European review: Barca salvage draw in thriller, Arsenal edge Man City

Another weekend of European football has come and gone. If you merely checked the box scores, you’d think there were few surprises as the weekend’s action got underway, but those full-time figures tell only half the story.

On Saturday in the Premier League, Manchester United won, although you wouldn’t know it if you walked out of Old Trafford in the 92nd minute, and so did Chelsea, they themselves coming from behind, too. Borussia Dortmund also overturned a deficit to seal a win whose scoreline belies the struggle last year’s Bundesliga runners-up faced. Elsewhere, the world was reminded of Jude Bellingham‘s seemingly limitless potential as he kept Real Madrid on top of LaLiga.

On Sunday, Arsenal ended their losing streak against Man City with a late goal from Gabriel Martinelli, while Liverpool and Brighton shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw. In Germany, Bayern Munich won comfortably over Freiburg but sit in third place behind Stuttgart and Leverkusen. Meanwhile, Barcelona salvaged a draw against Granada after going 2-0 down, and PSG clinched a much-needed win against Rennes.

Here is your look back at all the fun from the weekend.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)


The Sunday lead: Barça slip further behind Madrid in thrilling draw

Sergi Roberto‘s late goal rescued Barcelona a point at Granada on Sunday as they came from two down to draw 2-2 at the Nuevo Los Cármenes in a game packed with incident.

Bryan Zaragoza, the league’s smallest player at 5-foot-3, opened the scoring after just 17 seconds (the quickest goal Barça have ever conceded in LaLiga). The diminutive forward then added a brilliant second, turning Jules Koundé inside out in the 29th minute to leave Xavi Hernandez’s side with a mountain to climb in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada.

The comeback began with a piece of history when Lamine Yamal turned home from close range to become the youngest goal scorer in LaLiga at 16 years and 87 days old. Roberto then came off the bench to equalise in the 85th minute, but the drama did not end there. There was still time for Zaragoza, on a hat-trick, to smash the post and Barça to have a stoppage-time goal ruled out. João Félix, who thought he had netted the winner, was not offside, but Ferran Torres, who had attempted to play the ball before him, was.

The draw leaves Granada in the relegation zone and sees Barça slip to third in the table, three points behind Real Madrid and one back from Girona. That gap will not worry Xavi at this stage of the season, but problems are mounting with the first clásico of the season on the horizon at the end of October.

Injuries are continuing to pile up. Kounde was withdrawn here in the first half. He joins Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski on the treatment table. However, it’s Barça’s defensive issues which Xavi will look to fix during the international break. They have now conceded 10 goals in LaLiga this season through nine games — it took them 31 matches to concede that amount last season.

The ease with which they leak goals keeps leaving them in compromising positions. They recovered from 2-0 down to beat Celta Vigo 3-2 and twice came back to draw 2-2 at Mallorca recently. Granada can now be added to their list of comebacks, but opposition such as Athletic Bilbao and Madrid, their next two league games, may not be so forgiving. — Sam Marsden

Sunday talking points around the leagues

Arsenal finally get victory over Man City

Arsenal ended their 12-game losing streak against Manchester City and signalled their readiness to end a 20-year Premier League title drought after Nathan Aké‘s late own goal sealed a deserved win for the Gunners.

Gabriel Martinelli‘s shot from the edge of the penalty area, following a lay-off by Kai Havertz, beat City keeper Éderson after taking a heavy deflection off Ake’s head in the 86th minute to not only give Arsenal the major psychological boost of beating Pep Guardiola’s team but also inflict City’s second successive league defeat.



Why Guardiola’s management was ‘absolutely terrible’ vs. Arsenal

Janusz Michallik slams Pep Guardiola’s tactical decisions in Manchester City’s 1-0 loss vs. Arsenal.

Having been forced to face City without injured talisman Bukayo Saka, Arsenal then had to overcome the first-half failure of referee Michael Oliver to send off Mateo Kovacic following a late challenge on Martin Odegaard which, despite being reviewed by VAR, did not lead to a red card for the former Chelsea player. Kovacic was then spared a second yellow card — and dismissal — six minutes later when Oliver failed to take action following another bad tackle on Declan Rice.

But despite City avoiding the loss of a key player to a red card, Arsenal put the sense of injustice behind them and held firm in a mature and confident performance. Last season, City twice beat the Gunners convincingly before going on to win the title, but Mikel Arteta’s side avoided the same fate this time around and was able to make the breakthrough for a crucial win when Martinelli’s shot beat Ederson thanks to Ake’s deflection.

The victory moves Arsenal joint top with North London rivals Tottenham with the two clubs now the only unbeaten teams in the Premier League. — Mark Ogden

Liverpool and Brighton draw as VAR controversy strikes again

Conceding the game’s first goal is becoming less of a habit for this Liverpool team and more of an addiction. Simon Adingra‘s opening goal for Brighton was the seventh time in Liverpool’s 11 matches so far this season in which they’ve gone behind.

Liverpool revel in a comeback victory, though, and shortly after the celebrations from the home fans died down it became clear that all Adingra’s goal had done was wake Jurgen Klopp’s team out of its stupor. Mohamed Salah‘s two goals in the space of six minutes gave Liverpool an unlikely lead heading into the half. The intensity of the action that followed in the second half was all the more impressive when you consider that both teams, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, were in action in the Europa League on Thursday night.



Michallik: It seems like Liverpool have to go behind to start playing

Janusz Michallik explains why he was disappointed with Liverpool in their 2-2 draw with Brighton.

Ryan Gravenberch should have put the game beyond Brighton in the 54th minute when he inexplicably rattled the crossbar from close range with the goal gaping in front of him. While Lewis Dunk‘s equaliser 12 minutes from time felt as if it might set up a grandstand finish on the south coast, in the end a draw was perhaps a fair result.

After last week’s VAR furore over Luis Díaz‘s disallowed goal against Tottenham, the video assistant referee, Christopher Kavanagh, would have been praying for a quiet afternoon, but he managed to draw the ire of both teams during the 90 minutes.

First, he elected not to recommend a red card for Pascal Gross as well as a penalty for hauling down Dominik Szoboszlai as last man. Second, he did not consider Virgil Van Dijk’s second-half handball worthy of a penalty for De Zerbi’s team — a decision that caused the Brighton fans to reference Klopp’s midweek comments in the chant, “We want a replay.” — Tom Chambers

Bayern continue home win streak over Freiburg

Games between Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg are proof that history can indeed repeat itself. Since 1993, Bayern have never lost to Freiburg at home. The 3-0 win on Sunday was their 22nd home victory over Freiburg out of 25 games and simply another example of how helpless Freiburg usually are when they travel to the Bavarian capital.

Leroy Sané put on a star performance, as the 27-year-old not only scored the second goal but also was omnipresent in the final third. Boss Thomas Tuchel decided to use Harry Kane in a familiar role, with the England captain frequently dropping back into the midfield and exploring opportunities to find Sané behind Freiburg’s back line. A similar tactical setup worked beautifully against Manchester United in the Champions League a few weeks ago and also did the trick on Sunday.



Kingsley Coman’s brace powers Bayern Munich to 3-0 win

Kingsley Coman scores two, and Leroy Sane provides another as Bayern Munich get the 3-0 win over SC Freiburg.

Granted, Bayern benefited from what appeared to be a fluke goal by Kingsley Coman in the 12th minute, with the French winger seemingly attempting a high cross that ended up hitting the inside of the back post. The goal broke the deadlock for Bayern and gave the critics of Noah Atubolu, Freiburg’s starting goalkeeper this season, new fodder.

While they conceded the first goal in unlucky fashion, Freiburg did not look like a side playing to win. In the absence of Matthias Ginter, who is undoubtedly their outstanding defender, and amid a lack of urgency in pressing, Freiburg were overwhelmed by Bayern’s dominance in ball possession. Whether it was Kane chipping the ball to Sané, Thomas Müller making one of his trademark runs inside the penalty area or Kingsley Coman and Alphonso Davies running at defenders at full speed, Bayern found enough ways to outplay their opponents.

If there is anything Tuchel has to worry about currently, it is his diminished group of defenders. With Matthijs de Ligt being out due to an injury, Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-Jae are the only two remaining high-level centre-backs in Bayern’s squad. Attrition did not hurt Bayern on Sunday, though at some point it very well could. — Constantin Eckner

PSG bounce back in style

After some tough and tense days following the disappointing goalless draw last weekend at Clermont and more importantly the heavy defeat in Newcastle in the Champions League on Wednesday night (4-1), Paris were under pressure for their trip to Rennes on Sunday night. Another loss and the crisis would be big. They needed to win and ideally with style. That’s exactly what they did.

Even if Rennes created the first chances, the Ligue 1 champions were efficient, solid, convincing, thrilling in their passing and brave too. Despite the hosts’ intensity and pressing, the Parisians won comprehensively. And maybe the biggest lesson for this victory is who led the team to it. It wasn’t Kylian Mbappé. It wasn’t Ousmane Dembélé on his return to his old club. It was Vitinha, the same Vitinha who was dropped to the bench by manager Luis Enrique for the trip to Newcastle.

PSG are now third in the table, one point behind Nice and two behind the league leaders Monaco after eight league games. With this win, they also bought themselves a bit of peace and quiet for the next few days. — Julien Laurens

News of the day

  • AC Milan plan to sell Olivier Giroud goalkeeper jerseys after the striker’s heroics in goal in their 1-0 win against Genoa. Giroud was forced to go in goal after Mike Maignan was sent off and Milan had no more substitutions. Milan said in a statement: “The Club has decided to honour his performance in its last line of defence by putting him in the list of goalkeepers. Additionally, fans can now purchase the goalkeeper jersey and customize it with ‘Giroud 9.'”

  • Wayne Rooney has resigned as D.C. United head coach after the team was eliminated from MLS playoff contention. D.C. lost 2-0 to NYCFC at home in its final game of the regular season, with the team announcing immediately after the game that it had parted ways with Rooney, who previously spent 18 months as a player with D.C. and rejoined the club as head coach in July 2022.

  • Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka will miss England duty to recover from injury. The 22-year-old suffered a hamstring strain in the Gunners’ Champions League defeat to Lens and was unavailable for their win against Man City on Sunday. Mikel Arteta said: “No, he cannot make it. He hasn’t had a single training session so he will be out. He’s not available to play football at the moment.”

And finally, on Sunday…

Barcelona‘s Lamine Yamal became the youngest goal scorer in LaLiga history after finding the net against Granada. At 16 years and 87 days old, Yamal beat the previous record by less than two weeks. The Spain international has broke through this season under Xavi Hernandez, and all eyes are on the young winger to continue to make history.



16-year-old Lamine Yamal becomes youngest goal scorer in LaLiga history

16-year-old Lamine Yamal tallies an easy goal and becomes the youngest scorer in LaLiga history.

Missed the action on Saturday? Keep reading for all the talking points.


The Saturday lead: Bellingham a perfect 10 for Madrid

It’s 10 out of 10 for Jude Bellingham: 10 goals in 10 Real Madrid games, the latest coming in a brace in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Osasuna. Bellingham has been playing as a No. 10, too, even if he wears the No. 5.

His goal scoring just won’t stop and neither will the comparisons. First it was Zinedine Zidane. Then it was Alfredo di Stefano. You hear choruses of “Hey Jude” every week at the Santiago Bernabeu. There are Bellingham shirts everywhere you look. Children imitate his arms-out-wide goal celebration. The fans couldn’t love him more.

Bellingham’s first goal against Osasuna came in the ninth minute after nice work from Luka Modric — back in the team and proving his worth, with more touches and completed passes than any other player — and then Eduardo Camavinga and Dani Carvajal. His second, to end the contest in the 54th minute, was the product of a one-two with Federico Valverde, before finishing through the legs of goalkeeper Sergio Herrera. His role in Madrid’s third was limited to picking up Valverde, who had created the goal with a clever through ball for Vinicius Junior, to carry the Uruguayan player into the middle of the celebrations, ensuring that he got his share of the credit.

After forward Joselu made it 4-0, Bellingham was quickly substituted. The stadium stood to applaud. They know they’re witnessing something very special: a star is born. — Alex Kirkland

Saturday talking points around the leagues

Sterling’s leadership can carry Chelsea forward

Chelsea’s trip to Burnley started similarly to so many of their games this Premier League season. The visitors looked bright in fits and starts, but that promise counted for little after just 15 minutes when Lyle Foster ran around both Axel Disasi and Thiago Silva to set up Wilson Odobert, whose stutter step befuddled Marc Cucurella and finish eluded Robert Sánchez.

Considering the growing pains the Blues have endured this season, it would’ve been easy for heads to drop. This was a starting XI whose average age was 24.6 and who’d averaged just 32 appearances for Chelsea. If you remove the 39-year-old Thiago Silva from the equation, the average age drops to 23.2 and the average appearances for the west London club falls to a mere 22.8.

This is an inexperienced team short on leadership. On this day, though, there was one player experienced enough to refuse to accept defeat.

No one on the pitch bettered Raheem Sterling‘s nine progressive carries (which advance the ball greater than five metres toward goal in the opposition half), only Enzo Fernández completed more passes in the attacking third than his 14, and no one registered more shots (three) or shots on target (two) than the 28-year-old England international. He was instrumental in every single one of Chelsea’s goals as they beat Burnley 4-1.

His 42nd-minute cross was deflected into the hosts’ goal to level the score, he won the penalty for Cole Palmer to give the Blues the lead from the spot, his 65th-minute strike gave his side some breathing room and his pacy run down the left flank ultimately resulted in Nicolas Jackson scoring the final goal of the match. These were just rewards for a player who should be the role model for a team full of immensely talented 20-somethings whose potentials are yet to be fulfilled.



Nicol: Sterling’s fire fuelled by England snub

Steve Nicol credits Raheem Sterling’s performance in Chelsea’s win over Burnley to being dropped by England boss Gareth Southgate.

From his breakout at Liverpool to his big-money move to Manchester City, Sterling has felt the pressure that weighs on the shoulders of young players on big wages with even bigger expectations. Chelsea will need to rely on his experience and his leadership if they’re to regain their status among English football’s elite. — Austin Lindberg

Blades bid final farewell to Cusack

It’s far from a rarity; seeing black armbands wrapped around the biceps of the two teams on the pitch, a moment’s silence before kickoff something of a growing routine across football. Often, it’s for a former player from the men’s side, someone from generations past who had had a good innings, left to be survived by children and grandchildren.

Not so often are we asked to pause and celebrate a shorter life of a player who had been active until their passing.

Even with the context of the rapid recent growth of the women’s game following the past two World Cups that have driven record attendances, increased participation and vast investment, many corners of women’s football still feel small and familial.

No, Maddy Cusack wasn’t a household name in women’s football, most of her career spent in the second tier of the English game, but she had shared pitches with many of the players across the top two divisions. Fans of other teams up and down the country had likely spent an afternoon or evening unwittingly watching the midfielder play as they took in their 90 minutes of live entertainment over a weekend. She had been part of the landscape of the game, a piece of the expansive puzzle, that had mixed and blurred with the others but became all too easy to spot once lost.

Before the opening game of the Women’s Super League season, two of her former managers stood on the touchline, former teammates on the pitch at one of her former clubs. Even with the increased attendance, there were still those Villa ultras who had been there back when the Midlands club was in WSL 2 (as the Championship was known at the time), drawing home crowds of between 200 and 400 fans. Those were the fans who could remember Cusack’s teen years spent in claret and blue after her move from Nottingham Forest.

From Villa to crosstown rivals Birmingham City to Leicester City and on to Sheffield United, where the midfielder spent the last four years of her life, moving around the growing women’s football bubble. But it was still just that, a bubble, one that had unexpectedly been put into mourning last month by the news of Cusack’s death, and so the minutes of silence and applause began, to honour the life of the 27-year-old.

With the men’s team at Sheffield United having paid their tributes to the midfielder, who paired her playing with a job as a marketing exec at the Blades’ foundation, it was time for Cusack’s team to say one last goodbye at Bramall Lane. Their fixture against London City Lionesses was brought forward a day so that some of her former teammates could attend the Championship clash and pay their respects to the friend they had lost.

From the tribute video before kickoff to the two rounds of applause — before the match and during the eighth minute, for the number she wore on the back of her shirt — there was an unmistakable sombre hue over the game. Those on the pitch shifting focus to the task at hand as so many players around the world do once the whistle has sounded, football the familiar escapism. The result — a much-needed 3-1 win — was the story for the football pages but left as a footnote as the club continued its grieving process. — Lawson

McTominay proves he’s deserving of a chance

Manager Erik ten Hag said after Manchester United‘s dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind win over Brentford that he sent on Scott McTominay as a late substitute and said “score two goals.” Those instructions worked like a charm.



Nicol: McTominay ‘Hail Mary’ raises more questions for Ten Hag

Steve Nicol isn’t convinced by Manchester United’s late comeback win over Brentford in the Premier League.

McTominay has had to be patient at Old Trafford this season, starting just two games in all competitions, but this was a timely reminder of what he can contribute to a team clearly struggling. The Scotland international is one of the top scorers in Euro 2024 qualifying, was wanted by Bayern Munich in the summer and is surely deserving of an opportunity in a stuttering United team.

Casemiro was one of those at fault for Brentford’s goal and was substituted at half-time. Summer signing Sofyan Amrabat looks like he’s still trying to get to grips with the pace of the Premier League and Mason Mount has so far done little to justify his £60 million transfer fee from Chelsea.

McTominay might not be a Ten Hag favourite, but his favourites aren’t working and, injury permitting, the 26-year-old should be in the team when United resume after the international break with a trip to Sheffield United. Except perhaps 20-year-old striker Rasmus Højlund, no one in the squad can say they are playing well enough to justify automatic selection and McTominay’s late heroics against Brentford should be enough to guarantee at least a chance. — Rob Dawson

Arsenal, Man United promise more to come

In what was just their second match of the season, Arsenal were already facing the prospect of a must-win against Manchester United after their opening-day defeat at home to Liverpool. Indeed, a loss would have been their fourth straight, spanning back to last season, marking a new club record. The prospect was a tricky one, though, facing a team they had failed to beat in their past five meetings across both league and cup.

After Stina Blackstenius‘s opener and Leah Galton‘s equaliser — born of a look-away-now mis-kick from Arsenal bit-part goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo — the stage was set for a frantic finish. Melvine Malard‘s deft strike — again, something of a gift from the Gunners’ regrettable defending — looked to have won it for the hosts, but just as stoppage time gave(th) to United last week, it took(eth) away on Friday night as Cloe Lacasse fired a rocket into the narrow gap between the apex of the woodwork and Mary Earps‘s outstretched paw. The scoreline read 2-2 when the full-time whistle went.

It had been a game of errors from both sides, as well as flashes of quality from top to bottom, with the new attacking additions continuing to ink their names into the memory. Maybe not quite the game of margins many were expecting, Arsenal, for all their chances, again failing to really capitalise when they went forward — uncomfortable déjà vu for the Gunners. United still growing with a promise of the football to come, Brazilian international Geyse already making fans around the country take notice.

In his post-match comments, United boss Marc Skinner impressed the importance of time together for his players, of what is yet to come when everyone is up to speed and well-versed in his style. There is a similar sense among their opposition too, the visitors had their fair share of chances and Alessia Russo easily could have followed the narrative and scored against her former club on a night when her every touch brought about a chorus of boos from around the stadium.

As it is, less than 36 hours after announcing a new deal for manager Jonas Eidevall, the Arsenal coach has his first point of the season, even if it wasn’t the most convincing. — Lawson

News of the day

  • Erik ten Hag hit out at his Manchester United players after the dramatic 2-1 win over Brentford telling his squad “if you can’t handle the pressure, don’t play here.” United needed two stoppage-time goals from substitute Scott McTominay to avoid a third successive defeat at Old Trafford. Afterward, Ten Hag said his team had been “eaten” by Brentford in the first half and urged his players to be more “determined.”

  • Vinicius Junior praised Jude Bellingham as “incredible” and said the midfielder “was born to play for Real Madrid” after the England international scored twice in the club’s 4-0 LaLiga win over Osasuna on Saturday. “Bellingham is giving us a lot of possibilities up front,” coach Carlo Ancelotti said in his postmatch news conference. “He’s involved in the play, and not having a fixed position gives him an advantage. It’s been a surprising start to the season. Nobody expected this level in terms of goals.”

  • AS Roma coach José Mourinho said he fully expects to work in Saudi Arabia one day after his compatriot, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, led the way by joining Al Nassr, with a stream of players subsequently signing for Saudi Pro League teams. “I will go to Saudi Arabia in some free time, but I am convinced that I will work there. I don’t know when, but I am pretty sure of it,” said Mourinho, who is under pressure after a disappointing start to the season. “No one knows the future, but I will definitely [work in Saudi Arabia].”

And finally, on Saturday …

It was a crazy end to Genoa vs. AC Milan as the Rossoneri snatched a late 1-0 win thanks to Christian Pulisic‘s strike after 87 minutes of a scoreless stalemate.

However, late into stoppage time, goalkeeper Mike Maignan was sent off after bringing down Caleb Ekuban due to serious foul play outside the edge of the box. With the visitors having used all of their substitutes at this point, Olivier Giroud slipped on the keeper’s gloves for the remaining last moments of the match.

Just as if you didn’t need any more chaos, Genoa goalkeeper Josep Martínez was also sent off following a collision with midfielder Yunus Musah, leaving both teams with 10 men.

It looked like Milan were in jeopardy of letting their win slip through their fingers, but the veteran France international came up clutch with a last-second one-on-one save with Romania forward George Puscas to give them all three points and sit atop of the Serie A table. — Roberto Rojas


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar