Real Sociedad have quietly gone about assembling one of the strongest squads in all of La Liga, but their promising start to the season was brought to a halt by Levante center half Chema Rodriguez last night. Levante would ultimately win 3-0, but it was Chema’s wonder goal on the stroke of halftime that put his side ahead for good.
Grumblings of an early crisis on Tyneside appear to have been hugely premature on the back of another Newcastle United victory on Saturday, their third straight in the Premier League. With a 2-1 win against Stoke City, Newcastle climbed into the Champions League places and confirmed their finest start to life in England’s top division in six years.
Dejan Lovren is like a haunted doll. No matter how hard you try to get rid of him, he always finds a way to stay put. During Liverpool's last two summers, a main goal has been to replace Lovren in the starting lineup. Lovren is still in the starting lineup. Next summer they will try to replace him again, but will fail somehow. Dejan Lovren will keep his job.
Belgium's latest qualifier was against Gibraltar (whose record now reads played seven, lost seven, conceded 33), so many are claiming that right back Thomas Meunier is the beneficiary of coming up against the worst international left back of all time. Still, any match in which a defender records a hat trick of both goals and assists should be roundly applauded.
Counterattack mitigation is probably the most important skill in any defensive midfielder's arsenal. Often tasked with protecting a vulnerable back line, elite defensive midfielders must get their spacing and decision-making correct every time.
With Ousmane Dembele’s transfer opera turning sour and Luis Suarez out for up to five weeks with a knee injury, Barcelona opened their La Liga campaign on Sunday with Lionel Messi shouldering the burden of his side’s attacking ambition.
But the play of the day wasn’t provided by Messi, it was provided by the only Argentinian teammate he can rely on, Javier Mascherano.
Before Pep Guardiola came down from the mountaintop proclaiming the new age of the 4-3-3 with attacking width providing by the wide defenders, nobody knew what a full back was. Sure, Roberto Carlos once struck a football so hard that we all admitted their existence, but that was all anyone knew about the position. What did they do? Why were they there? It was hard to know and even harder to explain.