Another weekend of European football provided plenty of drama, excitement and goals. If you 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.
Sunday saw Real Madrid suffer a post-Clasico hangover of their own in a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano, a game that also saw superstar midfielder Jude Bellingham suffer a shoulder injury. In the big Women’s Super League (WSL) match of the day, Arsenal ended Manchester City‘s unbeaten run with an impressive late 2-1 victory, while the U.S. stars in Europe endured mixed days.
On Saturday, Harry Kane starred for Bayern Munich in his first Bundesliga Der Klassiker, Chelsea women dominated Aston Villa in the WSL before news broke that their manager Emma Hayes will depart at the end of the season and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Warren Zaïre-Emery continues to shine in Ligue 1. Finally, Barcelona left it until late to clinch a winner against a tough Real Sociedad side.
Here’s what you missed.
Sunday’s talking points
Bellingham survives injury scare as Real Madrid are frustrated by Rayo
Ten minutes played at the Bernabeu, and the stadium held its breath. Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid’s star player so far this season, was lying on the turf after an awkward fall, holding his shoulder and clearly in pain. Concerned teammates gathered around and the team’s physio and doctor began treatment.
Was this the answer to how Bellingham’s incredible goal-scoring run — 10 LaLiga goals this season, 13 in all competitions — would end?
When Bellingham walked off the pitch without needing to use a stretcher, the tension eased a little. When he shook himself off, nodding his head as if to say he was OK to continue, it eased again. Then, a thumbs up from the doctor, aimed across the pitch at coach Carlo Ancelotti and his coaching staff. Bellingham was fine. Seconds later, he was back on the field.
If this seems like making a lot out of not very much, you’re right. There was no serious injury as Bellingham completed the 90 minutes, but the momentary panic that gripped the stadium at the prospect of the midfielder being ruled out for any significant period of time was also notable given his importance to the team since his arrival. Where would Real Madrid be without those 10 league goals? Centre-forward Joselu is next best, with five. Winger Vinícius Júnior has two. Rodrygo has one.
Ahead of this game with Rayo Vallecano, Ancelotti backed the Brazilians — Vinícius and Rodrygo — to outscore Bellingham and Joselu by the season’s end. He might believe it; more likely is that he was trying to boost their confidence. Vinicius and Joselu started in attack here, with Rodrygo held in reserve, and both had first-half chances they couldn’t convert. With 20 minutes left and the score still 0-0, Rodrygo was introduced, Ancelotti switching to a front three.
Within seconds of his introduction, he had shot just off target after a clever passing move set him free inside the box. The team looked more dangerous with Rodrygo on the pitch, but there was still no breakthrough. Madrid had a total of 22 shots in the game, but just five of them were on target, with an xG (expected goals) of 1.93.
Rayo offered little, playing for the fulltime whistle, delighted with a point. Madrid did enough to deserve the win, but the game ended 0-0, raising the same question once again: If Bellingham doesn’t score, does this team have enough goals? — Alex Kirkland
Arsenal get the better of Manchester City in Sunday’s marquee WSL clash
Arsenal grind out win vs. Man City in ‘strange’ game
Sophie Lawson reacts to Arsenal’s 2-1 victory against Manchester City in the Women’s Super League.
Sunday’s big game in the Women’s Super League saw Arsenal end Man City’s unbeaten season with an impressive 2-1 win at Borehamwood. Things started well for City as they were faster to every ball, swarming the midfield and overrunning the Arsenal box. But the early dominance counted for very little when the hosts took the lead with their first effort, with Steph Catley left in acres of space to curl the ball home and change the course of the game against the run of play.
Things could have gone from bad to worse for City when Arsenal were awarded a penalty moments later, but a strong save from Khiara Keating denied Kim Little and kept the visitors in the tie. Catley’s goal was, however, the spark the hosts needed, and they soon found their footing to finish the half strongly, with City short on ideas.
The general sense of flatness continued to plague the visitors into the second half until a well-worked piece of play saw Chloe Kelly hammer the ball home and restore parity. But just as they had in the first half, the Gunners reclaimed the lead just three minutes from time when Stina Blackstenius raced onto a ball over the top. With Keating having overcommitted, the Swede was free to roll the ball into the open net. An emergency in the crowd directly after the goal halted the restart, punctuating a strange match.
After the match, Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall was full of praise for Emma Hayes, who announced Saturday that she would be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season to take on a role with the U.S. women’s national team.
“I think me and all other managers are going to try and make life in the WSL as difficult and unpleasant for her as possible before she leaves,” Eidevall joked. “After that, she’s going to be one of the first ones after the season that I might pick up the phone and call, because I do think she has some really interesting ideas about football and how to build a football team. When you’re not direct rivals, I would love to spend a little bit of time with her, listening to her experiences at Chelsea and so on, but that phone call has to wait and we have to remain competitors [a bit longer].”
Despite the improvements City have shown this season, with three wins and a draw in their first four league matches, Gareth Taylor’s side spent much of the match shy of ideas. Meanwhile for Arsenal, who had similarly not been at their best, the goals were all that mattered even though recent Gunners performances continue to raise more questions than they answer. — Sophie Lawson
Americans Abroad: McKennie impressive for Juventus, Paredes to the rescue for Wolfsburg, Balogun struggles for AS Monaco
It was a mixed Sunday for players of a USMNT persuasion across the continent, with our focus on two regular national teamers and one fringe star hoping to get more opportunities.
First up, goalkeeper Matt Turner was given the day off between the posts by Nottingham Forest, who wrapped up a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa. Goals from Ola Aina and Onel Mangala either side of half-time were enough for Steve Cooper & Co., with Odisseas Vlachodimos getting his first competitive club game of the 2023-24 season — and a clean sheet — instead. The surprising win keeps Forest seven points clear of the bottom three after 11 matches, sitting in 12th place.
In Italy‘s Serie A, midfielder Weston McKinnie completed a full 90 minutes as Juventus won 1-0 at Fiorentina. His game was mostly a defensive one on the right side of Massimilano Allegri’s midfield, but the victory pushes them up to second place, just two points behind Inter Milan.
In France‘s Ligue 1, all-action forward Folarin Balogun and Monaco wrapped up a 2-0 result against lowly Brest, though Balogun didn’t get on the scoresheet. He did think he’d converted in the first half with his side already leading 1-0, only for VAR to rule it out for offside in the build-up.
In the German Bundesliga, winger Kevin Paredes scored from close range early in the second half (assisted by Lovro Majer) as Wolfsburg completed a 2-2 home draw with Werder Bremen. The result keeps Wolfsburg firmly mid-table: Niko Kovac’s side are in ninth place, with 13 points from 10 games. — James Tyler
Sunday’s news lines
Is Arteta right to be furious about Newcastle goal?
Dale Johnson explains the decisions made by VAR around Newcastle’s goal against Arsenal and what is likely to happen next.
Sunday’s AND FINALLY…
Airline apologizes after Sevilla flight leaves passengers stranded
The Spanish airline Air Nostrum issued an apology on Sunday after dozens of passengers due to fly from Vigo to Madrid were left stranded when their seats were given to Sevilla’s squad instead, when the team’s plane developed a technical fault.
Sevilla had drawn 1-1 at Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday evening and were due to return home via the Spanish capital when their plane was declared unfit to fly. In what the airline described as a “regrettable error,” the news agency Europa Press reported that the decision was taken to give the squad priority on another plane, IB8869, leaving 80 passengers stuck at Vigo’s Peinador Airport with no other flights departing that night.
“The flight was already delayed,” a passenger told Cadena SER. “When we were going to start boarding, the Sevilla players came into the airport, jumped ahead of us and got onto the plane.”
“We’ll contact each of the passengers next week to compensate them for the inconvenience caused,” Air Nostrum — which is an affiliate of Iberia — said in a statement, saying the decision was “attributable only to the company.” Passengers said they were initially only offered a return to Madrid via bus leaving on Sunday morning — a seven hour journey — or waiting until Monday for another flight. — Kirkland
The Saturday lead: Kane shines for Bayern Munich against supposed rivals Borussia Dortmund
Harry Kane scores a hat trick in his first Der Klassiker
Harry Kane scores three of Bayern’s four goals against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.
The expectations going into another edition of the Der Klassiker were that Borussia Dortmund had a realistic chance of beating Bayern Munich for the first time in a league game since 2018. Munich had just suffered an embarrassing defeat against third-division side Saarbrücken in the German Cup a few days prior and manager Thomas Tuchel was dealing with significant injury woes in his squad. But even a somewhat diminished Bayern side were able to deliver a demonstration of strength by beating Dortmund 4-0 at the Signal Iduna Park.
After scoring three goals against Darmstadt the previous weekend, Kane once again bagged a hat trick, as he is the first player in the history of the Bundesliga who has scored 15 goals in the first 10 games of the season. The England captain was one of several Bayern players who displayed a sharp performance against an at times overwhelmed Dortmund team. Particularly, the first 10 minutes went catastrophic for the home team, with Kane and Dayot Upamecano scoring for an early 2-0 Bayern lead, which put even more pressure on Dortmund who needed some time to regain confidence and produce anything offensively.
Harry Kane has broken the all-time record for the most goals in a player’s first 10 Bundesliga appearances (14).
What a season he’s having 👏 pic.twitter.com/BP6UTrExlS
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 4, 2023
Of all the Dortmund players, Marco Reus looked like the one that was on eye level with the guests, but as so often in his long career, Reus could not prevent a defeat in the Klassiker. In a way, his missed chance in the early stage of the second half, as he was denied by Manuel Neuer, seemed like a déjà vu moment for the Dortmund captain. Reus and Neuer have had so many battles over the years which usually ended in favour of the Bayern goalkeeper who finished his second league game after his return from injury with another clean sheet.
Dortmund were able to show glimpses of offensive firepower after the halftime break but their effort was not enough to make this game a close affair. During the second half, Tuchel had the audacity to employ Leon Goretzka as a centre-back. Granted, he felt forced to use the midfielder in this unfamiliar role because Upamecano did not have enough in the tank to play the full 90 minutes after his recent injury. It nevertheless is astonishing that Bayern finished the final 30 minutes of their game at Dortmund with Goretzka in defence and 19-year-old rookie Aleksandar Pavlovic in midfield and still were able to score two more goals.
While Dortmund remain in the title race after this upsetting loss, they cannot simply move on from this game as nothing has happened. Bayern were there for the taking but Dortmund still looked somehow overmatched during stretches of the game in front of a disappointed home crowd inside the Signal Iduna Park. At this rate, the Klassiker will lose its allure quite fast. — Constantin Eckner
Saturday talking points around the leagues
Barça strike late at Real Sociedad to return to winning ways
Ronald Araújo scored a dramatic 92nd-minute winner as Barcelona bounced back from last weekend’s El Clásico defeat by beating Real Sociedad 1-0, although the scoreline does not tell the full story.
La Real bossed a lackluster Barça for large parts of the match, notably in the first half, but a combination of wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping from Marc-André ter Stegen kept the home side out. Take Kubo, playing against his former side, was especially bright, but as the minutes passed and the game remained goalless, Barça sensed there could be a late winner in the match for them.
Ronald Araujo’s diving header in stoppage time wins it for Barca
Barcelona steals three points at Real Sociedad thanks to Ronald Araujo’s goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.
It looked like they had missed their chance, though, when Gavi‘s shot was brilliantly saved by Álex Remiro in stoppage time after Pedri, on his return from two months out of action, had fed the Barça midfielder. However, there was still time for Ilkay Gündogan to pick out Araujo, who headed past Remiro. The flag went up immediately, but a relatively quick VAR check revealed the Uruguayan defender was onside, prompting the Barça players to pour into the corner to celebrate in front of their supporters.
You could sense in the celebrations that they felt they had got out of jail here. It was results like this — they recorded 11 1-0 wins in LaLiga last year — which helped them win the title last season. None of those 1-0s were perhaps as extreme as this one, but it is a result that will restore confidence after last week’s defeat to Real Madrid. It keeps Barça four points off top spot after Girona, joined leaders with Madrid before the weekend, won 4-2 at Osasuna earlier on Saturday. — Sam Marsden
Chelsea women shine as Villa’s woes continue
It would be an understatement to say it’s been a tough start to the season for Aston Villa, but facing all of last season’s top three in their first five was always going to be gruelling for the team from the Midlands. Still without key midfielder, Kenza Dali, the team who’ve been on the wrong end of four straight league losses only sunk lower against the reigning champions on Saturday afternoon. Whereas Villa put in a stronger defensive showing against Man United and Arsenal, they collapsed without much pressure from Chelsea as the Blues ran riot in the rain, hitting the hosts for six.
The first two came goals came in the first half, with Millie Bright pouncing at a corner Rachel Daly cleared off the line, before Fran Kirby made it two after Danielle Turner cleared the initial effort from the line. Things went from bad to worse after the break as Chelsea turned on the style, leaving the Villa midfield decimated, the rejigged defence failing at the basics as Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Ashley Lawrence and Aggie Beever-Jones were allowed copious amounts of room to add the third, fourth and fifth goals.
Lawson: Hayes-USWNT link makes a lot of sense
Sophie Lawson discusses Emma Hayes’ rumored link to the USWNT head coach job after she announced she will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.
Chelsea had the depth, experience and tenacity to punish Villa over and over, stamping their authority on the game and making a statement after a less than convincing start to the season. The hosts looked lost, marking left at home as heads dropped across the pitch, full time finally putting an end to the misery for Villa as bodies dropped to the sodden turf at the whistle.
The job for Carla Ward now about picking the team up ahead of a midweek trip to Sheffield in the League Cup, as they head into what should be a run of fixtures they can use to get back on track, but a return to basics will be key. — Sophie Lawson
Zaïre-Emery shines again for PSG
What were you doing at 17? You might be too young to remember, but what Zaïre-Emery is doing at the moment is reminiscent of prodigies like Michael Owen, Kylian Mbappé and Wayne Rooney. After two assists against Milan 10 days ago and a goal at Brest last weekend, he scored again on Friday night against Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
The Paris born and bred midfielder is walking on water. He is a phenom who amazes everyone with his talent, maturity (physically and mentally) and work rate. He led his Paris team to a superb 3-0 win and his goal was a special one again, summing up his quality. He drove the ball forward, played a one-two with Ousmane Dembélé before smashing the ball in the net from seven yards.
Manager Luis Enrique waxes lyrical about him while Didier Deschamps is about to call him up to the French national team (he was the U21 captain until now this season). On a night when Mbappé was quiet, PSG relied on their wonderkid who is showing no signs of slowing down.
Three days before their clash with AC Milan in Italy in the Champions League, the Parisians produced another top performance, with the ball as well as out of possession. Enrique has implemented his ideas well so far and his team are top of the table until Nice play on Sunday. But the trip to Italy, after losing to Newcastle a few weeks ago, will be a massive test of character for this team. — Julien Laurens
Americans Abroad: Pepi, Tillman shine off the bench; Reyna not given a chance
PSV extended their lead at the top of the Dutch Eredivisie after a 6-0 rout of Heracles Almelo. Their trio of U.S. players, Sergiño Dest, Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi contributed, with the latter two coming off the bench to score. Pepi (who also had an assist) and Tillman will hope this is only the start as they seek to cement starting positions for the Boeren.
— Ricardo Pepi (@Ricardo_Pepi9) November 4, 2023
Elsewhere, Gio Reyna was not brought on in Dortmund’s loss to Bayern Munich after starting last weekend. The 20-year-old USMNT player is a brilliant playmaker, but injuries and a lack of confidence from head coach Edin Terzic has limited Reyna’s chances to prove himself. Each week it looks more likely that he will make a move elsewhere.
Herc thinks Gio Reyna is ‘done’ at Dortmund
Herc Gomez thinks it is a case of when, rather than if, Gio Reyna leaves Borussia Dortmund
In Italy, AC Milan were without Christian Pulisic due to an injury scare and suffered a 1-0 loss to Udinese. USMNT compatriot Yunus Musah started the match on the right wing as the Rossoneri were unable to threaten a stubborn Udinese side. Milan now fall to third place in the Serie A table, and face PSG in a must-win Champions League group stage tie next.
News of the day
And finally, on Saturday …
Manchester City lost Riyad Mahrez and Gundogan in the summer, but Jérémy Doku‘s arrival has helped the treble winners keep their stride. The Belgium international scored one and assisted four in City’s 6-1 win over Bournemouth, becoming the eighth player in Premier League history to make four assists in a game. The wily winger is electric with the ball at his feet, running at defenders who struggle to stop him cutting inside to shoot or delivering a cross.
With this brilliant performance, Pep Guardiola’s side go top of the Premier League for now until Spurs play on Monday, who can go first with a win. If Doku continues to torment opposition defenses, he’s a candidate for the best signing of the season and we’ll continue to see many more “Griddy” celebrations from the 21-year-old.
✅ 1 goal
✅ 4 assists
✅ 21 years old
An unbelievable performance by Jérémy Doku 👏 pic.twitter.com/dSuqzEBDCT
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 4, 2023
Luis Díaz made an extraordinary return for Liverpool as he scored a 95th-minute equaliser as his team drew 1-1 with Luton Town in the Premier League on Sunday, while awaiting the promised release of his kidnapped father by Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas.
Celta Vigo captain Iago Aspas threw the pitchside VAR monitor to the ground after the on-field referee had used it to overturn a late penalty decision that had been awarded in Celta’s favour during their 1-1 draw with Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday.
Arsenal said they “wholeheartedly support” manager Mikel Arteta after he criticised the officiating in Saturday’s Premier League defeat by Newcastle United, imploring the referees body (PGMOL) to look into the standards of refereeing.
With the announcement that Chelsea women’s manager Emma Hayes will leave the club at the end of the season, a source has confirmed to ESPN that she is set to take the reins of the United States women’s national team. The expectation is that Hayes will juggle both her club and international duties until the end of 2023-24 Women’s Super League campaign. The London native is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the women’s game, leading Chelsea to six league titles, five women’s FA Cups and two Women’s League cups since taking over in 2012. A source also confirmed to ESPN that making Hayes’ salary equal to that of U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter was going to be a topic of discussion at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Board of Directors’ meeting.
Real Madrid called reports claiming they are holding talks with PSG’s Kylian Mbappé “absolutely false.” There has been a long-running saga between the two parties, but a statement released by the LaLiga club on Saturday said “In the face of news stories broadcast and published by various media, which speculate about supposed negotiations between the player Kylian Mbappé and our club, Real Madrid want to state that these stories are absolutely false and said negotiations, with a player who belongs to PSG, have not taken place.” Madrid failed to sign Mbappe in 2021 and were close to signing him in 2022, before the Frenchman decided to stay in Paris.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta called Anthony Gordon‘s winning goal for Newcastle an “absolute disgrace” and “embarrassing” for the Premier League. Gordon’s 64th-minute goal on Saturday was awarded by referee Stuart Attwell after three separate VAR checks to assess whether the ball had gone out of play, if Joelinton had committed a foul with a push on Gunners defender Gabriel and whether Gordon was offside. The decision to give the goal resulted in the Gunners’ first league defeat of the season. Arteta said: “We have to talk about how the hell this goal stands up. I feel embarrassed. It is an absolute disgrace this goal is allowed. It’s not a goal — for many reasons.”