LONDON, England – The Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and Serie A all offered a wealth of interesting topics for discussion over the past weekend in European club football.
From Paris Saint-Germain losing to Nice to Bayern Munich fighting to a draw with Leverkusen, from Manchester United losing to Brighton to Inter Milan thrashing AC Milan, there are many examples of upsets. Leandro Trossard kept Arsenal within striking distance of the reigning champions of the Premier League Manchester City on Tuesday with a second-half winner at Everton to extend the power source Gunners’ run of winning while underwhelming. The weekend ended with more disappointment for Chelsea, a historic first victory for Heidenheim, and an impressive win for Arsenal at Everton.
As David Raya, a goalkeeper on loan from Brentford, made his first appearance for the team in place of Aaron Ramsdale, manager Mikel Arteta surprised everyone by making the switch. In the 69th minute, Trossard, who had been set up by Bukayo Saka, scored the game-winning goal with an angled shot that went past Jordan Pickford. The victory also brought Arsenal closer to City, who are currently leading with 15 points after five games and are the only team without a loss so far this year, by two points.
However, Arteta will view Arsenal’s success in finding ways to win while struggling to shine as a positive. Arsenal have failed to regain the form that saw them dominate the table for the bulk of last season. A severe decline in performance by his squad during the close of the previous season allowed City to pass them in the fight for the championship. Prior to Sunday’s trip to Goodison, where they had not triumphed since 2017, Arsenal had enjoyed tight victories over Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace, and Manchester United this season, along with a home draw against Fulham.
With few and far between chances for both teams against Sean Dyche’s restricted Everton lineup, it was more of the same. Trossard’s goal allowed Arsenal to win all three points despite their dominance of possession and paucity of scoring opportunities.
After the players and league reached an agreement on a new minimum pay, which will start at €21,000 for the current season, the Liga F season began this weekend after a two-week hiatus. With champions Barcelona defeating Madrid CFF 2 to 0, the competition got underway in a predictable manner. However, there is some optimism that this season’s title fight will be closer as Real Madrid keeps getting better.
Six Barça players who won the World Cup with Spain last month were on the team that earned all three points thanks to goals from Caroline Graham Hansen and Asisat Oshaola in each half. The only team to defeat Barça in Liga F in the previous two seasons was Madrid CFF, but they never seemed like they would be able to do so in the next match.
Real Madrid, who continue to become better, defeated Valencia 2 to 0 on Friday to mark the start of the new season. Athenea del Castillo received her first goal from France’s Naomie Feller after being set up by Colombian sensation Linda Caicedo. Hayley Raso, an Australian native who was signed by Manchester City in the summer, made her debut as well.