By Alan Clark
Manchester United got back to winning ways as they defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the English Premier League at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal’s side dominated the first half without penetrating the Pool rearguard, but made the breakthrough just after the interval through Daley Blind.
Ander Herrera slotted home a penalty to extend the Red Devils’ lead and the game got interesting again when Christian Benteke struck a sublime over head kick to reduce the arrears.
Hope for the away side soon vanished though, as two minutes later 19-year-old Anthony Martial made his first appearance as a United player in sensational fashion. The $55.4 million signing from AS Monaco took the ball past two Liverpool defenders before finishing with ease into the back of the net.
Chelsea suffered their third loss in the opening five league games as a Steven Naismith-inspired Everton humbled them at Goodison Park on Saturday.
After coming on as a ninth-minute substitute, the Scotland forward grabbed a quick-fire double to stun Jose Mourinho’s side. Nemanja Matic pulled one back for the Blues but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback, as Naismith completed his hat-trick late on to become the first to notch a treble against a Mourinho-managed Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Manchester City maintained their perfect start with a 1-0 away victory at Crystal Palace, thanks to a solitary goal from Kelechi Iheanacho in the dying minutes of the encounter – while goals in either half from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal a 2-0 win over Stoke at the Emirates.
Spain: Barca edge Atletico, Ronaldo hits 5 for Real
Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona bagged a hard-fought victory away to Atletico Madrid to go top of La Liga by two points.
Fernando Torres gave the hosts an early second half lead that was quickly cancelled out by Neymar’s equaliser. Messi, who started as a substitute after missing training on Friday due to the birth of his second son, silenced the Vicente Calderon with a low finish with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Anything Barca can do, Real can do better? Sometimes, but the weekend past it was certainly the case, as Rafa Benitez oversaw a 6-0 thumping of Espanyol. Cristiano Ronaldo pulled no punches as he became Real’s all-time goalscorer in the league with five goals – including a treble in the first 20 minutes of the match.
Karim Benzema was the other scorer on a perfect day for the Spanish giants, who trail Barca by two after three league games so far this season.
Germany: Bayern, BVB still flawless
Thomas Muller’s last-minute penalty rescued Bayern Munich and maintained their perfect start to their title defence – but Borussia Dortmund remain top as they also kept their perfect record.
FC Augsburg were on cloud nine when Alexander Esswein put them in front shortly before the break and even though it took a while, Bayern were back on level terms after 77 minutes through hitman Robert Lewandowski. In the dying embers at the Allianz Arena, the champions were awarded a penalty and Muller duly stepped up to the plate and fired home to give them all three points.
Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund recovered from a goal down also to see off Hannover 96 4-2 and go top of the table on goal difference. Two penalties from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a Henrikh Mkhitaryan strike and a Felipe own goal sent the BVB faithful home happy as the Bundesliga title race continued to get off to a blistering start.
Italy: Juve drop points, Inter race ahead with derby win
Juventus drew at home to Chievo as they remain winless in their Serie A title defence – sitting in 16th position in the table.
It could have been even worse than dropping two points for the Turin club, as the away side opened the scoring after just five minutes of play. A penalty from Paulo Dybala with seven minutes remaining rescued a point for Juve, who registered their first point of the league campaign.
Inter Milan pipped city rivals AC Milan to all three points at the San Siro as they went top of the table with a 100 percent start. Fredy Guarin was assisted by Davide Santon in the early stages of the second half to send the black and blue half of Milan wild – and they will be praying their side can maintain the start they have produced to make up for somewhat barren years for the Inter legions.
Check out socceramerica.com/publications/soccer-on-tv for a complete listing of this week’s televised matches.
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.