A lot of people had expected Pep Guardiola and his free-flowing football to struggle in England. Yet his Manchester City team are setting the standards in world football today, a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Southampton, the latest in their conquest. But unfortunately for City, their Premier League rivals aren’t letting them go out of sight, with Chelsea and Liverpool also continuing their unbeaten run in the league.
In Germany, it was back to the usual for Bayern Munich who succumbed to a draw against SC Freiburg, while runaway leaders Borussia Dortmund secured a surprisingly low-scoring 1-0 victory against an in-form Wolfsburg side.
Here are four talking points for a Gameweek of exhilarating football.
Unai’s the chosen one
Very few would have expected Arsenal to make such an extraordinary start to the season, especially after the initial defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea. The Gunners were arguably the better side against Liverpool at the weekend, creating chances in plenty and showing real nerves to come back from being a goal down.
The front pairing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, both signings made by Wenger, have been in scintillating form for the Gunners. But the real difference has been the steel in the central midfield for the team from London. New signing Lucas Torreira has added much-needed stability while Emery has managed to extract the best out of Granit Xhaka, who has reinvented himself into a reliable box-to-box player.
The side’s performances have also managed to lift the atmosphere at the Emirates stadium, which had been somewhat below par in the final few seasons under Arsene Wenger.
For Liverpool, this was a Gameweek of mixed emotions. The result was not bad – a draw against an in-form Arsenal side is never seen as a bad day – but the team looked stretched at times. Most worryingly, the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino looked one dimensional, also perhaps showcasing how teams have now begun to read them correctly. A lot is expected from Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp this season, so the Reds will be expected to come back with a victory soon.
Sarri keeps on strolling
Chelsea might not have the swagger of Manchester City or a fluidic attack like Liverpool, but they are certainly a side refusing to believe this a two-team race for the Premier League title. Chelsea impressed in their outing against Crystal Palace, showing nerves to overcome a very good stint of play by the opposition which saw them equalise. While goal-scoring still remains a concern, Alvaro Morata seems to have rediscovered his magic touch as the Spaniard scored a brace to set up the home victory.
The Blues are unbeaten in 11 matches, which saw their new coach Maurizio Sarri match the Premier League record, and it is hard to believe this is the same side that finished 30 points behind Manchester City last season. It still looks like Liverpool will offer more competition to City as the season pans out, but imagine what Sarri can do with the team and the players under his tutelage if he can make so many improvements by November!
Bayern needs ‘saving’
Real Madrid aren’t the only superpowers of European football struggling to find their feet this season. Bayern succumbed another draw on the weekend – against a spirited Freiburg. Bayern have now failed to win at home on four consecutive occasions for the first time since 2001.
One of Bayern’s biggest problem this season has been the declining efficiency of the once unbeatable Manuel Neuer. The last eight shots on target that opposing teams have registered against Bayern have all led to goals. Those eight shots stretch back to the 1-1 draw with Ajax in the Champions League. Bayern have conceded eight goals in their last seven matches, which shows an alarming concession rate, something that isn't good enough for Niko Kovac and his team. Though the rate would reflect badly on Neuer, he isn't the only at blame. Bayern has been particularly poor in dealing with crosses, especially why the centre-back pairing isn’t between Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
Big things were expected from Niklas Sule but he has somewhat fizzled out this season, leading to a lot of mistakes in the penalty box which the opposition teams have capitalised on. Defence will need to really tighten up if Bayern are to quickly catch Borussia Dortmund who are already four points clear on top of the table.
Give Juventus and PSG the titles already
Paris Saint-Germain pulled off a disciplined performance in the weekend to win 2-1 against Lille and go 11 points clear at the top of the French Ligue 1 table. Goals from Kylian Mbappe and Neymar settled the affair for Tomas Tuchel’s men though Lille showed grit to keep the French big-spenders a difficult test before the team’s Champions League trip to Naples.
Tuchel was surprisingly elated by the team’s performance and went on to call the victory better than the 5-0 thrashing of Lyon earlier in the season, but honestly, there was nothing in the match to suggest it would be difficult for PSG. Maybe Tuchel was excited that a French team could give them some competition!
In Italy, it was the case of the same old as the Old Lady of Turin, Juventus, defeated Cagliari 3-1 to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table. It was another comfortable outing for the champions who went into the lead in the very first minute of the match through a goal from Paulo Dybala
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Updated Date: Nov 05, 2018 20:16:13 IST