Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in World Football After Weekend of August 9-10
Our stock watch of players around the globe continues with our look at who's hot and who's not in world football, after a weekend when several domestic seasons kicked into gear and the Community Shield was played in England.
We take a look at the performances of individuals who are ready for competitive action—or who are looking distinctly unimpressive as 2014-15 looks ready to take shape in Europe.
Plenty of clubs are still in friendly action only so there is still time to work out those kinks, but for those already in competitive fixtures, poor performances at this early stage must be a worry.
Hot: Aaron Ramsey
He was superb last season and he looks ready to go once more.
Whether as a driving runner from central midfield or with a more advanced starting position as a No. 10, Aaron Ramsey has shown his capacity to be a big presence in the penalty box for the Gunners and his composure and technique in front of goal continues to impress.
Ramsey scored another well-taken goal for Arsenal in their Community Shield win over Manchester City and looks prepared to fire for his side in the new campaign.
Not: Willy Caballero
While Ramsey and Arsenal were enjoying life at Wembley, new Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero was not quite as happy with his own introduction to English football.
He didn't cover himself in glory with his positioning for Santi Cazorla's opening goal, and though he could do nothing about Ramsey's fine strike, he certainly had plenty of culpability in Olivier Giroud's spectacular third.
It was a well-hit shot, sure, but Caballero was miles off his line and not central; the effort should have been a fairly routine one for a well-positioned goalkeeper to deal with in truth.
Hot: Dejan Lovren
Elsewhere in England, Liverpool hammered Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in a friendly that was notable for the display of Philippe Coutinho—but we'll pick Dejan Lovren as the hot performer here.
The Reds were sorely lacking a defensive leader at times last season and that's what the manager Brendan Rodgers thinks he has got in Croatian defender Lovren.
Strong in the air, quick to make challenges on the deck and an all-round solid presence at the back, Lovren performed very well defensively and even scored at the other end.
Not: Ricardo Carvalho
A centre-back who didn't make quite as good an impression was found in Ligue 1, as Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho was sent off on the opening day.
His side were losing 1-0 at the time Carvalho received a second yellow card, and thus a red, leaving last season's runners-up with a big job on to save anything from the match.
Falcao netted a penalty to equalise, but a late winner for Monaco's opponents, Lorient, meant Carvalho's side started with a defeat.
Hot: Memphis Depay
Over in the Dutch Eredivisie, Memphis Depay has been hot for a number of reasons, not least of all being a transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur, per Darren Lewis in the Mirror.
His summer went pretty well as he was a squad member of Netherlands' World Cup side who finished third in Brazil 2014, while he marked the first weekend of the new Dutch domestic season with a match-winning brace for PSV Eindhoven.
Depay scored just 10 minutes into the game to double his side's early lead over Willem II, before adding a penalty in the second half for a 3-1 win.
Hot: Erik Lamela
Another wide forward who is looking to impress this season is Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela.
The Argentine attacker didn't have much of an impact at all in his debut season in England but has looked better in pre-season, now under the management of Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs. Lamela featured for the first 45 minutes of his side's pre-season friendly against Schalke and put in another impressive performance.
Spurs won 2-1 courtesy of goals from strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado.
Not: Andrea Ranocchia
Inter Milan might have signed Nemanja Vidic to lead their three-man defence this coming season, but Walter Mazzarri still has work to do to get them functioning as a seamless unit, especially given the first-choice trio's relative lack of pace.
Andrea Ranocchia left himself rather open positionally on more than one occasion against Eintracht Frankfurt in Inter's friendly match, which in turn let the German side in to overload or outstrip Vidic for pace and movement.
Better is required by the time Inter kick off their Serie A campaign against Torino.
Hot: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Back to the goalscorers in competitive action now and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ligue 1's top scorer last term, immediately hit the goal trail for this season at the weekend.
Reims held Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-2 draw but it was forward Zlatan who rescued the point for his side, netting twice to both open and close the game's scoring.
His first was a fine run behind the defence and slotted finish, but there was a touch of fortune about the second, which was essentially a cross from the left touchline that the 'keeper only managed to divert over the line. Zlatan could have had a hat-trick but missed a penalty and hit the post from close range with the 'keeper beaten.