هات بت : Thomas Tuchel vows to stay at Bayern Munich, gets CEO’s support

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Thomas Tuchel has insisted he can fix the issues at Bayern Munich despite seeing his team lose their third consecutive competitive game for the first time since May 2015 on Sunday.

Bayern were beaten 3-2 at VfL Bochum to increase the pressure on the German manager, who was already under fire after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen.

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

Bayern are now eight points behind unbeaten Leverkusen after 22 games of the Bundesliga campaign.

“If you ask me, if I firmly still believe me and coaching staff can turn things around — yes,” Tuchel said after the defeat to Bochum.

“Growing pressure? That happens after every defeat. But today we never stopped, never stopped trying.”

Tuchel can take comfort from the comments made by Bayern’s CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen after the game when asked whether the 2021 Champions League winner would remain in charge for the team’s next game against RB Leipzig.

“Of course,” Dreesen said. “I am not a fan of monstrous coach-backing statements — they usually run out after a week.

“But this [Tuchel’s future] is not an issue we are dealing with at the moment. We have to focus on our next matches.”

Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka compared Bayern’s run of losses — to Leverkusen, Lazio in the Champions League and now Bochum — to a scary film.

“It feels like a horror movie that is not ending. Everything is going against us at the moment.” he said.

“We can again sit here and say we started well. But now you feel stupid to limit yourself to half an hour. In the end we tried everything, so you can’t blame us.”

Bayern’s defeat to Bochum was temporarily halted by fan protests against a proposed deal to sell a future stake in the league to a private equity investor.

“That interruption threw us off our rhythm. Today it was a win of mentality over quality,” Dreesen said.

“If we play this game five more times, we win it five times,” Tuchel added. “I don’t blame the players today.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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هات بت : Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Real Sociedad (14 Feb, 2024) Game Analysis

Manchester City 1-2 Atletico Madrid (30 Jul, 2023) Game Analysis


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Second half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Bradley Barcola secured Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 2-0 win over visitors Real Sociedad in the first-leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

Sociedad, who arrived at the Parc des Princes unbeaten in this year’s competition after topping Group D, were arguably the better side until Mbappe fired home a volley after he pounced onto Marquinhos’ corner to give PSG the lead in the 58th minute.

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

Three minutes later, Barcola extended PSG’s lead as he nudged the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper Alex Remiro.

Kylian Mbappe was on target again for PSG.

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images


Mbappe’s goal was his 10th straight at home in the Champions League, as he became the first player to achieve the feat. 

The return leg in Spain is on March 5.

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هات بت : Haaland happy at Man City amid Real Madrid links – Guardiola

Haaland happy at Man City amid Real Madrid links - Guardiola


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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rubbished suggestions Erling Haaland is unhappy at the club.

Haaland has been the subject of reports in Spain which have suggested the striker wants to end his stay at the Etihad Stadium because he dislikes Manchester and the weather in the city and secure a summer move to Real Madrid.

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

But Guardiola believes the 23-year-old, who has returned to the team following two months out with a foot injury, is settled and is not looking to leave.

“I don’t know, you have to ask the media from Madrid,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.

“Maybe they have more info than we have. We don’t have that feeling that he’s unhappy. He was [unhappy] because he could not play for two months because he was injured but maybe the media from Spain, and especially Madrid, have more information than us.”

Haaland scored 52 goals in 53 goals last season to lead Guardiola’s side to a historic treble and has already got 19 in 23 games this term. He made his return from injury in the 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday, coming off the bench to play the final 20 minutes.

The 23-year-old is halfway through his second season at the Etihad, where he has a contract until 2027.

He has been continually linked with a move to Real Madrid since his time at Borussia Dortmund with reports that the Spanish giants would eventually like to sign both the Norway international and Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappé, who could be a free agent at the end of the season.

“We cannot say he didn’t adapt quickly and he was not fine since he arrived — just the level he showed since he arrived on day one,” Guardiola said. “But we cannot control what people say. What’s important is he’s happy. And when he’s unhappy, he will take his decision.”

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هات بت : Transfer Talk: Real Madrid eye signing Man United’s Varane

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The winter transfer window hasn’t re-opened in Europe yet, but there are moves in the works and plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Real Madrid prioritise Varane amid injury crisis

Real Madrid are exploring the market for a potential signing at centre-back, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Los Blancos want to reinforce manager Carlo Ancelotti’s side after David Alaba sustained an ACL injury in the recent 4-1 league victory over Villarreal, and the latest indicates that they are now set to put together their shortlist before making a final decision.

The club went top of the LaLiga table on Thursday night after Lucas Vázquez’s late goal in the 92nd minute sealed victory over Alaves — but they lost another centre-back for their next game when Nacho was sent off in the second half.

Manchester United defender Raphaël Varane has been one of the names recently linked with a return to Spain’s capital as well as Girona’s on-loan Manchester City defender Yan Couto, but with the Santiago Bernabeu hierarchy prioritising a cover option in the heart of the defence, it is Varane that could currently be higher up on his former club’s shortlist.

Brazil international Éder Militão also remains sidelined after sustaining an ACL injury back in August.

PAPER GOSSIP

– Tottenham Hotspur remain interested in Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher, reports Sky Sports. Spurs are said to have already made progress on a potential deal for the 23-year-old, and it is reported that the Blues’ stance in the summer to keep him at Stamford Bridge has now changed. Gallagher has featured in 16 Premier League games this season, and he was a standout performer in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday.

– Juventus are preparing to move ahead of Internazionale in the race for Lille centre-back Tiago Djaló, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The Bianconeri are reported to have made an offer to sign the 23-year-old next month during a meeting with his representatives, with hopes of securing a move before he becomes a free agent next summer. It is believed that a deal worth €3 million plus bonuses could be enough for the Ligue 1 side to agree to part ways with him.

– A race between Napoli and Juventus could occur for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, reports Calciomercato. The Scudetto winners are the latest side to be linked with the 28-year-old Denmark international, as they continue to look for potential replacements for Eljif Elmas, who has been linked with a move away from the club. Hojbjerg has featured more of late amid several injuries in the Spurs squad, but interest in his signature will resurface in January.

– An offer worth in the region of €8m is being prepared by Internazionale amid hopes of landing Club Brugge wingback Tajon Buchanan, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. The 24-year-old Canada international is reported to have been identified as an ideal replacement for Juan Cuadrado, and the Nerazzurri are awaiting final approval from their hierarchy before making an official approach to sign him.

– Villarreal are considering a potential reunion with Besiktas centre-back Eric Bailly, according to Cadena Ser. The Yellow Submarine are believed to be on the lookout for defensive reinforcements in January, and it is reported that they have already enquired with the 29-year-old’s representatives. Bailly has made just six league appearances in Turkey’s Super Lig this season.

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هات بت : Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain (13 Dec, 2023) Game Analysis

Manchester City 1-2 Atletico Madrid (30 Jul, 2023) Game Analysis


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Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 at Group F winners Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday to secure second place and a spot in the Champions League knockout stage in their final group match.

Both sides squandered numerous golden chances in a surprisingly goalless first half before Karim Adeyemi finally broke the deadlock for the already-qualified hosts in the 51st minute, slotting in off the post after PSG lost possession outside the box.

– UCL round-of-16 draw: Seedings, date, details

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

The visitors responded five minutes later, levelling through Warren Zaire-Emery after good work from Kylian Mbappe, who also had an effort ruled offside in the 76th.

Dortmund topped the group on 11 points with PSG in second place on eight, as many as third-placed AC Milan, who will continue in the Europa League following their 2-1 win at Newcastle United, who picked up five points.

“The primary objective was to go after first place in the group but we have to remain realistic,” said PSG defender Marquinhos.

“It was important to qualify no matter what. From now until the next round, we are going to have to prepare well and prepare better because big opponents will be on the way.

“It was important for us to improve our performance away from home,” he said after his team lost their previous two away matches in the group.”

PSG drew 1-1 with Dortmund on Wednesday but still managed to reach the Champions League knockouts.
PSG drew 1-1 with Dortmund on Wednesday but still managed to reach the Champions League knockouts.

The hosts had the early chances, but PSG gradually found spaces and threatened with Lee Kang-in in the 16th minute and Mbappe’s effort which was cleared by Niklas Süle at the last moment a little later.

Bradley Barcola hit the post for the visitors with a superbly curled effort in the 20th and Randal Kolo Muani twice fired wide in one-on-ones with Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel.

The Germans had an equally low conversion rate, with Marco Reus’s volley from inside the box palmed wide by PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Adeyemi had an even easier task in front of an empty goal late in the first half, but sent his effort over the bar.

The Germany forward made amends six minutes after the restart, turning in a Niclas Fullkrug assist and piling more pressure on the visitors who were desperate to avoid an early exit from the competition.

They drew level with Zaire-Emery’s powerful shot and thought they had snatched a winner when Mbappe charged through to beat Kobel only to be ruled marginally offside following a VAR review.

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هات بت : Onana is second best keeper in the Prem – Man Utd boss Ten Hag

Onana is second best keeper in the Prem - Man Utd boss Ten Hag


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Erik ten Hag has backed under-fire André Onana by insisting the Manchester United goalkeeper is “the second best” in the Premier League.

Onana’s errors in the 3-3 draw with Galatasaray on Wednesday cost United a much-needed win in the Champions League to leave Ten Hag’s team on the brink of an early exit.

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

But speaking ahead of the trip to Newcastle United on Saturday, the Dutchman highlighted the Cameroon international’s stats this season which include being ranked second in the Premier League for saves, save percentage and goals prevented.

“If you analyse it well then you see he is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Friday.

“He’s doing well but he knows that in the Champions League he has made some mistakes but all over in the first five months he has done well.”

Onana’s performance against Galatasaray has started a debate about whether the £43 million ($34m) summer signing from Inter Milan should be dropped for the game at St James’ Park.

It would mean handing a debut to Altay Bayindir, who hasn’t played a minute since arriving from Fenerbahce in August, but Ten Hag suggested that Onana will start against Newcastle.

“You have seen how he is reacting to a bad performance like in Munich and at Burnley [in the next game] he was outstanding,” Ten Hag said.

“He is a strong character. He’s a personality and he will deal with it.”

United’s poor form in the Champions League is in contrast to their form in the Premier League, where they’ve won five of their last six games.

Ten Hag will be without long-term absentees Casemiro and Lisandro Martínez for the game at Newcastle while Mason Mount remains a doubt with an injury picked up in training over the international break.

There are players on the way back but I can’t give a prognosis on how long it will take,” Ten Hag said.

“Mason Mount is returning on the pitch [on Friday] but I don’t know how long it will take in this moment.”

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هات بت : Manchester City’s Haaland practices, ready for Liverpool

Manchester City's Haaland practices, ready for Liverpool


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Erling Haaland is ready to face Liverpool in Manchester City’s Premier League top of the table clash on Saturday, sources have told ESPN, after returning to training following an injury setback on international duty.

Haaland, who leads the Premier League goal charts with 13 this season, injured his ankle during Norway’s friendly victory against the Faroe Islands last Thursday and was forced to withdraw from the squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Scotland due to the problem.

The Norway team doctor said that Haaland was in “so much pain” with the injury, which aggravated a similar problem sustained while playing against Bournemouth earlier this season.

But after returning to City for treatment at the beginning of this week, Haaland returned to training on Thursday to give manager Pep Guardiola a selection boost ahead of the meeting with second-placed Liverpool this weekend.

City’s official X account has this evening posted a picture of Haaland in action at the club’s training ground to highlight the 23-year-old’s return to fitness.

Guardiola is expected to give an update on Haaland’s recovery when he holds his prematch press conference on Friday.

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هات بت : Bayern Munich 4-2 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 (11 Nov, 2023) Game Analysis

Manchester City 1-2 Atletico Madrid (30 Jul, 2023) Game Analysis


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Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane scored twice in their 4-2 victory over Heidenheim on Saturday to lift them provisionally into top spot in the Bundesliga while extending his own record-breaking scoring run in Germany.

Kane, who has now bagged 21 goals in 15 matches in the Bundesliga and the Champions League for Bayern, opened his account in the 14th minute with a superb turn and shot in the box.

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

The England captain then struck again with a powerful header a minute before the break to become the first player in Bundesliga history to score 17 goals in the first 11 matchdays of a season.

He is now the first player in Bundesliga history to score 17 goals in the first 11 matchdays of a season.

Kane had scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the league against Darmstadt 98 and last week’s 4-0 demolition of Borussia Dortmund before netting twice more in their mid-week Champions League win over Galatasaray.

He now has more league goals after 11 league matches than last season’s top Bundesliga scorers had in the entire 2022-23 campaign, with questions about whether he can break the league record of 41 goals now almost inevitable.

“Good question, I’ll probably be asked about that all season,” Kane said. “But there’s still a long way to go.

“We showed a great reaction after their equaliser. I’m just enjoying playing with the team,” he added. “My body is used to the strain from the Premier League, but it was a tough week.”

Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel was not happy, though, with his team’s sloppy defending which allowed Heidenheim to roar back in the second half and score twice in four minutes to draw level.

Tim Kleindienst cut the deficit after Bayern were caught napping on a Heidenheim counter attack and Jan-Niklas Beste equalised after yet another defensive error in the 70th.

But Raphael Guerreiro quickly restored the hosts’ lead in the 72nd and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting headed in their fourth goal in the 85th to lift them into top spot on 29 points.

Kane’s performance also earned praise from Heidenheim coach Frank Schmidt, Germany’s longest serving club coach.

“He has unusual quality, you saw it today,” Schmidt said. “Just the way he plays, his game is that of a great player.”

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, on 28, host embattled Union Berlin on Sunday. VfB Stuttgart are third on 24 after a 2-1 victory over fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund, who have 21 points.

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هات بت : Transfer Talk: Real Madrid, Barca eyeing Gabriel Jesus

Transfer Talk: Real Madrid, Barca eyeing Gabriel Jesus


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The summer transfer window has closed throughout Europe, but there are still moves in the works and plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

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هات بت : European soccer news: 17-year-old Guiu saves Barca in debut

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The international break is over and club football came roaring back this weekend. If you had 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.

We saw Manchester United defeat Sheffield United 2-1 on an emotional day following the passing of club legend Sir Bobby Charlton, while Manchester City achieved an important 2-1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion to stay firm in the race for the Premier League title. In Germany, Serhou Guirassy continues to break all the records at Stuttgart, and Bayern Munich charged to retain their Bundesliga title following their 3-1 win over Mainz.

In France, Kylian Mbappé scored again as PSG remain in the Ligue 1 race. In Spain, Real Madrid dropped points in a 1-1 draw against Sevilla to leave the LaLiga title race wide open. And finally, we saw some Women’s Super League action as Manchester City earned an important 1-0 win at Leicester City.

Sunday added some more big twists and turns, including a teenage academy product saving Barcelona (again), a match-up between AC Milan and Juventus with four American starters and more.

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

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

SUNDAY REVIEW

The Sunday lead: 17-year-old Guiu saves Barca in his debut

Struggling to break down your opponent? Missing your star striker and a handful of other regular starters through injury? No problem, just turn to the academy again.

That’s exactly what Barcelona did Sunday against Athletic Bilbao, throwing 17-year-old forward Marc Guiu on for his debut in the second half. Within about 30 seconds, he had scored the winning goal, beating goalkeeper Unai Simón after being fed by João Félix to give Barça a 1-0 victory.

The win moved the Blaugrana within one point of joint leaders Real Madrid and Girona. It sets up next weekend’s Clásico quite nicely. (Stream it live: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. ET on ESPN+.)

With starters Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Jules Koundé and Raphinha all watching from the stands with knocks, Barça had struggled to break down an impressive Athletic side managed by their former coach Ernesto Valverde. Felix had come close, hitting the bar, and Simon also produced a good save from Fermín López, another youngster who has emerged from nowhere this season for Barça.

Athletic were more than their match at the Olympic Stadium, though. Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen was in inspired form to twice keep out Iñaki Williams, whose brother, Nico, was also causing problems on the left flank.

And so, with just over 10 minutes to play and having already brought on 16-year-old Lamine Yamal to play alongside fellow academy graduates 20-year-old López, 20-year-old Alejandro Balde and 19-year-old Gavi, manager Xavi Hernandez’s final role of the dice was Spain U-17 international Guiu. It could not have gone any better. Within seconds, he latched onto Felix’s pass to score a goal he will never forget. Barça can always rely on La Masia.

It leaves the top of LaLiga looking very tasty after 10 matches. Madrid and Girona — who beat Almeria 5-2 earlier Sunday — have 25 points, Barça 24 and then come Atletico Madrid with 22 and a game in hand. — Sam Marsden


Sunday talking points around the leagues

Man United hand Toffees humiliation in WSL

With little time to dwell on their midweek loss to PSG that knocked them out of the Champions League before the group stages, Manchester United showed some of their better football to claim a hearty 5-0 win against a struggling Everton team.

The visitors being the team with more bite going forward, Melvine Malard’s header was the highlight of the first half for United but it wasn’t until Nikita Parris doubled the advantage just before the hour that the game fully titled towards the Red Devils. It took just 16 minutes for United to score their last three with Rachel Williams’ brace the body blows to beat the Toffees into submission before Parris added the last in stoppage time.

For United, who were without enigmatic attacking duo Geyse and Leah Galton, the added depth told as new and different combinations worked on the pitch to cut through the hosts. Williams scoring off of the bench is all but part of the script for United but from Irene Guerrero marking her debut with an assist to Malard’s habit of finding the back of the net, United are offering more virtuosity this season.

For Everton, whose defence took a sizable hit over the summer with the departures of Rikke Sevecke and Gabby George, there was a growing capitulation at the back as the goals started to rain in. The team in blue reverting to getting pushed around on the pitch, unable to dictate the tempo or come close to building on their derby win over Liverpool last time out. — Sophie Lawson


Americans Abroad: Pulisic gets the hook as Milan fall to Juventus

If Saturday wasn’t anything to write home about for U.S. men’s national team players in Europe, Sunday was only a bit better. Four Americans started as AC Milan hosted Juventus, making it a high-profile fixture for USMNT fans, but it was a slog.

After a red card to AC Milan’s Malick Thiaw at San Siro, a visibly frustrated Christian Pulisic was sacrificed, subbed off in the 42nd minute so centerback Pierre Kalulu could come on and try to keep the score at 0-0. For Pulisic, it was certainly not the match he was hoping to have. Fellow forwards Rafael Leão on the opposite wing and Olivier Giroud up top had just been far more dangerous on the day, so it’s easy to see why manager Stefano Pioli opted to remove the American from the attacking line.

On the other side of that fixture, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah didn’t have standpoint performances either, despite Juventus having the man advantage for most of the match, eventually winning 1-0. Weah was technically awarded the assist for passing the ball to Manuel Locatelli before his goal, but the effort came down to Locatelli’s long-range strike that took a wicked deflection. McKennie and Weah did combine for a nice one-two in the 67th minute, but McKennie put his shot wildly off-target.

Weah came off in the 84th minute after walking away gingerly from a collision. In the first half, USMNT teammate and Milan midfielder Yunus Musah delivered a crunching tackle to Weah that sent him into the advertising boards.

With the win, Juventus closed the gap to second-place AC Milan to one point and inched within two points of first-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere in Europe on Sunday, striker Folarin Balogun played 89 minutes for AS Monaco and mustered up just one shot in a 2-1 win over Metz. — Caitlin Murray


News of the day

  • The saga around who will own Manchester United continues, and a star from the world of golf wants a piece of the action. Four-time major-winning golfer Rory McIlroy, fresh off his recent investment in the Alpine Formula One team, has expressed interest in a bit of Man United.


And finally, on Sunday …

Jose Mourinho continues to become the gift that keeps on giving. The Roma manager was sent off towards the end of his team’s 1-0 win against Monza on Sunday for making a crying gesture.

“I don’t know why I got the red card, I only made a gesture to the bench, not a single word,” Mourinho said post-match. “The Monza bench put a lot of pressure on the referee; they shouldn’t have behaved like that.”

With this red card, it means he will not be on the touchline for their important clash against Serie A leaders Inter next Sunday. Never change, Jose. — Roberto Rojas

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


SATURDAY REVIEW

The Saturday lead: Onana, Dalot deliver a much-needed Man United win on emotional day following Sir Bobby Charlton’s death

For the first time in his short Manchester United career, André Onana has won back-to-back Premier League games and he played his part in the victory over Sheffield United on Saturday. It’s been a difficult start to life at Old Trafford for the Cameroon goalkeeper but this was the type of performance that should give him confidence he’ll be able to get through this sticky spell.

United were poor in the first 25 minutes at Bramall Lane and Onana was needed to make low saves from Oli McBurnie and Cameron Archer. It didn’t require anything spectacular but Erik ten Hag will settle for Onana doing the simple things well after a number of costly mistakes since his summer move from Inter Milan.

United are still struggling to score goals and all four of their Premier League wins so far this season have come with a one-goal margin but if Ten Hag can get his team to defend better, then they will start climbing the table. It begins with the goalkeeper and Ten Hag will have enjoyed a post-match news conference during which he wasn’t forced to defend Onana. He still has work to do to win over some United fans but a quiet night and a win at Sheffield United is a good place to start. — Rob Dawson


Saturday talking points around the leagues

Manchester City bounce back from back-to-back defeats

Manchester City don’t need any luck or help to win matches and they got it anyway as they avoided losing three Premier League games in a row for the first time since 2016. Under Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton are set up to win this type of game but they never gave themselves a chance to put City under pressure and were behind at the Etihad Stadium after just seven minutes when Julián Álvarez scuffed a shot which looped in over Jason Steele.

If that was their slice of luck, the help came from Brighton’s Carlos Baleba. Not long after Alvarez’s opener, the Brighton midfielder played a blind pass which Erling Haaland and, four touches later, the ball was in the net. It was the Norwegian’s first City goal for nearly a month but it wasn’t the finish — rifled into the corner from outside the penalty area — of a man out of form.

Rodri back from suspension, John Stones fit enough to make his first start of the season and Haaland back scoring goals; it was a good afternoon for Pep Guardiola, only spoiled slightly by a late red card for Manuel Akanji. It was, however, a day to forget for James Milner. The 37-year-old was picked at right-back and tasked with stopping 21-year-old Jérémy Doku but only lasted 45 minutes which consisted of watching Doku set up Alvarez and then twice ploughing into the Belgium winger.

After back-to-back defeats to Wolves and Arsenal, Brighton at home felt like a dangerous game — particularly because they’ve beaten Newcastle and Manchester United and drawn with Liverpool already this season — but it was navigated by City with minimal fuss and despite their small blip, they’re only two points worse off than they were at this stage last year. — Dawson

Ramos stars but can’t score dream winner against Madrid

In the 94th minute, with Sevilla and Real Madrid level at 1-1, Sergio Ramos’ moment arrived. Sevilla had a free kick on the edge of the Real Madrid box. There was only ever going to be one target. Suso floated the ball in, Ramos rose to meet it … and headed over the bar.

Ramos was always going to make headlines when Sevilla hosted Madrid at the Sanchez Pizjuan; it was just a question of how. Would he score against his former club? How about an own goal? Or a characteristic red card? Instead, it was more straightforward than that: Ramos was excellent, arguably the best player on the pitch. With all the noise around Ramos, it’s easy to forget the obvious: this is an exceptional defender, even at 37.

The highlight of his performance against Madrid came in the 34th minute, blocking what looked like a certain goal with an instinctive, outstretched leg. He went close to scoring in the 80th minute too, with a header well saved by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Otherwise, Ramos was efficient and effortless. He had 78 touches, as many as any Sevilla player. He completed 61 of 65 passes, with seven recoveries and five clearances. There were moments of controversy too: a first-half face-off with Antonio Rüdiger in which he appeared to pinch the German’s cheeks, and an 86th-minute bust-up involving multiple players, Ramos at the centre of it.

The 1-1 scoreline wasn’t too much of a disappointment for LaLiga leaders Real Madrid — although they lamented referee icardo de Burgos Bengoetxea’s decision to rule out two early goals — and it was a positive start for Ramos and Sevilla, under new coach Diego Alonso. — Alex Kirkland

Kane shines as Bayern earn crucial win over Mainz

After Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Dortmund had won their respective games, Bayern Munich had to follow suit as the record champions took on Mainz in the Bundesliga’s Saturday evening game. The Moroccan right-back Noussair Mazraoui, who had attracted attention by posting anti-Israel sentiments on social media recently, was left out of the squad because of a muscle injury.

Meanwhile, Israeli goalkeeper Daniel Peretz was once again the backup for Sven Ulreich, who might have made his last start in the Bundesliga for the time being, with Manuel Neuer being expected to return to action next weekend.

As for the game at Mainz’s Mewa Arena itself, the home team neutralised Bayern’s build-up with their three-man high press in the early stages. Unluckily for the hosts, they did not take advantage of forced turnovers near Bayern’s penalty area, and it seemed that the goals scored by Kingsley Coman and Harry Kane during the opening 15 minutes may take the air out of the stadium.

But Mainz continued to fight and play admirably, as they managed to visit Bayern’s penalty area frequently. Shortly before the halftime break, Leroy Sané lost the ball in midfield, which allowed Brajan Gruda to move it forward before Anthony Caci scored Mainz’s first goal with a beautiful strike.For a while, an upset was in the air, but Caci went from hero to zero when he tried to dribble close to the hosts’ box, losing the ball and thus inviting Leon Goretzka to score the deciding third goal for Bayern.

The German champions are currently dealing with defensive issues which cannot solely be attributed to injury woes. There are systematic shortcomings that manager Thomas Tuchel needs to fix in the upcoming weeks.

Otherwise, Bayern’s attacking firepower might not be enough in some games. Perhaps the return of Neuer could stabilise the defence to an extent since the 37-year-old is not just an experienced shot-stopper but also someone who can guide a back line from behind. — Constantin Eckner

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Remembering Sir Bobby Charlton

Alexis Nunes and Mark Ogden reflect on Sir Bobby Charlton’s impact on Manchester United, England and football in general after his death at the age of 86.

Mbappe stellar in PSG’s win over Strasbourg

After four games without scoring for PSG and some unusually underwhelming performances, Mbappé was back to his best on Saturday at the Parc des Princes against Strasbourg. A goal and an assist set his team on the road to a 3-0 victory in a game totally controlled by the Parisians.

The last time PSG came back from the international break with a home league match was in September when they were beaten by Nice (3-2). This time, there were no bad surprises.

Despite a big turnover from Luis Enrique, Paris were dominant and convincing. The Spanish manager rested many key players (Ousmane Dembele, Manuel Ugarte, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Randal Kolo Muani, Achraf Hakimi) and their subs took that opportunity to show what they could do. Carlos Soler and Fabián Ruiz scored and Ruiz is proving that he could be a decent alternative in midfield. Lee Kang-In also started after being out of the picture for a month while winning the Asian Cup with South Korea and can bring creativity and a different profile.

Four days before the huge Champions League clash with AC Milan in the French capital, Saturday was just what the doctor ordered for PSG. — Julien Laurens

Man City earn crucial win over Leicester to go top of the WSL

The last time Manchester City travelled to the King Power Stadium, in February, they were chasing down the top of the pack, desperately making a bid for a Champions League finish. Their opposition were making their own desperate charge, hoping to stave off relegation, the team in a far better place now under new manager Willie Kirk.

That match ended 2-0 to City with the visitors outshooting Leicester 32 shots to four as they boasted 74 per cent of the possession over the 90-minute match. This season, things could not be more different and heading into the fourth matchday of the WSL season, the narrative was set at a top-of-the-table clash.

Indeed, the stats from the game are the best marker for the rapid development and growth the Foxes have shown this season, the two teams splitting the possession, Leicester with six shots on target to City’s eight. The crucial moment came ten minutes in when Jill Roord slipped the ball between Julie Thibaud’s ankles to feed Chloe Kelly with the England international’s tame shot managing to squirm under Janina Leitzig.

There was no dropping of heads from the hosts, however, and it wasn’t long until they were pressuring the City backline although the hosts could not get the better of Khiara Keating in the away goal. The match was a fair contest until the final whistle, with both sides well-matched, something that wouldn’t have even been conceivable eight months ago.

From both a Leicester and Man City point of view, the game has further hammered home how well each team has started the season, as well as the gaps across the league that are finally being closed. As it is, City are top of the table and at this early stage of the season, looking like the team to beat. — Lawson


Americans Abroad: A rough one for USMNT stars

Following the international break that saw the United States lose to Germany and defeat Ghana, numerous players were back in action this weekend in their respective leagues.

Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna played 28 minutes in Friday’s 1-0 win over Werder Bremen to see them firmly in the Bundesliga title race while Ricardo Pepi played 11 minutes in PSV Eindhoven’s 3-1 win over Fortuna Sittard as they stay top of the Eredivisie table with 27 points after nine matches.

It was a poor day between the sticks for goalkeeper Matt Turner though as Nottingham Forest gave up a 2-0 lead against newly promoted side Luton Town. Chris Wood scored a brace to put Forest up, but Luton had the last laugh as they scored twice in the last seven minutes to snatch an important point at the City Ground. — Rojas


News of the day

  • Manchester United and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton has passed away on Saturday at the age of 86, following a statement announced by the club. Charlton was part of the 1966 England squad that won their first and only FIFA World Cup on home soil and played a important part that helped Manchester United win their first ever European Cup at Wembley in 1968. A club statement read “Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world.”

  • Everton manager Sean Dyche slammed the “bizarre” refereeing decisions in his team’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Saturday. “It’s a bizarre nature of the modern game,” Dyche said post-match. “There’s no point. I’m going to get myself in trouble. I don’t know how I got yellow carded. All my staff got yellow carded. It’s impossible that we could get yellow carded with that performance but anyways, we did.”


And finally, on Saturday …

The Serhou Guirassy show continues as the Guinean striker netted yet again in Stuttgart’s 3-0 win over Union Berlin, putting his name into the history books with his 14th goal in eight Bundesliga matches.

Not only does that put him atop the goalscorer race by a huge margin (Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane is in second with nine goals), but Guirassy also set a new record by becoming the first-ever player to score that amount of goals after eight matchdays of a Bundesliga season.

To show how impressive that stat is, Guirassy only needs two more goals to equal the amount of last season’s top scorer in the Bundesliga, when Niclas Füllkrug and Christopher Nkunku both scored 16 goals.

This also means that Stuttgart, now in second place, continue their charge in the Bundesliga title race with 21 points, having now won six Bundesliga games in a row. Who knows if Guirassy will continue his hot streak but it’s been a remarkable start for Die Roten. — Rojas


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