Arsenal slip up vs. Liverpool; Real Madrid relying on Champions League

What a weekend in European soccer! The English Premier League title race took one other twist after Liverpool and Arsenal drew 2-2, Villarreal shocked Real Madrid on the Bernabeu, Frank Lampard began his second Chelsea stint on a downer, and Erling Haaland broke one other goal-scoring document.

Meanwhile, Lazio are on the up and up and Manchester United are preventing for a top-four end, whereas VAR drama took the highlight at Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton and Napoli are wrapping up Serie A early.

It’s Monday, and Gab Marcotti reacts to the largest moments on this planet of soccer.

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

Some extent gained, moderately than two dropped for Arsenal at Anfield

Liverpool and Arsenal put on an absolute present on Easter Sunday as they battled to a 2-2 draw. Yes, there have been errors, however the leisure angle is what’s going to follow you. Biggest takeaway? Tempting because it is likely to be to conclude that, by failing to hold on to a two-goal lead, Arsenal threw away two factors in opposition to Liverpool, given the best way the sport turned within the second half, Arsenal may simply have misplaced this. And then the harm — each actual and psychological — would have been considerably better.

(Of course, they might even have received it, had Gabriel Martinelli’s injury-time cross discovered its mark, however that is soccer and that is what makes it nice.)

Let a two-nil lead slip and you have to maintain someone accountable. Some blame Granit Xhaka for his conflict with Trent Alexander-Arnold, citing it as some form of turning level, stirring Anfield and Liverpool awake. An easier clarification was Mohamed Salah halving the deficit simply earlier than the break and reopening the sport.

We noticed a special Liverpool within the second half, and Arsenal supervisor Mikel Arteta may do little to disrupt them. In reality, Arsenal managed simply 4 pictures for a complete anticipated objectives of 0.20 within the second half, and far of that was all the way down to Liverpool’s relentlessness. So many individuals speak about eager to see high quality soccer and but this was a charming recreation regardless of it being strewn with errors. Gabriel Jesus lacking on the far put up, Oleksandr Zinchenko getting nutmegged, Martinelli’s wayward cross for Arsenal. Virgil Van Dijk’s mishit on the opener, Salah pulling his penalty vast and, in fact, Ibrahima Konate (who was distinctive in any other case) in some way failing to place the ball into the again of the online from inches away. Errors and lack of high quality are two various things. This recreation had loads of the previous and, nonetheless, the latter was not the difficulty.

Instead of errors, higher to speak about heroes. Like Aaron Ramsdale, whose two saves — from Darwin Nunez and Salah — restricted Liverpool to 2 objectives. Or Roberto Firmino, coming on late, luggage already packed to go away this summer season and grabbing the late purpose. There are extra you’ll be able to cite.

Arsenal can inform themselves that they’ve a poor document at Anfield and that, as soon as Liverpool are roused (which hasn’t occurred usually this season), they’re exhausting to cease. And, yeah, in these circumstances, take the purpose. City’s victory the day earlier than implies that in the event that they win their recreation in hand and the head-to-head, these groups will end stage on factors. And purpose distinction favours City (and can in all probability favour them on the finish of the season).

Equally although, Arsenal management their future and, in contrast to City, the head-to-head is not a must-win for them. I nonetheless suppose they’ve the sting, however, certain, the odds simply bought a complete heck of rather a lot tighter.

As for Liverpool, supervisor Jurgen Klopp will wish to channel that second half. This is how he wants them to play the remainder of the season if they will have a prayer of creating up the 12-point hole and breaking into the highest 4 to qualify for subsequent season’s Champions League.

The different speaking level right here was the weird incident the place linesman Constantine Hatzidakis appeared to elbow Andy Robertson on the half-time break.

While we wait to study extra particulars from each side, for now, Hatzidakis been dropped. Check out our reporting pending the result of the investigation.



Chukwueze’s stunner all however ends Madrid’s LaLiga hopes

Samu Chukwueze finds the again of the online from exterior of the field to offer Villarreal a 3-2 lead.

Chukwueze present prices Real Madrid, however no have to freak out

Yes, it stings to offer up a lead and lose at dwelling, as Real Madrid did to Villarreal on Saturday. But context issues too. Madrid really performed effectively for the primary hour or so (Vinicius, once more, glowing) and had an opportunity to go 3-1 up. With a house Champions League recreation coming up in opposition to Chelsea on Wednesday, they made a bunch of adjustments (Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Eder Militao, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde had been all on the bench). They know they will not win the league, trailing table-toppers Barcelona by 12 factors, and this season shall be outlined by how they carry out within the Copa del Rey and Champions League, whereas Villarreal are desperately chasing a top-four end.

– Stream replay: Madrid 2-3 Villarreal (ESPN+, U.S. solely)

And, yeah, Villarreal’s Samu Chukwueze had a monster recreation. The Nigerian scored two objectives and set up “El Comandante” Jose Luis Morales for the opposite. That final purpose specifically is not something you’ll be able to legislate for. It’s simply spotlight reel stuff that that you must settle for. Madrid can and may transfer on rapidly from this end result.



Matthijs de Ligt purpose 51st minute SC Freiburg 0-1 Bayern Munich

Matthijs de Ligt purpose 51st minute SC Freiburg 0-1 Bayern Munich

De Ligt wonder-strike delivers hard-fought, however deserved, Bayern win

We knew this was going to be a troublesome stretch for Bayern. Two weeks in the past, Julian Nagelsmann was sacked as head coach, and Thomas Tuchel was introduced in. Defeat to Freiburg within the German Cup. Freiburg away on Saturday within the league, adopted by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Tuesday. In conditions like these, the margin of error is slim, particularly in opposition to an opponent who can pack the field with one of the best of them.

It was important to get the three factors and, after a shaky first half, Bayern made the breakthrough with a long-range effort from Matthijs De Ligt. Stands to purpose, on a day when Bayern took 22 pictures on purpose, it could be a defender attempting his luck that made all of the distinction. Bayern put collectively a gaudy xG of three.11 and had 66% possession, however Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane had been wasteful.

Jamal Musiala bought his first begin of the Thomas Tuchel period, taking part in within the gap alongside Thomas Mueller, which, I assume, is a technique of shoe-horning each into the formation. It means giving up a central midfielder, which is ok in opposition to Freiburg, however clearly not a long-term plan (actually not in opposition to City). But Tuchel is in react mode proper now, which is truthful sufficient: he hasn’t had time to work. Next season will have to be completely different if Bayern are so as to add up to greater than the sum of their components.



Are Chelsea ‘simply one other Premier League staff’ proper now?

Janusz Michallik pulls no punches in his evaluation of Frank Lampard’s first recreation again answerable for Chelsea.

No Lampard bounce for Chelsea away to Wolves

I can see why Frank Lampard would wish to return to Chelsea on an interim foundation: a shot on the Champions League, some high-level publicity and, yeah, he loves the membership. I’m not one hundred pc on why the house owners thought it made sense. If he does poorly, it will not transfer the needle. If he does effectively, they’re going to be beneath stress to maintain him round in the summertime. And, actually, that is what they need to be focusing on: the long run.

Lampard’s Chelsea did not look dissimilar to Graham Potter’s, which is comprehensible, given he’d been within the job just a few days. Enzo Fernandez as a defensive midfielder blunts his potential to contribute, however we knew that. Marc Cucurella is common proper now, however we knew that. It solely takes an in-form opponent (Matheus Nunes on Saturday) to dismantle the left flank, however we knew that. And Chelsea has hassle scoring — they’ve extra video games than objectives after 30 matches, and it is the primary time that has occurred since 1924. But we knew that too.

Dortmund bounce again in opposition to Union Berlin to point out loads of indicators of life

Against Bayern within the league, Dortmund had been flattened by goalkeeping errors and the early deficit, however in opposition to Leipzig they had been effectively off the mark. Whichever means you form it, given this membership’s latest historical past, they had been ripe to fold. Especially when, after going a purpose up and taking part in effectively, they gave up the equaliser on the hour mark. But they saved at it, pushed themselves and finally bought the winner by way of Youssoufa Moukoko. It was exhausting work, certain, however absolutely deserved when you think about the xG (a whopping 2.38 to 0.42).

A phrase on Moukoko too. He bought a little bit of luck (however then he additionally made his personal luck) on the purpose, however this was his first since November. His purpose drought is partly all the way down to damage, partly due to Sebastien Haller’s return. But Moukoko offers you one thing completely different up entrance, and he may play an enormous position down the stretch.



Will Haaland outscore Messi and Ronaldo in his profession?

Gab Marcotti and Don Hutchison examine Erling Haaland’s purpose scoring document with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s.

Two extra for Haaland as Pep goes there in bringing up Messi and Cristiano

“You see how many games Erling has played during his professional career and you compare the goals he has scored in that time to Messi and Cristiano, it’s quite similar,” stated Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after the 4-1 away win at Southampton.

We’re so used to managers avoiding comparisons with GOAT candidates with regards to younger gamers, that it was a bit stunning to listen to. Even extra stunning is the truth that Haaland has scored 179 objectives in his first 204 video games at senior stage, in comparison with Messi’s 119 and Ronaldo’s 48, after the identical variety of matches.

Before the Messi/Cristiano armies rise up, certain, it is apples and oranges as a result of their objectives got here largely in LaLiga and the Premier League and 49 of Haaland’s got here in Norway and Austria. And, in fact, as Guardiola factors out, what units the opposite two aside is their extraordinary longevity and all-around play. But nonetheless, take a look at the numbers and so they offer you goose bumps.

As for Manchester City, Arsenal’s draw means they pull that little bit nearer and get an enormous increase heading into the Bayern conflict midweek. Right now, Pep cannot ask for extra.

“Sarriball” fires Lazio previous Juve to strengthen grip on second place

Maurizio Sarri has had his highs and lows, maybe paying the value for being caught between his considerably utopian view of how the sport ought to be performed (yeah, “Sarriball”) and his groups’ wants for outcomes (which, to be truthful, he delivered, successful a title at Juventus and the Europa League at Chelsea). This season, at Lazio, he has supplied up each, taking the facet to second within the desk with out important funding and together with his key center-forward, Ciro Immobile, lacking a 3rd of the staff’s begins.

Against a Juve facet who opted to sit down and anticipate probabilities on the break, Sarri’s Lazio had been a bit extra circumspect, sustaining steadiness and turning on the Sarriball when it mattered. Other than set items (headers from Arkadiusz Milik and Dusan Vlahovic, Adrien Rabiot’s purpose), Juve supplied little or no and Lazio seemed in management all through.

Juve will recriminate over the Sergej Milinkovic-Savic purpose and the hand to Sandro’s again. It’s all the time tough to establish simply how sturdy the push is; as I see it, Alex Sandro did not assist himself by throwing his arms within the air and falling over the best way he did. And if you wish to make it in regards to the officers, then that you must convey up Manuel Locatelli’s deal with on Milinkovic-Savic, which may simply have been a pink.

Best to focus as an alternative on the efficiency, which was poor. The mixture of outcomes (Europa League, Coppa Italia, high 4, which continues to be in play even when the appeals court docket does not give them again their factors) and his huge wage will maintain Juventus supervisor Max Allegri in a job. But it is miserable to see them proceed to play like this.

Managers despatched off and VAR chaos, however three factors for Spurs

“Stellini” means “little stars” in Italian, and whereas nominative determinism takes you solely thus far, Spurs supervisor Cristian Stellini may wish to thank his fortunate stars for what occurred on Saturday. Tottenham beat Brighton 2-1 to maintain their top-four hopes alive, however in addition they bought a ton of assist from the officiating, as each large VAR choice seemingly went their means.

From Kaoru Mitoma’s disallowed purpose to Alexis Mac Allister’s minimal deflection from Danny Welbeck’s strike to the penalty not given when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg felled Mitoma within the space, this was some atrocious officiating (which is why referee boss Howard Webb apologised to Brighton). The Hojbjerg non-call was essentially the most egregious of the three, however every may simply have gone the opposite means. Either means, not an important efficiency for Spurs, and Brighton are proper to really feel aggrieved.

We additionally noticed the bizarre spectacle of each Stellini and Brighton’s head coach Roberto De Zerbi getting despatched off after clashing earlier than and throughout the recreation. I’ve heard variations of occasions from each side and, frankly, on the danger of sounding like an elementary faculty trainer, they’re each unsuitable. It’s one factor to lose your cool and overstep the mark over a refereeing name (should not occur, however it does), fairly one other since you and your reverse quantity really feel the necessity to take centre stage and go at one another. To me, it is easy. Both Stellini and De Zerbi ought to advantageous themselves for letting down their membership and their gamers.



Laurens: Messi’s future at PSG wanting unlikely

Julien Laurens explains the obstacles stopping Lionel Messi from signing a contract extension with PSG.

PSG make it ugly at Nice, as free agents-to-be ship large three factors

After two straight defeats, a loss at Nice would have left Paris St Germain at risk of surrendering high spot subsequent weekend in opposition to Lens, who beat Strasbourg 2-1 on Friday. That’s how dramatic PSG’s collapse has been this season. It wasn’t a far-fetched chance, on condition that Nice hadn’t misplaced in 14 video games in all competitions. And it actually felt prefer it may occur as the sport unfolded.

Despite PSG beginning effectively and taking the lead by way of Lionel Messi, Nice got here alive and had been the extra threatening facet for a lot of the sport. They hit the woodwork twice, compelled some large saves from Gigi Donnarumma and had been saved out by goal-line expertise on one other event. Sergio Ramos added a second quarter-hour from time, however it was tense all through.

In some methods it is emblematic that Messi and Ramos, each free brokers in June, had been the purpose scorers. Neither is prone to be again subsequent 12 months, neither is coach Christophe Galtier, who was roundly abused by each units of followers. We’ve stated it earlier than, however this season cannot finish quickly sufficient for PSG.

Ten Hag reinvents Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United beat Everton

Man United supervisor Erik ten Hag could or is probably not a long-term success at Old Trafford, however he has already proven a versatility and a character that some did not suppose he had when he arrived. We’ve praised him for his man-management and pragmatism, time to do the identical for his use of Fernandes.

With Casemiro suspended and Christian Eriksen solely simply getting back from damage (he got here on as a sub), he deployed Fernandes deeper and successfully handed him the playmaking keys in opposition to a facet who are likely to defend deeper.

Fernandes is clearly versatile — we have seen him as a “No. 10” and out vast — however sitting in entrance of the again 4 and quarterbacking the facet was considerably new (although he did for a bit in United’s final outing too). It labored a deal with as United dominated greater than the two-nil scoreline suggests.

We could not see this once more — Casemiro and Eriksen shall be obtainable and Bruno is extra worthwhile additional up the pitch in opposition to most opponents — however it’s an indication that Ten Hag is much extra multifaceted than some thought.



Nahuel Molina purpose twenty second minute Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Nahuel Molina purpose twenty second minute Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Atletico run continues with large win over Rayo

Since the World Cup, Atletico Madrid have collected 33 factors in 14 video games, which is one fewer than Barca (who’ve a recreation in hand). In different phrases, this staff has come alive beneath Diego Simeone in a means that felt inconceivable final autumn. Atletico confirmed it once more away to Rayo, blunting the opposition’s press within the first half to take a two-nil lead after which seeing out the sport, particularly with a person benefit.

Simeone has discovered the correct steadiness within the facet and he is additionally discovered the correct mix of high quality on the ball, to the purpose that this staff feels better-rounded than nearly at any time over the previous few years (even after they had been successful titles). It solely serves to sharpen the remorse for his or her early-season Champions League debacle, however it does improve the probabilities that “El Cholo” could decide to stay round.

Performance issues … or why reactions to Friday evening in Italy are unsuitable

Napoli received away to Lecce on Friday, which implies they’re simply 12 factors away from mathematically clinching the title. Milan and Inter had been each held by lowly opponents, Empoli and Salernitana, respectively. Cue celebrations in Naples, desperation within the two Milan sides.

Here’s some context. Napoli had been distracted and, understandably, looking forward to the Champions League after they visited AC Milan on Tuesday. As a end result, they had been poor however nonetheless discovered the win because of a defensive blunder. Lucky? Yes. Does it matter? No, within the sense the league is wrapped up and so they can get a cross for eager about Wednesday evening in Europe.

Inter dominated Salernitana on the street. They created dozens of probabilities, missed some veritable sitters (Romelu Lukaku, once more …), put collectively an xG of two.79 and solely conceded because of an inconceivable looping shot/goalkeeping error in damage time. Unlucky? Yes. Does it matter? Yes, when it comes to high 4, no when it comes to their possibilities of advancing previous Benfica on Tuesday evening. In reality, the efficiency is encouraging.

Milan took 23 pictures on purpose and held Empoli to an xG of 0.11. Their opponents did not even take a single shot till the 83rd minute. They did not create fairly as a lot as Inter, however they too had been wasteful after they did get alternatives. Unlucky? Yes. Does it matter? Again, sure, when it comes to high 4, no, when it comes to assessing their general well being forward of the Napoli recreation within the Champions League.

It would assist if some people did not simply assess a staff based mostly on the end result, however as an alternative paid consideration to what occurs on the pitch. It’s time to develop up. You’d nearly suppose that, as an alternative of watching video games, some people merely decide based mostly on the stay rating apps on their telephones.


Bas Dost got here off the bench for Utrecht and scored the winner of their 2-1 away win at Groningen. He now has eight objectives in 19 appearances for Utrecht. This concludes this installment of #BasDostWatch.

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