UEFA Champions League group stage draw, Manchester City unbeaten, unexpected first place in La Liga, and more. These are the highlights of this week’s soccer.
UEFA Champions League
UEFA held a special event to draw the groups for the 2015/16 Champions League season. There are already some games that everyone is looking forward to, such as Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal vs Bayern Munich, Manchester City vs Juventus and FC Barcelona vs Roma. FC Astana will be the first club from Kazakhstan to reach the group stage, where they’ll face Benfica, Atlético de Madrid and Galatasaray.
It was also time to announce the best players from the 15/16 season, with Lionel Messi taking the Men’s trophy by beating Luis Suárez and Cristiano Ronaldo. Célia Šašić won the women’s award after stunning performances with FFC Frankfurt and the German Women’s national team; she decided to retire from professional competition after this year’s Women’s World Cup.
|Crystal Palace||2-1||Aston Villa|
- Manchester City have made 9 point from 9 possible. They don’t know what it feels to loose since April 12, and have won 9 consecutive Premier League games.
- Leicester City have had a surprisingly good start, being on the top places since day one. Riyad Mahrez has being a key player for them, scoring four goals in three games.
- Arsenal and Liverpool starred in a goalless draw, where goalkeepers Petr Čech and Simon Mignolet showcased their skills and avoided a game full of goals. Arsenal has yet to score at the Emirates Stadium, and have had a slow start that could prove to be costly later in the season.
- Chelsea isn’t the solid team that dominated England last season, they have looked insecure in their first three games, worrying their fans, who expected a strong team.
|Sporting de Gijón||0-0||Real Madrid|
|Atlético de Madrid||1-0||Las Palmas|
|Levante||1-2||Celta de Vigo|
|Deportivo de La Coruña||0-0||Real Sociedad|
|2||Celta de Vigo||3pts|
|3||Atlético de Madrid||3pts|
- The first gameweek was strange in a lot of ways. Eibar are currently sitting on top of the table, a funny thing considering they were supposed to be relegated, but a financially troubled Elche had to take their place in the Second Division.
- La Liga usually has a lot of goals, but the first games delivered a total of just 12. The top three clubs – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid – contributed with two, with the Merengues failing to score in their game against Sporting de Gijón.
- With the previous bullet point in mind, it should be noted that none of the top goalscorers from last season – except Luis Suárez – managed to grab a goal.
|FC Ingolstadt 04||0-4||B. Dortmund|
|Schalke 04||1-1||SV Darmstadt 98|
|Hannover 96||0-1||B. Leverkusen|
|Hertha BSC||1-1||Werder Bremen|
|FC Köln||1-1||VFL Wolfsburg|
|B. Mönchengladbach||1-2||Mainz 05|
- Borussia Dortmund have shown solid performances in their first official 2015/16 games, both in the Bundesliga and UEFA Europa League preliminary round.
- Bayern Munich is a two-faced team. They overwhelmed Hamburg in the first game, but their victory against Hoffenheim was way more tough than expected, and a last minute goal from Lewandowski earned them the three points.
- Stuttgart have lost their two games, bringing back some memories form last season, where they had an unpleasant dance with relegation possibilities.
- Juventus was shocked at their own stadium by Udinese. This is their first home defeat in 46 games and also the first time they loose an opening league game.
- The newly-promoted teams – Bologna, Carpi and Frosinone – all lost their respective games.
- Milan and Roma also failed to win. The Rossoneri lost 2-0 to Fiorentina, while the Giallorossi tied 1-1 with Hellas Verona.
- PSG started in solid form, winning their first three games. Argentinian star Ángel Di María hasn’t debuted yet with the Parisian club.
- Marseille finally grabbed their first 3 points, following the storm after Marcelo Bielsa’s abrupt exit.
- None of the title contenders (apart from PSG) from last season are in the top places. Lyon, Marseille, St. Etienne and Monaco have struggled in these first weeks.
Results (Aug 22-23)
|D.C. United||0-2||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Columbus Crew SC||3-2||Sporting Kansas City|
|Montreal Impact||0-1||Philadelphia Union|
|Chicago Fire||0-1||Colorado Rapids|
|Real Salt Lake||2-0||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||1-0||FC Dallas|
|LA Galaxy||5-1||New York City FC|
|Portland Timbers||2-2||Houston Dynamo|
|Toronto FC||5-0||Orlando City SC|
Results (Aug 27)
|Chicago Fire||3-2||New York Red Bulls/td>|
|Colorado Rapids||2-1||Houston Dynamo|
|2||NY Red Bulls||39pts|
- Giovani Dos Santos seems to feel at home since he moved to Los Angeles, where he has either scored or assisted in each of his five games with Galaxy.
- Speaking of Galaxy, their last game was a crushing 5-1 win over New York City FC. Toronto also found an easy victory against Orlando City, defeating them by a 5-0 score.
- Sebastian Giovinco from Toronto FC is in extraordinary form, he has become a goalscoring machine in the last few weeks.
- Cruz Azul’s defeat against Querétaro has drove up their fans up the wall, as the lack of new signings and the exit of various players have resulted in a weakened squad.
- Chivas is involved again in the relegation battle. They need to make a good tournament, or they’ll suffer considerably next year.
- América lost their two first games, and some started questioning coach Ignacio Ambriz’ capacity. However, the players have bounced back, winning the next four games to get into the third place.
What to look out for this weekend
- UEFA Europa League – Group stage draw will take place tomorrow, August 28, at 8:00 a.m. ET.
- Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur and Everton will clash in a intense games to scale up in the league. – Saturday, August 29 on NBC/Telemundo at 12:30 p.m. ET.
- La Liga – Barcelona will face Málaga in search of the top of the table. – Saturday, August 29 on beIN Sports/beIN Sports en español at 2:30 p.m. ET.
- Bundesliga – Bayern Munich want to prove themselves against an always menacing Bayer Leverkusen. – Saturday, August 29 on Fox Sports 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
- Serie A – Juventus will try to recover from their shocking defeat when they visit AS Roma. – Sunday, August 30 on beIN Sports/beIN Sports en español at 12:00 p.m. ET.
- Ligue 1 – Monaco will try to stop PSG’s perfect run at Stade Louis II. – Sunday, August 30 on ESPN/ESPN Deportes at 3:00 p.m. ET.
- MLS – Seattle Sounders will face Portland Timbers in one of the most intense matchups of the MLS. – Sunday, August 30 on ESPN/ESPN Deportes at 5:00 p.m. ET.
- Liga MX – America will pay a visit to Cruz Azul in a game that could be decisive for the future of the Cementeros’ coach. – Saturday, August 29 on Univisión Deportes at 6:00 p.m ET.