Bobby Wood spent an anonymous 56 minutes on the pitch last weekend in Hamburg’s 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin, consigning the club to 16th in the 18-team Bundesliga and opening Wood to fierce criticism from manager Markus Gisdol. Wood has started nine league matches for Hamburg this term, but he’s only managed a single goal. That was back in August.
Real Madrid’s shocking 2-1 defeat to Girona yesterday marked the fourth occasion in which Los Blancos have failed to capture all three points this season, a worrying trend that’s seen Barcelona open an eight-point gap on their fiercest rivals after only 10 matches. Real’s attack has been uncharacteristically blunt this campaign, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return of only one goal in 540 minutes of action has garnered the most attention.
England has five teams in the Champions League for the first time and amazingly all of them are still unbeaten through three matches in group play. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all lead their groups with a combined 11 wins, four draws and no losses.
Does your goalie like to pick out passes to nearby teammates and help the team play out of the back or does he like to hoof it up the park to get it as far away from him as possible? The answer may determine your spot in the English Premier League table. Goalie distribution is almost directly correlated to EPL success according to the chart below.
This graphic shows the percentage of passes from EPL goalies that are long balls and the top five teams are all among the top seven teams through seven games in the 2017-18 season.
The 2017-18 season is young, but dribbling is a young man’s game. According to WhoScored.com, these are the 10 players that, on average, are completing the most dribbles per game (minimum of five league matches). While you’ll find many of the usual suspects off to a flying start with regards to ending defenders’ careers, there are also some of the hottest young prospects in the world here.
With Karim Benzema recovering from a hamstring injury, Gareth Bale resting due to a hamstring complaint of his own and Cristiano Ronaldo increasing his La Liga tally to 23 shots without a goal, Real Madrid relied on Isco’s best performance of the season to defeat Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday and stay within seven points of early pacesetters Barcelona.
Crystal Palace has played six, lost six, conceded 13 goals and scored none. That’s 540 minutes of English Premier League football without scoring, a record for longest goalless streak to start a season. In other words, one epic dry spell. But even if Crystal Palace manages to score this weekend against Manchester United, the Eagles will still hold the record for longest EPL scoreless streak.
Conditions conspired to give us a glimpse of a rarely used, outdated tactic on Saturday: an authentic and faithful use of man-marking during Girona’s hosting of Barcelona at the Estadi Montilivi. What this means is that Girona defender Pablo Maffeo was entirely sacrificed to negate the influence of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi — wherever Messi went, there was Maffeo. When Girona were in possession, Maffeo continued to mark Messi. In fact, Maffeo was substituted in the 78th minute after recording only 10 touches.
The National Football League returns to England on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, a now biannual feature as the league is desperate to gain British NFL fans. Meanwhile, soccer leagues across Europe are considering bringing regular-season games to the U.S.