The first weekend of the new season has seen a lot of action, with some big wins for some big teams. Here’s what you missed this weekend.
The haaland to barca is a transfer that has taken place this week. It was announced on Monday and the player has already started training with his new team.
Despite the fact that his new colleague, Messi, was the primary attraction, Mbappe, left, grabbed the headlines for PSG’s win. Getty Images/FRANCK FIFE/AFP
It was another fantastic weekend of action throughout Europe, with Lionel Messi’s long-awaited PSG debut, drama in Dortmund, excellent victories for Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga, and a classic performance between the posts for Man United’s often-criticized No. 1.
Here’s everything you need to know about the major things.
Jump to: Key Takeaways | Best Goals | Teams in Peril | Weekend MVP
There are four things to consider.
On his PSG debut, Mbappe outshone Messi.
This weekend’s hottest ticket in European football was in Reims, 90 minutes north and east of Paris, where Lionel Messi made his PSG debut after signing on a free transfer from Barcelona. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino was allowed to name Messi in a matchday squad alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for the first time since the Argentine joined on Aug. 10. Messi, on the other hand, was forced to wait until Mbappe and Neymar onto the field.
Some of the enthusiastic Stade de Reims fans even joined PSG supporters in screaming for Messi’s entrance as he warmed up at the start of the second half, but PSG had already sealed up the three points by the time he replaced former Barca colleague Neymar shortly after the hour mark.
PSG made it four wins from four in Ligue 1 thanks to two goals from Mbappe, who was the subject of a €180 million offer from Real Madrid this week. There was a touch of regret, though, that Messi was unable to mark his debut with a characteristic moment of magic. PSG, on the other hand, seem to be in excellent shape, and if they can maintain Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar together, they should be able to equal Reims by reaching a second European final.
PSG fell to Bayern Munich in the 2020 Champions League final, whereas Reims lost to Madrid in the 1956 and 1959 European Cup finals. They’re eager to go one step further with Messi. Sam Marsden (actor)
August 29, 2021 — Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG inside)
Liverpool vs. Chelsea is dominated by VAR mayhem.
Following a couple of turbulent seasons since its introduction, VAR has added clarity rather than confusion and been the positive addition that it was intended to be, but the Laws of the Game still throw up anomalies, and Chelsea’s Reece James was the victim of the handball rule during Saturday’s fiery 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
After his arm stopped Sadio Mane’s goal-bound effort, referee Anthony Taylor handed the England defender a red card for handball, which led to Mohamed Salah’s penalty equalize at Anfield.
The ball had rebounded up and into James’ arm from his leg. He had no legal grounds to challenge Taylor’s judgment; the regulations forced Taylor to send him away. However, it seems to be very severe that an unintentional, involuntary movement of the arm results in a penalty and a red card. The punishment seems excessively petty and harsh, and it much outweighs the offense. By all means, punish players for misbehavior, but the rules were applied severely to James and Chelsea this weekend. ‘Mark Ogden’
New-look So far, Real Madrid seems to be in excellent shape.
Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look Real Madrid haven’t quite hit their stride yet, but seven points from three LaLiga games — all of which came on the road, since the Santiago Bernabeu is still undergoing renovations and isn’t yet ready to host the squad — is a promising start. So far, there have been a lot of positive indications, from Vinicius Junior’s long-awaited addition of end product to his raw potential to David Alaba’s smooth transition to his new home.
Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over Real Betis was less convincing than the 4-1 success over struggling Alaves on the opening weekend, and less spectacular than last week’s 3-3 thriller at Levante, but it was the sort of hard-fought, gutsy victory that may prove crucial at the end of the season. A sluggish first half was followed by an amazing lifting of the pace after the interval, with back-from-injury Dani Carvajal’s strike sealing the three points.
pic.twitter.com/Msdb77mAhz T E A M
August 28, 2021 — Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden)
Thibaut Courtois in goal, Alaba in defence (whom Ancelotti has said he likes at centre-back), Casemiro in midfield, and Benzema up front are a match for any club in Europe. Madrid may be a force to be reckoned with coming season if they can eventually complete the acquisition of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window shuts on Tuesday. Alex Kirkland, author
Dortmund’s hero is Haaland.
Given how every game has the potential for turmoil, both good and bad, it will take a lot for Borussia Dortmund to launch a genuine championship push. The Black and Yellows’ 3-2 win over a tenacious, confident Hoffenheim side showed both their good and bad sides: after taking the lead through Giovanni Reyna, they allowed Hoffenheim to equalize just eight minutes later, and they didn’t really close out the game after Jude Bellingham’s emphatic finish to make it 2-1.
You can probably predict what happened: Hoffenheim substitute Munas Dabbur equalized in stoppage time, but there was just enough time for Erling Haaland to score the game-winner after some really insane scrambling around the penalty box.
The victory sent Marco Rose’s team to the top of the Bundesliga table, but one has to question how long they will be able to maintain their position. They’ll need to demonstrate they can manage both the tempo and the result of games if they want to win the championship, but for now, just pass the popcorn. James Tyler is an author.
DORTMUND GETS AN INJURY TIME WINNER FROM ERLING HAALAND! pic.twitter.com/S1t2GZNRTv
— August 27, 2021, ESPN FC (@ESPNFC)
Three objectives that you must see
Memphis comes to Barca’s rescue once again.
Barcelona’s new hero was saving them for the second week in a row only hours before Messi made his PSG debut.
Last weekend, Memphis Depay earned a point against Athletic Bilbao, and on Sunday, he scored the game-winning goal against Getafe to keep Ronald Koeman’s team undefeated in LaLiga. It wasn’t a goal worthy of goal of the season consideration, but it did show what the Dutch striker can provide to Barcelona in the post-Messi era. His dancing feet perplexed Getafe’s defense, and his early attempt, which fizzed beneath the unprepared David Soria, was reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s.
The Camp Nou fans shouted “Memphis” in a unique manner. Marsden’s words
Memphis Depay restores Barcelona’s lead! JB20ZtBDzG (https://twitter.com/JB20ZtBDzG)
August 29, 2021 — ESPN FC (@ESPNFC)
Soler is a fantastic player for Valencia.
The team’s second goal in a 3-0 victory against Alaves on Friday night was a piece of beauty for new Valencia coach Jose Bordalas, who is renowned for his aggressive style of pragmatic, win-at-all-costs football. Carlos Soler’s immediately stretched backward to backheel flick the ball into the top of the goal after Goncalo Guedes’ first-time cross from the right was headed behind him.
Soler was already Valencia’s most creative player, earning the No. 10 jersey this season, and now he’s delivering cutting edge with three goals in as many games. Kirkland’s comment
HIGHLIGHTS | @valenciacf en wins and leads #LaLigaSantander into the weekend!
(0:39 for the conclusion of @Carlos10Soler)
#ValenciaAlaves pic.twitter.com/uGokCzuTQs #ValenciaAlaves
— August 27, 2021, LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN)
Greenwood demonstrates that he still has a lot to offer.
Mason Greenwood may be the player who suffers the most as a result of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United, but the teenager demonstrated against Wolves that he has the scoring instinct to be a valuable backup to the 36-year-old.
Greenwood surged into the penalty area in the 79th minute and smashed a right-footed drive past goalkeeper Jose Sa and into the far corner to give United a point at Molineux. He has already scored 32 goals in 108 games for United, despite the fact that he is still just 19 years old. During his adolescent years, even Ronaldo had not scored as many goals for the club. Ogden, Utah
There are two teams that should be concerned.
It’s Arsenal once again.
Arsenal aren’t just awful; they’re extremely bad. It’s starting to seem like this will be a recurrent theme.
After losing their first two games of the season to Brentford and Chelsea, a trip to champions Manchester City was obviously the worst case scenario for Mikel Arteta’s side, but if you’re going to lose, at least show up and demonstrate that you want to halt the rot. Arsenal, on the other hand, were terrible and looked like a group of players who lacked faith in themselves, their colleagues, and, maybe most importantly, their coach.
Arsenal have never previously endured three defeats without scoring in the opening three games of a season in their 128-year existence, so we’re talking about new lows. Arteta is under extreme pressure to immediately demonstrate that he can stop the decline, but he already seems to be on borrowed time.
After the international break, Norwich hosts the first relegation game of the season, pitting bottom against second bottom. If Arsenal loses that game, Arteta’s career may be over. Ogden, Utah
Wolves are in desperate need of goals.
The heroics of Man United’s goalie (more on him in a minute) should lift Wolves supporters’ spirits following Sunday’s 1-0 home loss, but new manager Bruno Lage is seeing a worrying pattern emerge: a dangerous dearth of goals.
Wolves have failed to score in their first three Premier League games of the 2021-22 season, losing all three by a 1-0 score, and goals are what separates a successful season from a bad one. (After all, no one enjoys playing defense for 90 minutes.) Arsenal, do you agree?) There’s some comfort in having a difficult start to the season, with games against Leicester, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United all at home, but the ship must be righted soon. Tyler’s comment
David de Gea may be regaining the form that made him the greatest goalkeeper in the world in the opinion of many at Old Trafford at one point during his career.
De Gea’s heroics between the posts were as important to United’s 1-0 victory against Wolves as Greenwood’s late winning goal, since the home side would have won easily without him. He produced a slew of crucial stops, the best of which was a second-half double block from Romain Saiss.
In recent seasons, especially maybe after a dismal showing for Spain at the 2018 World Cup, De Gea has seemed to be a goalie lacking in confidence and beyond his prime. De Gea could have begun this season on the bench for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad if his competitor for the No. 1 position, Dean Henderson, hadn’t been sidelined by COVID-19’s aftereffects during preseason. He has instead started all three Premier League games and has looked powerful and dominating in each of them.
De Gea, who has been chastised for failing to detect danger in the build-up, showed a newfound desire to play higher up the field by sprinting out of his penalty area to stifle Wolves attempts at Molineux.
De Gea’s confidence may have been boosted by the sight of new acquisition Raphael Varane partnering Harry Maguire at the heart of United’s defence against Wolves, with the veteran pair providing stability to the back four. But, in the end, De Gea’s form is down to him, and the 30-year-old demonstrated against Wolves that he still has plenty of years at the top ahead of him if his comeback continues. Ogden, Utah