Padraig Whelan·28 August 2023
Padraig Whelan·28 August 2023
August continues to deliver. Who impressed most across the continent to make our star XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation?
Worthy of his place for that one save alone, somehow contorting himself to scramble a Miguel Almirón piledriver to safety. “It was the best save I’ve ever seen in my life,” opposition manager Eddie Howe said afterwards. It proved vital too, stopping Newcastle going 2-0 ahead and setting Liverpool up for an epic late comeback.
Playing slightly further forward for the Villans’ trip to Burnley, the Poland international reaped the rewards as he ended his long wait for a goal (last netting in May 2022) by scoring the fastest Villa brace for 12 years with two early strikes to mark his 100th appearance for the club in style.
Genoa shocked the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend with a 1-0 win to keep Lazio rooted on zero points. A big reason for their win was the rearguard action which was spearheaded by Bani, who completely nullified the threat of Ciro Immobile and put in a huge block to deny Daichi Kamada on a memorable night for the Rossoblù.
Like Cash, another centurion marked the occasion in style as Suárez celebrated reaching 100 appearances with a clean sheet and collected performance for Las Palmas in their scoreless stalemate against Real Sociedad.
Utilised in a wing-back role for the capital club, they are already getting the best out of a revitalised Gosens after his disappointing spell at Inter. On Saturday, he became the first Union player to score twice on his full Bundesliga debut and looked much more like himself.
Worried about how the 20-year-old would adjust to the Bundesliga after stepping up following his PSV heroics last season? Based on the early evidence, there’s no cause for concern. He contributed two assists and a goal in a rout of Stuttgart.
Not only did Teuma score twice and provide an assist in Reims’ 3-1 win at Montpellier but his thunderbolt half-volley from 25 yards is also a serious contender for goal of the weekend.
Leverkusen were devastating in attack during their Rhine derby destruction of Borussia Mönchengladbach and nobody shone as brightly as Wirtz, whose 10 chances created from open play was the most of any player in a top five league fixture since David Silva for Man City eight years ago. A breathtaking showing, capped off by a delightful assist for the third in the 3-0 win.
He’s earned his inclusion by virtue of the two sublime touches which led to West Ham goals and victory at Brighton. The first saw him trap a high cross in exquisite fashion before finishing and he then showed similar mastery of control on the touchline prior to picking out Michail Antonio with a fine through ball to kill the contest.
The summer signing is now up and running. He scored twice in the derby victory to make himself an instant hero, demonstrating the different tools to his arsenal with a close range header to open the scoring before killing the game off by racing in behind and finishing calmly. In addition, his 11 shots attempted were the most of any Leverkusen player in a game since Opta started collecting data in 2004.
A man of the match performance in a 4-3 win away from home at just 16, Barcelona’s latest young talent looks very special. He became the youngest player this century to provide a LaLiga assist and had his coach waxing lyrical afterwards. “Expectations are high because of what he does,” said Xavi. “He plays because he’s a difference-maker, is so smart and almost always makes the right decision. He’ll have no problems handling everything that comes his way.”