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Football: 3 Things From The Weekend

Ronaldo Returns With A Brace

Cristiano Ronaldo has been under self-isolation after contracting the coronavirus during the international break. Since then, he has missed two league games for Juventus, including two Champions League games between Dynamo Kyiv and Barcelona. Once he was given the all-clear by the doctors, he was able to return for Juventus’ game against Spezia on Sunday. It is fair to say that the Portuguese forward made up for the lost time. Juventus beat Spezia 4-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace. Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot also got themselves on the scoresheet but the main story of the game was Ronaldo’s return for the Old Lady. Ronaldo started the match as Andrea Pirlo chose to start Morata upfront with Paulo Dybala. Morata opened the scoring before Spezia equalized just before halftime. Ronaldo came on for Dybala in the 56th minute and three minutes scored to put Juventus in front. He scored again from the penalty spot in the 76th minute to wrap up a good win for the Italian champions. At 35, he still has it and it is fair to say that he is very important for Juventus to be successful this season.

Arsenal Finally Win At A ‘Top 6’ Field

Arsenal played Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford. They have not won at Old Trafford since 2006 and their record against the ‘top 6’ (Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham) away from home is abysmal. Since their win against Manchester City at the Etihad in January 2015, they have failed to beat one of the top six away from home in 29 games, losing 19 of them. That’s not to mention Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s lack of goals as of late, as the Gabonese international has failed to score in his last five games. Finally, Arsenal beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, winning the game 1-0 with Aubameyang scoring from the penalty spot. Both teams were not fantastic in the final third with only four shots on target during the game. In the 69th minute, Paul Pogba fouled Hector Bellerin inside his penalty box, giving the referee Mike Dean no decision but to award, which Aubameyang converted. United was unable to break the hard defensive line from Arsenal with Rob Holding and Gabriel holding their own to give Mikel Arteta a decisive win and inflicting another home league defeat for Manchester United.

Madrid Win While Barca Struggle

Following the El Clasico last week and their contrasting performances in the Champions League, Barcelona and Real Madrid returned to league action this past weekend and again had contrasting performances. Real Madrid, following their fortunate 2-2 draw against Gladbach in midweek, swept Huesca aside, winning the game 4-1 on Sunday. Karim Benzema scored a brace, with Federico Valverde getting on the scoresheet as well. The highlight was the return of Eden Hazard, as the Belgian opened the scoring. Which was Hazard’s first goal for Madrid in over a year. Hazard has struggled during his time at the Spanish capital, with a lack of form and injury troubles. With a fine performance at the weekend, the Belgian winger will be hoping that this will be a springboard to better things and earning the trust of Zinedine Zidane. Barcelona, on the other hand, is trying to find some consistency in La Liga, getting a 1-1 draw against Alaves on Saturday. With 80% possession and 25 shots, Ronald Koeman’s side was behind for about half an hour before Antonie Griezmann equalised. From the six league games played, Barcelona has only 8 points, their worst start since Louis van Gaal in 2002. Despite Bartomeu and his board of directors resigning this past week, Barcelona and Koeman still have a lot of work to do.

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