This is the first of what will be a weekly article where I pick the five most impressive teams from the top five leagues that weekend. The teams will be picked based on their opponent, how they played, the importance of the game and how fun to watch they were. For every team picked I will put the XG (Expected goals: Learn more about it here https://cartilagefreecaptain.sbnation.com/2015/4/10/8381071/football-statistics-expected-goals-michael-caley-deadspin) for that game.
Let’s start with some honourable mentions: Bournemouth, Napoli, West Ham
5. Inter: Coming in at number five is Inter. The Nerazzurri defeated bitter rivals Milan 2-0 on Saturday with goals coming from Marcelo Brozovic and new star striker Romelu Lukaku. The latter goal being a brilliant counter-attacking move which ended with a lovely Nico Barella cross being turned in by Lukaku, showing exactly why Inter paid upwards of 65 Million for the player. Inter dominated the chances and if not for the post and a solid performance by Milan keeper Gigi Donnarumma, it could have been a lot more. Inter were coming off a poor performance in midweek as they drew at home to Czech side Slavia Prague and this performance was needed. Safe to say they delivered as they made it four wins from four to start the Serie A season.
Inter 2-0 Milan
XG: Inter 1.8 – 0.6 Milan
4. RB Leipzig: Leipzig is turning out to be one of the most exciting teams to watch all around Europe this year. They continued their strong start to the season with a 3-0 away win at Weder Bremen. Captain Will Orban started the scoring in the twelfth minute with a bullet header, Marcel Sabitzer then put away a stunning free-kick in the 34th minute to double Leipzig’s lead. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way and in the 82nd wing-back, Marcelo Saracchi added to Bremen’s misery after the ball was parried right into his path for an easy tap in and Leipzig’s third. Leipzig is top of the table in Germany with thirteen points from a possible fifteen and young German manager Julian Nagelsman has got them playing some exquisite football.
Bremen 0-3 Leipzig
XG: Bremen 0.56 – 1.72 Leipzig
3. PSG: This was definitely not the most exciting performance of the weekend but it was impressive none the less from PSG. Missing two of their potent front three once again, they were very stout defensively and held Lyon to zero shots on target. The midfield of Gana Gueye, Ander Herrera and Marquinhos stifled Lyon all game and rarely let Lyon have the ball in dangerous areas. PSG controlled 63 percent of possession and had more than enough chances to score. In the end, Neymar’s brilliance saved the Parisians but boy are Lyon lucky that Mbappe and Cavani were unfit to play.
Lyon 0-1 PSG
XG: Lyon 0.36- 1.16
2. Manchester City: Oh look City are still good, shocker. Look when you beat a team 8-0 in the Premier League no matter who it is, it is pretty damn impressive. It really could have been double digits too, they were just unplayable on the day. Judging by Watford’s starting XI you would’ve thought they were holding onto a one-goal lead with one minute to play but nonetheless, it’s safe to say their defensive lineup didn’t work very well. City had 28 shots, eleven on target, they hit the woodwork three times and Kevin De Bruyne created FOUR big chances by himself. Bernardo Silva got his first hattrick for City. It was just a thumping and it was quite impressive to watch. They scored FIVE goals in the first 18 minutes. Oh Norwich, what have you done.
City 8-0 Watford
XG: City 6.83!!!! – 0.34
1. Granada: The most shocking result this weekend was newly promoted, Granada picking up their first home win of the season against Barcelona! Granada put on a defensive clinic, allowing just one shot on target and holding Barca to just 0.5 XG. Granada was flat out the better team and made up for their lack of possession with high-quality chances. They created their first goal by robbing the ball off Barca’s left-back Junior Firpo and then getting a ball into the far post where Ramon Azeez headed home. Messi came out late but even he could not unlock Granada’s defence. Granada is now third in La Liga after five games and has beaten the reigning champions. Quite the performance from them and one that they will not forget for a long time.
Granada 2-0 Barcelona
XG: Granada 1.87- 0.5 Barcelona