In a weekend full of upsets and surprising results across Europe, the Premier League showed once again that anyone can beat anyone. In Italy, Serie A’s top teams did battle and Juve came out on top proving their title pedigree. Champions of Germany Bayern Munich were brought back down to earth after an impressive midweek performance and Spain’s peskiest team stopped the Real Sociedad hype train dead in its tracks. As usual, I will pick the five most impressive teams from the weekend’s action, talk about the match, where they go next and add in our favourite XG map for each game.
Inter 1-2 Juve
The Old Lady showed why they should still be considered the title favourite this season. In what was a great match, they overpowered Inter by a score of 2-1. The first goal of the game coming early on from Paulo Dybala. Juve manager Maurizio Sarri made the big call to go with Ronaldo and Dybala up front and it paid off. Dybala ran onto a pinpoint over the top ball from Miralem Pjanic, settled it down and fired an absolute bullet past the outstretched hand of Inter keeper Samir Handanovic. After Inter equalized not long after through a Lautaro Martinez penalty, the game went into the break tied at 1. In the 65th minute, Sarri made a double change, bringing on Rodrigo Bentancur and Gonzalo Higuain. That decision ended up being an excellent one, 15 minutes after the sub, Bentancur slipped through Higuain who finished brilliantly past Handanovic, 2-1 Juve. A masterclass from Sarri and a good team performance from Juve is what gets them the fifth spot on this list. They move ahead on Inter into 1st by one point as we head into the international break.
XG: Inter 1.54- Juve 1.22
Real Sociedad 1-2 Getafe
In what was by no means an exciting match, Getafe came from a goal down to defeat Sociedad, sending them to a second loss in a row. This game really only made the list because well there weren’t many options to chose from. Neither team hit 1 XG and none of the goals were particularly pretty. After an incredible season last year which saw Getafe finish in 5th and reach the Europa League, they have started this season poorly. Before this game, they were on just 7 pts having played 7 and Sociedad had won 3 of their last four games. Sociedad went down to 10 men in the 52nd minute and from there on Getafe took over, scoring in the 68th and then winning it with just two minutes to play.
XG: Real Sociedad 0.77 – Getafe 0.87
Brighton 3-0 Spurs
WELCOME TO YOUR KODAK MOMENT AARON CONNOLLY. In all seriousness what a game from the young Irish international and what a game from Brighton. This game never looked like it was going Spurs way. Let’s just get this out of the way, I feel horrible for Hugo Lloris, a dislocated elbow is an awful injury and I can only imagine the pain he felt. But if you say you didn’t at least chuckle when you saw him catch the ball then immediately fall over as Neal Maupay headed into an empty Spurs net you’re a god damn liar. One of the most bizarre moments I have ever seen as a football fan put Brighton 1 nil up and they did not look back.
Spurs looked lost, disengaged and flat out, out of ideas. Ben Davies showed why he should never start a Premier League game for Spurs again and Toby Alderweireld showed signs that his decline could be starting a lot earlier than expected. Aaron Connolly pretty much said give me the ball and let me cross this fool for his second goal, running straight at Alderweireld, turning him and then blasting a lovely strike into the bottom right corner. Putting the cherry on top of a man of the match performance. I am a huge fan of what Brighton has done so far this year and a huge fan of their manager Graham Potter. Lewis Dunk showed why teams all around England should be in for him in January, his on the ball ability and defensive intelligence was really on display. As for Spurs, the international break could not come at a better time. A hard reset is needed and everyone going away for two weeks can be nothing but positive. This team, for the most part, has been together for 5 years with little change. There is a possibility that things are getting stale. I do not think that sacking Pochettino is the answer but there is no simple solution to this problem. For now, Spurs fans, take a breath, enjoy the two weeks off and watch Tanguay Ndombele compilations.
Brighton 2.80 – 0.48 Spurs
Bayern 1-2 Hoffenheim
No Nagelsman no problem! Hoffenheim shocked morning leaders Bayern on Saturday in what was a classic counter-attacking performance. Bayern was obviously coming off an unforgettable midweek win against Spurs but Hoffenheim brought them back down to earth. The game was nil-nil at the break but in fairness to Bayern, they should have been up by at least a goal. And they would come to rue those missed chances as early in the second half Hoffenheim midfielder Dennis Geiger robbed Corentin Tolisso of the ball deep in Bayern territory, then set up teammate Sargis Adamyan whose low drive went through Jerome Boateng and beat Neuer at his near post, stunning the Munich crowd. Bayern would again go on to miss a number of easy chances including two wide-open headers from Gnabry and Lewandowski. But finally, in the 72nd minute, they equalized through Lewandowski who managed to pull away from his defender and nod home a nice Thomas Muller cross. Everyone watching was thinking “now Bayern can go on and win this”. But NO! Hoffenheim showed their ability to counterstrike again, a low Robert Skov cross was controlled by Adamyan who quickly fired into the bottom right corner again! Neither Nikolas Sule or Boateng got close enough to the forward and Neuer couldn’t keep out his brilliant finish. Hoffenheim stifled every Bayern attack that came their way for the last 15 minutes and pulled off the upset. The Bundesliga has been wild this year and that loss put Bayern into a FIVE WAY TIE for third, two points behind leaders Gladbach. Hoffenheim up to 12th.
XG: Bayern 1.77-0.77 Hoffenheim
City 0-2 Wolves!!!!
In what was probably one of the best ever park the bus – counterattack performances of all time, Nuno Santos and Wolves shocked Pep Guardiola and his shiny bald head on his own turf. It has been a tough season so far for Wolves, the Europa League has taken a toll on them as they rarely ever rotate their starting XI and depth is not a major strength of theirs. This win, however, could be a major turning point in their season. Wolves came to the Etihad (which is by no means a fortress but nonetheless) and made City work for every inch. They suffocated City, shut them down, were on them like a rash whenever they had the ball in a dangerous area. And when they managed to win the ball back, they countered with pace and guile. They had three one v ones in the first half and although they missed all of them (Patrick Cutrone is awful) they showed they could hurt City. City, of course, created chances, but it was only a matter of time before the clown show at the back which is Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi, conceded. The first Wolves goal came not long after certified racist (this is a joke) Bernardo Silva missed a great chance from six yards out. City turned the ball over deep in the Wolves half and Raul Jimenez took his chance. Running almost the length of the pitch, dropping Otamendi before sliding it into the speedster Adama Traore’s path who slid it brilliantly passed Ederson to send the Wolves away section into a frenzy. Counter Attacking Clinic. City spammed as many crosses as possible but not even that worked. Then in the 94th minute, a near carbon copy of the first goal. Jimenez slipped in Traore again, whose finish looked like deja vu as he put it just beyond Ederson into the bottom right corner for the second time. The most shocking result of the season so far. City is now 8 points behind table-toppers Liverpool after just 8 games. Their decision to not sign another centre back in the summer proving costly once again in this one.
XG: City 1.62 – 1.19 Wolves