De Futebol

Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-1. This was a must win for the defending champions.

The Blues are now in 12th place with three points.

Spurs are now in 9th place with three points.

Huddersfield shutout Newcastle 1-0. The Terriers are in second place for now with six points.

Man Shitty could jump into second place with a huge win over Everton later today.

Man U is the top dog with six points.

West Brom is third with six points and Watford is fourth with four points.

Liverpool is fifth with four points.

EPL Match Summary Chelsea win over Tottenham. “Marcos Alonso scored twice as Chelsea claimed a 2-1 win to leave Tottenham Hotspur rueing missed chances in their first Premier League match at Wembley Stadium.

After Alvaro Morata headed wide from close range on his full PL debut for Chelsea, Alonso curled in an exquisite free-kick to put the Blues 1-0 up on 24 minutes.

Spurs pushed for an equaliser from then on, with Harry Kane hitting the post and narrowly failing to connect with Christian Eriksen’s free-kick before heading wide after the break.

Not long after Willian hit the post for the Blues, Spurs did level as Batshuayi headed into his own net from Eriksen’s free-kick in the 82nd minute.

But Alonso struck again six minutes later, beating Hugo Lloris from a tight angle, as the champions earned the first win of their title defence, matching Spurs with three points from two fixtures.”

EPL Match summary Huddersfield win over Toons.” Aaron Mooy’s moment of magic gave Huddersfield Town a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in their first Premier League home match.

Mooy’s curling effort from the edge of the penalty area lifts the Terriers to second in the table after two successive wins.

It was an even first half at John Smith’s Stadium. Huddersfield came close through a Tom Ince half-volley before Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie forced a superb save from Jonas Lossl.

But the tide turned in the 50th minute when Mooy played a one-two with Elias Kachunga and shot into the top corner.

Newcastle rallied but substitutes Joselu and Jacob Murphy could not force an equaliser.

The result leaves Newcastle 17th and means Huddersfield are only the third promoted side to win their opening two fixtures of a Premier League season.”

De Futebol

Man U scored in the dying embers of the first half when Eric Bailly poked home the rock in the 45th minute.  The Red Devils applied the pressure on Swansea City. In a span of four minutes Man U scored four goals to put this puppy to bed.

Buda Bing Buda Boom Man U blows out Swansea City 4-0. The Red Devils have scored nine goals in their first two matches. Man U has given zip zero nada goals to start the season off in a very impressive fashion.

Romelu Lukaku 80th minute, Paul Pogba 82nd minute and Anthony Martial 84th minute showed how quick Man U can change the match in a matter of minutes.

The Guardians Stuart James wrote:” José Mourinho has been quick to stress that Manchester United are anything but a “dream team” but his players have made a perfect start to the season, collecting maximum points, scoring freely, failing to concede and looking like a side that have all the credentials to mount a legitimate challenge for the Premier League title.

These are early days, of course, and United will face much tougher examinations than those posed by West Ham United and Swansea in their opening two fixtures, yet there is something ominous about the fact that they have started with back-to-back 4-0 victories. Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial have scored in each of those matches and Eric Bailly now has his first goal for the club and his first in league football in 67 attempts.

It was Bailly who set United on the way to victory here, scoring just before half-time against a Swansea side that capitulated in the final 10 minutes. United struck three goals in four minutes during that period, courtesy of Lukaku, Pogba and Martial, laying bare the weaknesses in a Swansea squad that is crying out for investment on the back of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s departure.

The Icelander’s transfer to Everton, together with the absence of Fernando Llorente, who is still recovering from breaking his arm in a cycling accident in the close season, means that Swansea are without two players who contributed more than half of their Premier League goals last season. The fact that have failed to score in their opening two matches, and rarely looked like doing so, says it all.

It had actually started as one of those days when United needed to be patient, although for periods in the first half their frustration got the better of them. Marcus Rashford showed flashes of brilliance but also moments of petulance while Pogba was playing with fire when he clumsily fouled Martin Olsson. Already on a yellow card following a poor challenge on Tom Carroll, the Frenchman escaped with a telling-off. Had he not already been booked, it is easy to imagine that Jon Moss, the referee, would have shown a card.

Set up with a three-man central defence in which Kyle Bartley started his first Premier League game for 20 months, Swansea sat deep and soaked up the United pressure, threatening only sporadically on the counterattack, yet the home team could have been ahead inside three minutes. Cutting in from the left and with the angle against him, Jordan Ayew curled the ball with the outside of his boot and it glanced off the top of the bar. Whether it was a shot or a cross is unclear but David de Gea was caught in no man’s land.

Six minutes later United struck the woodwork. Juan Mata’s fine free-kick picked out Phil Jones and the central defender, who was totally unmarked, ought to have scored. Instead the ball came off his shoulder and hit the crossbar almost in slow motion. United were not so forgiving with a set piece later in the half. This time it was Daley Blind’s corner that exposed some poor marking in the Swansea defence, leaving Pogba with a free header. The Frenchman’s effort was flicked on to the bar via Lukasz Fabianski’s fingertips, bounced on the line and Bailly, reacting much quicker than Federico Fernández, who seemed to be expecting the Swansea keeper to jump to his feet, stabbed home.

It was an awful time for Swansea to concede, although Rashford could and probably should have opened the scoring 10 minutes earlier when he ran on to a wayward header from Alfie Mawson. Bearing down on goal with only Fabianski to beat, Rashford tried to lift the ball over the Swansea keeper but succeeded only in chipping it into his arms. At the other end Bartley headed narrowly wide from Carroll’s corner.

Bailly’s goal meant Swansea had to show more attacking conviction and they had a chance on the hour mark to equalise. Carroll, finding space on the left, floated in a cross that Tammy Abraham headed over. United seemed to playing within themselves a little, almost coasting, and were fortunate to get away with another Carroll delivery, this time from a corner, that somehow eluded everyone.

Then came the flurry of late United goals. Lukaku, set up by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and with all the time in the world, swept the ball past Fabianski from 12 yards. Pogba then made it 3-0, intercepting Carroll’s wayward pass, before playing a one-two with Mkhitaryan and cleverly lifting the ball over Fabianski. Martial, set up by the rampaging Pogba, calmly slotted in the fourth and United were rampant.”

Sadio Mane scored in the 73rd minute to lift Liverpool over Crystal Palace 1-0.

Watford shutout Bournemouth 2-0.

West Brom edged Burnley 1-0.

Leicester City doubled up on Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0.

Southampton scored in the 93rd minute plus when Charlie Austin nailed the PK for a wild 3-2 win over West Ham.

Chicharito led the Hammers with the daily double in the 45th and 74th minutes.

Stoke City scored the only goal of the match in the in the 47th minute when Jese Rodriguez found the back of the net for the Potters.

Arsenal was sent packing in a 1-0 loss to Stoke City.

De Futebol

Flamengo and Botafogo tied nil-nil in the first leg of the Copa do Brasil.

Globo Esportes:” e clássicos são decididos em detalhes, é justamente a falta deles que pode explicar o empate sem gols entre Botafogo e Flamengo, nesta quarta-feira, no Estádio Nilton Santos, pelo jogo de ida da semifinal da Copa do Brasil. Ambos fizeram partidas taticamente corretas, com ligeira superioridade para o time rubro-negro, mais perigoso no campo ofensivo. Só que o jogo prometeu mais do que entregou. No fim, o momento de maior capricho acabou partindo de Jair Ventura, o técnico do Botafogo, com o cumprimento afetuoso no estreante Reinaldo Rueda, do Flamengo. Em um jogo de atmosfera tensa, aquele foi o necessário tratado de paz.

Antes da partida, a rivalidade acirrada entre Flamengo e Botafogo trazia o temor de confusão iminente. Mas uma dividida mais forte entre Alex Muralha e Carli, no fim do segundo tempo, foi o mais perto de qualquer atrito. Talvez preocupado com o ambiente do clássico, o árbitro Anderson Daronco foi enérgico até demais e mostrou cartão vermelho aos dois jogadores. O remédio em excesso acabou sendo o veneno de uma partida que, apesar de não ser exuberante, trazia duelos táticos interessantes. A partir daí, qualquer movimento no placar ficou relegado à segunda partida. Empate com gols na próxima quarta-feira coloca o Flamengo na final. Em caso de novo 0 a 0, a decisão vai para os pênaltis.

Na outra semifinal, o Grêmio derrotou o Cruzeiro por 1 a 0 em Porto Alegre, com gol de Lucas Barrios. A partida de volta, no Mineirão, também acontece na próxima quarta-feira.

A escolha por Cuéllar e Willian Arão como dupla de volantes, deixando Márcio Araújo no banco de reservas, passou no teste de fogo do primeiro tempo. O temor de fragilidade na marcação não se concretizou. Pelo contrário: o Flamengo teve sucesso ao adiantar suas linhas e causou problemas à saída de bola alvinegra. Sem os espaços que normalmente encontra para contra-atacar, o Botafogo limitou-se a bolas levantadas na área durante boa parte dos 45 minutos iniciais. E assim permaneceria no segundo tempo.

Só que este Botafogo, comandado há um ano por Jair Ventura, tem um estilo de jogo sólido o bastante para equilibrar qualquer partida. Embora passasse tempo até demais em seu campo, o time alvinegro só permitiu uma chance real do Flamengo, e na bola parada: Éverton alçou, Réver cabeceou e Gatito segurou.

Bastou escapar para o ataque que o Botafogo foi mais perigoso, ao mesmo tempo que expunha fragilidades do Flamengo. Renê foi escolhido por Rueda numa tentativa de dar segurança defensiva à lateral esquerda, depois que o técnico colombiano assistiu de camarote à desastrosa atuação do titular Trauco contra o Atlético-MG. Pois justamente Renê cochilou na marcação e foi desarmado por Bruno Silva, aos 26. O meia alvinegro cruzou rasteiro e Roger por pouco não tocou na bola antes do inseguro Muralha, titular nesta Copa do Brasil só por conta da impossibilidade de inscrever o recém-contratado Diego Alves.

Empurrado por sua torcida, o Botafogo aproveitou o momento e ensaiou uma pressão. Bruno Silva assustou de voleio, Matheus Fernandes arriscou de fora da área e Pimpão deixou Roger na cara do gol. Foram cinco minutos que valeram por todo um primeiro tempo.

A dupla Cuéllar e Arão desafogou o Flamengo logo antes do intervalo, com uma combinação pela direita. Rodinei chegou ao fundo pela primeira vez e cruzou para Berrío, que quase aproveita uma falha de Gatito. O goleiro do Botafogo já se recuperava para fazer a defesa quando a arbitragem, erroneamente, paralisava o lance marcando uma saída pela linha de fundo no passe de Rodinei.

O segundo tempo começou parecendo uma cópia do primeiro. Era o Flamengo quem mais ocupava o campo ofensivo, graças ao dinamismo de Cuéllar, Arão e também de Diego, empenhado tanto na recomposição defensiva quando na tentativa de dar velocidade aos ataques. Foi a partir de um passe de primeira do camisa 35 que Éverton se viu com um latifúndio à sua frente para arrancar, até ser parado com falta na entrada da área do Botafogo. O próprio Diego cobrou, e Gatito observou a bola bater no travessão.

Quando o jogo parecia prestes a ficar mais aberto, o árbitro Anderson Daronco condenou a partida à mesmice aos 35 minutos ao expulsar, com excesso de rigor, o zagueiro Carli e o goleiro Muralha, após uma dividida mais acirrada. Rueda, que havia acabado de lançar Vinícius Jr., foi obrigado a tirá-lo para colocar Thiago. Jair teve de abrir mão do centroavante Roger pelo zagueiro Marcelo. Os dois times não conseguiram criar mais nada, e terão de lidar com as perdas para o próximo jogo. O Botafogo também não terá Pimpão, que recebeu o terceiro amarelo.

Se não houve confusão dentro de campo, o clássico teve momentos de tensão no lado de fora do Estádio Nilton Santos. Na chegada, o ônibus do Flamengo foi alvejado por objetos atirados por torcedores do Botafogo. Ninguém ficou ferido, mas o veículo apresentou alguns amassados.

A entrada da torcida do Flamengo apresentou problemas. Segundo a Polícia Militar, o portão de acesso foi fechado após uma tentativa de invasão. Com isso, muitos torcedores ainda estavam fora do estádio depois do apito inicial, o que gerou irritação e mais confusão. Policiais usaram gás de pimenta e soltaram balas de borracha. A entrada só foi regularizada no fim do primeiro tempo.

De Futebol

Flamengo and Botafogo will battle it out in the semifinals of the Copa do Brasil.

Globo Esportes:” O Flamengo vai decidir em casa o confronto de semifinal da Copa do Brasil diante do Botafogo. A CBF sorteou nesta segunda-feira os mandos de campo dos dois duelos – o outro será disputado entre Cruzeiro e Grêmio, com o time mineiro decidindo em casa.

A primeira partida entre Botafogo e Flamengo será no dia 16 de agosto, no estádio Nilton Santos, Engenhão. A volta, na Arena da Ilha, será no dia 23/08. O Grêmio abre o confronto com o Cruzeiro em Porto Alegre, e a volta será no Mineirão – os dois jogos marcados também para 16 e 23 de agosto.

As finais da Copa do Brasil serão em 7 e 27 de setembro.

De Futebol

Liverpool defeated TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 in the first leg of the Champions League play in match. The winner will advance to the Champions League group stage.

The Telegraph Sam Wallace wrote:” As a Liverpool prodigy from his early years, Trent Alexander-Arnold grew up at the club in the days that Steven Gerrard would rescue a European night with a swipe of his right boot, so when it came to doing it himself, the 18-year-old at least knew what a great goal should look like.

That he could do it himself, with Liverpool’s backs to the wall in the first leg of this Champions League qualifier, says a great deal about the quality of a teenager whom Gerrard himself has picked out for greatness. Alexander-Arnold will also know that the club do not always make things easy for themselves and although they left Germany with a victory, it could have been so much better were it not for substitute Mark Uth’s late goal.

Jurgen Klopp said later he would have taken a win before the game on any terms, “even 8-7”, especially against a Hoffenheim team that had not lost at home all last season. But it would also be fair to say that Liverpool were confronted with enough of their own weaknesses over the course of one first leg that they cannot take for granted their place among the Champions League group stages at Anfield next Wednesday.

This first leg belonged in part to Alexander-Arnold who scored a fine right-footed free-kick before the break, his first goal for the club and coming in the teeth of a fine Hoffenheim performance which had seen them dominate the first half. Over the course of the evening, Jamie Carragher tweeted a picture of him captaining Liverpool on a day when Alexander-Arnold was mascot alongside him, the baton passed from one local boy to another, although Carragher never got to take any free-kicks.

Yet Alexander-Arnold was also there with his hand in the air when Uth scored the goal, an appeal that Klopp had to concede was misguided and there were times when his defence, under some pressure, was chaotic. Klopp said that they permitted Hoffenheim to have much of the possession with the proviso that they would defend when it came into the dangerous areas.

When the substitute James Milner helped put Liverpool two goals ahead with a cross that was deflected in by Hoffenheim defender Havard Nordtveit it looked like this Champions League qualifier was over, a story of the home team’s profligacy and Liverpool’s capacity to take their chances, but it remains alive when the Germans come to Anfield next Wednesday.

This Hoffenheim team led by their 30-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann are impressive and if they had taken half their chances then they would have departed for Merseyside next week leading this tie. Instead they missed a penalty, hit the post and generally squandered so much of the patient and intelligent build up play of a first half which they dominated in many aspects right up to Benjamin Hubner planting a header over the bar with seconds left.

Afterwards, Klopp and Nagelsmann were interviewed side-by-side in the studio of German broadcaster ZDF, and while they share the same agent there was a spikiness to the younger man’s response to his opposite number’s game plan. Asked about Klopp’s assertion that Liverpool let their opponents have the ball at times, Nagelsmann said, “Well he would say that, he has to defend his team, he won’t say ‘Hoffenheim played so well and we were s***’.”

As for Liverpool, Sadio Mane, their irrepressible attacking talent on the left wing was superb, winning the free-kicks that led to both goals. His first half marker Ermin Bicakcic was taken off well before the hour with a bad case of twisted blood and you were left wondering what Mane will do when he is fully fit.

There is an echo in this Hoffenheim team of what you imagine Klopp would like Liverpool to be, and in the first half there was no question that the home team were superior but they missed every chance that came their way.

That included an 11th minute penalty hit by the former Leicester City man Andrej Kramaric, a limp waist-high effort slightly to the left of Simon Mignolet that the goalkeeper pushed away easily. At that point of the game, Klopp’s team looked all at sea, unsure whether to press Hoffenheim’s possession game and unable to cope with the speed of their passing through the middle.

It told you all you needed to know about Liverpool’s shape – and Alberto Moreno’s positional play – that the left-back was closing down goalkeeper Oliver Baumann when he cleared the ball upfield for the move that led to the penalty. Hoffenheim came down the left side of Liverpool’s defence with Moreno absent and then a poor challenge from Dejan Lovren on Serge Gnabry, formerly of Arsenal, now on loan from Bayern Munich conceded the spot-kick.

Mohamad Salah went clean through on 15 minutes on the end of Roberto Firmino’s pass although the Egyptian never really got into his blistering stride and he was one step from being caught by Kevin Vogt, the Hoffenheim captain, before he launched an unconvincing shot wide.

Vogt was outstanding for his team, the playmaker in the middle of the back three and, as a former midfielder, extremely composed on the ball. He and Hubner directed the attacks left and then right and once they worked the ball into the middle the likes of Kerem Demirbay and Lukas Rupp were sharp enough to move it quickly under pressure.

Bicakcic, the Bosnian right-sided centre-half, brought down Mane after he twisted past three tackles on 34 minutes. Alexander-Arnold looked like the decoy for Emre Can until the 18-year-old stepped up himself and slotted a right foot shot into the far corner.

By the end of first half, Nagelsmann had his team locking Liverpool up in their own half with a full press that put the pressure on Klopp’s team’s passing. Yet the relentlessness of their approach had to yield at some point and by the midway point of the second half it slipped.

Klopp said he wanted to give Henderson a breather after a tough pre-season back from injury and Milner, his replacement, had a notable effect. His cross went in with the help of a major deflection off the chest of substitute Nordveit, the Norwegian formerly of West Ham. Mane won a free-kick that was taken quickly and went out from Firmino to Milner on the left. It was a cross to the back post but the contact with Nordveit took it past the goalkeeper Baumann.

Then came the late push from Hoffenheim and Uth’s well-taken strike while Alexander-Arnold appealed for offside, which was one moment of exuberant youthful optimism that Liverpool could have done without.”

De Futebol

Flamengo advanced to the next round of the Copa Sudamericana.

Globo Esportes:”  Nada como um Palestino em tempos de crise e necessidade de afirmação. A Ilha do Urubu recebeu um visitante sob medida, ainda que o Flamengo mereça seus créditos por ter feito o que lhe cabia diante de um adversário tão frágil: um gol atrás do outro, em especial no primeiro tempo. Talvez seja pouco para tirar conclusões, em especial numa fase de transição entre um treinador demitido e outro, o colombiano Reinaldo Rueda, em vias de ser contratado.

Ao menos, os 5 a 0 serviram para melhorar o astral e para colocar o Flamengo nas oitavas de final da Copa Sul-Americana após um 10 a 2 na soma dos jogos de ida e volta. Medirá forças com a Chapecoense.

Em dez minutos, o Flamengo já vencia por 2 a 0 e amenizava algumas de suas inquietações. Afinal, para isso parecia valer, de verdade, o jogo de ontem. Vizeu marcara o primeiro gol, após ter vivido uma manhã de domingo infeliz, com chances desperdiçadas diante do Vitória. O mesmo lance, aliás, ajudou a começar a reabilitar Willian Arão, autor do chute desviado pelo centroavante. No domingo, uma rebatida errada dele resultara no gol do Vitória.

Quem também busca sua afirmação no início da passagem pelo Flamengo é Geuvânio. Encontrou terreno favorável diante do Palestino. Surgiu na área para fazer o primeiro gol e deu belo passe para Éverton Ribeiro marcar o terceiro. Pouco antes do intervalo, Arão dera mais um passo em sua reconciliação com a torcida ao fazer o quarto gol.

Curioso é que o Flamengo, diante de uma Ilha do Urubu que recebeu, de longe, seu menor público, não precisou sequer ficar mais tempo com a bola do que o Palestino. Mesmo assim, o time chileno jamais assustou. Alex Muralha foi exigido apenas numa finalização de Gutierrez.

Uma certa ansiedade cerca também o desenvolvimento de Vinícius Júnior no Flamengo. Já vendido ao Real Madrid por €45 milhões, naturalmente tornou-se opção menos habitual no time principal, já que a chegada de reforços obstruiu seu caminho. Mesmo assim, vê-lo ter grandes momentos, à altura do valor da negociação por um jogador tão jovem, mobilizava a torcida.

E também neste aspecto o jogo com o Palestino foi uma ocasião perfeita. Num segundo tempo em que o Flamengo diminuíra o ritmo, Vinícius voltou a movimentar o campo. Recebeu um passe de Éverton Ribeiro, perdeu o ângulo de chute e achou Berrío. De cabeça, o colombiano encontrou o jovem rubro-negro, que chutou de primeira para abrir o placar. Caso confirme os prognósticos de que é um craque em formação, o gol será lembrado no futuro. E os pouco mais de 5 mil que foram à Ilha terão história para contar.

Contarão, também, sobre a noite em que até Márcio Araújo ficou imune a protestos.

De Futebol

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote this little diddy about the upcoming Man U season. “1) What does Romelu Lukaku’s arrival mean for Marcus Rashford?

For £75m (plus £15m add-ons) José Mourinho acquires a proven prolific Premier League goal scorer in the Belgian and throws the gauntlet down to Manchester United’s home-grown starlet: can the 19-year-old Marcus Rashford continue his upward trajectory despite Lukaku starting as the first choice No9? Rashford has played most of his 71 senior appearances as a wide forward yet his natural position is in central attack. There may be a clue here regarding how he can prosper. When coming through the Old Trafford youth ranks Rashford often operated as an impressive No10. Mourinho wants pace and power (Rashford can add muscle to a still developing frame) in the role, so during pre-season may take a look at him as the man to potentially play behind Lukaku.

2) How solid is the Mourinho-Woodward relationship?

For the time being Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, can relax after his smart manoeuvring allowed United to gazump Chelsea for Lukaku’s signature. Mourinho had been unhappy at the number of new arrivals since he offered an “over to you now, Ed” challenge after the Europa League final triumph. The central defender Victor Lindelof, a £31m purchase from Benfica, was confirmed in June and then all went quiet, which caused the manager serious disquiet. This had Mourinho starting last week in a quasi‑dudgeon and concerned that fans would wonder why proposed transfers for Real Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Nemanja Matic were still not happening. Cue Woodward pulling his slick Lukaku move and so, for the moment at least, all is well between Woodward and Mourinho.

3) Who else will Mourinho hope to add while in the US?

A holding midfielder, a high-grade attacking forward and (possibly) a full‑back remain on Mourinho’s shopping list – in this order. Given how United outfoxed Chelsea for Lukaku, the west London club are resistant to allowing Matic to be sold to United and so strengthen Mourinho’s squad. Another school of thought is that Matic has never been the 54-year-old’s first choice, anyway. All of which means Mourinho has revived interest in Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier. The manager fielded no regular No10 last term, switching between Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard. Beyond Rashford, he could look at Real’s James Rodríguez, who has previously been played down as a target but, as Lukaku and now Dier show, things change in football.

4) What constitutes a successful pre-season to tour?

The simple answer is to get through it with zero injuries, integrate Lukaku and Lindelof, acquire one or more new addition, and have confidence-boosting football under the collective belt when the plane touches down at Manchester Airport on 27 July. Mourinho is also intent that his squad will be supremely fit, if the intense itinerary is any marker. After a near week-long training camp at Berkley’s UCLA, United kick-off a breathless five-game, 11-day schedule by playing Los Angeles Galaxy on 15 July at LA’s StubHub Center. Then, they face Real Salt Lake City at Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium (17 July), Manchester City at Houston’s NRG Stadium (20 July), Real Madrid at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium (23 July) and Barcelona at Washington D.C.’s FedEx Field (26 July). United’s long limber up concludes with two more friendlies – against Valerenga (30 July, Oslo) and Sampdoria (2 August, Dublin) – before proceedings begin in earnest with a Uefa Super Cup showdown against Real Madrid in Skopje on 8 August.

5) After pre-season, what must Mourinho deliver in the 2017-18 campaign?

The Premier League title or go mightily close to doing so, is the only answer. The Portuguese’s squad boasts five of his own recruits – Lindelof, Lukaku, Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly – all of whom have (in theory) their best years to come. Zlatan Ibrahimovich was a sixth but he has now left. Yet into the hole left by the 27-goal man steps Lukaku, whose 85 Premier League strikes in the past five seasons is second only to Sergio Agüero’s 99. If Mourinho further strengthens with a central midfielder and a forward he will take his spend to more than £300m – it stands at £251m – and so he would be left with scant excuse for failure. It all starts in anger with West Ham United’s visit on 13 August for the Premier League opener.”

De Futebol

Man U kicked ass and took names in a 4-0 whitewash win over West Brom. Spurs needed two second half goals to shutout Newcastle 2-0.

The Guardians Daniel Taylor wrote:” For Manchester United, it is difficult to see how their first game of the new seasoncould have gone much better other than perhaps another goal or two to polish up their superiority. As it was, they shouldn’t be too greedy. Romelu Lukaku has wasted little time demonstrating why he became the club’s most expensive summer recruit and, on this evidence, it is shaping up to be a season of rich promise for José≈ Mourinho’s team.

Lukaku should certainly have dispelled any lingering self-doubt with the two goals that laid the foundations for the most emphatic league win of the Mourinho era. Not that the £75m signing displayed even a flicker of stage fright with the left-foot finish and close-range header with which he introduced himself to the Old Trafford crowd.

Lukaku ended a hugely satisfying afternoon waving appreciatively to the Stretford End and he might have finished with the ball as a souvenir had it not been for a brilliant saving tackle by Pablo Zabaleta, one of three West Ham debutants, to deny him a hat-trick just after the hour.

Yet this was more than just a story of Lukaku easing into life in Manchester and, though the new signing deserves the headlines, the form of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, among others, should also fill Mourinho with optimism that his team are capable of significant improvement after last season’s sixth-placed finish.

Potential champions? You wouldn’t bet your mortgage against it and, for what it is worth at this time of the season, this rout puts them top already. Mourinho also made the point afterwards that we should anticipate the team getting better. “I’m not going to say the performance was perfect because it wasn’t perfect. There is still room for improvement.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was another of the star performers and, not for the first time, it felt faintly ludicrous that Chelsea had allowed Nemanja Matic to defect to one of their title rivals. Matic fitted in seamlessly and the home side were not flattered by the late one-two when the substitute Anthony Martial slotted in the third goal, quickly followed by the brilliantly effective Pogba knocking another in from 20 yards. It was a tepid show from West Ham and they have now lost 11 opening-day fixtures in the Premier League era, more than any other club.

As the crowd serenaded Mourinho and Joe Hart, West Ham’s new goalkeeper, was reminded that it was a long way down since he was winning championships with Manchester City, it did not seem to matter too much that Victor Lindelof, the £31m acquisition from Benfica, was not even in the home squad because of his unimpressive form in pre-season.

Another manager might have felt duty-bound to involve such a costly signing. Mourinho does not operate with those kinds of constraints and Phil Jones was recalled alongside Eric Bailly to make sure Javier Hernández did not have a profitable return to Old Trafford.

Hernández scored 37 goals in 103 league games during his days in Manchester and one imagines he would have loved the kind of chances that Lukaku’s team-mates served up for the Belgian. Mkhitaryan’s expertly delivered free-kick for the second goal was the case in point. Rashford’s beautifully weighted pass for the first was another. These are the opportunities Lukaku thrives upon and, as long as it continues this way, he should get a hatful this season. Rashford was also involved in the second goal, having been chopped down by Zabaleta for the free-kick, and the teenager curled another shot against the post before Martial took over for the last 10 minutes.

These are early days but Mourinho, slowly but surely, seems to be assembling a side with no obvious weaknesses and Matic’s contribution for the first goal was a splendid snapshot of why he had been added to the payroll. Matic played with great control and it was his interception, cutting out Pedro Obiang’s pass, that sent Rashford haring away on the counter-attacking move that led to Lukaku scoring from 12 yards.

West Ham had defended stoutly until that point but they set about the afternoon with a distinct lack of adventure and there were only sporadic moments when their new-look frontline of Hernández, Marko Arnautovic and André Ayew flickered into life. Arnautovic had their best moment with a looping header that David de Gea tipped over the crossbar but the score was 2-0 at that stage and, for the most part, Slaven Bilic’s men were pinned inside their own half. “They were better than us in every department,” Bilic reflected. “We are very low.”

Mkhitaryan’s precise pass left Martial with the opportunity to stroke in the third goal and the away end was rapidly emptying as Pogba added the final flourish and Hart was beaten for the second time in three minutes. “The fans have reason to be optimistic,” Mourinho said.”

De Futebol

Watford jumped out to a 2-1 lead over Liverpool. The Reds came back to score two goals in a two-minute span in the second half to take 3-2 lead only to have the Hornets to level this puppy at three in the 95th minute plus three.

Liverpool and Watford tied three all.

EPL Match Report: “Miguel Britos scored a stoppage-time equaliser as Watford furstrated Liverpool on opening day.

Stefano Okaka had headed in Jose Holebas’s corner to give Watford an eighth-minute lead.

But Sadio Mane levelled before the half-hour after a neat one-two with Emre Can.

Less than three minutes later Watford were ahead again as Abdoulaye Doucoure scored after Liverpool could not clear.

Ten minutes into the second half and Liverpool were level once more after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Heurelho Gomes and Roberto Firmino converted from the spot.

Two minutes later, Salah put Liverpool ahead, bundling in Firmino’s chip.

Despite being hit by injuries to Daryl Janmaat, Roberto Pereyra and Younes Kaboul, Watford pulled level as Britos bundled in after Simon Mignolet could not keep out Richarlison’s shot.”

Chelsea lost to Burnley 3-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Can you say stink the joint out big time?

The Blues could be in for a long assed season if this junk keeps up.

Huddersfield shut out Crystal Place 3-0.

Everton defeated Stoke City 1-0.

West Brom shutout Bournemouth 1-0

Man Shitty scored two second half goals to blowout recently promoted Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0

On tap for later today we have Man U-West Ham and Newcastle and Tottenham.

De Futebol

My guys from Arsenal almost stunk the joint out against Leicester City. The guys needed two late goals to escape with a 4-3 win over the Foxes at our house Emirates.

EPL Match Report:” Late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud earned Arsenal a comeback 4-3 win over Leicester City in a thrilling 2017/18 Premier League season opener.

The scoring started inside two minutes when Alexandre Lacazette found the net with a header on his PL debut.

But Shinji Okazaki nodded in from close-range three minutes later before Jamie Vardy converted a superb Marc Albrighton cross to put the Foxes 2-1 up.

Danny Welbeck scored in first-half stoppage-time before Vardy restored Leicester’s advantage with a header from Riyad Mahrez’s corner on 56 minutes.

But Ramsey struck from a Granit Xhaka cross on 83 minutes and Giroud’s header went in off the crossbar from another Xhaka delivery two minutes later to settle a gripping contest.

The Guardians Amy Lawrence wrote this:” Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to a new season reminiscent of the old at the Emirates, where the good news is Arsenal broke their transfer record for a striker but the bad news is they ended their first game of the season with a classically dysfunctional defence. It was an extraordinary combination – a midfield player at right-back, two left-backs at centre-back and a right-back at left-back. Confused? Who wouldn’t be. Leicester had all the clarity as they took advantage and a 3-2 lead into the final stages of an intoxicating tussle.

Oh Arsenal. Typical Arsenal. Absurd Arsenal. But where in seasons past this kind of situation tended to end with opening day navel-gazing, this time they found the resources to twist the tale with a theatrical flourish. Wenger threw on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to attempt a rescue mission and both of them delivered with goals to transform the atmosphere from fretful and pressurised to the liberating joy of a thumping comeback. The match-winner from Giroud sent shudders through north London. In finding the composure to power a header while wrestling his marker he made his point that the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette would not easily make him expendable.

Arsenal’s penchant for starting seasons by getting a wobble in early has become something of an epidemic and they made a good stab at a repeat here. Arsène Wenger leaned on the game’s statistics to suggest this win was somehow logical – bags of possession and 27 shots for his team compared to three on target for the visitors – but few in the crowd would have argued had Leicester been able to hold on to the lead they seized with moments of ferocious determination.

A frenetic opening five minutes set the tone and presented a microcosm of all of Arsenal’s weird, paradoxical sense of possibility. Their ability to exude verve and be vulnerable in the same few flashes of a game was there for all to see. Day-one optimism cascaded down from the stands as the record signing Lacazette opened the scoring with his first meaningful Premier League touch. A mere two minutes into his official Arsenal career he was unmarked in the box to steer a powerful header past Kasper Schmeichel.

The Emirates crowd cherished the moment. But not for long. Leicester’s response was resolute and instant, exposing the old familiar defensive off-switch in Arsenal’s mechanics. Leicester loaded players into forward positions and when Marc Albrighton floated a cross over to the far post, the impressive Harry Maguire was more alert to the situation than any Arsenal defender. He sprinted to nod the ball back to Shinji Okazaki, whose movement was sparkier than any opponent and he finished instinctively.

Having equalised, it would have been rude of Leicester to turn down the opportunity to take the lead in the 28th minute. Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka were punished for some casual passing in midfield as Albrighton pounced to carve the kind of opening that inspired Jamie Vardy to become synonymous with so many Leicester parties. The strike was smart and true.

The goal sucked the confidence out of Arsenal. Rob Holding was robbed of the ball. Leicester zoomed into another break and Okazaki was a fraction away from heading in a third. It spoke volumes of how Leicester interpreted the temperature of the game that both their centre-backs, Maguire and Wes Morgan, felt compelled to amble forward and frighten Arsenal’s rearguard from open play.

The makeshift defence that Wenger pieced together, without the senior influences of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker or Shkodran Mustafi, was jittery and easily stretched. A bizarre half ended with a reprieve for the home team. After Lacazette’s shot was blocked Leicester’s defenders raised choreographed “offside” arms while Sead Kolasinac ambled on to poke the ball for Danny Welbeck to prod in an equaliser. The half-time whistle was greeted by bubbling chitter-chatter about the reintroduction to the inexplicable emotional strain of Premier League chaos.

It did not ease off too much after the break. Emergency action from Petr Cech, twice, to deny the onrushing Vardy and then a clever shot from Riyad Mahrez, merely delayed the seemingly inevitable. Mahrez’s well-whipped corner was gobbled up by Vardy with a textbook glancing header. Set piece, simple stuff for Leicester. It was the umpteenth time one of their players had moved untracked on to an aerial ball. Wenger later tried a touch of positive spin by saying his team were good at corners last season and insisted they could work on this and iron out the kinks. Time will tell on that one.

The introduction of Giroud and Ramsey was influential, and a missed handball from Mesut Özil in the build-up to the equaliser was also helpful. Following a corner, Ramsey neatly controlled Xhaka’s dinked cross with one touch and buried his shot into the far corner with the next.

Arsenal went for the jugular. Lacazette danced through the pack and tested Schmeichel but it was Giroud who majestically delivered the coup de grace. Both Leicester’s dejection and Arsenal’s elation were understandable.”