A number of fixtures were played over the weekend across major European leagues and here are some lessons we learned.
Kylian Mbappe is the real star at PSG
Kylian Mbappe stepped off the bench to score a brace for the reigning champions PSG in their win away to Guingamp. They had gone 1-0 down in the first half and his goals ensured that they extended their 100% winning record since the start of the season. Neymar was also on target after converting a penalty early in the second half, but it is Mbappe who stole the show. His two goals took his tally to 30 in Ligue 1 and he became the only teenager to achieve that milestone in 45 years. He was quick to downplay his heroics after the match whilst insisting that Neymar is the undisputed star of the team, though we all know that might not be the case for too long.
Is Real Madrid feeling the pinch of departed stars?
Real Madrid lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane in the transfer market and the two are clearly missed by the Los Blancos faithful. Their first La Liga fixture of the season recorded the lowest attendance since 2009, before the arrival of Ronaldo. The fans are definitely not happy with the fact that the club have not signed a replacement for the departed Portuguese. However, this could have also been as a result of La Liga’s decision to play the match at 10.15 PM local time. Whether we are likely to see improvements in the coming days will be down to the players’ performance which have been encouraging so far.
Tough times ahead for Inter Milan
Inter Milan’s hopes of challenging for the Serie A title were dealt a blow in their first game of the season after suffering a shock defeat away to Sassuolo. The Nerazzurri named four new signings in their starting lineup which included World Cup finalist Marcelo Brozovic. The defeat could have been worse had Kevin-Prince Boateng converted his shot that came off the bar. Luciano Spalletti will be concerned with his side’s showing and he will need to turn things around soon enough before it erodes the team’s confidence. They have a talented squad that is capable of changing things and they will need to do so before they drop off the title race.
New season, same Messi
A second-half brace from Lionel Messi and a Philippe Coutinho strike ensured that Barcelona’s title defence got off to a good start. The Argentine is definitely a class above his peers and this was apparent as Alaves found out, as the final score could have easily been 5-0 were it not for the bar denying him twice. The new season has just begun and, from the look of things, we are not about to stop singing his name week in, week out as he goes on to set new heights for himself and the team.
New role for Hamsik
Napoli won their first Serie A fixture under the leadership of Carlo Ancelotti with a 2-1 win away to Lazio. Ancelotti has been making changes to the Partonopei since taking over from Maurizio Sarri who has since joined Chelsea. This has meant that some of the players are learning their new roles under the Italian tactician. One such player is Marek Hamsik, who featured in a defensive midfield role unlike in the past where he has been an attacking player. He will need time to adapt to the role but his coach will be happy with what he saw over the weekend.