Winners & Losers: European Soccer

By: DJ Reider & Joe Brunk

Winners 

Barcelona – With Real Madrid dropping points this past weekend to Valencia, it already is a good weekend for Barcelona and their fans. With a win the previous day, the weekend couldn’t have gotten much better for them; however, it was quite noticeable how well Antione Griezmann was performing in the first half with Lionel Messi’s absence from the starting lineup. Additionally, when Messi did make a second half appearance, he started off with a nice dummy to set up the go-ahead goal, followed up by a penalty kick goal and his first open-play goal in quite some time. Barcelona will be hoping this wonderful weekend kickstarts their push to the top of the table, with a smiling Messi finding his form and scoring goals with Griezmann. 

Southampton – Ever since that defeat, the Saints have looked rejuvenated under Ralph Hasenhuttl. This past weekend, their 2-0 victory over Newcastle sent them to the top of the league for the first time since the Premier League began in 1992, and the first time in the top flight since 1988. And the victory came without their star man Danny Ings. Che Adams has really stepped up lately and is growing into his role in the squad. Overall, I believe that Southampton are learning their identity and things are beginning to fall in place for them again. They’re definitely on the “winners” side this time around.

Chelsea – Another entry from the Premier League but this time we have a big six squad. Chelsea’s defense had a rough start to their domestic campaign but over their last six games, including Champions league, they have only conceded one goal. That one goal was in their game this past weekend against Sheffield United, and it did not matter much as they cruised to a 4-1 win. On the other side, Chelsea’s offense has started to come together very nicely over the last few games well. With a few other top teams dropping points this weekend, Chelsea were an obvious choice to include in our winners list. 

Losers

Arsenal – Following their 1-0 win over Manchester United, Arsenal fans were feeling much better about their season than they are following this weekend. An embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa lands them on the losers list this week. The inconsistencies are mounting for Arteta and his Arsenal squad. A coach who strengthened this defense for much of his tenure will have a lot of questions to answer after this defeat. What is more concerning for Gunners is their lack of offense and creativity which has led to four goals over their last six Premier League games. Arsenal fans will be hoping this defeat isn’t a foreshadowing of what’s to come for the rest of the season. 

Everton – After starting the season in fantastic fashion, the last few games for Everton have been less than impressive. The side looks like they’ve run out of gas; most recent results include a 3-1 loss to Manchester United, a 2-1 loss to Newcastle and a 2-0 loss to Southampton. After starting the season with a 4-0 record and top of the league, they now find themselves with 4-3-1 and outside of the top 6 already. Despite having their core players, including James Rodriguez, they hardly looked a threat. Their attack wasn’t prepared to play this past weekend, or the previous weekends. Everton will be hoping to pick it up against relegation favorites Fulham after the international break. It will be worrying times if Everton’s superstar midfield group can’t take it to them and win comfortably. 

Top Serie A Teams Drawing – This ‘losers’ appointee applies to all the Italian teams in the top half of the table who couldn’t find three points this weekend. This includes the two matchups of Lazio-Juventus (1-1) and Atalanta-Inter (1-1), as well as AC Milan drawing Verona 2-2 and Sassuolo drawing Udinese 0-0. AC Milan’s draw was probably the worst of this group but the teams in the two premier matchups were also upset to not leave with all three points. Roma and Napoli picked up all three points this weekend. They could be argued as winners, but I’d say the only winners here are the fans of Serie A hoping to see a tight title race as we are off to a great start through the opening portion of the season. 

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