EUROPE'S BEST: FUTURE BALLON D'OR WINNERS, A UNITED FLOP AND MORE
Bundesliga: Erling Haaland - Borussia Dortmund
It’s strange to think that around this time last year we were only just beginning to realise how special Erling Haaland was. He was scoring hattricks for fun for Salzburg in Austria, and monstering teams in the Champions League, and yet some people still thought he would be swallowed up at Dortmund.
How wrong they were. Haaland has continued his ridiculous scoring rate across the border in Germany, and added to his tally with four goals against Hertha Berlin on Saturday. He made it look oh-so-easy at the Olympiastadion, popping up in just the right places, and using his speed and power to make sure the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Haaland won’t spend his whole career at Dortmund. At some point he will move on to one of the biggest clubs in the world, and when he does, that move could define the top tier of European football for years to come. As for Dortmund, they may already have Haaland’s replacement in Youssoufa Moukoko, who subbed on for Haaland in the 80th minute to become the youngest player ever in the Bundesliga.
Serie A: Romelu Lukaku - Inter Milan
On Sunday, Inter found themselves sitting outside the European places in Serie A, around 60 minutes into a match with Torino, and 2-0 down to a superb team move and an Ansaldi penalty. Torino have not started the season well, and Belotti, their talismanic forward, was ruled out of the game late on with a knee problem.
After the penalty though, Inter found their hero. Romelu Lukaku switched on, and helped by a rejuvenated Alexis Sanchez, went on a crusade through Torino’s defence to rescue the game.
He struck the bar to tee up Sanchez for the first goal, who returned the favour a few minutes later with a perfect cutback for the Belgian to poke home the equaliser.
Lukaku then slotted home a penalty to give Inter the lead, and in the 90th minute he surged forward once more, firing a cross into the box for Lautaro to prod into the net, and the game ended 4-2.
Inter were tipped by many to challenge for the title in Italy this season, but haven’t got off to the start they would have hoped for. But with the quality of their attacking line-up, led by Lukaku, they should never be written off.
Ligue 1: Yusuf Yazici - LOSC Lille
The French Ligue 1 is often looked down on by fans of the other big European leagues, but the young talents on display in France are some of the most promising in the world. This Lille side is no exception.
With younger talents like Timothy Weah and Jonathan David (20), as well as more experienced talents like Renato Sanches and Sunday’s star man, Yusuf Yazici (23). Against relegation candidates Lorient, Lille had the chance to close the gap to PSG to two points, after they lost to Monaco the day before.
Yazici stepped up, translating his stunning form in the Europa League into league performances. He scored two and assisted one within 60 minutes, playing the leading role in a commanding performance from Lille’s front line of himself, Bamba and David.
PSG look as dominating as ever in the league, excluding their performance against Monaco, but if anyone is going to mount a successful title challenge this season, it looks like it’s going to be Lille.
La Liga: Ander Capa – Athletic Bilbao
La Liga this season is shaping up as an intriguing prospect. Real Madrid and Barcelona both have problems, allowing Real Sociedad to rise to the top. Valencia are in a period of self-destruction, while also in a group of about ten teams vying for a European spot.
Two of those teams came together this weekend, in Bilbao and Betis. Bilbao put together their most convincing performance of the season so far, with solid displays across the board, especially Capa, their marauding right-back.
As everything fell into place for Athletic, Capa was a presence all over the pitch, chipping in with a smartly taken rebound goal, and helping to keep their second league clean sheet of the season.