Published on August 29th, 2017 | by Vieri Capretta


5 weekend takeaways – Mourinho’s tank and Argentina’s awesome attack

VAR is still going through teething problems in Serie A, but no such stalling for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho takes control in the Premier League

5) The Video Assistant Referee

Active only for two weeks, the main headline stories in Serie A have been taken over by the Video Assistant Referee. Some clear mistakes, some evident misunderstandings on how and when to use it and the time it takes to implement the decision on the pitch. But having said this – and there will be a lot to work on still – this is and has to be the future for this sport. A lot of correct decisions, less fighting, less doubts. Work to be done, still, but finally referees will have the biggest help in history.

4) Tottenham will struggle more this season

Maybe it is Wembley, maybe the loss of a key player like Kyle Walker, maybe the fact that after three seasons of hard work under Mauricio Pochettino, it is difficult to maintain such a level of physicality and quality. But Tottenham Hotspur seem like they have a difficult year ahead of them. If players like Dele Alli and Harry Kane are bound to deliver, others need to be at their best, and maybe some motivation is lacking, after coming short of the title two years in a row. This is the crucial season: Tottenham either win the title, or risk taking a big step back.

3) Manchester United are a tank

Who can take the title from Chelsea? Many chose the two Manchester sides as favourites, for the money spent, for the level of the managers and for the experience of some players. City are there and can fight until the very end, but the numbers United have after three games are simply incredible. Nine points, ten goals scored, 0 conceded. A tank. Can anyone stop José Mourinho?

2) Argentina’s strike force is getting even better

Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain. But also Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi. Argentina’s attack is miles ahead of any other national team, and it’s been this way for years. Yet, it is getting even better, as Juventus’s Dybala and Inter’s Icardi seem to have made the final step for the top level. The Juve star has scored six goals in his first three games this season, reaching a Messi-esque level, whilst Icardi is on four in two games, lifting Inter to the top of the table. Simply, the amount of quality up front is huge, and it will be difficult to leave someone out.

1) What happened to Financial Fair Play?

Kyllian Mbappè to Paris Saint Germain for $200 million after the same club signed Neymar for $230 million? Is this fair? What happened to Financial Fair Play? These are questions many people are asking themselves now, and to find an answer is difficult. For sure, PSG’s spending power is huge, and to use it at full force was always going to be devastating for the marker, but also healthy for those clubs receiving the cash. Monaco and Barcelona can spend big money now. But what about spending how much is earned? Well, there are ways round it, as the Parisians showed, and the rules are still respected. What we get out of this is a PSG side now forced to deliver in the Champions League. Let’s enjoy it.

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A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.

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