Weekend Round Up! ⚽️ – BetKing Blog

WEEKEND REVIEW: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE SAD DECLINE OF LEICESTER CITY   

In this week’s edition of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, we take a look at Leicester City and how the 2016 Premier League Champions are in early danger of relegation. Before that, we talk about Rafael Leão’s brilliant performance in the Derby della Madonnina, the Old Firm Derby, Anthony’s dream debut for Manchester United and Saša Kalajdžić’s nightmare of a debut for Wolves and also Chicharito’s sorry attempt at a Panenka.   

THE GOOD  

Man Utd End Arsenal’s 100% Start To The Season  

“Old Trafford and unbeaten Arsenal records just don’t mix”. That was the warning ahead of Sunday’s clash and the United fans were right. With Cristiano Ronaldo left out of the starting lineup for the 4th game in a row, the Red Devils dominated the game for most of the first half with an 18-pass move leading to new signing Anthony slotting past Aaron Ramsdale 30 mins in to mark a memorable debut. Arsenal were in control for most of the second half and an attack through the middle led to Bukayo Saka pouncing on a loose ball and levelling things up. From then on, it was all about Man Utd’s counter-attack as they took advantage of Arsenal’s high line. Just as he had done on his Premier League debut, Marcus Rashford scored a brace as the Arsenal defenders failed to keep up with his pace. 3-1 to Man Utd who have now won 4 games in a row and a first set of dropped points for an Arsenal side who can find solace in the fact that they’re still top of the league.    

Ivan Toney Bags A Hat-Trick In 5-2 Win Over Leeds Utd 

A penalty, a wonderful freekick and an even better perfectly timed chip from outside the box were enough to give the Brentford man his 2nd Premier League hat-trick of 2022 putting him on a 3-man list that also includes Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Haaland. It’s been an inspiring story of the striker who has risen from League Two and is now one of the stars of the Premier League. His 2022 form has given him a strong case for making the England squad and Gareth Southgate will have a tough decision to make. Toney also had a strong message for people who left him off their FPL teams: “Oh and you guys that took me out your fantasy team… HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW” 

Rafael Leão Shines In Milan Derby  

Rafael Leão’s 2 goals and 1 assist earned him a Man of the Match award as Milan triumphed over neighbours, Inter. The Portuguese forward was making his 100th Serie A appearance and wasted no time in showing everyone why he’s widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the world right now. Giroud also got on the scoresheet for Milan as they beat an Inter team missing Romelu Lukaku by 3 goals to 2. This is the first time since 2011 AC Milan have won 2 consecutive Serie A games against Inter – a result that saw them remain 2nd and level on points with league leaders Napoli. .  

Martin Braithwaite Scores Winning Goal For Espanyol On Debut  

In what was a feel-good story, Martin Braithwaite grabbed the lone goal of the game as Espanyol handed Athletic Bilbao their first loss of the season. Braithwaite had endured a horrible few months at Barcelona which had seen him booed by his own fans (because he wouldn’t take a salary cut) and, eventually, the mutual termination of his contract. The Dane’s 83rd min strike handed Espanyol their first win of the season and lifted them away from the Relegation Zone.   

Celtic Get Dominant Win In Old Firm Derby 

After a 12-year Champions League absence, Rangers would have liked the idea of a derby right before a UCL game to put them in the mood but Celtic had other plans for their bitter rivals. A first-half brace by 20-year-old Isreali forward  Liel Abada put Celtics ahead while Jota also got on the scoresheet with a lob to make it 3-0. From then on, it was all about game management for the hosts and they added a 4th through David Turnbull who capitalised on Rangers’ very poor attempt to play out from the back. The result means Celtic maintains their 100% start to the season having scored 25 goals in just 6 games (1 conceded). They’re now 5pts clear on top of the Scottish Premiership and if history is anything to go by, they might as well be handed the trophy right now.  

 THE BAD 

AS Roma Suffer Shock 4-0 Loss  

Just 2 days after being named Serie A Manager of the Month for August, Jose Mourinho’s side suffered a humbling defeat to Udinese. It was a tale of Udinese’s clinicality as they converted 4 of their 5 shots on target even though AS Roma dominated possession and created more chances. The result saw the hosts leapfrog Roma into 4th position while Mourinho’s side dropped down to 5th. The biggest losers from the game were perhaps English duo Tammy Abraham & Chris Smalling who had their national team manager Gareth Southgate in the stands watching them.  

West Ham Robbed At Stamford Bridge  

We’ve seen pathetic VAR calls in the past (and we’ll see more in the future) but the decision to overturn West Ham’s 90th min equaliser was arguably the worst we’ve seen in a long while. Leading 2-1 with seconds left, Chelsea’s Reece James nodded the ball backwards to goalie Édouard Mendy who made a complete meal of it by spilling the ball. An onrushing Jarrod Bowen, who had nowhere to go, jumped over Mendy to avoid hitting the goalie but his trailing foot slightly brushed Mendy’s shoulder before Maxwel Cornet latched on to the loose ball and banged it home. Édouard Mendy exaggerated the contact so much Grand Maester Pycelle was almost summoned to bring him some milk of the poppy. In the end, Mendy’s acting was enough to convince the VAR to overturn what the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Board) would later call a legitimate goal.  

Dru Yearwood Gets Straight Red For Kicking Ball Into Stands 

Dru Yearwood’s 94th minute red card had no impact on the scoreline as his team, the NY Red Bulls were already down 2-0 at home to Philadelphia Union. The Englishman kicked the ball into the stands in frustration after he had been called for a foul and the ball struck a couple of young fans leaving one injured. A remorseful Yearwood quickly jumped into the stands and made his way to the fans to offer his apologies but was waved off by another fan in protest. He was shown the red card shortly afterwards as he exited the pitch in tears.  

Wolves’ Saša Kalajdžić Suffers ACL Tear In Debut 

When you think about the worst debuts ever, Jonathan Woodgate’s for Real Madrid takes the cake. Back in 2005, 13 months after being signed by the club, Jonathan Woodgate scored an own-goal and got sent off on his debut for Los Blancos. That was comedic on some level, you’ll have to admit but for Wolves’ new signing Saša Kalajdžić, his debut was sad.  The Austrian forward had started the season in brilliant form notching up 3 assists in 3 for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga before earning himself a €18m move to Wolves. On his debut against Southampton over the weekend, he was subbed off at half-time with an injury which further scans revealed to be a torn ACL. He’ll be out of action till next year. 

Chicharito’s Failed Panenka 

It’s not everyday you score two goals and still end up on the bad list but Chichrito’s horrible attempt at a panenka was unforgivable. Earlier, Chicharito had scored an 88th minute penalty to equalise for LA Galaxy and make it 2-2. He had opened the scoring against Sporting KC in the 4th minute and was clearly full of confidence. With a penalty in the 98th min, a chance to win the game for his team with a hat-trick was on the line. He also had a chance to push them into a playoff spot had he scored but his ill-advised panenka was easily picked up by John Pulskamp. The result meant LA Galaxy are still outside the playoff picture with just 6 games to go. Like someone once said “The Panenka – when it works, you look like a genius and when it doesn’t, you look like a clown”.  

 THE UGLY: THE SAD DECLINE OF LEICESTER CITY  

“With the greatest respect, we have not had the help in the market this team needed. To watch clubs in the top five leagues add players and we haven’t been able to do that has been difficult. We needed help and we haven’t been able to do that. I came to Leicester to compete and initially I was able to do that. You have to add quality but in the last two [transfer] windows we haven’t been able to do that. I would have loved to have added five or six players but if you can’t do that you have to respect it and work with what we have.” 

Brendan Rodgers’ words after the midweek loss to Man Utd were that of a defeated man and by “defeated man”, I mean a manager who has clearly had to succumb to the owner’s reluctance to invest in the squad. Club chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has insisted that the club is in danger of violating FFP regulations and would not be making any significant signings till major sales have been made. The €80.40m sale of Wesley Fofana to Chelsea was met by a €17m purchase of Wout Faes from Stade Reims and that was it for incomings.  

Make no mistake about it, Leicester City, with the current group of players, are a very competent side who should be mid-table at worst but their recent reluctance to reinvest in the squad could – not even going the Southampton route of signing teenagers to develop – has demoralised the squad as they remain weak in significant areas on the pitch. The unconvincing replacement of long serving goal-keeper and captain, Kasper Schmeichel and the failed experiment of playing Wilfred Ndidi as a centre-back highlight some of the problems with the team.  

With all the problems at the club, it came to no one’s surprise when they succumbed to their 5th league defeat in a row on Sunday at Brighton leaving them with just 1pt out of a possible 18.  Despite taking the lead in less than a minute through Kelechi Iheanacho and fighting back to make it 2-2 after they had thrown the lead away, they still gave up 3 2nd-half goals to a Brighton side who have been one of the biggest surprises of 2022. Things look bad right now for the Foxes and the biggest fear is that it could get worse. 

Like Everton and Newcastle showed last season, poor investments could see you embroiled in a relegation battle while smart investments could lift you out of one. After accepting the new reality following the Man Utd loss, a sad Brendan Rodgers added “Our objective this season is to get to 40 points” which, of course, is a phrase every relegation-battling manager says at some point in the season.

Author: Clayton Kuhn