Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in World Football After Weekend of 15-17 August
The Premier League got underway, the Primeira Liga followed suit and German top-flight teams saw domestic cup action this weekend as the 2014-15 season really cranks into competitive gear now.
As usual we have seen a clutch of impressive performances, displays that leave plenty to be desired and an awful muddle in between, leaving us to sort out who has really stood out at both ends of the scale over the weekend.
Here is our "who's hot and who's not" round-up from around the game.
Manchester City's new signing Fernando proved he will be more than just a backup player for Fernandinho and Yaya Toure this weekend with a big display against Newcastle United on his Premier League debut.
Fernando covered the defence predictably well, harassing Newcastle's attackers and making challenges where he could, but he also strode forward quickly to exploit space in the centre after turnovers of possession and was neat with his passing.
With such a powerful and hard-working pair of Brazilian midfielders at his disposal, Manuel Pellegrini will have his choice of central players this season, a big step up from last term.
Not: Danijel Subasic
All the blame for Monaco's dismal second-half collapse against Bordeaux can't fall on goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, but he was particularly poor and barely managed to stop anything of note after the break.
Having been 1-0 up away from home at half-time, Monaco eventually lost 4-1, with Subasic giving away one of the two penalties his team conceded.
He didn't really dominate his area from set pieces, wasn't particularly outstanding with his distribution and generally contributed to Monaco's ragged defence.
Hot: Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling might have been in good form for Liverpool over the summer in pre-season games, but as everybody knows...they mean nothing. Could he take that into competitive action?
The answer was a pretty emphatic yes.
Sterling was Liverpool's best attacker on the opening day of the season, scored the first goal of the game and then set up the winner 10 minutes from time. Sterling looks set for a big season and started it in the perfect way.
Not: Igor Akinfeev
On the flip side, Igor Akinfeev endured, rather than enjoyed, the World Cup with Russia this summer after a high-profile blunder or two, and his domestic campaign with CSKA Moscow took a similarly disappointing turn this weekend.
The reigning champions faced Spartak Moscow in their derby fixture, at home, but lost 1-0 after conceding a second-half penalty, which Akinfeev himself gave away with a needless charge from goal to bring down the attacker in full flight.
Hot: Sven Schipplock and Stefan Kiessling
Unless you follow the Bundesliga to the extent of watching mid-table clubs, Sven Schipplock might not be the most familiar name to you—but the Hoffenheim striker deserves plenty of praise for netting no less than five goals for his side this weekend against Paloma.
Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling managed the same, scoring five against Alemannia Waldalgesheim.
OK, the scorelines were 9-0 to Hoffenheim and 6-0 to Leverkusen against minnow opposition in the first round of the DFB Pokal—but still, it's not every weekend you get to hit five in one game.
Especially if you only managed six league goals all last season, as Schipplock did!
Not: Mark Noble
From strikers who scored at will to a midfielder who couldn't hit any part of the goal from 12 yards.
Mark Noble is West Ham's penalty king usually, a reliable finisher from the spot, but when presented with the chance to beat local rivals Tottenham Hotspur on the Premier League's opening day, he wastefully scuffed wide after seeming to change his mind at the last moment.
What's worse, West Ham barely created another chance thereafter and lost to a last-minute goal from Spurs, 1-0.
Hot: Memphis Depay
Over in the Eredivisie, PSV Eindhoven have made an impressive start to the season, bolstered by the form and confidence of wide forward Memphis Depay.
Two more goals against NAC Breda means Depay has four strikes and one assist to his name after the first two games of the season. He is the early top scorer in the Netherlands and no doubt intensifying the interest in him for a potential transfer before the window shuts at the end of the month.
PSV went top as a result of their 6-1 win.
Hot: Tesho Akindele
One more "hot" player now, with FC Dallas' Tesho Akindele worthy of a note for his hat-trick against San Jose Earthquakes in MLS.
Dallas won the match 5-0, with Akindele's treble taking him to seven goals for the season and lifting Dallas to third in the Western Conference.
Akindele has hit a real hot-streak of form with six goals in his last six games.
Not: William Carvalho
We finish up over in Portugal, where Sporting Lisbon are adjusting to life without Leonardo Jardim, their former boss who has departed for Monaco.
New manager Marcos Silva came within a minute of taking victory away from home in his first game in charge, but poor defensive work in stoppage time saw Academica equalise late on.
Much of the disappointment in that has to be levelled at young midfielder William Carvalho, who got himself sent off after an hour of play for a silly challenge when he was already on a yellow card, leaving Sporting CP already playing catch-up with Porto and Benfica in the inevitable three-team title race.