeated AC Milan 4-2 in what proves to be an exciting game in Naples. The home side was initially up 2-0 in the first half though goals from new signing Arkadiusz Milik, but Milan quickly equalized the game as Mbaye Niang and Suso scored in the 51st and 54th minutes. However, Napoli would go on to get valuable three points as Jose Maria Callejon scored a brace late in the second half to close out the match at 4-2.
Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by a Sicilian side Palermo in yet another disappointing game under new coach Frank De Boer. Andrea Rispoli gave the visitors the lead in the 48th minute before captain Mauro Icardi equalized in the 72nd minute.
Over in France, a big upset unfolded as Monaco got a 3-1 home win over defending champions PSG. Joao Moutinho gave the hosts an early lead in the 13th minute before Fabinho scored from a penalty to increase the lead to 2-0.
Edinson Cavani got a goal for PSG in the 63rd minute before Serge Aurier scored an own goal in the 80th minute to hand over the victory to the home side.
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