With another football weekend concluded; here’s a look at some of those who’ll have glamourous memories of it, and some who would unsuccessfully try to forget it:
Good weekend for…
Neymar (PSG): Seemingly slotting into life at Paris Saint-Germain with ease, the world-record signing was on target twice as his new team saw off Toulouse 6-2, and he also created two more for his teammates. That takes his tally to three goals and three assists in two games, and the scary part for the rest of the Ligue 1 is that he hasn’t even fully acclimatised to things in the French capital.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): Proved to be the unlikely hero for Chelsea, as the Premier League champions bravely saw off Tottenham at Wembley. Opened the scoring with an excellent free-kick, his first goal since April, and while his second goal owed to a bit of good fortune, it proved to be the winner, and eased the pressure on his manager Antonio Conte.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United): Provided two more assists as his team kept their place at the top of the table with another 4-0 win, this time at Swansea. His tally of assists this season has now doubled, and he’ll be looking to add some goals of his own, while United aim to keep up their early season momentum.
Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United): Pressure? What pressure? The big Belgian has already registered four goals in three games for United, and Swansea were the latest team on the receiving end of his hands-out and stand-still celebration. The 75 million-pound signing is having no teething problems so far from the looks of things.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich): It was an all-too familiar feeling for the Pole at the weekend, picking up where he left off from last season, as he bagged two goals in his team’s opening day win.
Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan): The Inter skipper bagged a brace as his side began their Luciano Spalletti era with an impressive 3-0 victory over Fiorentina in Serie A.
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan): It was the stuff of dreams for the 19 year-old forward, who found the net 18 minutes into his Rossoneri Serie A debut at Crotone in a 3-0 win. He’ll be hoping it’s the first of many.
Girona: The newly-promoted club, in the first ever La Liga campaign of their 47-year existence, ran mighty Atletico Madrid close after sprinting to a two-goal lead inside 28 minutes, thanks to a double from new signing Christian Stuani. They eventually had to settle for a draw, but it was a more than welcome point for the team getting a reputation as Manchester City’s feeder club, who’ll look to enjoy the adventure in the Spanish top flight, particularly considering they play the Pirates of the Caribbean theme in their stadium.
A weekend to forget…
West Ham United: After losing their opening game 4-0 in a hapless performance at Old Trafford, the Hammers needed to get back on track when they visited Southampton on Saturday; but fell behind early on and their task was made harder when their record signing Marko Arnautovic threw his elbow at Jack Stephens and subsequently got his marching orders. Despite that setback and the fact that they conceded another, Slaven Bilic’s side looked to have snatched an unlikely point thanks to a double from master poacher Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, until they conceded another penalty late on, and Bilic watched in agony as a much-needed point slipped away from his team.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid): As if his ridiculous hairstyle wasn’t enough cause for concern, the French forward saw his team fall two behind to Girona on Saturday, then in the 67th minute got himself sent off for picking double yellow cards for simulation and for dissent. Atletico actually recovered well following his dismissal and rescued a point in the end; it was almost like they didn’t even need him.
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham): The Spurs captain and goalkeeper has every right to be disappointed with himself after Sunday’s Wembley defeat to Chelsea. Could do nothing about the first goal from Alonso, but his error for the second, three minutes from time, proved costly as it robbed his team of what would have been a deserved point.
Arsenal: It was a weekend that wouldn’t hold fond memories for those associated with the Gunners, as they suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of a familiar foe in Stoke City. Manager Arsene Wenger blamed some officiating for the loss, unsurprisingly, but also pointed out the mistakes his team made, in the middle in particular.
Swansea City: It was chastening afternoon for the South Welsh side, as they suffered a 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday. Paul Clement’s side put up a good fight, particularly in defence, for long periods of the game, but once they conceded a second goal, their heads dropped and the floodgates opened. The Swans still haven’t scored a goal this season, and will be expected to act in the closing days of the transfer market, particularly after Gylfi Sigurdsson finally made his inevitable departure to Everton.
Wolfsburg: A new season comes with renewed optimism amongst supporters thinking – this could be their year – but all that optimism died early for Wolfsburg fans as Borussia Dortmund walloped them 0-3 in front of their home support in the Wolskwagen Arena. Still early days mind you, but certainly not the best way to start the new season in front of your paying customers.