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Haaland's ominous hat trick, Lewandowski on fire, Firmino's renaissance: Weekend review

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Michallik: Alexander-Arnold the star of Liverpool's record win (1:27)

Janusz Michallik singles out Trent Alexander-Arnold as the driving force behind Liverpool's record-equalling win. (1:27)

Another weekend of headlines, golazos and unpredictable finishes across Europe's biggest leagues. From Liverpool's 9-0 shellacking of Bournemouth, to Robert Lewandowski scoring yet another brace for Barcelona, there was no shortage of drama.

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden, James Tyler and James Olley break down the big stuff you need to know about the weekend.

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Jump to: Talking points | Best goals | Teams in trouble | MVP of the Weekend


Talking points

Haaland has City looking ominous

Manchester City scored 99 league goals last season on their way to a fourth title in five years, but they are already on course to smash that mark after just four games this time around.

Thanks to Erling Haaland's hat trick in the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Pep Guardiola's side have already plundered 13 goals this season, and you have to go all the way back to March for the last time they failed to score at least twice in a Premier League match.

It's lucky they're scoring so freely because, for now, they're having trouble keeping them out at the other end. Palace raced into a two-goal lead at the Etihad as City went two goals down for the fourth time in their last six league games. Remarkably though, they haven't lost any of them, winning two and drawing two. Palace looked comfortable at half time but when City stepped it up a gear after the break, they had no answer.

Haaland, meanwhile, is making a mockery of the claims he might not be able to do it in the Premier League with six goals in his first four games. Only three other players -- Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero and Mick Quinn -- can match that start in the Premier League era and, worryingly for the rest, Guardiola says there's more to come. -- Dawson

- Premier League's best and worst kits of the past 30 years

Super Sommer stifles Bayern

Why do people suggest Bayern Munich need to start every game 1-0 down when there are goalkeepers like Yann Sommer around? The ageless Switzerland international spent his Saturday stymying the Bundesliga champions to a 1-1 draw that they really had to work hard for, which I didn't think happened in this league anymore? (Ahem.)

After Borussia Monchengladbach took the lead very much against the run of play before half-time -- and we should acknowledge Sadio Mane having two goals disallowed for offside here, even though Dayot Upamecano should have done better cutting out a long ball, instead giving Marcus Thuram an unobstructed 40-yard run and finish -- Bayern threw the kitchen sink at Sommer and he was ready for it, making a league record 19 saves across the 90 minutes to preserve the draw. Bayern tried everything (including 33 shots at 2.82 xG) to crack Sommer, but had to settle for a point thanks to Leroy Sane, who popped up unmarked at the edge of the box to sweep home a low cross with his left foot.

- Watch again: Bayern Munich 1-1 Gladbach (ESPN+, U.S. only)

Sommer was caught flat-footed on that occasion, but was standing on his head for the majority of the game; starting with a sprawling parry to deny Upamecano's header in the first minute, he rarely found peace at the Allianz Arena all afternoon, using every bit of his veteran experience to frustrate the raucous Bayern crowd.

This draw shouldn't stop Bayern from romping this season to get another league crown, but Sommer did show the Bundesliga's critics that it can be done. Maybe. -- Tyler

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Yann Sommer plays hero for Gladbach with 19 saves vs. Bayern

Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer puts on a clinic to frustrate Bayern Munich in a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena.

Peace in Paris

When Paris Saint-Germain got a penalty on Sunday night at the Parc des Princes against AS Monaco, everyone waited to see what was going to happen.

Two weeks after "penalty gate" and the argument between Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over who was going to take the spot kick, there was no story this time around. Mbappe is PSG's first-choice penalty taker, but the two superstars had a chat after the spot-kick was given by the referee and the Frenchman decided to let the Brazilian take it. There is no controversy or new story, just a grown-up conversation between two teammates to decide who was the best taker at that moment in time.

Credit goes to Mbappe for letting Neymar take it. He scored to level the score for Paris and despite not going on to win (it finished 1-1), at least the French champions avoided more drama! -- Laurens

Lewandowski delivering for Barca

The focus before Barcelona kicked off against Real Valladolid on Sunday was on Jules Kounde, finally registered with LaLiga and available to make his debut in defence.

But by the time the final whistle went at Camp Nou it was another summer signing, Lewandowski, who had seized the spotlight with an irresistible performance. Lewandowski scored a brace -- and hit the woodwork twice -- in Barca's 4-0 win and looked every inch the world-class player the club worked so hard to sign from Bayern Munich.

His finishing took centre stage, with an acrobatic, deft far-post touch to connect with Raphinha's cross and put Barca ahead, followed later by a clever back-heel flick -- albeit helped by a deflection off defender Joaquin Fernandez -- to make it 3-0.

Lewandowski already has four goals this season, and there will be many, many more to come.

It isn't just the goals, though. He might have a reputation as an old-school penalty box predator, but his touch, vision and link-up play have impressed in a Barcelona shirt so far. Whether it's Raphinha, Ousmane Dembele or Ansu Fati alongside him, Lewandowski's intelligence means he has already developed a keen understanding with his forward line teammates, and that's bad news for LaLiga defences. -- Kirkland

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Lewandowski scores genius backheel goal for Barcelona

Robert Lewandowski shows off some incredible skill to give Barcelona a 3-0 lead vs. Real Valladolid.


Goals

Sumptuous again from Trent

Those persistent questions about Trent Alexander-Arnold's defending have already resurfaced this season, but there is no doubting his quality on the ball and Saturday's third goal in Liverpool's record-equalling 9-0 rout of Southampton provided yet another example.

Initially losing possession just inside the Bournemouth half, the 23-year-old regained the ball and played a one-two with Roberto Firmino before lining up a 25-yard drive that flew past Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers high into the net. It was a finish any striker would have been proud of. -- Olley

Tchouameni helps Real move on from Casemiro

Vinicius Junior capped a fine team move to open the scoring as Real Madrid made it three wins from three with a 3-1 victory against Espanyol on Sunday. Summer signing Aurelien Tchouameni was at the heart of the goal as he produced a performance to suggest Madrid might not miss Casemiro as much as they might have feared.

After a period of possession, Tchouameni played a one-two with Karim Benzema before feeding Vinicius to produce a sumptuous finish from just inside the area.

Madrid didn't have it all their own way in Barcelona, though, with Espanyol equalising through Joselu and a couple of late Benzema goals needed to earn the three points. Benzema finished at the far post after great work from Rodrygo in the 88th minute and then fired home a stoppage-time free kick after goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte had been sent off, with defender Leandro Cabrera forced to fill in for him. -- Marsden

Sargent has us paying attention

Is this pandering? Maybe, but the United States need a striker in the talent pool to find some form ahead of the 2022 World Cup and Josh Sargent is certainly delivering so far for Norwich City this season. His winning goal against Sunderland on Saturday was his fourth Championship goal of the season and, while not a masterpiece, he was in the perfect place to convert a neat passage of play into three points for the confident Canaries.

Considering the creative talent that the Americans should have in Qatar this winter, sometimes being in the right spot is all you need from your No. 9. Long may it continue. -- Tyler


Teams in trouble

Sevilla's struggles continue

The look on Julen Lopotegui's face on Saturday at Almeria said it all.

Sevilla were beaten again, and their frustration and anger were clearly visible on their manager's face. Three league matches, one draw and two defeats, only 3 goals scored, 5 conceded and a 15th place in the table is not where they should be at the end of August and not where they were aiming to be either.

Lopetegui can be cross, but he is partly to blame. Some of his calls have been strange -- like taking off Oliver Torres against Valladolid for example -- but it's not all his fault. The summer has been tough for Sevilla, losing their two centre-backs -- Kounde and Diego Carlos -- to only replace them so far with Tanguy Nianzou, who is a promising talent but has not played much in the last two seasons at Bayern, and Marcao from Galatasaray.

Sporting director Monchi has let Sevilla and Lopetegui down so far. Recruiting Isco is a gamble and the team still lacks a real goalscorer. The future doesn't look great either with the reception of Barcelona next weekend in LaLiga and Manchester City in the Champions League back to back. -- Laurens

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Sadiq Umar goal 55th minute Almería 2-1 Sevilla FC

Sadiq Umar goal 55th minute Almería 2-1 Sevilla FC

Die Knappen caught napping

It seems cruel to keep bashing on a proud club that has endured plenty of pain in the past 2-3 seasons -- including one of the worst Bundesliga campaigns of all-time in 2020-21-- but Schalke 044's first year back in the top flight after that ignominy augurs at another long campaign ahead.

Winless to open the season and with two wobbly draws (including an injury time penalty to get a point against Gladbach), Saturday's 6-1 thrashing at home to Union Berlin showed that this team isn't equipped for the challenge. And they have already introduced over a dozen new players to the Veltins Arena this summer! A couple of gentler games await before Sept. 17 trip to Dortmund, but form is not their friend right now. -- Tyler

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Sven Michel goal 90th minute Schalke 04 1-6 FC Union Berlin

Sven Michel goal 90th minute Schalke 04 1-6 FC Union Berlin


Weekend MVP

Firmino pulls out performance from the past

It felt like a scene from a few seasons ago. Anfield, packed in the sun, singing its heart out: "Si senor, pass it to Bobby Firmino and he will score."

Saturday was very much Firmino's day. He owned the game from the start with two goals, three assists in the 69 minutes he stayed on the pitch for. He was back to his best, like in the good old days where he made Liverpool such a special team. He was a key part of everything good Jurgen Klopp's side achieved but then, between the injuries, the bad form, the arrival of fresh new blood, he walked alone for a while.

At 30 (he will be 31 on Oct. 2), he will never be consistent like he was on Saturday against a Bournemouth team that shipped 9 goals and were dreadful, but he proved that he can still do a job for this club where his contract expires in a year. -- Laurens