German Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 5-0 Hamburg

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Bayern Munich started the league season on a bright note with an emphatic 5-0 win over Hamburg on Friday night. Hamburg have had some recent embarrassing results against the league champions and were hoping for a decent result this time around.

Bayern Munich handed league debuts to Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal as they began their quest for a fourth straight Bundesliga title.

However, the former European champion produced on a magnificent display in the first game of the season giving Hamburg no chance. Hamburg defended resolutely which was understandable considering they had conceded 30 goals in their last five visits to Munich.

Their resistance was finally broken when Medhi Benatia opened the scoring from a Xabi Alonso free kick in the 27th minute. Bayern controlled the rest of the first half with Hamburg lacking inspiration and offering nothing in form of attacking threat.

Robert Lewandowski then doubled the home side’s lead before Thomas Muller brace quickly added a brace in four minutes midway through the second half. Debutant Douglas Costa then completed the rout as Bayern laid down a marker for the season.

Hamburg avoided relegation via a play-off for the second season in a row in May and will need to improve against other teams as the season progresses.

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English Premier League: Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United

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Manchester United went top of the Premier League as they maintained their perfect start to the league season and in the process extended their fanatstic run at Villa Park.

The big news before kick off was the continued exclusion of David De Gea as doubts about his Manchester United remained and refused to go away. In his absence, Sergio Romero kept his place while Adnan Januzaj was handed a rare start in place of Ashley Young.

The Belgian, who has been linked with a loan exit, scored the only goal of the match as United completed back-to-back 1-0 wins in the Premier League, and extended their unbeaten run at Villa Park in the league to 20 games.

Mata played an incisive pass to Januzaj who then evaded Richards’ sliding tackle before sending a low drive in off the post with the help of a deflection off Villa defender Ciaran Clark.

Villa offered nothing in form of attacking threat as the Man United defence had to deal with little or no pressure. Wayne Rooney also failed to impress for the second game running. Aston Villa will know that they will have to improve in attack, a side whose attack has been further blunted by the departure of Benteke.

Spanish Super Cup 1st Leg: Athletic Bilbao 4-0 Barcelona

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Barcelona’ hopes of achieving another sextuple was dented a huge blow as they were thrashed 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao, in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the San Mames. Aritz Aduriz scored a hat-trick as Barca’s defence was torn to shreds in what was Barcelona’s biggest loss under Luis Enrique.

The Blaugranas have now conceded four goals in two successive games, four goals to Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup with the opposition having just 10 shots on target in those games.

The 2015-16 campaign may just be getting underway across Europe, but this will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest shocks. Luis Enrique decided to ring the changes following their midweek exertion against Sevilla, a game which went the distance to 120 minutes. Five changes were made by the Barcelona manager with Marc Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Thomas Vermaelen and Adriano. Pedro was also rewarded for scoring the winner by getting a starting berth. Neymar remained sidelined due to mumps while new club captain Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Busquet all had to settle for places on the bench.

Athletic made a fantastic start to the game when Mikel San Jose opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a wonder strike from almost the centre circle after Ter Stergen had made a poor clearance. The European Champions were largely subdued in the first half and could only muster just a single shot on target through the first 45 minutes. Suarez and Messi were almost completely anonymous, with the exception being a late free kick by Messi that forced a save from Gorka Iraizoz

Luis Enrique looked for inspiration from his bench and promptly sent Iniesta into the field to fix things. However, this did not deter the Basque side as Aduriz made it 2-0 within moments. Ivan Rakitic was then sent on to shore up the midfield before Bilbao delivered a telling blow on Barcelona’s chances with Aduriz getting his second to make it 3-0.

The tie was effectively ended when Alves was penalised for bringing down San Jose in the penalty box in the 67th minutes. Aduriz then stepped up to complete his hattrick further compounding Barcelona’s misery and also sending the home fans into wild jubilation. The four goals eclipsed Athletic’s combined total in their last three match-ups with Barca. Aduriz also become the first player to score a hat trick against Barca in almost a decade.

Luis Enrique took full responsibility for the defeat and stated: “There were a lot of changes but it had to be that way after playing for 120 minutes [on Tuesday],” the manager said. “I have made changes to the side and I accept the responsibility for the loss without hesitation.

With the second leg to be played on Monday in Nou Camp, Barcelona will have to score four goals against Athletic and also have to hope their frail defense can keep a clean sheet. Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao are just 45 minutes away from their first Super Cup title since 1984-85, the season after they completed a La Liga and Copa del Rey double.

Premier League Review: Match Day 1

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Courtois sees RED

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham

Manchester United started the new season with a lacklustre win against Spurs courtesy of an own goal from Kyle Walker in the 22nd minutes. The major headline before the game was the exclusion of David de Gea by the manager due to lingering doubts about his future  at the club. In his absence, Sergio Romero was given his first start in club football since January and his manager would have been delighted with his performance as he ensured his side took all 3 points following a late onslaught from the North London side.

AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Aston Villa

Premier league newcomers Bournemouth were made to pay for their profligacy as Aston Villa began life without Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph on a positive note. The Cherries were punished for squandering a host of chances when debutant Rudy Gestede’s 72nd minute header clinched all 3 points for Villa. Tim Sherwood’s side then put up a majestic rearguard action to preserve the lead and the points. They will hope to continue on this note to avoid a repeat of last season’s relegation battle.

Everton 2-2 Watford

Substitute Arouna Kone’s late goal earned the Everton a 2-2 draw against newly promoted side Watford. Watford were hoping to mark their return to the premier league with a win. Miguel Layun put Watford in front when he rifled in a shot after the Everton defence had failed to clear their lines in the 14th minute. Everton improved as the 2nd half went on and were duly rewarded when Ross Barkley got the equalizer in the 76th minutes. However, the confidence of the home side was soon deflated when Nigerian Odion Ighalo put the visitors back in front in the 83rd minute. The drama was far from over though as a good combination between Lukaku and Kone enabled the Ivorian to score a dramatic late equalizer. It was Kone’s first Premier League goal since December 2014.

Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland

Claudio Ranieri’s tenure as Leicester city boss began with a wonderful opening day victory over Sunderland. Leicester produced a majestic first half display and went into the break with a 3-0 lead. Jamie Verdy’s header started the show before Ryad Mahrez added a brace to give the Foxes a 3-0 half time lead. Jermain Defoe gave Sunderland hope of staging a comeback but such fanciful thoughts were quickly extinguished when Marc Albrighton restored Leicester’s 3 goal lead. Steven Fletcher then scored what turned out to be a consolation making the scoreline a respectable 4-2. Sunderland will be worried about how easily their defence capitulated as they were opened up repeatedly throughout the game.

Norwich City 1-3 Crystal Palace

Cameron Jerome’s goal was controversially disallowed as Palace beat newly promoted side Norwich 3-1. Wilfred Zaha and Damien Delaney put Palace ahead after scoring in the 39th and 49th minute respectively. Nathan Redmond pulled one back for City in the 69th minute. The key moment of the game however came with 15 minutes left when Jerome thought he had equalised but was ruled out for a high boot. Star signing Yohan Cabaye then sealed the points for Palace after been put through by James McArthur.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City

Thibaut Courtois was sent off as the Champions held on to claim a point in an unconvincing win. Diego Costa was declared fit enough after missing the community shield with Arsenal and the friendly defeat against Fiorentina. Oscar scored a free kick midway through the first half to put the Champions in front. Swansea however were not going to go down without fighting and debutant Andre Ayew duly converted a rebound after Courtois had saved a header from Gomis. Chelsea response was immediate as they retook the lead one minute later through a Fernandez own goal. Courtois was then sent off after bringing Gomis down and the Frenchman made no mistake from 12 yards.

Arsenal 0-2 West Ham

The Gunners were brought down to earth as West Ham capitalised on uncharacteristic goalkeeping errors from Petr Cech to win 2-0. The Czech goalkeeper was brought in for his Arsenal premier league debut but it was one to forget as he misjudged Dimitri Payet’s freekick allowing Kouyate to head the Hammers ahead just before half time. Arsenal tried to get into the game and just as they were building some form of momentum, West Ham delivered the sucker punch. A hesitation in defence was duly punished as Zarate took advantage to rifle home a low strike from outside the area. The hammers then defended valiantly and made the introduction of Alexis and Walcott insignificant.

Newcastle 2-2 Southampton

Shane Long’s goal prevented Steve McClaren from claiming all the points on his premier league return against Southampton. Pelle opened the scoring for the away side after powering in a header. Papiss Cisse restored parity in the 42nd minute and Newcastle’s new signing Wijnaldum, who put in a magnificent display, put Newcastle in front in the 48th minute. Newcastle United gave an entertaining display but it wasn’t enough to maintain their lead as Long equalised in the 79th minute.

Stoke 0-1 Liverpool

The post Steven Gerrard era began for Liverpool as they were looking to banish memories of a humiliating 6-1 defeat on the same ground on the final day of last season. The match was heading to a goalless stalemate before Coutinho unleashed a characteristic thunderbolt from 25 yards in the 86th minute. Stoke didn’t have enough time to respond and went down 1 nil at home in their season opener.

West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Manchester City made an emphatic statement of intent on Monday night by spanking West Brom 3-0. David Silva orchestrated a comprehensive victory against the host. Bony started the game for City as Aguero had to settle for a spot on the bench following his participation at the Copa America. Toure scored a brace in the first half as City went in at half time with a 2 goal lead. The win was completed in the second half by Kompany in the 59th minute. Pellegrini will be convinced by his team’s performance as they face Chelsea next weekend.

RESULT

Man United          1-0          Tottenham

Bournemouth       0-1          Aston Villa

Everton                2-2          Watford

Leicester City       4-2          Sunderland

Norwich City         1-3          Crystal Palace

Chelsea                2-2          Swansea City

Arsenal                 0-2          West Ham

Newcastle             2-2          Southampton

Stoke                    0-1          Liverpool

West Brom            0-3          Manchester City

Europa League Round Up

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West Ham were knocked out of the qualifying stage after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Astra Giurgiu, losing 4-3 on aggregate.

Southampton cruised into the play offs after a 2-0 win at Vitesse Arnhem and in the process completing 5-0 aggregate win.

Borrusia Dortmund thrashed Wolfsberger AC 5-0. Armenian Henrik Mkhitaryan scored a hat trick while Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the other scorers.

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AZ Alkmaar defeated Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 in Turkey.

St Etienne lost 2-1 at home to Targu Mures but qualified for the playoffs. The French side progressed with aggregate win of 4-2.

Fellow French side Bordeaux won 1-0 at AEK Larnaka, advancing 4-2 on aggregate.

Aberdeen were eliminated after drawing 1-1 against Kairat Almaty, with the Kazakhstan club advancing 3-2 on aggregate.

The game between Athletic Bilbao and Inter Baku ended in a goalless draw. The Spanish club advanced with 2-0 aggregate.

Sampdoria were knocked out despite winning 2-0 away to Vojvodina. The Italians suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at home in the first leg.

Standard Liege won Zeljeznicar 1-0 in Sarajevo to complete a 3-1 victory over the two legs.

Europa League Results

FK Qabala 1 – 0 Apollon Limassol

Inter Baku 0 – 0 Athletic Bilbao

Omonia Nicosia 2 – 2 Brondby IF

Rubin Kazan 1 – 1 Sturm Graz

IFK Gothenburg 0 – 0 Belenenses

Basaksehir 1 – 2 AZ Alkmaar

Ballklubb 2 – 0 Elfsborg

Rosenborg 3 – 1 Debrecen

Stroemsgodset 0 – 2 Hajduk Split

Trabzonspor 1 – 1 Rabotnicki

Vorskla 3 – 1 Zilina

Dinamo Minsk 1 – 1 FC Zurich

AEK Larnaca 0 – 1 Bordeaux

FC Vaduz 2 – 2 Thun

FC Koebenhavn 2 – 3 Jablonec

Astra Giurgiu 2 – 1 West Ham United

Atromitos 1 – 0 AIK

Saint-Etienne 1 – 2 Tirgu Mures

Vitesse 0 – 2 Southampton

Zeljeznicar 0 – 1 Standard Liege

Zorya 3 – 0 Sporting Charleroi

Spartak Trnava 1 – 1 PAOK Thessaloniki

FC Slovan Bratislava 3 – 3 FC Krasnodar

Borussia Dortmund 5 – 0 Wolfsberger

AC Aberdeen 1 – 1 Kairat Almaty

Legia Warszawa 1 – 0 Kukesi

Vojvodina 0 – 2 Sampdoria

Vitoria de Guimaraes 1 – 4 Altach

UEFA Champions League Qualifier Round UP

Celtic moved to the Champions League play-off after playing a goalless draw with Qarabag FK in Azerbaijan.

Shakhtar Donetsk swept into the playoff round of the Champions League after winning Fenerbahce 3-0 in Lviv. New signings Nani and Simon Kjaer took part in the game but Robin van Persie was missing in action.

A late goal from defender Evgeni Postnikov saw Kazakhstan’s FC Astana beat Finland’s HJK Helsinki 4-3 in a thrilling match.

The rest of the night’s results saw CSKA Moscow and BATE Borisov seal progress, while Swiss side FC Basel also went through with a 4-1 aggregate win over Lech Poznan.

FK Partizan overcame Steaua Bucurest with a 4-2 win on the night and Albanian minnows KF Skenderbeu went through after a 2-0 win over FC Milsami Orhei.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv overcame a 2-1 deficit to win 2-0 and beat Viktoria Plzen. Club Brugge defeated Panathinaikos and Salzburg lost a 2-0 lead to go out 3-2 to Malmo.

Results

Astana 4 – 3 HJK

Qarabag FK 0 – 0 Celtic

Sparta Prague 2 – 3 CSKA Moscow

BATE Borisov 1 – 0 Videoton

FC Basel 1 – 0 Lech Poznan

Club Brugge 3 – 0 Panathinaikos

Malmo FF 3 – 0 Salzburg

Partizan Belgrade 4 – 2 Steaua Bucuresti

Shakhtar Donetsk 3 – 0 Fenerbahce

Skenderbeu 2 – 0 FC Milsami Orhei

Viktoria Plzen 0 – 2 Maccabi Tel Aviv

The Ox gives Mourinho the Blues

The drought is over. It may have taken him 14 games, series of mind games and many failures.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal was all that was required to give Arsene Wenger his first-ever victory over Jose Mourinho.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 2, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 02: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 2, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Before the game, the statistics gave the impression that this was going to be a very uncomfortable afternoon for Arsenal. However, this Arsenal side were not ready to play according to the scripts. Their recent visits to the new Wembley stadium have been generally successful and Chamberlain’s winner means Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six visits to the English national stadium.

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Arsenal celebrates after beating Chelsea
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Dejected and Beaten: John Terry walks away after a disappointing defeat

The Gunners were solid and defensively efficient throughout, qualities usually associated with Chelsea and very alien to the Arsenal of old whose fragility and frequent loss of concentration in key moments against the bigger sides had been a constant source of frustration and disappointment to their fans. Chelsea were without star striker Diego Costa, who had an injury scare, an absence the Portugese coach attributed to a discomfort in his hamstring. In Costa’s absence, Loic Remy got the nod to lead the lines, while fringe player Ramires was also given a start partnering Matic in central midfield with Fabregas playing further forward in midfield. New signings Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao had to make do with a place on the bench. Jack Wilshere joined Welbeck on the sidelines with injuries for Arsenal.

Chelsea took time to get going while Chamberlain and Walcott’s pace were causing problem to the Chelsea backline. Midway through the first half, Mesut Ozil smartly found Walcott unmarked in the middle who fed the increasingly dangerous Chamberlain on the inside right of the box. Cesar failed to close him down quick enough and a swift shift followed by a curling shot from Chamberlain put Arsenal 1-0 up. That was the first goal Arsenal had scored against a Chelsea team managed by José Mourinho since 2007. Ramires then missed a golden chance to draw level in the first half following some hesitation from the Arsenal defence as he missed a point-blank header from six yards. The Gunners went in at half time with a lead to protect.

Petr Cech saved an excellent Oscar free-kick to draw roars from Arsenal supporters. Clear cut chances were few and far between until the closing stages of the game when Cazorla and Gibbs missed good chances to seal a more comfortable win. The hostility between the two managers continued at the end of the game as Mourinho made a point of shaking hands with every Arsenal player but ignored Wenger.

The Portugese was also far from impressed with the opposition style of play and stated that the best team lost the game while the defensive side had won. He further claimed that the Gunners had left their philosophy in the dressing room. Wenger quickly defended his team by stating: “Our game is based on solidarity, defending and attacking well. We wanted to protect our lead when we were 1-0 up.” He was also quick to praise his new goalkeeper Petr Cech and said: “He had an impact because maybe the Chelsea players thought they needed to score a perfect goal to beat him.”

Arsenal will be motivated by this victory as they seek to launch a serious bid for the title this season. They begin the season at home against West Ham United. Meanwhile, the Blues kick off their title defence by entertaining Swansea City, hoping to bounce back from rare disappointment against their London rival.