Weekend overview: Depay leads Barcelona, Lukaku MVP, Kane returns for Spurs

Football

What a weekend! Barcelona seem to discovered a pleasant steadiness in assault — and maybe their new talisman in Memphis Depay — whereas Premier League sides Man Metropolis and Tottenham impress regardless of the continuing Harry Kane saga. There’s bother for Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal (are we stunned?) and Romelu Lukaku actually placed on a present in his second debut for Chelsea.

This is the massive stuff you have to know concerning the weekend earlier than Monday morning.

Soar to: Talking points | Best goals | Teams in trouble | MVP of the Weekend


4 speaking factors

Depay is adjusting properly to being Barcelona’s fundamental man

Change Lionel Messi as Barcelona’s chief creator and purpose risk? No downside, says Memphis Depay. Sure, it is solely been two LaLiga video games, however the summer time signing from Lyon has been a joyous, electrical addition to date and saved Barca some extent with a late equaliser (extra on this under) in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

“Memphis to the rescue” was the headline in not one, however two of the Catalan newspapers on Sunday morning. He is already being cited as a frontrunner in a staff that has lots, no less than in concept, with veterans like Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba nonetheless within the squad. Following Messi would cow most gamers, however Depay appears to be having fun with each minute. He will get the ball and also you sit up and listen as there’s all the time a way that one thing goes to occur.

Credit score to teach Ronald Koeman, too, for figuring out Depay because the ahead he needed to usher in this summer time — not everybody on the membership was essentially satisfied. Koeman is taking part in Depay as a false 9, with the liberty to drop deep and vast, and with Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite both facet. No clear weak spot is clear but: he appears to be like fast, sturdy and technically assured, working as a staff participant and a gifted particular person. Let’s have a look at if he can stick with it. — Alex Kirkland

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Alejandro Moreno shares his ideas on Barcelona’s 1-1 draw vs. Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga.

Are we positive Man Metropolis even want a striker?

If Manchester City had been seeking to finish any doubts about their title possibilities, placing 5 targets previous Norwich City is an honest begin. It is true that Norwich all the time appear decided to concede as many as doable on the Etihad Stadium, however Pep Guardiola’s staff gained with that attacking swagger that has gained trophy after trophy throughout his time in England.

There merely was no let-up for Norwich. When Jack Grealish and Ferran Torres went off, on got here Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, whereas Kevin De Bruyne did not function in any respect due to harm. Guardiola’s attacking choices are unrivalled and that is with out Harry Kane, who should arrive earlier than the switch deadline.

Solely Manchester United have been in a position to win the title after dropping their first sport of the season, however Metropolis are greater than able to repeating the feat. They are going to be higher if Kane arrives, however victory over Norwich was a well timed reminder that they will not wrestle with out him. The problem this season might be larger as a result of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all have stronger squads than earlier than, however ask any Premier League supervisor and most will let you know the following champions would be the staff that manages to complete above Guardiola and Metropolis. — Rob Dawson

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Luis Garcia discusses Angel Correa’s fast begin for Atletico Madrid in LaLiga as Luis Suarez returns to health.

Atletico Madrid lastly have a good time with their followers

“The followers weren’t there, however the soul all the time was,” Diego Simeone had mentioned on Saturday, describing Atletico Madrid profitable LaLiga behind closed doorways final season. This weekend, the followers had been lastly again on the Wanda Metropolitano. There have been solely 24,926 of them — coronavirus restrictions in Spain imply attendances are nonetheless restricted — and the sport itself, a scrappy 1-0 win over Elche, was nothing particular. However the event was actually fairly transferring.

Earlier than kickoff, captain Koke was finally able to present the LaLiga trophy to the house crowd, 92 days after clinching it on a dramatic remaining day. Alongside him was 90-year-old Pedro Palmero, Atletico’s socio no 1 (in Spain, membership members are numbered primarily based on longevity). Tribute was additionally paid to the 379 members who’ve handed away through the pandemic whereas the membership’s anthem was performed on the violin.

Atletico Madrid is perhaps certainly one of Spain’s largest golf equipment, however they’re additionally a household. As coach Simeone had mentioned a day earlier: “Getting up on a Sunday along with your mum and pop and going to the stadium is one thing stunning. It has been a year-and-a-half that we have not been in a position to do this. The followers want soccer as a lot as we want them.” — Kirkland

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Don Hutchison delves into what Manchester Metropolis must do to get a deal for Harry Kane over the road.

Kane returns for Spurs… however will it final?

Harry Kane is again in a Tottenham shirt… in the interim. The 28-year-old continues to hunt a transfer to Manchester Metropolis in what has turn out to be the long-running switch saga of the summer time, however he lastly made his seasonal reappearance in its place in Spurs’ 1-0 win at Wolves. Followers chanted “Are you watching Harry Kane?” as their captain sat out final weekend’s victory over Metropolis, however the Spurs supporters at Molineux gave him a heat reception when launched for the ultimate 20 minutes on Sunday. Kane acknowledged these followers at full-time and coach Nuno Espirito Santo praised the present of togetherness in tough circumstances.

The battle traces have been drawn for a while: Metropolis need Kane however will not pay £150m, whereas Spurs do not need to promote him in any respect given his significance to the trigger. An enormous bid may shift the dial earlier than subsequent Tuesday’s switch deadline however as time ticks down, Kane appears to be like extra more likely to keep and if that’s the case, this was a step ahead in his reintegration to a central function. — James Olley

Honorable Point out: Chaos for 3 huge golf equipment

It isn’t all easy crusing for Europe’s elite golf equipment as three groups anticipating to contend of their respective leagues aren’t off to the perfect of begins. Actual Madrid wanted two targets within the remaining 17 minutes from Vinicius Jr. to salvage a 3-3 draw at Levante. It was a spicy affair total, with Levante falling behind 1-0 solely to take a 2-1 and 3-2 lead over Carlo Ancelotti’s facet; there was additionally the added enjoyable of Ancelotti choosing a entrance three of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, just for the younger Brazilian to return off the bench and save the day. (Bale did rating the opening purpose after simply 5 minutes, slotting dwelling Benzema’s low cross, however did little else from there.)

In Germany, Dortmund somehow lost 2-1 at Freiburg regardless of one of many extra dominant shows you will see this season: 76% possession, 18 pictures (although simply 4 heading in the right direction) and absolute frustration. They did not even “rating” their one purpose: Freiburg led 2-0 by means of Vincenzo Grifo and Roland Sallai earlier than a Yannik Keitel personal purpose gave Erling Haaland & Co. a faint probability of getting on degree phrases. The defeat is not catastrophic — it is solely week two, in spite of everything — nevertheless it’s a troubling stumble with the switch window nonetheless open and golf equipment very a lot desirous about Haaland, to call only one Dortmund star.

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Gab Marcotti analyses the switch rumours surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo and explains how this saga would possibly conclude.

Lastly, Juventus have a full-on saga growing with Cristiano Ronaldo maybe-going-maybe-staying — read Gab Marcotti’s piece to get the backstory here — and him reportedly asking not to start out their opener, an away journey to Udinese. Initially, it appeared wonderful, with Juve racing to a 2-0 lead through Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado within the opening 23 minutes. Then, Udinese got here again: a beneficiant penalty (transformed by Roberto Pereyra) and a Gerard Deulofeu strike, attributable to Wojciech Szczesny‘s horrendous error, had the scores degree. It set the scene for Ronaldo to be the hero off the bench, and he thought he’d scored the winner in harm time only for VAR to rain on the parade in a 2-2 draw.

These are usually not important stumbles but, however when title races get tight down the stretch, these dropped factors typically make a distinction. — James Tyler


Three must-see targets

Ings brings the warmth for Villa

It is a new period for Aston Villa after promoting their talisman and captain, Jack Grealish, over the summer time, however Danny Ings is doing an excellent job of filling the void. Two targets in two video games is an effective begin for a striker, and scoring an acrobatic opener on your own home debut in entrance of a capability crowd is immediate hero territory. What a technique to announce your self to the Villa followers! — Dawson

Liverpool go from coast to coast

Liverpool’s ambition to reclaim the Premier League title centres as a lot on rediscovering their freeflowing finest in assault as their resilience in defence. Virgil Van Dijk has a task to play on each fronts, displaying his vary of passing to kickstart a transfer which noticed Harvey Elliott and Trent Alexander-Arnold to tee up Sadio Mane for a crisp first-time end. It was the form of transfer that epitomises Jurgen Klopp’s facet at their strongest and a packed Anfield received to see it for the primary time in additional than a 12 months. — Olley

Gerrit Holtmann goes it alone

To illustrate you are a winger for a German staff that is again within the Bundesliga for the primary time in over a decade. Let’s additionally say that you just’re ready to attain your first purpose of the season after a 1-0 defeat at Wolfsburg in your season opener.

Nicely okay then, Vfl Bochum star, Gerrit Holtmann. This can be a purpose that was clearly well worth the await participant and membership! — Tyler

Honorable Point out: Depay lets rip

This rocket for Barcelona in Bilbao has to make the listing. The stage was set: Barca had their backs to the wall, 1-0 all the way down to a rampant Athletic with quarter-hour left and the house crowd at San Mames roaring. Depay silenced them with a strike that was fantastically easy: he wanted simply three touches to carry Sergi Roberto‘s looped ball excessive beneath management, and a fourth to fireside an unstoppable left-footer previous goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala at his close to submit. He did all of it with a simple nonchalance that prompt it was no huge deal. — Kirkland


Two groups that must be nervous

Burnley

You may by no means write off Burnley beneath Sean Dyche, however dropping their opening two video games shouldn’t be the best way to start out in a aggressive league. Most worrying for Burnley followers might be a scarcity of evolution of the squad. This group of gamers have executed remarkably effectively to retain their place within the Premier League however each staff — irrespective of how effectively drilled — wants recent blood to maintain the membership transferring ahead. Standing nonetheless within the Premier League is pretty much as good as going backwards — Dawson

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Gab Marcotti analyses the switch rumours surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo and explains how this saga would possibly conclude.

Arsenal

Arsenal have spent huge within the switch window however optimism is already briefly provide at Emirates Stadium after two consecutive defeats. If their opening weekend loss to newly-promoted Brentford was a shock, their 2-0 reverse to Chelsea felt virtually inevitable. Mikel Arteta is with out quite a lot of first-team gamers — together with his £50m centre-back Ben White — however there must be extra indicators he can form this group right into a staff larger than the sum of its elements. Sadly, their subsequent League sport is on the dwelling of champions Manchester Metropolis. Issues may worsen earlier than they get higher. — Olley


MVP of the weekend: Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea spent practically 100 million kilos to welcome Romelu Lukaku again to the staff, however constructed into the worth was a close to assure of what Chelsea had been getting and the Belgian delivered every thing anticipated of him on debut in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Arsenal.

His purpose encapsulated what the Blues had been lacking final time period. Holding off Arsenal defender Pablo Mari together with his again to purpose, Lukaku linked up a neat Chelsea assault earlier than sprinting into the field to satisfy Reece James‘ right-wing cross. Lukaku didn’t rating in 15 video games throughout his first spell at Stamford Bridge between 2011 and 2014, however he took quarter-hour to get off the mark this time. Harder assignments await given the porous nature of Arsenal’s defence as of late, however this was a vastly promising begin for a participant signed to supply the targets to fireside Chelsea to a Premier League title.

The sense of creating up for misplaced time was palpable: Lukaku is a person on a mission, able to make a hit of himself on the membership he loves and silence any doubters from his earlier time in England at West Brom, Everton and Manchester United. On this proof, the remainder of the League are going to have a troublesome time stopping him. — Olley

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