Footytool’s Izuchukwu Okosi here highlights some of the major talking points from last weekend’s matches in the top European leagues.
(1) Alarm Bells For Ole, Valverde Even Unai
Manchester United were defeated 2-0 by West Ham United on Sunday in a listless performance that has got everyone connected with the Red Devils genuinely worried.
Jose Mourinho had to rub it in by claiming that the present United side is worse than he was sacked as manager.
Sadly United may be without Marcus Rashford for next Monday’s clash with Arsenal after he pulled up with an injury.
Arsenal themselves came from a goal and a man down to edge Aston Villa 3-2 at the Emirates stadium on Sunday.
Despite the narrow win, a section of the Gunners fans are already calling for the sacking of head coach Unai Emery whose team have conceded 10 goals in six Premier League matches thus far.
They have scored 11 goals and are currently placed fourth with 11 points – a position that could have been bettered if they didn’t gave away four points against Tottenham Hotspur and Watford (both 2-2 draws with some horrendous defending on show).
The educated guess will be that the Arsenal hierarchy will persist with Unai Emery until at least the end of the season unless they are way off the top four places before then and will mathematically miss out from European spots.
What they need is to go again in the transfer window and buy a proven defender.
Over in Spain, Ernesto Vervede saw his Barcelona side embarrassed 2-0 by Granada – from a Nigerian’s perspective that was newsworthy as midfielder Ramon Azeez got on the score sheet.
The defeat was Barcelona’s second of the campaign after an opening day setback against Athletic Bilbao.
One issue facing Ververde is the conundrum in attack. The coach is hoping to have all of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati in the same starting eleven – not to forget that Ousmane Dembele is on the mend from an injury.
The likes of Sevilla and Athletico Bilbao have stolen the headlines so far – Real Madrid too inspired by Karim Benzema’s goal scoring form are not letting down the gauntlet keen to bounce back to winning ways after the 3-0 Champions League hiding to PSG.
The simple message to these three teams: Maxmilliano Aleggri is still unattached and could soon a call to replace them!
(2)/Neymar Back In The Good Books At PSG
Brazil superstar Neymar jnr was the star of the show as Paris Saint Germain defeated Ligue 1 rivals Lyon 1-0 on Sunday night.
Lyon proved to be s difficult side until Neymar’s brilliance unlocked the Lyon’s defence.
The former Barcelona forward who was courted by his former team as well as Real Madrid and Juventus seemed to have burned bridges at PSG as he reportedly engineered a move back to Spain but it never materialised.
Since the transfer window closed, Neymar has knuckled down and is producing the kind of performances that made him leave Santos FC of Brazil for Europe.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel insists that Neymar is 100% committed to the club. The January transfer window can’t come too soon for most keen observers but for now, ‘the showman’ is once again enjoying his football.
(3)Maddison Is On The Road To Great Things
James Maddison scored a spectacular long range goal in Leicester City’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Aside his goal, his all round performance was top notch and clearly indicates that he is on the rise and will be a key component in the English national team.
Not playing for a team campaigning in the UEFA Champions League can adversely affect a player’s rating and possibly dampen morales but Maddison is obviously not letting his adversities weigh him down.
The midfielder could turn out to be the future of the English national team much like Stephen Gerrard and Paul Gasgoine some years ago.
(4)’New’ Inter Rule The Serie A
The Nerazurri made some outstanding buys from the market this summer and manager Antonio Conte’s team will certainly give Juventus some nightmares as they battle for the Scudetto.
Inter defeated city rivals AC Milan 2-0 in the Milan derby on Saturday evening and this has the making of one of the best Inter sides in recent years.
Special mention must be made of Romelu Lukaku who left ‘sinking ‘ Manchester United for better days in Italy.
Lukaku is scoring the goals for Inter although the disturbing racial slurs he experienced against Cagliari will reverberate for sometime.
The Italian FA tried to play down the impact of that dastard act but thankfully FIFA president Giantino Infantino on Monday night warned that racism must stop in football and the society in general.
Talk is cheap but hopefully stricter punishments will be meted to the guilty ones at the stadiums and other places of interests.