With club football returning to all its pomp and glory after a two-week hiatus because of an international break, both the back papers and social media found themselves busy. From Neymar’s triumphant comeback for Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City losing for the first time since February, to Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan taking an early lead over Juventus, the weekend saw considerable action in the world of European club football.
NEYMAR’S WINNING COMEBACK DRAWS BOOS FROM PSG ULTRAS
After a protracted attempt to move to Spain, Neymar made his return on Saturday in a Parisian encounter against Racing Strasbourg and saved the reigning champions from losing out on two points. With no Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani or Julian Draxler, the Brazilian took matters into his own hands and scored a last-gasp bicycle kick to win it 1-0 for Paris Saint-Germain, after being booed and jeered by his own fans throughout the game.
Neymar was booed extensively against Strasbourg then he did this in injury time. pic.twitter.com/ZsdHBh8IEl
— Michael Oti Adjei (@OtiAdjei) September 14, 2019
The negative reception from the Parc des Princes faithful comes after the summer transfer debacle involving Neymar and Barcelona, which saw the 27-year-old saying that his best memory as a footballer was Barcelona’s 6-1 victory over his current club at Camp Nou in the Champions League in 2017.
“It’s sad, but from now on I know that every game I play will be an away game,” said Neymar after the game, who would be unavailable against Real Madrid on Wednesday because of a three-match suspension he is serving.
GUARDIOLA’S JUGGERNAUTS STOPPED IN THEIR TRACKS
Norwich City became the first newly-promoted team to beat Manchester City in the Premier League since Pep Guardiola took charge of the club, with a 3-2 win at Carrow Road on Saturday. Conceding two early goals, the reigning champions slumped to their first defeat of the season as Sergio Aguero and Rodri’s goals weren’t enough after the Teemu Pukki-led attack of the Canaries scored three goals before the hour-mark.
In centre-back Aymeric Laporte’s absence, Manchester City fell five points behind the league leaders, Liverpool who maintained their winning start against Newcastle thanks to a Sadio Mane double and a Mohamed Salah left-footed finish.
“Congratulations Liverpool, you are the champions!” 🤔
— Hayters TV (@HaytersTV) September 14, 2019
Meanwhile, after taking a two-goal lead in the first half thanks to a Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang brace, Arsenal lost their heads in the second half against the bottom-placed Watford. In new manager, Quique Sanchez Flores’ first game in charge, Watford made the most of Arsenal’s defensive errors and salvaged a 2-2 draw right towards the end at Vicarage Road on Sunday. A mispass inside the box by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and a foul inside the penalty box by David Luiz proved to be costly for Unai Emery’s men.
ANSSUMANE FATI GETS HIS NAME IN RECORD-BOOKS
With Lionel Messi out due to a calf injury, Barcelona haven’t felt their talisman’s absence yet thanks to 16-year-old Anssumane Fati’s continuing exploits. After becoming the club’s youngest-ever scorer when he netted a goal against Osasuna two weeks ago, Fati became the youngest player to score in La Liga at Camp Nou when he opened the scoring in the Catalan club’s 5-2 win over Valencia.
⭐ The youngest player to score & assist in the same game in #LaLigaHistory.
⭐ 2 goals & 1 assist in 3 games.
And ANSU FATI is still only 16! 😱 pic.twitter.com/pm8YzSyTI5
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) September 16, 2019
After scoring with a confident first-time shot, the Spaniard then assisted Frenkie de Jong after a thrilling run into the box, before being substituted to a standing ovation from Camp Nou. If he plays against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, he will be the youngest player to debut in the Champions League for Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Eden Hazard finally made his Real Madrid debut in a 3-2 win over Levante.
CONTE’S REVAMPED INTER MARCHES ON
After the opening matches, the Serie A table has Inter Milan sitting pretty at the top with nine points from three matches after their 1-0 win against ten-men Udinese on Sunday. Making his return to Italy after three years, manager Antonio Conte has been shown signs of transforming the once-fabled club, after a busy transfer window which saw the club welcome the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Godin, Stefano Sensi among others.
😴 | GOOD NIGHT
And sweet dreams, #InterFans 🛌
We’re top of the league 💪🖤💙 pic.twitter.com/unpUSJMFYK
— Inter (@Inter_en) September 14, 2019
Meanwhile, Juventus were held to a draw by an inspired Fiorentina side, which put an early dent in their quest to win their ninth successive title. It was also their newly appointed manager Maurizio Sarri’s debut in the dugout since recovering from pneumonia.
Napoli, on the other hand, warmed themselves up for a midweek Champions League clash against Liverpool with a Dries Mertens-led 2-0 win against Sampdoria.
CHELSEA’S U21 ATTACK DELIVERS
After a convincing 5-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea finally seems to be coming together. After draws against Leicester City and Sheffield United, Chelsea managed to spoil the home side’s celebration of the 130th anniversary of their Molineux Stadium, thanks to a Tammy Abraham hat-trick.
Chelsea are the first team in Premier League history to have each of their first 11 goals of the season scored by players under the age of 22 (excl. own goals).
Three academy graduates making history. 😱 pic.twitter.com/dsrC409oLg
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 14, 2019
The 21-year-old England striker, who has spent spells on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa, became the youngest player to score a hattrick for the London club. Although their defence has leaked 11 goals in just five matches, Chelsea would look at the positives of having recuperated well to the loss of their talisman Eden Hazard.