By Alan Clark
Manchester City remain top of the English Premier League after they ran out 2-0 winners away to Everton on Sunday.
After winning in their first two games of the league campaign, Manuel Pellegrini’s side took an hour to get off the mark at Goodison Park. The breakthrough came when Aleksander Kolarov beat Tim Howard at his near post, with Samir Nasri then lobbing the USA goalkeeper in exquisite fashion to seal the victory with two minutes left. Newly-promoted Watford visit City in their next fixture this weekend.
Title-holders Chelsea got their first three points on the board with a 3-2 win over West Brom, with new signing Pedro making his debut in a man-of-the-match display.
The $33.1 million capture from Barcelona opened the scoring before teeing up Diego Costa for a two-goal Blues lead. The home side fought back through James Morrison, but Cesar Azpilicueta’s strike came in between the Scotland midfielder’s goals. Crystal Place are next up on Saturday for the champions.
Elsewhere, Manchester United dropped their first points of the season at Old Trafford as Newcastle held them to a goalless draw. Next up for Louis van Gaal’s side is a trip to Wales to face Swansea on Sunday.
Arsenal and Liverpool served up an entertaining goalless draw as the away side retained their undefeated status. Brendan Rodgers’s side had the better of the first half, testing Petr Cech several times and being denied by the woodwork on two occasions. Phillipe Coutinho was running the show, but Arsenal crept back into the tie at the Emirates and had Liverpool ‘keeper Simon Mignolet on his toes. In the end, neither side could penetrate one another and both took a point.
Spain: Real Madrid stutter with opening blank, Barca win
Sporting Gijon frustrated Real Madrid in a stalemate as Rafael Benitez took charge of his first game at the club.
The opening day of La Liga provided no goals for the Spanish giants – as stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco failed to penetrate new boys Gijon’s backline in the 90 minutes. They will look to rectify only taking a point as they host Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu come Saturday.
Meanwhile, champions Barcelona got off to a winning start as Luis Suarez got the solitary goal in their encounter away to Athletic Bilbao. Surprisingly, Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty but his team-mate made amends with his strike after 54 minutes. Malaga visit the Nou Camp on Saturday as Barca look to make it two from two in their defense of the title.
Germany: Bayern, Dortmund maintain perfect starts
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund won on the second matchday of the German season as they defeated Hoffenheim and Ingolstadt 04 respectively.
It wasn’t easy for Bayern however, as they conceded a goal in just nine seconds to the hosts. Kevin Volland was the man to seize on a defensive error, but Bayern recovered, Thomas Muller scoring just before the interval.
Things looked promising for Hoffenheim when Jerome Boateng seen a second yellow turn to red as he conceded a penalty, but the spot-kick was missed by Eugen Polanski. They would rue that miss as Bayern struck in the dying embers of the match through striker Robert Lewandowski.
It was a far simpler 90 minutes for Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund side as they trounced Ingolstadt 4-0. All goals came after the break through Matthias Ginter, Marco Reus’s penalty, Shinji Kagawa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as BVB joined Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen as the only sides to have won both games so far.
Bayern welcome Leverkusen on Saturday while Dortmund play host to Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Italy: Champs Juve undone by Udinese
Juventus were defeated on the opening Serie A day for the first time since 2010 as Udinese shocked them 1-0 in Turin.
Juve strolled to the championship crown last term, winning it by a huge 17 points, but choked in their first outing in the league as a 78th-minute goal from Théréau gave the visitors all three points in the match.
AS Roma were held to a 1-1 draw at Verona as former Man City hitman Edin Djeko made his debut, while Fiorentina were 2-0 victors in their clash with AC Milan.
The weekend’s big match sees Juventus travel to Stadio Olympico to face Roma as both sides look to get off the mark in the Italian season.
Alan Clark is a freelance soccer journalist whose work has appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News and the Daily Record. Find him on Twitter: @_aldo93.
Find a complete listing of this week’s televised matches here.