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 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.”


De Futebol

Leeds kicked off the Championship season with a 3-2 win over Bolton.

The Daily Mail:” Could this be the year? It is a question Leeds United supporters ask every August and the answer is usually no.

However, if opening days are any barometer then the fallen Yorkshire giants may well have a shot at regaining the Premier League status they lost at this stadium a distant 13 years ago.

New manager Thomas Christiansen orchestrated a Roses victory that should not have been by such a narrow margin, with the visitors impressive but somehow left hanging on, on a rainy afternoon full of bright promise for the suffering hordes.

A double from Kalvin Phillips along with a predator’s strike from Chris Wood, with Gary Madine responding, gave Leeds the handsome lead their clinical efforts deserved at the break before an Adam Le Fondre penalty made for a nervy ending.

Christiansen was impressed but admitted he felt the strain. ‘My heart rate went up!’ he said. ‘This was the game I expected – a tough game against a good opponent – and a result I have dreamt of.’

The visitors went ahead after just seven minutes when Phillips drilled home a Pablo Hernandez corner with the aid of a deflection.

It sparked away end chants aimed at Garry Monk, the manager who jettisoned Leeds for the riches of Middlesbrough in the summer and whose new side lost their first match under his stewardship on Saturday.

They were not wishing him well. Those chants got a second airing on half an hour. Following a spell of Bolton pressure, Kemar Roofe found space on the right, crossed to the far post for new boy Ezgjan Alioski who smartly nodded inside to Wood.

The prolific Kiwi, five yards out, made no mistake, heading in off the underside of the bar. Wood plundered 27 goals last season and has been linked with a host of top flight clubs. ‘It is very important (he stays),’ Christiansen said when asked about his striker’s future. ‘But you never know what will happen. I am confident he will stay.’

Phil Parkinson’s men responded when Josh Vela’s corner found Madine at the far post to halve the deficit – but with home fans still celebrating it was 3-1 as Phillips tapped his second into an empty net following smart work from Wood.

On 65 minutes, Bolton were handed a lifeline when substitute Conor Shaughnessy acquainted himself too closely with Madine from a corner, almost pulling his shirt over his head.

After referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot Le Fondre stepped up to fire the penalty right down the middle. Three goals, however, ended up being enough for three points.

‘To start the first game away with a win, it’s a very important and we have to continue with this,’ Christiansen added. ‘It’s started in a good way. We played the football I wanted to play.’

In the Denmark-born Spaniard, who is the seventh new manager to start a Leeds season in a row, they appear to have a bright young boss and have sold more season tickets than any other campaign since they plunged out of the top flight.

While it is early in his reign, new owner Andrea Radrizzani appears to be the safe pair of hands they have long-craved at theirs-again Elland Road and the eight summer signings will excite – although one of those arrivals, German goalkeeper Felix Wieldwald, will need to improve on a poor start here.

In a bid to cut down queues with a big crowd expected Bolton had asked fans to print their tickets at home rather than pick them up from the office. For long periods those supporters may have wished they stayed there, but Parkinson’s team showed spirit and improved from a shaky opening.

The manager, who saw David Wheater injured and the influential Vela stretchered off and taken to hospital, was pleased with the Wanderers’ efforts. ‘I thought we showed character and gave everything,’ he said.

‘I was pleased with the response. In the second half we were great and I take a lot of confidence from that. The third goal was a body blow because at 2-1 I thought Leeds were creaking.’ Parkinson has been offered a new contract and revealed he will sign it shortly. ‘It’s agreed with the chairman so hopefully we’ll get that done this week,’ he added.

His cash-strapped employers remain under a transfer embargo and last season’s promotion, a fine achievement, will be bettered if they avoid the drop this time around. Despite defeat, they showed enough here to suggest there should be three teams worse than them.

De Futebol

Real Madrid defeated Man U 2-1 to win the Super Cup.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote: “Manchester United were beaten but should take some encouragement for making Real Madrid fight until the end and, following Nemanja Matic’s fine performance, will hope real quality has been added to the midfield.

As it was, Madrid claimed the trophy, goals by Casemiro and Isco answered only by Romelu Lukaku’s first competitive strike since his £75m move from Everton – though he also missed an easier chance in what was a mixed outing for him.

Madrid dominated for large swathes yet United might have forced extra-time when, near the end, Marcus Rashford raced in at goal but his effort allowed goalkeeper Keylor Navas to steer the ball away for a corner.

There was a large roar when Cristiano Ronaldo was given the final few minutes – there were seven added – but Madrid’s real jubilation was in winning their second consecutive Uefa Super Cup to add to their back-to-back Champions League triumphs.

Gareth Bale missed the first golden opportunity in the oppressive heat inside the Philip II Arena. The 28-year-old, operating as a striker alongside Karim Benzema, won a corner. When play broke from this Marcelo swung in a cross from the left. For some reason Paul Pogba ducked and the ball landed on Bale’s right boot, but he spurned the chance despite being close to David de Gea’s goal.

For this first competitive outing of the 2017-18 term José Mourinho sent out a largely predictable XI. The one debatable selection was that of Jesse Lingard for Rashford in a 4-3-3. The midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Matic and Pogba is one the manager will hope to field consistently, form permitting.

The Madrid talking point was Ronaldo starting on the bench – he has only recently returned to training – and Bale’s inclusion from the off. According to Mourinho this meant Bale is not for sale, after the Portuguese’s claim in the buildup that should the Welshman be chosen by Zinedine Zidane he must be in his long-term plans. Mourinho conceded the point by saying it was “game over” in terms of that transfer and that Bale was going nowhere.

Despite the muggy air there was a slick pace to proceedings. Madrid’s initial burst was followed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pogba, Matic and Lukaku all combining in and around the Spanish champions’ area.

Matic particularly impressed. His was an all-round contribution that saw him cleaning up near De Gea and prompting Lukaku and Lingard into attacking pockets with clever balls.

Casemiro, though, showed how dangerous the European champions are from a Toni Kroos corner. The German floated in the ball in from the left and the Brazilian’s stooping header hit the bar, the No14 beating Matteo Darmian’s challenge.

Zidane’s strategy was for Bale and Benzema to swap between left and right and for playmaker Isco to race into holes they created. An illustration came when the latter burned along the left, played a give-and-go and let fly a 20-yarder.

His effort was too high but it was Isco’s dazzling footwork that led to Madrid’s opener. After a run-and-pirouette he took aim, the ball rebounding and falling to Dani Carvajal. The right-back scooped a sweet pass to Casemiro and his half-volley made it 1-0. Mourinho later complained this was offside but it looked marginal.

When Gianluca Rocchi called for drinks at 30 minutes United could thank the referee for the relief. Each coach had an animated chat though Mourinho was the more concerned.

The 54-year-old was to wear a dismayed look when United’s next two attacks foundered due two mistakes. First Herrera aimed a free-kick straight out. Then when the same player charged down a Kroos pass and Lukaku played himself offside by touching the ball. The half ended with a Benzema shot being beaten away by De Gea and Lukaku aiming a rare header at Navas.

Mourinho replaced the anonymous Lingard with Rashford for the second half. Yet United were almost instantly pinned back. Kroos forced De Gea to save to his right, then a Mkhitaryan dribble foundered and Marcelo failed to make the keeper save again.

The next time they attacked there was no mistake. It was too simple, though, as an Isco-Bale one-two saw the former double the Spaniards’ lead.

Worse followed when Pogba headed straight at Navas and Lukaku blasted the rebound wide from close-range – this was the chance that might have taken the contest into a further half an hour. Mourinho acted by swapping Herrera for Marouane Fellaini and after Bale hit the bar United pulled one back.

The goal was down to Lukaku’s alertness. The excellent Matic fired at Navas and when the ball came back the Belgian striker slotted it in with his right boot from a few yards out.

Following a Ramos-Fellaini clash of heads Fellaini required lengthy treatment but after a sizeable protector was put on he could continue.

United did the same until final whistle. This was not a vintage offering but Mourinho is right to be encouraged ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener against West Ham United at Old Trafford.”