Bournemouth vs Brentford recap: The Bees were perhaps lucky to escape with a point, thanks to a curious penalty decision, in a 0-0 draw at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
The game’s biggest moment came in the 20th minute, when Brentford defender Kristoffer Ajer appeared to slide through Bournemouth left back Jordan Zemura. Ajer made no contact with the ball (he could have, as it appeared well within his reach) before pulling out of the challenge, leaving his legs high and catching Zemura who tried to hurdle the outstretched defender.
Referee Thomas Bramall initially said no foul, and then maintained that position following his own lengthy video review session.
Ivan Toney made a goal-line clearance at one end of the field and missed the game’s best scoring chance at the other, both in the second half as Brentford controlled possession and looked the likeliest to score in the stalemate affair.
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Brentford sit 9th in the Premier League table, even after only seven games, is no small achievement for a tiny club that only made its PL debut a year ago. They look like they belong in the top half of the table as well, with their 15 goals scored bested by only Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal — the top three sides in the league heading into matchweek 8. Ivan Toney is back to his goal-scoring best with five in seven games, chipping in a pair of assists as well as he continues to prove himself a complete player at the top level, resulting in his first England call-up (but not appearance, yet) last week.
Bournemouth are trying to replicate Brentford’s top-flight success after returning to the Premier League this season. Without a star center forward like Toney (six goals scored, 4th-fewest in the PL), the Cherries will frequently look to grind out results by keeping clean sheets, only their defensive record (19 conceded in seven games) runs to the contrary.
OUT: David Brooks (fitness), Lloyd Kelly (knee), Joseph Rothwell (thigh), Benjamin Pearson (undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed)
📝 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 📝
🔺 Moore and Solanke up top
🔺 Unchanged at the back
🔺 Smith with the armband
Our line up for #BOUBRE 🔥 pic.twitter.com/V39oBsEpla
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) October 1, 2022
OUT: Christian Norgaard (achilles) | QUESTIONABLE: Keane Lewis-Potter (knock), Ethan Pinnock (knee)
🚨 TEAM NEWS🚨
The Bees line-up this afternoon 🐝#BrentfordFC | #BOUBRE pic.twitter.com/cU8xMmH3Et
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) October 1, 2022
Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.
Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?
As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).
OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)
OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)
Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.
The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.
As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]
Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).
Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.
PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.
LIONEL MESSI IS OUT OF THIS WORLD! What a freekick from the GOAT! 🤩🎯
🇫🇷 PSG (1-0) Nice
📺 LIVE NOW on beIN SPORTS#Ligue1 #PSGOGCN pic.twitter.com/bjb0m3LfPs
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) October 1, 2022
USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.
The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.
[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]
Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.
Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.
But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.
Video after the jump.
Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.
His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.
Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.
In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.
Outworking the defender, great optics for Ricardo Pepi.
— Maximiliano Bretos (@MaxBretosSports) October 1, 2022
If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.
So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.
[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]
Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.
Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.
OMG, JOSEF MARTINEZ! WHAT. A. GOAL. 😱 pic.twitter.com/ljJwK9zAID
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 1, 2022