A must-win match turned into another sorry Sunday for Milan with Bonucci seeing red, while Manchester City raise prospect of invincible season
Nine games into the Serie A season, the Rossoneri are easily one of the biggest disappointments in Europe. The star and captain of the team, Leonardo Bonucci, had already been putting together a series of horrendous performances until the red card in Sunday’s flat goalless draw in San Siro against Genoa.
Coach Vincenzo Montella has been changing systems and players hoping for something to work out, improvising, but remaining unable to get a reaction from his team. The result is 11th spot in the Serie A standings, nine points from the Champions League places, despite the transfer revolution and huge investment over the summer.
Jurgen Klopp produces exciting football going forward and his passion and personality are almost unique. But at Liverpool it is starting to look like he has held on to his job purely because of his personality. The Reds are heading into another mediocre season, with a top four finish being the only real aim, and too many disappointing weekends, such as the one just gone by, losing 4-1 to Tottenham at Wembley. It’s only October, and Liverpool are already out of the title race.
The title race in the Premier League is still a matter of Manchester City versus Manchester United, but surely Josè Mourinho did not expect to drop points on a rainy afternoon away at Huddersfield Town. It was a game when the Red Devils saw their opponents capitalise on every mistake made by the visiting defence, and then hold firm at the back to take home the three points. A frustrating afternoon with points dropped that sees City fly five points clear.
Before the weekend, it was believed in Italy that Inter were about to face their main test in this first part of the season: a solid performance in Naples against a near unstoppable Napoli would mean the Nerazzurri have really changed from last year. And Luciano Spalletti’s men came out of the cauldron of the Stadio San Paolo with a point, not conceding, maintaining their unbeaten streak of games this season and blocking the Partenopei for the first time, even going close to winning the game. Are they real Scudetto challengers now?
Can anyone stop Pep Guardiola’s men? United may be slowing down, but City have no intention of doing so, with yet another beautiful display, winning easily against Burnley and showing they have reached a maturity in executing almost perfectly what the Catalan coach wants. This time last year Guardiola’s team slowed down, clearly still needing time to assimilate his ideas and tactics: now it would not be surprising if City went the whole season unbeaten.
The big surprise package in La Liga, putting another four goals past Sevilla, after scoring six last week and currently being the annoying “smaller” team in between the two fighting giants. Valencia sit second in the standings on 21 points, four behind Barcelona, and one point clear of Real Madrid, and intend to mingle with the top positions for as long as possible. Coach Marcelino’s men have found an organisation and an ease to score goals that right now puts them easily in the top four at the end of the season.