The Premier League has returned with a bang, but drama was to be had all over Europe. Here’s five hot takes from a hot August weekend
5) Neymar is a bigger loss for Barcelona than an addition for PSG
A goal and an assist in Neymar’s debut game for Paris Saint Germain against Guingamp, with the Brazilian immediately showing how much of a difference he can make in Ligue 1 after being used to playing in La Liga.
The feeling is he can have a lot of fun in France, following in the steps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic: players too good for the current level of the French league. He was brought in to win the Champions League, though, and that’s where he’ll have to deliver. Not against Guingamp.
4) Juventus, never take winning for granted
In the first official game of the Italian footballing season, Juventus lost 3-2 to Lazio. The Bianconeri were clear favourites to lift the Supercup, but were killed by a 93rd minute goal for the Rome side. It could be just a bad day, but it can be seen as a sign: if Juve don’t put in all the concentration we have been used to over the past few seasons, the Old Lady could have a very disappointing campaign. Winning titles should never be taken for granted.
3) How much the right player can change a team
The impact of Nemanja Matic on Manchester United was phenomenal in his debut Premier League game with the Red Devils. The former Chelsea midfielder was brought in to allow the likes of Paul Pogba more freedom to invent and hurt opponents, leaving the hard work to the Serbian. After the first 90 minutes, the feeling is that Matic was exactly the player that was needed, and that United can properly challenge for the title. One player was needed to make the others deliver at their best, and Matic was exactly that for United.
2) Just how good is Marco Asensio?
If Neymar was missing from the Barcelona side that lost 3-1 to Real Madrid, on the other side a youngster is becoming an adult and a properly solid player. Marco Asensio’s goal at the Nou Camp is just the latest confirmation of how good this Real Madrid man is. Asensio scored Madrid’s fourth in the Champions League final in Cardiff, showing the impact he can have right now, but the quality he is proving is set to make him a top level player for a very long time.
1) Diego Costa vs Conte: a never-ending fight
Diego Costa was one of the big protagonists of Chelsea’s last two league title victories, including last season’s with Antonio Conte. Yet the Spanish international is not an easy person to deal with and Conte has asked the club to sell him. Costa has now repeatedly said he wants to leave as well, and it is clear his time at Chelsea is over.
Nonetheless, right now he is still with the Blues, and the feeling is that many clubs could be scared to buy a player that can ruin locker rooms, or at least this is the perception. He remains by all means one of the best number nines in the World, so still worth the risk.