It’s finally in the books. After the excitement soared, the anticipation rose to unimaginable heights, delivered the “Festival of Football” on Sunday and much more. There was drama, controversy, sadness and exuberance in equal parts as the top teams of the major leagues honked on a memorable day of football. To FootTheBall Brought you comprehensive match reports on the entire event, here all the episodes of an unforgettable football day. So buckle up as we walk you through the lessons you learned from a memorable day –
NO WAY BACK FOR OLE
People saw this coming, but still not. 0-5 loss to Liverpool. In recent years, losing to Liverpool has generally been the low point in government for most United executives. Jose Mourinho was sacked after a limping 3-0 loss to the Reds. Old Trafford were memorably defiant when Moyes’ United lost 3-0 at home to Liverpool. For Ole, who has not yet suffered a win against Klopp’s team, this game seemed like a tipping point. Though United fans entered the game with trepidation due to the team’s questionable performance, there was also a level of belief.
The loss was likely expected, as was the standard of United’s pre-game performance. Still, the kind of loss, the sheer humiliation of this English giant in front of his own fans, made him feel like he was burying Ole’s career as Man Utd manager.
❌ 4-0 down at halftime.
📕 Pogba feels passed out 15 minutes after turning it on.
🤯 1 goal conceded in 21 games.
-SPORF (@Sporf) October 24, 2021
Liverpool looked like men against the United boys. Clinically on the offensive, assertive in midfield and defense, pressing with intensity and a plan, all the ingredients were there that make a successful team. Manchester United, on the other hand, looked like the opposite of all these values and principles. Down four goals by halftime, United looked dead and buried. “Ole’s Juju,” United’s ability to always get a result with its back to the wall, is a common meme among United fans. However, individual performance can only mask the systemic problems for a limited time. The goalscorers of the day, Mohammed Salah, Naby Keita and Diogo Jota, had a field day with all the room a United defense at sea offers.
United looked clueless on the pitch and were reluctant to do so. A red card to Paul Pogba after a wild failure made the misery worse and it was only because Liverpool had mercy that the game ended 0-5. If Ole was under pressure before the game, the dam threatens to break. City is waiting in two weeks.
SERIES A IS A MUST THIS SEASON
Red cards for both managers in one game, a late penalty to equalize in the other, the two best teams tied. In this year’s Serie A, entertainment is guaranteed.
If you thought a goalless draw could be boring, then yesterday’s AS Roma v Napoli game will prove you wrong. As is the tradition for Mourinho in big games, his Roma side turned the Napoli game into a battle of attrition. The soaring Napoli, who had previously won all games in the league, was drawn 0-0 at the Roma stadium. Again, as is Mourinho tradition, he was in the spotlight after the game. The Roma coach was sent to the stands for his antics on the sideline, followed by his opponent as Spalletti also received a card for his sarcastic congratulations to the referee. The most entertaining 0-0 one could ask for. Even so, Serie A was not finished.
Mourinho was sent off after a sarcastic thumbs up for the referee in the Roma 0-0 draw with Napoli.
Spalleti also received the red card after congratulating the referee after the final whistle.
– Carol Radull (@CarolRadull) October 24, 2021
Defending champions Inter competed against fallen giants who want to resurrect in Juventus Turin. After Dzeko kicked Inter off with a goal in the 17th minute it looked like Juventus would get Allegri’d as they would lose with a single goal. However, the theme of the late drama should be continued. An intervention by the VAR gave Juventus a penalty in the 89th minute. Paulo Dybala hid it to share the loot in a highly competitive game.
FUNCTIONAL REAL MADRID ARE TITLE FAVORITES
Gone are the days when both Real Madrid and Barcelona finished a narrow title race with more than 90 points. Atletico Madrid led with a functional rather than a dominant season last season and Real Madrid will do the same this season.
Going to Camp Nou to face a team from Barcelona that are slowly gaining confidence was a match at eye level, but in a rather unflattering way. Both giants look like a shadow of their former selves. While Barcelona are a young team that are taking off, Real Madrid are full of seasoned professionals who know how to do the job.
This was shown to its fullest when David Alaba secured the opener for Madrid before their experience allowed them to sail through the game with minimal threat from Barcelona. There have been two goals in the final minutes, with Vazquez doubling the lead before Aguero scored as consolation.
Real Madrid are now one point behind the leaders with one game in hand, while they are two ahead of city rivals Atletico. Barcelona’s title ambitions are likely dead and they would hope to confirm a UCL spot by being more consistent. As the season progresses, it would be tough to bet against Real Madrid’s experience, which makes them favorites for the title at this point.
PSG IS A COLLECTION OF TALENTED INDIVIDUALS, NOT A TEAM
A collection of talented individuals may be enough for PSG to win the domestic league, but given their current performances, they are nowhere near enough coherent as a team. This is still at the start of the season, but in its current form, not many would support them to lift the Holy Grail, the Champions League trophy.
PSG were embroiled in a lively affair against Marseille at Le’Classique that ended goalless. Despite PSG defeating Marseille in xG, their attack still seems disjointed, their defense isolated and their midfield dependent on Verratti. Messi is still looking for his first goal contribution domestically for his new club. The defensive comes under strong pressure due to the reluctance of the top three in defensive phases. Achraf Hakimi saw red in yesterday’s game and PSG had to be content with a draw.
⏱️ 90 + 4 ‘FULL TIME | The Olympians get a point from this Clasico.
– Olympique de Marseille 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) October 24, 2021
While coach Mauricio Pochettino undoubtedly has an embarrassing amount of riches to choose from, the battle for balance has been a constant theme this season. PSG are already running away with the Ligue 1 title after 28 points from 11 games, but they have to act as a team and find the right balance to fight for the UCL title.