THE SOCCER REPORT

Chelsea-Liverpool deliver thriller; Juventus and PSG in a league of their own

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard handed Liverpool their first loss of the season by scoring the game winner in the EFL cup. Photo courtesy of Nike, Inc.

English Premier League

Things are going from bad to worse for renowned Manager Jose Mourinho after suffering his third loss in Manchester United’s seventh league bout of the season. United are now winless in three if you factor in the elimination on penalties against Derby County in the League Cup. The Red Devils are 10th in the table with Arsenal, Bournemouth, Leicester City, Tottenham, Manchester City and Wolves all above them, each collecting a respective three points this weekend. Burnley, Everton and West Ham also picked up wins as they look to climb out of the bottom half of the standings.

The match of the weekend, arguably based on gameplay and what was at stake, was the 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Liverpool. The two sides had met earlier in the week in the League Cup where the Blues won at Anfield thanks to a game-winning goal by Eden Hazard. The Belgian goalscorer struck again, this time with the match taking place at Stamford Bridge, to put his side up in the 25th minute. Chelsea had the win - and the top spot in the standings - in their grasp before a familiar face ruined the day. Daniel Sturridge, who spent his younger years at Chelsea, struck a marvelous curling hit from outside the box to tie things up in the 89th minute. The last moments were anyone’s guess of who would win before time ran out and both sides left with a point apiece.

Top six: 1. Manchester City (19), 2. Liverpool (19), 3. Chelsea (17), 4. Tottenham (15), 5. Arsenal (15), 6. Watford (13)

Scoring leader: 6 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Assists leader: 4 - Jose Holebas (Watford)

Spain’s La Liga

It was a double shift week for teams in the Spanish First Division. The biggest noise during the week came as top clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid both lost their first game of the season. Defending champions FC Barcelona could not escape Leganes unscathed and fell 2-1 while the defending Champions League winners were blanked 3-0 at Sevilla. This, of course, would set up and interesting weekend where Barcelona again could not pick up three points, drawing 1-1 against Athletic Bilbao.

The big match of the weekend, and one with early title implications, was the Madrid Derby between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. A win for either would’ve placed them in the top of the standings. Neither could break through the other’s goalkeeper as Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak lived up to their billing. Real had the most to gain from the draw as the point puts them level with Barcelona at the top, though the sole spot would’ve been much sweeter.

Top six: 1. Barcelona (14), 2. Real Madrid (14), 3. Sevilla (13), 4. Atletico (12), 5. Real Betis (12), 6. Alaves (11)

Scoring leader: 7 - Andre Silva (Sevilla)

Assists leader(s): 4 - Jony (Alaves) / Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Germany also saw teams play twice this week with the most impactful results involving the defending champions. FC Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw by Augsburg before losing 2-0 at Hertha Berlin. The biggest beneficiary of this was their rival, Borussia Dortmund, who won 7-0 against Nurnberg and picked up a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen. U.S. midfielder Christian Pulisic started his second and third straight matches for Dortmund. Hertha - thanks to their direct result - were the next team who benefited and are now tied on points with second-place Bayern. RB Leipzig also had a six point week and are now at 11 points, surging upwards in the standings. Schalke picked up its first three points of the season in a 1-0 win over Mainz where Texas native Weston McKennie entered the match in the 61st minute to help keep the lead.

Top six: 1. Dortmund (14), 2. Bayern Munich (13), 3. Hertha Berlin (13), 4. Monchengladbach (11), 5. Werder Bremen (11), 6. RB Leipzig (11)

Scoring leader: 5 - Ondrej Duda (Hertha Berlin)

Assists leader: 5 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Defending champions Juventus took a huge step to repeating as champions with a six point week. They dismantled Bologna 2-0 before a 3-1 statement win over second place Napoli. The wins give Juve a six point cushion at the top of the standings thanks to catalyst Cristiano Ronaldo who is the joint- leader in assists. Roma, Inter Milan and Genoa were the other clubs to win both their matches this week. AC Milan drew at Empoli midweek before getting an important 4-1 road win over Sassuolo.

Top six: 1. Juventus (21), 2. Napoli (15), 3. Fiorentina (13), 4. Inter Milan (13), 5. Sassuolo (13), 6. Genoa (12)

Scoring leader: 8 - Krzysztof Piątek (Genoa)

Assists leader(s): 4 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

French Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain are in a league of their own as the defending champions navigated the two-match week with ease - staying perfect with an 8-0-0 record to start the season. Eight points below them, in second place, are Lille who fell at Bordeaux on Wednesday but picked up a 3-0 home win over Marseille on Sunday. Monaco failed to pick up their second win of the season, dropping both of their bouts this week. Down with them at the bottom of the table is Nantes, where American defender Matt Miazga featured as a starter in the 1-2 loss with Nice and the 1-1 draw at Lyon.

Top six: 1. PSG (24), 2. Lille (16), 3. Montpellier (15), 4. St-Etienne (15), 5. Lyon (14), 6. Marseille (13)

Scoring leader: 7 - Neymar (PSG)

Assists leader(s): 4 - Dimitri Payet (Marseille) / Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon)

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Major League Soccer

With the season winding down, two more playoff berth were clinched this week. New York City FC were the third team to clinch a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a win over Chicago Fire on Saturday, after failing to seal the deal earlier in the week against Montreal Impact. Fourth and fifth place teams faced off to no avail as Columbus and Philadelphia played to a 0-0 draw. Montreal are in the last playoff spot in the East but they didn’t do themselves any favors by losing 5-0 to Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United, now two points out of that final playoff spot. Despite all that excitement, the match of the weekend was between the two top teams as Atlanta United visited the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls won 2-0 and their two best players in attack didn’t eve see the bench. The win narrows the gap at the top of the overall table and the race for the MLS Supporters Shield.

In the West, top-seeded FC Dallas clinched their spot in the postseason with a 0-0 draw at Portland. Another Dynamo rival, Sporting Kansas City, tied 1-1 at home with Real Salt Lake. This result is important because the Dynamo would have been officially eliminated from playoff contention with an RSL win. Houston won its game on Saturday night in a 3-2 comeback win over the last place San Jose Earthquakes, staving off elimination for the time being. Earlier in the week, the Dynamo won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.

East top six: 1. Atlanta United (63), 2. NY Red Bulls (62), 3. NYC FC (53), 4. Colombus (48), 5. Philadelphia (47), 6. Montreal (40).

West top six: 1. FC Dallas (54), 2. Sporting KC (52), 3. LAFC (50), 4. Portland (48), 5. Seattle (47), 6. Real Salt Lake (46).

Scoring leader: 30 - Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

Assists leader: 16 - Luciano Acosta (D.C. United)

Liga MX

All the fuss in Mexico this week revolved around one game - the national rivalry. Chivas of Guadalajara visiting Mexico City’s Club America was the game that capped the weekend action. Unfortunately, it would be nothing more than a cliffhanger as the 1-1 draw leaves bragging rights up for debate. The one caveat for America fans is that the result, for now, leaves Chivas at ninth place just outside the playoff qualification zone. Around the league, defending champion Santos picked up a 1-0 win at Necaxa and Cruz Azul stays at the top despite a 3-1 loss at Pachuca. The two Monterrey clubs were successful as Tigres won 2-0 at Queretaro and Monterrey won 3-0 vs. Tijuana. Six matchdays remain in the regular season.

Top eight: 1. Cruz Azul (23), 2. Club America (21), 3. Santos Laguna (21), 4. Monterrey (20), 5. Pumas UNAM (19), 6. Toluca (19), 7. Tigres UANL (18), 8. Pachuca (15)

Scoring leader(s): 8 - Julio Furch (Santos Laguna) / André-Pierre Gignac (Tigres)

Assists leader(s): 5 - Dorlan Pabon (Monterrey) / Victor Guzman (Pachuca)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, October 2

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Hoffenheim vs. Manchester City (TNT/Galavision)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Juventus vs. Young Boys (UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Bayern Munich vs. Ajax (Galavision)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid (Univision/Univision Deportes)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Manchester United vs. Valencia (TNT/UniMas)

5:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Independiente (Fanatiz)

Wednesday, October 3

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Schalke 04 (Galavision)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] PSG vs. Red Star Belgrade (TNT/UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Atletico Madrid vs. Brugge (Galavision)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Tottenham vs. Barcelona (TNT/Univision/Univision Deportes)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] PSV Eindhoven vs. Inter Milan (UniMas)

7:45 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Palmeiras vs. Colo-Colo (FOX Deportes/Fanatiz)

8:55 p.m. - [Copa MX] Leon vs. Pumas UNAM (Univision Deportes)

Thursday, October 4

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Qarabag vs. Arsenal (Galavision)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Real Betis vs. Dudelange (UniMas)

2 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Spartak Moscow vs. Villarreal (UniMas)

Friday, October 5

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Werder Bremen vs. Wolfsburg (FS2/Univision Deportes)

1:45 p.m. - [Ligue 1] Toulouse vs. Nice (beIN Sports)

2 p.m. - [Premier League] Brighton vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

Saturday, October 6

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Dortmund vs. Augsburg (FS2/UniMas/Univision Deportes)

9 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Cardiff City (NBC Sports)

11 a.m. - [Serie A] Udinese vs. Juventus (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester United vs. Newcastle (NBC)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Monchengladbach (FS2/FOX Deportes)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution (Univision/Twitter)

Sunday, October 7

6 a.m. - [Premier League] Fulham vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

8 a.m. - [Serie A] AC Milan vs. Chievo (ESPN+)

8:15 a.m. - [Premier League] Southampton vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. Manchester City (NBC Sports)

9:30 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tigres vs. Club America (Univision Facebook)

Monday, October 8

9:30 p.m. - [MLS] Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo (KUBE57)

 

Taylor Twellman, ESPN's lead soccer match analyst for Major League Soccer and the U.S. Men's National Team, joined Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis on ESPN 97.5 to talk about the upcoming USMNT friendlies in Orlando and Houston. Among the topics Twellman and Davis dive in are the forward pool, criticism in the media and ticket pricing.

The U.S. Men will face Ecuador at Orlando City Stadium on Thursday night (7 p.m. CT, ESPN2) before coming to Houston to face Chile at BBVA Compass Stadium (7 p.m. CT, ESPN2). Twellman will be the color analyst for both of those national broadcasts.

[GRANATO: Soccer really does matter - and it could matter even more]

You can hear Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis Tuesdays on ESPN 97.5 from 7-9 pm. You can listen live or on demand with the ESPN 97.5 radio app and on PodcastArena.com.

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