Recap: Dramatic opening weekend in EPL and Madrid’s destruction of Nou Camp
In case you have not heard, European football leagues have resumed. From the Emirates Stadium in London to Nou Camp in Barcelona, there were plenty of dramas that made football fans yearn for more.
Here are five things we learned this weekend.
The Premier League delivers unbeatable entertainment value
From Arsenal’s madcap game against Leicester City, Liverpool’s high-scoring draw, Chelsea’s loss, to Romelu Lukaku’s brace, the Premier League showed why every bit of the 83 days we waited and pined for its return, was justifiable. The shiny new toys of top sides all got on the score sheet: Alexander Lacazette got the opener for Arsenal on Friday night, Salah scored Liverpool’s third despite his profligacy, Alvaro Morata was a positive in Chelsea’s loss as he replied his critics with his goal and assist, and Lukaku showed all signs of £75 million with his two goals. The Premier League is back and we love it!
Super Cups are dramatic
Real Madrid further deepened the fears of all concerning Barcelona with their 3-1 victory in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Camp Nou. Barcelona were second rate against their rivals and Neymar’s loss hit harder than they would have hoped. Gerard Deulofeu was fairly decent but was not world class, he was not Neymar. Cristiano Ronaldo came on in the 58th minute, scored in the 80th minute, got a yellow card for his taking off his shirt while celebrating his spectacular strike and was sent off two minutes later for a dive. The Portuguese superstar could be in even more trouble as risks a 12 game ban for his shove of the referee after the red card.
Juventus lost 3-2 to Lazio in the Italian Super Cup. Paulo Dybala brought Juventus back into the game with his brace in the last five minutes of regulation time only for Lazio to score a winner in the third minute of additional time.
Neymar delivers for PSG
After the world record, £198 million transfer outlay by PSG, Neymar made his debut in the Ligue 1 against Guingamp and he duly delivered a goal and an assist. The Brazilian showed quick feet, close control and his pre-eminence on the night as he starts to justify his fee. The winger’s comments after the game indicated his mind is set on football and success in Paris. “People think that leaving Barça is to die, but no, it’s the opposite,” Neymar told Canal+.
“I’m more alive than ever. I play, I’m very happy, and football is the same. Only the country, the city and the team change, but football is the same.”
“I am very happy with the trophy, but the main thing was to win.
“The team played well, we did a great game, we are very happy with this game and goals, but the most important is the victory.”
Plateau United improves title chances
Ibeh Johnson’s goal in the third minute against second placed MFM FC was enough to extend Plateau United’s lead atop the table. The Peace Boys on 62 points are six points ahead of their closest title contender with four matches to go. Kenedy Boboye’s wards have played what looks like their most difficult tie with the remaining four games against sides below the 13th place. It maybe isn’t too early to bring out the Champagne.
CHAN team flounder at Cotonou
The Super Eagles had been on track to earn a draw at the Stade l’Amite until Afeez Aremu gave away a penalty in the 90th of the match against Benin Republic. Mama Seibo stepped up and scored the penalty against FC Ifeanyi Ubah goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa to give the Squirrels of Benin an advantage going into the second leg at Kano in the African Championship qualifiers.