Redemption for de gear
At the end of last season’s Europa League final, David de Gea put pressure on his lucky role this summer.
De Gea suddenly stepped up for a death spot-kick after Manchester United and Villarreal’s penalty shootout were locked in 11-10 after the opposite number, Geronimo Ruli, scored on his pressure penalty … but did not miss.
De Gea didn’t even get a chance to take things out of his mind as he represented Spain at Euro 2020, as he watched their entire run in the semifinals.
Old Trafford has been the subject of speculation for many years considering his long-term future, and the recent rise of Dean Henderson, the way last season ended for De Gea, could well mark the beginning of his tenure at Manchester.
But United’s first five games of the season have blown away any long-held concerns that De Gea days have been counted. The Spaniard is back in the new season with new vigor and purpose – and is seizing the opportunity.
It ended with the final wording of a release at the London Stadium as Mark Noble’s long line of converted penalties abruptly came to a halt as De Gea made his first save in the Premier League in 2014 after admitting his previous 40.
De Gea stoppage-time heroism, and his performance this season, did not lose to Ole Gunnar Solskire, who said Sky Sports: “David is a different man. He said to come back early for the pre-season, he wanted to show how good he was and he was so attentive. He saved two points for us today.”
Solskire has announced that De Gea is back. With his best return in in-form Spaniard sticks, Manchester United could also be.
Nuno’s honeymoon in Spurs ends abruptly
Roy Keane called it “male vs. boy” and here was evidence of the work ahead for Nuno Espirito Santo, whose honeymoon as Tottenham’s head coach has now officially ended.
In the first half on Sunday, Thomas Tukel was praised for seeing how things were not working out for him, with his reverse number fixed due to the removal of Spurs.
Graeme Sonnes told Sky Sports: “We talk about how great Chelsea are but they’re also just doing the basics. They’re playing like a team, stopping crosses, getting blocks and pushing together – not individually.
“The Spurs didn’t look like a team. They were making fundamental mistakes that led to goals. At this level, at the highest level, if you don’t do the basics properly, you’ll be punished.”
Tuchel N’Golo could have won the World Cup with Kante but Espirito Santo’s patch-up Tottenham had no reaction. After winning his first three league matches by a narrow margin, a 3-0 back-to-back defeat brought a different color to his start.
More worrying would be that Tottenham have scored just one goal in their first five league games since the opening game. Harry Kane has no league goals and he has only taken four shots in many games and his body language has been questioned by Kane.
At the end of their defeat to Chelsea, Spurs touched just 1 tou in the opponent’s box and had just two goals in their eight shots in the opponent’s 400. Chelsea had 10 targets, all in the second period.
Nuno is still in the early stages of his career at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but, dominating each division to the end, his August manager Acoled quickly became a distant memory.
Looking toothless against Chelsea, next weekend at Arsenal would be the perfect time for North London derby Tottenham to rediscover their goal scoring touch.
There is no goal but Lukaku evolution is clear
Romelu Lukaku did not score a goal. But even then it was a performance to show how far he has come as a striker after his tough spell at Manchester United. There’s more to his game than just scoring these days and the Spurs found it on Sunday.
Most of the afternoon at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Belgian was marshalled by Eric Deere and Pierre-Emile Hazberg, confirming that he had a chance to score some of his own goals, but this did not prevent him from causing problems for the hosts.
In fact, his mere presence was enough to distract the Tottenham defenders from the other players around him, and numerous incidents occurred during the minute minutes when he showed no self-interest and creativity which is now his norm.
In fact, another day, Belgium could be a helping hat-trick. In the first half, he twice resisted the urge to shoot while others were well placed, only Kai Hawartz and then Mason Mount failed to connect properly with their shots.
He was there again in the second period, when he slided a pass to the left-handed attacking Timo Warner at the Tottenham box. The alternative goal had a clear vision but could not beat Hugo Loris.
Lukaku’s goal was the focus of his return to Chelsea. So far there have been four out of five appearances. But this is not the first time he has provided ammunition for his teammates.
In fact, only Reese James and Marcos Alonso are creating more chances every 90 minutes among Chelsea players this season.
Lukaku has created scoring chances for Manchester United in his last four Premier League (eight) matches.
It shows his evolution as a player. Throw in his lead as well – notice how he encouraged Warner instead of hitting him after his absence – and it’s clear that Romelu Lukaku is now a different proponent.
Rogers Madison Challenge
Of all the challenges Brendon Rogers faces – discussing key players’ injuries, tackling his side’s weaknesses from set-pieces, managing workloads like Yuri Tilleman as his side again competes on multiple fronts, the most subtle – and verified – are selected. Reviving James Madison.
Rogers had every right to be offended by Stuart Atwell’s negligence in using the touchline monitor to review the penalty awarded to his side at Amex. Suspicious goal from Wilfred NDD’s Harvey Burns violation.
But his side had a long-standing second-best against Brighton, and the influence of Ademola Lukman in the second half only highlighted how Hagano Madison lost his revenge after fighting right in a 4-3-3 formation.
Between injuries and Arsenal links, Madison has not collected a single shot on goal in his five Premier League matches this season and has not recorded a goal or assists on a top flight since February and so post-match questions keep coming up.
How can he be brought back to his best?
“Time, patience, support,” Rogers said. “It’s understandable that no matter how confident someone is, and no matter how good a player they are, you have to get them back to their basics: take off your socks, work harder and when you do, it gives you confidence.
“He’s a brilliant genius. He’s not going to be where he’s going in a while but he’s not going to be sorry for himself.”
The challenge of getting back to the basics is that a Madison – always fresh in front of the camera – has to realize himself.
But at Rogers, he has matched a manager with a psychologist as he is tactful, a mentor who will carry the conditions to get him out of the shadows.
Cucurella Seagulls can keep flying
Graham Potter is already impressed with Mark Cucurla’s linguistic skills but the deadline-signed Premier League pitch from Getafe seems to have adapted to the pace in the dressing room as well.
The Barcelona academy product nickname ‘The Hair’ is learning English after its 15 15million move for its tight, flowing Carl but here, in this energetic home debut of the win against Leicester in Brighton, he had plenty of signs of footballing telepathy with his new teammates.
Cucurella was impressive throughout – no Brighton player got more touches in Sunday’s game, or passed more accurately – but significantly in the first half where the hosts dominated as he launched one attack after another from the left.
There was a game-high 11 sprint and promising patterns woven with Leandro Trussard, Adam Lallana and the strikers in front of him but the verticality of the dog play was eye-catching and his speed and tendency to cope.
A long forward ball, after an unreasonable nutmeg, gave Neil Moupe a great chance in the first half and he also offered a smart scooped ball to give Larna another chance.
“He can play as a left wing-back, left-back, wide left,” Potter said. “Sometimes we missed this left-footed balance last season, especially from an offensive standpoint. He gives us options. He’s a really intelligent player.”
Last season’s Promise Campaign department’s expected-target carries frequent frustrations for loved ones, and while the new term remains in childhood, Cuckoo seems to possess technical and physical features that further inspire Potter’s progressive side.
With Tariq Lamptei finally back after a series of injuries, Brighton fans should have fun looking at them from both sides.