9 goals in 5 matches – Haaland voted August EPL Player of the Month

Man City striker wins award after record-breaking start to his Premier League career

Erling Haaland has been voted the EA SPORTS Player of the Month for August 2022.

Haaland wins the award after an historic first month with Manchester City in the Premier League.

The summer signing scored against West Ham United, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, and got an assist in his other appearance, against AFC Bournemouth.

His nine goals in his first five appearances were the most in the competition’s history, breaking the record of eight previously held by Mick Quinn and Sergio Aguero.

He also become only the sixth player to score hat-tricks in consecutive Premier League appearances, doing so against Palace and Nott’m Forest to be the first to achieve the feat since Harry Kane in 2017.

Haaland is the first player to win the award in his first month in the competition since Bruno Fernandes did so for Manchester United in February 2020.

The 22-year-old topped an eight-man shortlist also including Pascal Gross, Gabriel Jesus, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Martin Odegaard, Nick Pope, Rodrigo and Wilfried Zaha.

He won after the public’s votes on the EA SPORTS website were combined with those of a panel of football experts.

BREAKING: Chelsea sign Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana on a £75m deal

Chelsea have made their latest blockbuster signing official as Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana joins the Blues on a £75m deal

Chelsea announce the signing of Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana have emerged after agreeing a £75million deal. Fofana will become Thomas Tuchel’s seventh summer signing, totalling the Blues’ transfer window expenditure at around £191m with five days remaining.

After drawn-out negotiations and multiple rejected bids, Chelsea finally found a breakthrough in their pursuit of the 21-year-old centre-back earlier this week. And supporters won’t have to wait long to watch the club officially unveil their latest big-money arrival.

According to L’Equipe, Fofana is set to undergo his Chelsea medical on Sunday, one day after Tuchel’s 10-man side defeated Leicester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. The France U21 international unsurprisingly didn’t feature for the Foxes after spending the week training away from Brendan Rodgers’ first team.

Fofana is one of the most expensive defender in football history alongside Liverpool general Virgil van Dijk and behind £80m Manchester United captain Harry Maguire. He also only trails Romelu Lukaku, who returned in a £97.5m deal last summer, in the list of Chelsea’s biggest-ever signings.

Tuchel will be delighted to get the signing over the line after his eagerness to sufficiently replace Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, who left Chelsea on free transfers this summer. Fofana and fellow new boy Kalidou Koulibaly join Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah as centre-back options.

Chelsea have been busy this summer, with new owner Todd Boehly aiming to make a splash in his first transfer window at the helm. The Blues have also sanctioned deals for Marc Cucurella (£63m), Raheem Sterling (£50m), Koulibaly (£34m), Carney Chukwuemeka (£20m), Gabriel Slonina and Cesare Casadei (both £12m).

Tuchel still wants to add a forward to his ranks, with talks ongoing for Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Chelsea are also linked with Frenkie de Jong, but a midfielder isn’t at the top of the German boss’ priorities in what promises to be a hectic final five days of the summer across the Premier League.

OFFICIAL: Manchester United Complete Signing of Antony from Ajax for €100m

Manchester United have landed their latest summer recruit, after a sensational €100m deal to buy Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax Amsterdam.

Last week the Dutch club rejected an offer of €90m – United’s third bid for the 22-year-old – but talks have continued in recent days and United made a breakthrough on Sunday after a smooth series of discussions. Antony has put pen to paper on a five-year deal which will see him remain at Old Trafford until the summer of 2027, and there is an option to extend for a further year.

The final part of negotiations focused on the structure of the deal, with Ajax settling for a guaranteed €95m plus €5m in add-ons. Antony will become Erik ten Hag’s fifth summer signing and the second-most expensive transfer in United’s history behind Paul Pogba. It will be the largest fee received by a Dutch club.

Antony was once again left out of the Ajax squad for Sunday’s game at Utrecht as talks between the clubs continued.

What has Antony said?

On Friday, in an interview with Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano on YouTube, Antony said: “Since February of this year, my agents came to Amsterdam to inform Ajax of my desire to leave the club to face a new challenge and that some interested clubs would arrive and, with them, certainly a great offer.

“During the window months, meetings concluded including a proposal from Ajax for contract renewal. I made it clear once again I want to leave the club.

“Today in a meeting with the board I expressed my interest in leaving the club, this time with a considerable offer on the table. Others have already arrived [but] Ajax always refuses with the argument it only has five days to replace (me).

“I’m not asking [for Ajax] to release me, I am asking Ajax to sell me as the highest bid received by a player who plays in the Eredivisie.”

A move to United would see Antony reunited with ex-Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, who has already recruited defender Lisandro Martinez from his former club.

“I was very happy in Amsterdam, I won titles at Ajax, made friends and built part of my career, but now I reinforce that I am ready and full of motivation to follow my story and my dreams,” Antony added.

“People need to listen to me and understand that my motivation moves me towards happiness. I need this to continue performing at a high level. Ajax will always be in my heart.”

Why Antony is Ten Hag’s man

“For sure, we hope he will be the next star of Ajax.” It was July 2020 and Erik ten Hag, Ajax’s manager at the time, was introducing Antony, the club’s new £20m signing from Sao Paulo.

“We at Ajax are always trying to strive for the top,” added Ten Hag. “So I expect he will do his best to reach that level of expectation. The rest, we will see in the future.”

Ten Hag was right to expect big things of Antony – the Brazilian, only 19 when he agreed his move to Amsterdam, swiftly established himself as one of Ajax’s key players – but even he could not have predicted he might one day take him to Manchester United too.

Antony’s highlights last season

Ten Hag’s United triumph: Dropping Ronaldo, De Gea’s long kicks and Martinez’s grinta

Right down to his F-bomb post-match interview, Monday night at Old Trafford was the occasion when Erik ten Hag’s bold choices acted as jump leads to his reign as Manchester United manager.

Sky Sports host Dave Jones may have needed to apologise to viewers for ten Hag insisting his team can “fucking play good football”, proposing a possible translation issue, but the smart money is on the Dutchman meaning exactly what he said. Swearing on live television represents a forceful expression of his underlying faith in his players, in a week when he has criticised their application, and you can be confident the clip will make its way round the squad.

More significantly, the courage of Ten Hag’s selections paid off. To the bench he sent Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, to varying degrees of shock, and played Anthony Elanga, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia.

Dropping United’s captain is a major call, but Ronaldo brings a global scrutiny and, more so, is the pivotal figure in Ten Hag’s battle to implement his style.

The Athletic has reported how Ronaldo has cut an isolated figure at Carrington in his quest to leave the club and pushed back against pressing drills in training. His return to the starting line-up at Brentford coincided with United running 95.6km and making 65 sprints, 13.8km and 25 sprints less than their opponents. Ronaldo was not entirely responsible for that, of course, but a high-energy tempo requires buy-in from every player. If one domino falls they all scatter.

Against Liverpool, United covered 113.8km and made 155 sprints, bettering Jurgen Klopp’s side on both measures. Far from alienating his players by cancelling a day off and demanding a running session following the Brentford loss, these numbers show an instant reaction.

Even though Anthony Martial was fit enough only to begin on the bench, Ten Hag still did not turn to Ronaldo, instead selecting Elanga for his undoubted commitment to the instructions.

Elanga hit the post and drew a booking for Trent Alexander-Arnold through his direct running, a key component to what Klopp called United’s “aggressive” start.

Martial came on at the break and set-up Marcus Rashford’s goal.

Ronaldo got the final four minutes but by then Ten Hag had made his point; United can win without the 37-year-old. To feature more, whatever his supreme scoring prowess, Ronaldo must adapt. “I think he can,” said Ten Hag. “The whole of his career under several managers he did several styles and systems. He always performed, so why can’t he do this? His age is not an issue.”

On a general theme, Ten Hag argued: “Sometimes you think strikers cannot do it (press) because they have to save the energy for offensive actions. Now it is football, both are a demand.”

Ten Hag’s defensive changes after that 4-0 calamity in London also worked.

Varane replaced Maguire and enjoyed one of his best games for United. Lisandro Martinez, the subject of much debate since joining, was United’s best player, flinging himself in front of a Mohamed Salah shot, stopping a Bruno Fernandes own goal on the line, and generally playing with a feverish intent that generates a connection with fans.

He riled James Milner by digging his fingers into his head, what Ten Hag described as a South Amerian “grinta”.  “An absolute will to win, controlled emotion,” said Ten Hag, who is also absolutely convinced Martinez’s 5ft 9in height is not an issue in the Premier League.

Malacia is three inches shorter but has a touch of “grinta” too. He provoked another wave of noise from the stands in the second period by tackling Alexander-Arnold twice in quick succession by the corner flag, thundering into his second challenge.

For all Ten Hag’s doubling down on his demands out of possession, he was pragmatic in one crucial aspect. David de Gea did not once take a short goalkick. The welcome mat rolled out to Brentford was stored away for Liverpool. Instead De Gea bypassed Liverpool’s high press.

At one stage in the first half Ten Hag rushed from his dugout to beckon Rashford over from centre-forward to ring wing, so he pulled onto Andrew Robertson (as shown below). Jadon Sancho moved to the middle and Ten Hag pointed to De Gea where to send the ball. The same happened again minutes later.

That may have contributed to Liverpool regaining the ball more frequently, leading to a 70 percent possession advantage, so long-term Ten Hag will want to develop his side for playing out from the back. But for a tailored game when the pressure was on Ten Hag wisely modified.

Bringing in Casemiro should encourage that strategy. United players are said to consider his arrival a “blessing”, whatever about his transfer fee and wages, and the idea is his calmness at picking the ball off defenders and passing forwards will help retain purposeful possession.

Ten Hag started all three of his completed new signings in what felt like a statement about his eye for new recruits with the window still open. Sources close to Ajax expect United to make another bid for Antony, who watched the Liverpool game on television, with some placing the potential offer at €94 million. Cody Gakpo is another target.

As for the wingers already in place, the finishes by Sancho and Rashford bore the confidence they built on pre-season. The both contributed defensively as well. Even after 71 minutes Rashford sprinted to close down Joe Gomez then slid in on Alexander-Arnold to recharge the electricity in the stadium.

The protests against the Glazers fed into the atmosphere inside Old Trafford, anger fuelling joy and back round again. Each goal was greeted with chants against United’s owners. Maintaining this performance level at Southampton, when the temperature has turned to a simmer, will be the real litmus test.

Ten Hag seemed to want to soak up his first competitive win. He stayed beyond midnight and spent several minutes signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans who had waited patiently. More than anyone’s it was his occasion to savour.

Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal: Odegaard scores brace to seal Gunners’ 3rd consecutive win, Saliba on target

Hello, and welcome to Apex Football’s coverage of Arsenal’s third game of the season, against newly-promoted Bournemouth.

Mikel Arteta’s side have won both of their opening games, while Scott Parker’s men have one win and one defeat.

-Keep refreshing this page to get the newest update!-


That’s it! The referee blows the final whistle!

Odegaard scores brace to seal Gunners’ 3rd consecutive win, Saliba on target, Gunners now on top of the EPL table with 9 points.

Four minutes added on
90+1′ Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal

Can Bournemouth spoil Ramsdale’s clean sheet hopes?

Match stats at 90′

Nketiah effort saved well
90′ Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal

The ball fell nicely to Smith Rowe who plays through Nketiah on the right. The substitute hits the ball first time but it’s straight at Travers who keeps the scoreline respectable.

More substitutions
88′ Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal

Saka and Xhaka make way for Tierney and Lokonga.

That’s cruel
73′ Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal

It’s ruled out for offside by the slimmest of margins. Jesus is incredibly disappointed.

72′ Bournemouth 0-4 Arsenal

Jesus delightfully chips home to add to Arsenal’s lead. Odegaard pokes it through Bournemouth’s defence to find Jesus.

VIDEO: Saliba’s spectacular strike
Gets better with every watch.

WOW! Saliba take a bow!
54′ Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal

That is a sensational finish from Saliba. Martinelli’s cross finds Xhaka at the back post who tees up Saliba on the edge of the box to curl one into the top right corner.

Bournemouth improving early on
49′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

They’ve been putting more balls into the box for Arsenal to clear and the crowd are reacting.

The second half is underway
46′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Substitutions for Bournemouth at HT
Jadon Anthony comes on for Marcos Senesi.

Lewis Cook comes on for Ben Pearson.

Half an hour gone…
30′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Arsenal are well and truly in the driving seat after putting two early goals past Bournemouth. Odegaard’s clinical finishing earns him a double.

Yellow card for Zemura
28′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Saka beats him for pace and the Zimbabwe international brings him down before he can cause any danger.

Arsenal retaining possession well
18′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Bournemouth can’t get a grip of the match and Arsenal are knocking it about with ease.

IT’S TWO! Two for Arsenal and Odegaard!
10′ Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Saka finds White down the right who cuts the ball back for Odegaard to hammer home. There was a VAR check for offside but the goal will stand!

GOAL! Arsenal lead 1-0
5′ Bournemouth 0-1 Arsenal

It all starts with Jesus’ brilliant footwork on the left. He wins the ball and brings it forward before playing in Martinelli who strikes straight at Travers who can then only parry it into the path of Odegaard who taps it into an empty net.

Bournemouth trying to find space behind
3′ Bournemouth 0-0 Arsenal

Moore has been pushing high up the pitch and trying to squeeze behind Arsenal’s back line but Saliba and Gabriel have been strong in these early minutes.

We’re underway!
1′ Bournemouth 0-0 Arsenal

The players are in the tunnel

Kick-off is next!

The boys are in the building..

Line-ups Confirmed!

Mikel Arteta’s side unchanged!
Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus.

No Dominic Solanke in the squad for Bournemouth
Bournemouth XI: Travers; Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Kelly, Zemura; Lerma, Billing; Pearson, Tavernier; Moore.

100 Premier League appearances for Saka!
How quickly has that come around?!

Bournemouth vs Arsenal team news
Speaking on Friday, Arteta said: “Everybody’s okay. We had Cedric, Fabio (Vieira) and Emile (Smith Rowe) with the Under-21s (against Swansea City on Wednesday). They trained with us all week, so they are available for selection.”

Week three of the Premier League season continues on the south coast as Arsenal look to maintain their perfect start to the fledgling 2022-23 campaign.

With Manchester City playing tomorrow, Mikel Arteta’s side could go top for a few hours at least if they can follow up victories against Crystal Palace and Leicester with one against Scott Parker’s promoted side.

Bournemouth had a rude awakening on their return to the top flight after an opening 4-0 thrashing by Manchester City, but they saw off Aston Villa 2-0 here last time out and will be hoping for more home comforts this evening.

OFFICIAL: Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro joins Manchester United on a Four-Year Deal

Manchester United have announced that the club have reached an agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Casemiro.

The transfer is subject to the agreement of personal terms, UK visa requirements and a medical.

Casemiro is greatly appreciated by Real boss Carlo Ancelotti but he was reportedly not viewed as indispensable, given the wealth of options the current UEFA Champions League holders have in the centre of the pitch.

Luka Modric signed a contract extension to 2023 and Toni Kroos also provides pedigreed experience to mesh with younger talents, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde.

Real could not guarantee a spread of minutes to Manchester United’s new signing. It was viewed as sensible to get his wages off the books, while banking a big transfer fee, though the final decision was ultimately made by Casemiro.

United have desperately needed a defensive midfielder for years and the Brazilian offers attributes manager Erik ten Hag does not possess in his squad.

The former Sao Paulo man has played over 300 times for Madrid and has been part of five Champions League successes.

Casemiro will become United’s fourth summer signing, after the arrivals of Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez.

Casemiro has played over 500 professional games, including 63 at international level for his native Brazil. He has won 17 major honours in his illustrious career including five Champions League titles and the Copa America.

Apex EPL Preview: Liverpool clash threatens more misery for bottom-placed Man Utd, and other things to focus before Matchday 3

The record 20-time EPL champions shipped six goals – 2 vs Brighton, 4 vs Brentford – and sit at the bottom of the table for the first time in 30 years.

In an ideal world, Manchester United would have opened their season with two comfortable victories by brushing aside Brighton and Brentford. A start that would have served as a perfect build-up to the big clash against their most fierce rivals Liverpool. But we are in an era where United, a club that ruled the Premier League for over two decades, is plummeting to new lows every season or for that matter every weekend. What should have been a pair of routine wins against two mid-table clubs turned out to be two damaging and embarrassing defeats.

The record 20-time EPL champions shipped six goals – 2 vs Brighton, 4 vs Brentford – and sit at the bottom of the table for the first time in 30 years. To make matters worse for the Red Devils faithful, neighbours Manchester City are perched at the top.

Their disastrous start to the season on and off the field could still get worse when they face Liverpool on Monday. Always one of the biggest clashes in the English football calendar, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford has taken on even more importance after a difficult few weeks for both clubs.

Liverpool’s title hopes have already been hit by draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace to leave Jurgen Klopp’s men four points adrift of defending champions Manchester City. However, Liverpool’s woes of an early season injury crisis and the absence of Darwin Nunez due to his ill discipline that cost the Uruguayan a red card on his home debut, pale into insignificance compared to United’s troubles.

Erik ten Hag is off to the worst start of any United manager for over 100 years after a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Brentford followed Brighton’s first ever win at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season.

A large-scale protest by United fans is planned before kick-off aimed at the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

“A fish rots from the head,” said the Manchester United Supporters Trust this week with pressure rising on the Americans to consider selling the club.

Elon Musk joked he was buying the Red Devils this week, while Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has signalled his interest.

The lack of a coordinated transfer strategy has left Ten Hag to work with largely the same squad that suffered 5-0 and 4-0 thrashings at the hands of Liverpool in their two meetings last season.

Former Man United defender and football pundit Gary Neville slammed the Glazer family for allowing United to “rot” over the last two decades.

Neville, while appearing on The Diary of a CEO podcast, said: “I used to laugh when I went to Anfield and compared it to Old Trafford.

“I’d always think ‘they can never catch up, they’re too far behind’.

“They’re building that second stand now behind the goal where the away fans sit. The main stand now is towering up.

“Anfield will be a more modern ground than Manchester United and Old Trafford in 12 months. That is unforgivable.”

Neville also compared United’s infrastructure with the likes of Man City and Tottenham.

“Manchester City are lightyears ahead on and off the pitch.

“Tottenham have invested £1.3billion in a new stadium that’s out of this world. It’s a museum, it’s the best in the world.

“And if you go to their training ground, it’s an amazing, brilliant facility which is far better than Carrington where we moved to in 2000.

“In 20 years, Manchester United have not invested in the stadium, and they’ve not invested in the training ground that much. It’s a club that’s really struggling.

“And I’ve said in the last couple of years that the only thing I think can change it now is the ownership.

“There is an embedded rot at the club”, he added.

Ten Hag, though, also has questions to ask after pushing for the signing of Lisandro Martinez from his old club Ajax despite the Argentine centre-back’s diminutive frame seemingly being unsuited to the rigours of the Premier League.

Martinez was hauled off at half-time against Brentford with United already trailing 4-0, but Ten Hag conceded afterwards all 11 of his starting line-up could have been replaced.

Brentford players covered 13.8 kilometres more in that match and Ten Hag reportedly responded by cancelling a planned day off to make his squad run that distance the day after defeat last Saturday.

But it is on the pitch he needs a response with Liverpool also wounded for their trip to Manchester.

And here’s all the details for Manchester United’s protest against the Glazers before Liverpool game

Newcastle test for City

City’s transformation into the dominant club in English football over the past decade thanks to the flow of investment from Abu Dhabi appeared the blueprint for Newcastle to follow under the ownership of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

But Newcastle’s first summer transfer window under the new regime has been surprisingly quiet with Nick Pope and Sven Botman the only new faces at St James’ Park.

They have still enjoyed a strong start to the season with four points from their first two games, but City’s visit will give an early indication as to how seriously the Magpies could challenge for a top-four finish.

No money for Rodgers

Leicester are the only Premier League club yet to spend any money in the window and manager Brendan Rodgers is not expecting that to change due to the state of the club’s finances.

“I spent my summer holidays convincing players to come but when I come back the reality of the situation is there and we are unable to follow through with it,” said Rodgers on Thursday.

“I don’t run the finances of the club. I run the football department and if they say we can’t sign a player I trust the club that it’s the case.”

The Foxes long-serving captain Kasper Schmeichel joined Nice earlier this month and more key players could still leave with Wesley Fofana a target for Chelsea, while Newcastle have had bids rejected for James Maddison.

After just one point from their opening two games, Leicester badly need a win when Southampton visit on Saturday to lift the mood around the King Power ahead of a tough run of fixtures that includes trips to Chelsea and Tottenham in their next five games.

Fixtures (all times UTC)

20th Aug. Saturday

Tottenham v Wolves (12:30), Leicester v Southampton, Crystal Palace v Aston Villa, Everton v Nottingham Forest, Fulham v Brentford (all 15:00), Bournemouth v Arsenal (17:30)

21st Aug. Sunday

Leeds v Chelsea, West Ham v Brighton (both 14:00), Newcastle v Manchester City (16:30)

Manchester United v Liverpool (20:00)

Darwin Nunez headbutt: Full footage shows how Joachim Andersen wound Liverpool man up (VIDEO)

Darwin Nunez had an Anfield debut to forget for Liverpool.

The Uruguayan was sent off 57 minutes into the match against Crystal Palace for a crazy headbutt on defender Joachim Andersen.

At the time, Liverpool trailed 1-0 thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s breakaway strike in the first half.

It looked as though Nunez’s act of madness would see Liverpool lose the match but Luis Diaz scored a sensational goal minutes later. However, with 10 men, Jurgen Klopp’s side couldn’t find a winner.

Before his sending off, Nunez had endured a frustrating time as everything he tried failed to come off. He also missed several opportunities where he’ll feel he could have done better.

And while Klopp admitted that it was a clear red card for Nunez, the Liverpool boss suggested that Andersen sparked that reaction.

“A little provocation here and there – and definitely the wrong reaction. A clear red card, I cannot deny that,” Klopp said.

“Andersen wanted that, I would say, and he got it. But he made a mistake, Darwin, so of course we will talk about it.”

And now, new footage has emerged showing exactly how the Palace defender wound up Nunez throughout the match.

The 95-second video shows the clashes between the two was far more than just the incident that led to the red card.

Andersen was pushing, pulling and kicking Nunez for the entire match before the Liverpool striker finally snapped.

It was a masterclass in frustrating and winding up an opponent by the Dane.

Take a look:

VIDEO: How Joachim Andersen wound up Darwin Nunez

And check out fan reaction to the video:

Darwin Nunez and Joachim Andersen
Darwin Nunez and Joachim Andersen
Darwin Nunez and Joachim Andersen
Darwin Nunez and Joachim Andersen

Nunez can expect Premier League defenders to be trying similar tactics in future matches…

Despite picking up just two points from their opening two matches, Klopp was really pleased with his side’s performance vs Palace.

I told the boys after the game I’m proud, and I am – that’s what I feel,” he said. “A lot of things happened during the week and then the game started like it started, I loved it, that was the game we wanted to play.

“Of course we wanted to finish the situations off but I think we did extremely well and then in the box with a lot of legs and bodies they blocked, I’m not sure, seven or eight shots in the first half already. That’s a special number so we were obviously on the right path and if we carry on like this it was a matter of time.”

Weekend Review: Man Utd sink to new depth, Conte vs Tuchel ignites new rivalry, Mbappe ‘shocking attitude’ stuns fans, and more

With LaLiga and Serie A kicking off this weekend, all of Europe’s major football leagues are back in action. And even though the seasons are barely underway in leagues such as Premier League and Bundesliga, there already has been plenty of drama and storylines: Man Utd humiliated 4-0 by Brentford, Conte and Tuche ignite new rivalry, Mbappe walks off from the attack after not getting a pass, ex Chelsea Men Lukaku and Werner both scored their returning debut goals, Barcelona’s new stars Lewandowski and co. still need to mesh as Real Madrid seal late comeback… and more!

Talking points

Conte and Tuchel ignite new rivalry

Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte previously only had nice things to say about each other, but Sunday’s tempestuous 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur featured clashes that will surely ignite a fresh managerial rivalry.

On an unusually hot London afternoon, the temperatures were at their highest on the touchline as first Conte and then Tuchel took turns to celebrate with increasing antagonism as the teams traded blows in a pulsating 90-minute encounter. Twice, they had to be separated by players and staff from both clubs, the second time after a handshake during which Tuchel took umbrage at Conte’s lack of eye contact.

Referee Anthony Taylor sent both managers off at the final whistle as Spurs celebrated salvaging a point from an underwhelming display through Harry Kane’s 96th-minute header. Tuchel launched a furious attack on Taylor afterward, claiming he should not be allowed to officiate Chelsa games in future — a suggestion that is almost certain to land him in more hot water with the Football Association — but it was his fracas with Conte that drew the most attention.

Chelsea and Tottenham have a long-standing and bitter rivalry. But here was a new chapter, and with Spurs harboring aims under Conte to close the gap on the Premier League’s finest sides, it might be set to run and run.

Man Utd sink to new depths

A new dawn for Manchester United has only brought new lows.

One week on from Brighton’s first ever victory at Old Trafford, the Red Devils were blown away at Brentford as Erik ten Hag became the first United manager since John Chapman in 1921 to lose his opening two games in charge. The Dutchman is just the latest manager in the firing line as the public face of a failing institution.

More protests against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club are planned ahead of United’s next game at home to Liverpool on August 22. Ten Hag’s predecessor Ralf Rangnick signed off from his miserable caretaker spell last season by stating the United squad needed “open heart surgery” and up to 10 new players after labouring to a sixth-placed finish.

Two games into the new season, only three new faces have arrived in the form of Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen.

More business is expected in the final three weeks of the window, but United again find themselves wasting their huge commercial resources on panic buying players not wanted by the Premier League elite.

Superstar or superstrop? – Mbappe frustrated in PSG win

Kylian Mbappe appeared to stop running during a PSG counter attack in Saturday’s 5-2 win over Montpellier and fans are furious. The Ligue 1 champions have started the campaign with two wins out of two under new manager Christophe Galtier, scoring 10 goals.

Mbappe opened his account for the season in the second half but cut a frustrated figure for most of the first.

He had a penalty saved with the scores level at 0-0 and just before halftime, threw a strop when PSG had a glorious chance to go 3-0 ahead. PSG midfielder Vitinha brought the ball out from the back and had the option of passing to Mbappe on the left or Lionel Messi on the right. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Vitinha opted to give the ball to Messi, which saw Mbappe throw his hands in the air and slow down.

The 23-year-old could be seen wandering round as PSG continued to attack. Achraf Hakimi ended up putting his shot wide, but there was clearly space for a winger to dart into on the opposite flank. A clip of the incident quickly went viral on social media and supporters are disappointed with Mbappe’s attitude.

One person said: “Would have subbed him immediately after this.”

Another put: “Grow up and stay humble.”

A third tweeted: “Is he the egotistical player everyone pretends Neymar is?”

While someone added: “This is a toxic attitude, not good.”

Jesus raises Arsenal’s standards

A behind-the-scenes documentary on Arsenal last season has lifted the lid on the details behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s acrimonious departure from the Emirates last season that left the Gunners without a natural goalscorer for the second half of the season.

Mikel Arteta’s decision to freeze out the club captain for breaches of discipline was questioned as Arsenal faltered in the final months of the season to just miss out on the Champions League.

On his home debut, Gabriel Jesus showed what Arteta’s men were missing as the Brazilian scored twice, set up two more goals and missed a number of other chances for his hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Leicester.

“He is feeling disappointed in that dressing room because he said he could have scored four,” said Arteta. “That’s the standard, that’s the mentality you want. To go to a different level, you need that mentality.”

Arsenal already look a class above where they were last season when they got off to their worst start in 67 years. This time they sit level with City at the top of the table after two games.

Bench rescues Madrid in opening win

There was something familiar about Real Madrid’s LaLiga opener at Almeria on Sunday: a dramatic 2-1 comeback win, with the champions fighting back from a goal down to claim all three points. In fact, by Madrid standards, this was a rather tame turnaround, with the goals from Lucas Vazquez and then David Alaba — providing one of the moments of the weekend with a sublime free kick, curled into the top corner seconds after taking the field as a substitute — coming in the 61st and 75th minutes, rather than added time.

Madrid had been troubled by a well-organized Almeria team, with coach Carlo Ancelotti’s five changes leaving the side lacking some fluency, especially in midfield, where Casemiro and Luka Modric were missed. The game went on, though the visitors’ superiority began to tell, and by the time Vazquez made it 1-1, only one outcome seemed possible.

The fact that Ancelotti could call on Modric, Eden Hazard, Alaba, Casemiro and Dani Ceballos as substitutes showed the remarkable depth of Madrid’s bench. Even when things don’t go to plan from the off, they have ample resources in reserve to turn things around.

Barcelona’s new stars still need to mesh

Barcelona have spent over €150 million in new signings this summer, but they were held to a goalless draw on the opening day of the campaign at Camp Nou by Rayo Vallecano, who have not spent a penny in the offseason.

Barca handed debuts in attack to Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, who arrived at a combined cost of €100 million, but neither of them could mark his debut with a goal. Lewandowski, the former Bayern superstar, failed to score in the league opening match for the first time in the past 8 seasons. It could have been even worse for Barca too, with Sergio Busquets sent off late on and Rayo striker Radamel Falcao having a goal ruled out for offside moments later.

Barca had, as expected, dominated large parts of the match against a side they lost against twice last term, registering over 20 shots on goal, but it looks like it may take time for their new arrivals to click. There is work for Xavi Hernandez to do on the training ground ahead of a tricky trip to Real Sociedad next weekend — even if he used the draw to say Barca “still need to strengthen” before the transfer window closes this month.


Lukaku’s dream start

It took Romelu Lukaku 81 seconds to score on his return to Internazionale. The goal in itself was nothing special. The Belgian player was just at the right place at the right time after Federico Dimarco’s cross and Matto Darmian’s header across goal. It was a typical Lukaku finish with his eye for goal and his anticipation in the box.

It is the dream start for second stint with Inter Milan and in Serie A. There are high expectations around Lukaku. He is back to regain the title after rivals AC Milan beat the Nerazzurri to it last season, when Lukaku was at Chelsea. Lukaku didn’t have much more than his goal to show for (only one other shot in the whole game, 32 touches, 15 passes made), but he led the line well, and that’s the most important thing. Of course, scoring on his debut doesn’t mean much for him. Remember that last season, he netted only 15 minutes into his Chelsea debut, away at Arsenal. We know what happened in the rest of the campaign. Let’s not get too carried away, then, although this really feels differently. Lukaku is back home.

The Yellow Submarine on due course

Alex Baena had already scored his first ever LaLiga goal, putting Villarreal 2-0 up at Real Valladolid, by the time he picked up the ball on the left in the 90th minute. What happened next surprised everyone — even himself — as the 21-year-old academy product cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable, viciously dipping shot past goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, flying off the crossbar and into the net to make it 3-0.

Villarreal’s players ran off to celebrate, laughing deliriously, seemingly stunned by what they’d just seen. Beginning the season with an away win is a radical turnaround from early last year, when the team went from August to December without a victory on the road, and it’s just the start that a team with Champions League ambitions require.

Another academy product, Nicolas Jackson, scored in the game too. With Villarreal tweeting “The kids are alright” after the win, The Yellow Submarine just might be.

Teams in trouble

Not going to get easier at Man Utd

It’s almost impressive that Manchester United consistently seem to find ways to sink to new depths. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, they manage to concede four goals in 35 minutes at Brentford and drop to the bottom of the Premier League table. Stretching back to last season, United have lost nine of their past 14 competitive games and six of their past eight. That’s relegation form by anyone’s standards.

No one is suggesting that could possibly happen, but they look like a team who don’t know where their next goal is coming from, let alone their next win. United’s next two home games are against Liverpool and Arsenal, with trips to Southampton and Leicester sandwiched in between. The start to the season is already a disaster, but it could get even more messy very quickly.

Leverkusen’s struggles are real

Bayer Leverkusen were so entertaining last season, scoring for fun, with Patrik Schick and Moussa Diaby taking the Bundesliga by storm, and Gerardo Seoane got a lot of things right for his first season at the club. How different already is this campaign. Bayer have just been beaten twice for their first two league matches, at Dortmund (1-1) and this weekend against Augsburg (2-1), when they had only lost two in their first nine last season.

Having also been knocked out of the German Cup in the first round by third-division team Elversberg (4-3), Bayer are unrecognizable. They created lots of chances at the weekend with an expected goal of 2.57 and 24 shots, 10 on target, but could not finish. They ended the game with five forwards, but the efficiency, once again, was not there. The pressure is already big on Seoane, and they need a reaction at home again next weekend against TSG Hoffenheim.

Weekend MVP

Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

Gabriel Jesus marked his home debut against Leicester City following a £45 million move from Manchester City with precisely the sort of all-action display he was signed for. The 25-year-old curled home his first Premier League goal for Arsenal with a clever 23rd-minute finish before a back-post header doubled his contribution 12 minutes later. Jesus also registered two assists — for Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli — as the Gunners maintained their 100% record at the start of the season with a 4-2 win at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Jesus was always expected to set the Arsenal press with his energetic running, but the great unknown was whether he could prove prolific in front of goal away from the relentless chance-creating machine that is Manchester City. Tougher challenges await, but this was a hugely encouraging way to start.

Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)

When Robert Lewandowski left Bayern Munich in the summer, little consideration was given to seeking a like-for-like replacement. Instead, ways to compensate for the loss of nigh on 40 goals per season were formulated and solutions were sought, thinking out of the box.

Sadio Mane was signed to add an air of unpredictability to the attack, and while the Senegalese forward has slotted into Lewandowski’s position on the field, another Bayern player has taken on the goalscoring mantle: Jamal Musiala.

On Sunday, the 19-year-old scored his third goal of the season, helping the Bavarians on their way to a second straight win and up to their habitual perch at the top of the table. 2 games 3 goals for Mr Musiala so far this season and only 19 years old. What a talented boy!

Brentford 4-0 Man Utd: Bees Teach Red Devils BITTER LESSON & Piles MISERY on Ten Hag

Manchester United’s miserable start to the 2022/2023 Premier League season continued, as they suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of London side Brentford.

A combination of schoolboy errors from United goalkeeper David de Gea and his defenders plus clinical finishing saw Thomas Frank’s men earn all three points on offer.

Manchester United remain winless after two games and are yet to register a single goal this term.

FULL-TIME: Brentford 4-0 Manchester United

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY: Brentford 4-0 Manchester United

HT: Brentford 4-0 Manchester United
What a mental game so far! Brentford lead by four goals at half time.

David De Gea’s error set the tone for the rest of the half for his side as he let in the first from Josh Dasilva. Mathias Jensen scored the second before Ben Mee headed in a third.

Bryan Mbeumo then added a fourth a few minutes later to humiliate the visitors before the break

United embarassed
45’ Brentford 4-0 Manchester United

It’s been an atrocious half of football for Erik Ten Hag’s side. Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates look lost.

35’ Brentford 4-0 Manchester United

ANOTHER! What a counter-attack by Brentford! Ivan Toney finds Bryan Mbeumo who taps in!

It’s 4-0! Wow!

31’ Brentford 3-0 Manchester United

IT’S THREE! Ben Mee gets in on the act! He heads in at the back post from close range!

Shocking start by United
25’ Brentford 2-0 Manchester United

It’s been a shambolic start to this game for Erik Ten Hag’s side. They’ve handed Brentford two goals and heads are dropping on and off the pitch already.

The home fans are singing: “You’re getting sacked in the morning!” and “You’re going down with the Fulham!”

It could be a long evening for the visitors.

18’ Brentford 2-0 Manchester United

WOW! This is crazy!

From their own goal-kick, Man United lose the ball in their own box and Mathias Jensen pounces to make it two for Brentford!

A nightmare for De Gea
13’ Brentford 1-0 Manchester United

That is exactly how the visitors didn’t want to start. It looked set to be a routine save for De Gea but somehow he’s let it slip through. Dasilva doesn’t care as he wheels away in celebration.

Work to do now for Erik Ten Hag’s side.

10’ Brentford 1-0 Manchester United

It’s a howler by David De Gea! Josh Dasilva is the scorer! His low strike slips completely through the hands of the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

Ronaldo tests Raya early
5’ Brentford 0-0 Manchester United

It’s a trademark strike by Ronaldo but it’s straight at Raya who saves easily.

Boos for Eriksen
2’ Brentford 0-0 Manchester United

The Brentford fans are making their feelings known already. I’m not sure he would have expected that response from the crowd.

We’re underway!
1’ Brentford 0-0 Manchester United

The visitors kick-off and the game is underway!

Cristiano Ronaldo starts!

Cristiano Ronaldo makes his first start of the season for Manchester United.

With rumours of his desire to leave the club and a very limited pre-season, Ronaldo started on the bench last week. He will have an opportunity to show that his heart is still in it this afternoon. Christian Eriksen starts against his former club.

Josh Dasilva is rewarded for his late equaliser against Leicester last time out with a starting spot. Yoane Wissa and Vitaly Janelt drop to the bench with Mads Roerslev the other change to Thomas Frank’s line-up.

An entertaining game is expected in London this afternoon and both teams will be aiming for their first wins of the season at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Line-ups Confirmed!

Brentford vs Manchester United team news

Cristiano Ronaldo may get his first start of the season after he came on as a substitute during United’s defeat by Brighton.

New Brentford signing Mikkel Damsgaard is available, although Thomas Frank has admitted he isn’t ready to start the match.

Manchester United’s hunt for a striker

Erik Ten Hag is looking to make a couple more additions to his squad before the deadline at the end of the month.

Man United have been on the lookout for a striker in recent weeks and with a move for Marko Arnautovic aborted, the floodgates have opened for agents putting forward their clients.

With Cristiano Ronaldo’s issues off the pitch and Anthony Martial’s injury, the club have been keen to bring in another striker and Alvaro Morata may be an option.

It is believed that the Atletico Madrid forward is a possible signing with talks being held over a £29.6m move.

If Man United lose today…

A loss for Manchester United against Brentford today will mark their poorest start to a Premier League season since its inaugural campaign in 1992. They haven’t lost their opening two games for 30 years.

Having also lost their final two games of the season last year, they are on a three-game losing streak with the last time they lost four in a row being in February 1979.

It doesn’t stop there. United have lost their last six away games which is their worst streak in 41 years. Will it become seven today?

There is a lot of history riding on the result today for Erik Ten Hag’s side and the pressure will be high to find a positive result and counteract the atmosphere away from the pitch.

What to expect from Brentford’s new man

With Christian Eriksen deciding on joining Manchester United rather than renewing his contract at Brentford this summer, how could Thomas Frank replace his Danish playmaker?

Sign another one!

Mikkel Damsgaard has joined from Sampdoria for £10.1m. The name will ring a bell for English fans as the 22-year-old scored a superb free-kick from range to give his country the lead against England in the European Championship semi-final last year.

Although they’re both national teammates and play the same position, The Athletic’s Jay Harris has analysed just what Damsgaard can bring and believes the players have different skill sets.

He is expected to start from the bench today for Frank’s side but the Brentford boss definitely has an exciting option to bring on if he needs to.