Arsenal grind out win, Bayern back on track, Messi milestone: Weekend Review

6 months ago 176

It was different play of headlines, golazos and unpredictable finishes crossed Europe's biggest leagues. From Manchester United's archetypal trophy since 2017 to clutch LaLiga matches involving Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid to Lionel Messi reaching much milestones, determination is plentifulness to drawback up on.

ESPN correspondents Luis Miguel Echegaray, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden, James Tyler, and James Olley interruption down the astir absorbing and important worldly you request to cognize astir the weekend.

Jump to: Talking points | Best goals | Teams successful trouble | MVP of the Weekend

Talking points

Arsenal win, Man City support rubric contention intriguing

As Manchester United defeated Newcastle United successful the Carabao Cup last connected Sunday, thus ending their six-year drought without silverware, Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola generated much breathing abstraction successful the Premier League table.

Let's statesman with league leaders Arsenal, who did not person the easiest of days against Leicester City, but still managed the victory. This, however, is however you triumph a title. By winning games that are sticky, uncomfortable and devoid of rhythm. For Arteta, whose strategy prides itself connected fluidity, and whose squad with an mean property of 24.7, these are the games you person to deliver. The triumph was won from the back, meaning that they allowed their resiliency to pb everything that was being done creatively.

After trailing Aston Villa doubly past play and conceding 2 goals, positive nary cleanable sheets successful the past six matches anterior to Saturday, Arteta wanted to tighten things up astatine the backmost and that's precisely what happened. Arsenal's backline lone allowed 1 effort from the hosts and nary connected target, and this became their main look for success. But it was besides astir simplicity.

"It was coming backmost to immoderate details and basics that get games distant from america that we made overmuch more. The past 2 games -- particularly connected Saturday -- we person done it overmuch more," said Arteta aft the game.

Arsenal present person an accidental to summation much momentum with matches against Everton and Fulham earlier a travel to Sporting CP successful the Round of 16 of the Europa League. The Gunners cognize that each crippled counts, particularly arsenic a travel to the Etihad awaits successful April.

For City and Pep Guardiola, the play task was overmuch easier arsenic they seamlessly disposed of 19th-placed AFC Bournemouth astatine Vitality Stadium. A 4-1 win was precisely what the doc ordered aft the defending champions had drawn the past 2 games successful each competitions. Guardiola, the master, sees his erstwhile pupil supra him successful the array and knows that successful bid to surpass him, the unit indispensable continue, particularly arsenic Arsenal's two-point pb is complimented by an other game.

Something tells maine determination are much twists and turns successful the rubric race, and overmuch of it volition beryllium solved connected April 26 erstwhile they some conscionable again.

-- Luis Miguel Echegaray

Messi-Mbappe masterclass for PSG successful Classique win

After immoderate struggles and a batch of hostility successful caller weeks, a batch of downs and galore doubts and a immense crisis, if determination was 1 mode for Paris Saint-Germain to astir enactment everything right, it was to decision their archrivals Marseille astatine the Velodrome, who are conscionable 5 points down them successful the table.

That's precisely what the Parisians did. They abruptly started playing similar a team, contempt a dilatory start. They recovered immoderate cohesion. They ran, fought, moved the shot good successful their 3-5-2 formation. And they relied connected the fantastic endowment up beforehand of Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi. The 2 superstars had 1 these nights wherever they produced a masterclass. Two assists and a extremity for the Argentine (who reached 700 vocation league goals) portion Mbappe's 2 goals equalled Edinson Cavani arsenic the club's all-time scorer with 200.

This immense triumph successful Marseille is the cleanable rehearsal and template for the Champions League Round of 16 2nd limb astatine Bayern Munich. With Neymar injured, manager Christophe Galtier, who bought himself a spot of bid aft the tempest of the past fewer weeks, volition apt commencement a precise akin XI against the German champions successful 10 days. When the Double M is successful this benignant of form, nary 1 tin halt them. They volition beryllium Paris' main anticipation erstwhile again. -- Julien Laurens

Bayern amusement wherefore they're inactive successful rod position

Recent wobbles by Bayern Munich person had the remainder of the Bundesliga licking their chops astatine the imaginable of a caller champion for the archetypal clip successful a decade, but Sunday's 3-0 romp implicit third-place Union Berlin was a reminder of conscionable wherefore Bayern person had specified a grip astatine the top. Julian Nagelsmann's broadside didn't person to strain excessively overmuch to tame this season's Cinderella team, either, simply pouncing connected errors and punishing them accordingly. But it went deeper than that: Bayern were ascendant without truly trying.

Racing to a 3-0 pb astatine the break, with 2 goals successful the last 5 minutes of the half, they were truly the lone squad that looked similar scoring successful the 2nd half. Only the exploits of Frederik Ronnow (six saves) betwixt the posts, adjacent utilizing his look astatine 1 constituent to artifact a Kingsley Coman cross, prevented this from being adjacent worse.

Setting up successful a 3-5-2 with Thomas Muller playing person to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting up beforehand helped make each sorts of country to exploit wide areas, with Coman and Alphonso Davies proving acold excessively bully for Jerome Roussillon and Christopher Trimmel. After immoderate feisty aboriginal changes, Choupo-Moting headed the hosts successful front, looping 1 beyond Ronnow aft a good tally and transverse from Coman connected the close flank. They doubled their vantage little than 10 minutes later, with Coman profiting from Muller's clever flick-on, rounding Ronnow and firing debased into the bare net. It seemed arsenic though Union were playing for the whistle from there, but it backfired arsenic Coman seized connected a escaped shot successful the box, slid it wide for Muller, whose debased transverse was guided successful by Jamal Musiala successful wounded time.

Borussia Dortmund proceed to support gait astatine the apical with a triumph Saturday, but Bayern showed that they're not going to relinquish the throne this play without a fight. Those 2 conscionable successful Munich connected April 1, too. Game on. -- James Tyler

Barcelona's play reaches pivotal moment

Barcelona capped a miserable week with a shock 1-0 loss astatine relegation-threatened Almeria. After being eliminated from the Europa League by Manchester United connected Thursday, Real Madrid's gully with Atletico Madrid handed Barca the accidental to spell 10 points wide astatine the apical of LaLiga connected Sunday. However, they produced what an aggravated Xavi Hernandez labelled their "worst show of the season" to miss a aureate accidental to instrumentality a immense measurement towards their archetypal league rubric since 2019.



Were Barcelona complacent successful astonishment nonaccomplishment astatine Almeria?

Shaka Hislop thinks the Barcelona players person been complacent successful the decision astatine Almeria successful La Liga.

Xavi said what disappointed him astir was his team's deficiency of strength and desire. With Ousmane Dembele, Pedri and Ansu Fati missing done injury, they could person fewer complaints astir what was conscionable their 2nd decision successful LaLiga this play -- and ended a 13-game unbeaten streak successful the league. They were dire successful Almeria, mustering conscionable 1 changeable connected people and got precisely what they deserved: nothing.

- Copa del Rey Clasico! Barcelona vs. Real Madrid connected ESPN+

It's not melodramatic to accidental Barca are present facing the biggest fewer weeks of their play earlier the March planetary break. They look Real Madrid successful the archetypal of 3 Clasicos in a period connected Thursday successful the archetypal limb of the Copa del Rey semifinal (stream each matches connected ESPN+). They past invited Valencia to Camp Nou successful LaLiga with Pedri and Dembele inactive injured and Gavi and Raphinha present suspended. A sojourn to San Mames past looks pugnacious each of a sudden, earlier Madrid are owed astatine Camp Nou connected March 19 for a Clasico which volition present person a monolithic accidental successful the rubric race. Barca request to get backmost connected way quickly. -- Sam Marsden


Buendía sends Everton defenders backmost to kindergarten

Look. It's not mundane I'm fixed the accidental to item an Aston Villa goal, truthful delight springiness maine this infinitesimal of joyful bliss courtesy of this lovely, small Argentinian.

To beryllium just to Everton, the crippled was reasonably adjacent -- and possibly adjacent leaning towards their absorption -- earlier Emiliano Buendía's instauration astatine Goodison Park. The crippled was astatine a stalemate until Buendía (and Álex Moreno) came connected successful the 61st minute. Two minutes later, Villa took the pb acknowledgment to a punishment won by John McGinn and scored by Ollie Watkins. It was Buendía, however, who started the determination with a beauteous archetypal interaction for McGinn, earlier helium was brought down successful the box.

But I'm present to sermon what happened successful the 81st minute, erstwhile Buendía, aft receiving the favour from McGinn's ball, picked up the ball, drove wrong the Everton container and arsenic 3 defenders neared him, the attacking midfielder dragged the shot with his close and faked them each retired similar an Allen Iverson item earlier smashing it past Jordan Pickford with his left.

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 25, 2023

It was a beauteous portion of artistry, which ensured Unai Emery's broadside the 3 points. After the goal, Buendía ran to the distant Villa assemblage and extended his manus retired arsenic if to say, "there you go, guys. You're each welcome." Muchísimas gracias, Emiliano. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni was hopefully watching.

-- Echegaray

Rodriguez's archetypal of galore for Real Madrid?

A caller prima could person been calved astatine Real Madrid. El Bilal Toure's victor against Barcelona for Almeria was possibly the champion extremity successful LaLiga this play -- thumped successful disconnected the underside of the barroom -- but Alvaro Rodriguez's archetypal for Los Blancos whitethorn beryllium the 1 remembered successful years to come.

The 18-year-old Uruguay younker planetary came disconnected the seat to rescue a constituent successful the Madrid derby against Atletico with a glancing header from a Luka Modric corner. It looked similar 2 points dropped arsenic opposed to 3 astatine the time, but proved a constituent gained erstwhile Barca mislaid the adjacent day.

Carlo Ancelotti says Rodriguez, who grew up successful Catalonia, northbound of Barcelona, volition beryllium with the archetypal squad permanently adjacent season. It was the 2nd week moving the striker has made an interaction disconnected the seat aft mounting up a extremity successful the triumph implicit Osasuna past weekend. -- Marsden

Thuram's 'Nice' extremity lives up to name

Kephren Thuram carries a notable past name. Of course, his dada Lilian Thuram volition ever beryllium the large 1998 World Cup victor with France and his sibling Marcus Thuram reached 2022 World Cup last with Les Bleus, but the youngest of the Thuram dynasty is besides making a sanction for himself. And his beauteous extremity connected Sunday for Nice successful the Mediterranean derby against AS Monaco is surely not doing him immoderate harm. He started the determination by uncovering his teammate Terem Moffi successful down and past helium received his transverse connected the borderline of the container to deed a superb changeable past Alexander Nubel, successful beforehand of his delighted father.

At 21, Thuram is becoming a precise peculiar player. He is simply a modern midfielder similar Jude Bellingham, susceptible of doing everything with and without the ball. He is tall, strong, almighty and technically gifted. He has been superb creating chances astatine times this play (22 for the campaign) and adjacent if helium has lone scored 2 goals this season, helium has fixed 5 assists and is simply a menace present for extremity contributions.

There are already a fewer apical clubs aft him and helium could get a large determination this summertime adjacent with his declaration expiring successful June 2025. -- Laurens

Teams successful trouble


Chelsea's owners privation to springiness caput manager Graham Potter each accidental to win but Sunday's 2-0 decision astatine Tottenham Hotspur leaves them 14 points disconnected the Premier League's apical four. A twelvemonth without Champions League shot would beryllium a immense stroke to a nine that has spent £600 cardinal successful 2 transportation windows but they present look an uphill conflict successful the league portion attempting to overturn a 1-0 shortage to Borussia Dortmund successful this season's competition.



Michallik: Situation is precise toxic astatine Chelsea

Janusz Michallik reacts pursuing Chelsea's 2-0 decision astatine Tottenham successful the Premier League.

There is designation of the sheer standard of modulation astatine each levels of the nine but supporters are increasing restless arsenic questions turn louder arsenic to whether Potter should beryllium getting much from specified an expensively assembled radical contempt each the mitigating factors. Sunday's nonaccomplishment to Spurs followed a acquainted pattern: sterile possession, a deficiency of objective finishing and predominant antiaircraft vulnerability. Potter has present won 2 of his past 15 matches crossed each competitions. The short-term concern surely has to amended rapidly if the owners are to clasp their nerve. . -- James Olley


It's just to accidental determination is small sympathy disposable for Dietmar Hopp's squad these days, but Hoffenheim's 1-0 location nonaccomplishment to Borussia Dortmund means their winless tally successful 2023 is present astatine 8 games and truly shows small motion of stopping. Their past constituent gained was implicit a period agone (a 2-2 gully vs. Stuttgart connected Jan. 24), they were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by RB Leipzig and person mislaid their different six league games since the wintertime break.

Saturday could person been adjacent much of a nightmare had Oliver Baumann not made 11 saves to support the people astatine 1-0, adjacent though Marius Wolf had a second-half onslaught ruled retired by VAR. In the end, they had small rebuttal for Julian Brandt's 42nd infinitesimal goal, the winger flicking Marco Reus' fizzing escaped footwear disconnected his backmost and leaving Baumann nary clip to adjust, and indispensable regroup rapidly earlier respective head-to-head games against different relegation candidates. They person to triumph sometime, right? -- Tyler

Weekend MVP

Phil Foden

Phil Foden has started conscionable 4 Premier League games since the World Cup but the England midfielder played a starring relation successful Manchester City's 4-1 triumph astatine Bournemouth connected Saturday. City were nether unit having fallen 5 points down leaders Arsenal - winners astatine Leicester earlier successful the time -- astatine kick-off, but Foden enabled City to beryllium astatine their fluid champion successful an casual victory.



What to instrumentality distant from Man City's throttling of Bournemouth

Shaka Hislop and Frank Leboeuf sermon Manchester City's 4-1 triumph implicit Bournemouth which keeps the unit connected Arsenal for the Premier League title.

The 22-year-old scored 1 and assisted another, creating 7 chances successful full -- the astir by immoderate City subordinate successful a league distant crippled since James Milner's 8 against Aston Villa successful October 2014. Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez person mostly been favoured up of Foden successful caller weeks but it would beryllium a immense boost for Pep Guardiola successful the run-in if helium could trust connected Foden to present this level of show connected a accordant basis. -- Olley

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