Connect with us


EUROPEAN FOOTBALL WRAP: Bundesliga returns spectacularly, Red Devils outclassed and more!

Damien Kayat unpacks an action-packed weekend of European football which saw Napoli march on victorious, the long-awaited return of the Bundesliga and much more.


Damien Kayat unpacks an action-packed weekend of European football which saw Napoli march on victorious, the long-awaited return of the Bundesliga and much more.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Arsenal outclass United 

The Premier League needed this heavyweight clash to soar in the aftermath of that turgid 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Chelsea. And boy did it not disappoint. Mikel Arteta’s side once again highlighted their title credentials with a gutsy 3-2 victory against Erik Ten Hag’s resurgent United.

Eddie Nketiah- once the scourge of Gunners’ fans the world over- scored an all-important brace that epitomized how far this Arsenal side have come. I have already noticed a fairly predictable narrative developing from United quarters. It goes something like this: if Casemiro hadn’t been suspended, everything would have been completely different.

I’m not going to sit here and deny that the Brazilian midfield colossus hasn’t been a transformative figure at the club. But let’s be real: the 3-2 scoreline flatters United. Arsenal utterly dominated the match after United nabbed that equalizer. I really don’t believe that Casemiro would have been the magical ingredient that changed the entire complexion of the game.

Eriksson- for all his doubtless class and technical acumen- was a luxury in a game of this intensity. I would have been tempted to bring in Fred earlier to wrestle some control back in the middle of the park.

Napoli march on

Napoli’s seemingly inevitable march towards a long overdue Scudetto was somewhat overshadowed this week by the news that Juventus were docked 15 points for alleged financial impropriety.

This could have massive consequences for Allegri’s men, with players such as Vlahovic and Di Maria likely to seek the allure of Champions League football elsewhere. Napoli continued their brilliant form with a pragmatic 2-0 win in Salerno on Saturday evening (all without the services of talismanic Khvicha Kvaratskhelia).

Napoli didn’t have things all their own way in this Campanian Derby, with Davide Nicola’s Salernitana holding their own for much of the first half. But they conceded in added time and goal machine Victor Osimhen doubled Napoli’s advantage shortly after the break.

The Nigerian has now scored 13 goals in 15 games for the Partenopie this season and is looking a safe bet to win African Footballer of the Year.

Spanish giants secure wins

Barcelona kept their 3-point buffer over Real Madrid courtesy of a workmanlike 1-0 victory against relegation-threatened Getafe. Xavi’s men were without the services of suspended strikers Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres.

And it showed. Ansu Fati struggled through the middle, and they looked far more dangerous in wider positions. It was ultimately Spanish midfield maestro Pedri who broke the deadlock. He is fast becoming one of the key figures in Xavi’s Barcelona renaissance.

For their part, Los Blancos kept up the pressure on Barcelona with a really impressive away victory against Athletic Bilbao. Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos both scored remarkable goals. But it was the performance of Eduardo Camavinga that really caught my attention.

He played in a deeper lying role as the lone pivot, snuffing out chances and breaking through the lines continually. You can see why Casemiro- accomplished as he is- sought pastures new after the arrival of this man. He is going to be a giant of the game.

The Bundesliga returns

I almost forgot that the Bundesliga existed for a minute there. It has been 68 days since a ball was kicked in earnest in the German top flight.

And it was only fitting that Bavarian giants Bayern Munich were the ones to get the show back on the road, travelling to RB Leipzig for a Friday night kick-off. And Julian Nagelsmann’s side started on the front foot, with the resurrected figure of Choupo-Moting giving them a first half advantage. But Leipzig grew into the match and were rewarded with an equalizer.

I don’t think either side will feel too disappointed with the result. Lepizig held the mighty Bayern while Die Roten negotiated one of the more difficult away fixtures on the entire roster.

Freiburg blew their lines and failed to close the gap on Bayern. But the highlight of the weekend has to be the incredible match between Dortmund and Augsburg. What a feast of footballing chaos. It was a match that really typified Dortmund’s season thus far.

Edin Terzic’s side played some wonderful football going forward but were caught out by defensive lapses. Dortmund took the lead three times only to be pegged back three times rby a pugnacious Augsburg.

But it was all to no avail, as Giovanni Reyna finished superbly to give the Blacks and Yellows all three points. Jude Bellingham was once again sensational and his future is likely to be the chief agenda during the next European transfer window.

Player of the Week – Erling Haaland

This one almost feels slightly disingenuous. Haaland was hardly spectacular against Wolves. And it’s still a point of debate as to whether he makes this City side better or worse. But he still managed to score his 4th Premier League hat-trick of the season.

He is now the fastest man to reach that target (in just 19 games). The next quickest? Ruud van Nistelrooy in 65 games. I think it’s fair to say that this may be a record that stands the test of time.

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile

More in Soccer