Footy Focus - September 17

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We're back! After a long international break (or did it just seem that way?), regular club football started again and it was amazing.

England

Over in the Premier League, there were more good games than it was possible to even watch, but the best one of all was Arsenal vs Manchester City. It looked like the Gunners were the better team for the first part, though they did not make it count on the scoreboard, Danny Welbeck missing a chance off the post. Then Man City went and scored on a counter attack through Sergio Aguero. After that it felt like City were well on top, but Arsene Wenger must have said something inspirational at half time because Arsenal came rocketing back. First Jack Wilshere scored, then he turned provider to set up Alexis Sanchez with a header. Sanchez's goal was one of the highest quality. Yet with Arsenal looking good for a victory, Martin Demichelis popped up from a corner to ensure the game finished at 2-2.

Meanwhile both Chelsea and (for once) Manchester United had big wins. Diego Costa was the hero for Chelsea as he scored a hat-trick to help his team overcome an early John Terry Own Goal in a 4-2 win over Swansea. Costa now has 7 goals already in only 4 games! Manchester United's win was a special one too. With most of their new signings available, they ran all over a weak QPR team, winning 4-0. Angel Di Maria scored the first from a free kick that drifted inside the far post, then Ander Herrera (on debut) and Wayne Rooney drove in goals before half time. Juan Mata finished them off with a goal in the second half.

Unfortunately it was not so pretty for Liverpool. With Raheem Sterling rested on the bench and Daniel Sturridge out injured, they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa. Newcastle also had a devastating loss (4-0 to Southampton) and it looks like Alan Pardew may be about to get sacked. There were also wins for Everton and Leicester City.

Spain

The rumours this week in Spain are that Ronaldo is unhappy at Real Madrid and is plotting a move away. But we will believe that when he actually says so. Anyway, Cristiano returned for Real this week to play Atletico... and it was not a happy one. Atletico took an early lead, and despite having firepower like James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, it was Ronaldo who had to do it all himself, winning, taking and scoring a penalty to make it 1-1 at half time. Yet in the second half Atletico were able to stifle the game completely, before bringing on Antoine Griezmann and Arda Turan who combined for the winner. 2-1 to Atletico.

On the same day Barcelona hosted Athletic Bilbao, who tried to park the bus from the start. It looked like it may work too as they had it still at 0-0 with 15 to play despite Barca's dominance. However on came Neymar off the bench to score a double and it finished 2-0. Barca top the table after 3 rounds, trailed by Valencia, Sevilla and Atletico (who all won on the weekend) with Real Madrid all the way back in 13th.

Germany

Shinji Kagawa made an impressive return to Borussia Dortmund after his mixed spell at Man United. Having been sold back to his old club, he marked his first game with a goal and an assist as Dortmund won 3-1.

Bayern Munich also had a solid win thanks to a first half goal from Mario Gotze and some icing on the cake from Franck Ribery, who has a pretty bushy beard these days! 2-0 was the final score. That means they go tied for first with Bayer Leverkusen, who drew 2-2 in an entertaining game against Werder Bremen. 

France

There is not a lot of room at the top in Ligue 1, but plenty of teams fighting for it. Lille and Marseille both had nice wins on the weekend which saw them keep pace while Bordeaux and St Ettienne are both up there too. PSG however dropped a couple of points as they could only muster a 1-1 draw at Rennes. Zoumana Cama scored for PSG but Maxwell tucked away an own goal and that is how it finished. 

Italy

Some crazy games involving the two Milan teams this week, though not a lot of defence on show. Inter took care of Sassuolo 7-0 with one striker, Mauro Icardi, getting a hat-trick while the other striker, Dani Osvaldo, bagging two. AC Milan beat Parma 5-4, the pick of the nine goals being this cheeky effort from Jeremy Menez.

Carlos Tevez also inspired a 2-0 Juventus win, which sets up a great game this week against AC Milan. Juventus are the team to catch, but Milan are looking much improved from last year. It should be a cracker!