Top 10 Performances from Around the World for Weekend of 15-17 August
Another weekend of football action has passed, with most major European leagues now up and running for the 2014-15 season.
We've taken a look at all the action across the globe to compile the best 10 team performances of the past few days for your enjoyment, ranging from the opening day of the Premier League to MLS and everything in between.
As you read through, you'll note one or two title winners from last season—but we start off in Russia, where the reigning champions suffered a derby defeat.
10. Spartak Moscow
CSKA vs. Spartak was always going to be an occasion to watch out for, but with 13 yellow cards, two reds and a single goal between the sides, it was a spiky and tempestuous affair.
Spartak set up with a five-man defence and didn't look to break out of that shape too quickly, allowing CSKA to have the ball as much as they wanted in non-threatening areas but countering quickly and working a few presentable shooting chances.
It was a disciplined and hard-working performance against the reigning champions, and once they scored via a penalty, Spartak dug in to defend resolutely and take three points from the derby.
Celtic will have an awful lot of throwaway games this season in which they will overcome rivals without necessarily having to play well, simply because they are better. However, they did perform against Dundee United at the weekend.
The 6-1 win was well-deserved, with the SPL champions three goals up by half-time.
With a Champions League qualifier coming up and big money at stake, as well as the prestige of competing in that tournament, Ronny Deila's men couldn't have improved at a better time.
8. PSV Eindhoven
PSV Eindhoven have started the season in tremendous form and picked up a second big win of the season on Saturday.
They defeated NAC Breda, who finished just outside the relegation zone last year, by a hefty 6-1 scoreline, thanks to the continued excellence of Memphis Depay. The in-demand forward scored another two goals and also claimed an assist.
Georginio Wijnaldum and Jurgen Locadia also got on the scoresheet as PSV went top of the Eredivisie on goal difference in the early standings.
7. Swansea City
Swansea City weren't spectacular against Manchester United, but they were good enough to ruin Louis van Gaal's introduction to the Premier League.
The Swans defended well, had a good team shape and used excellent mobility in midfield to exploit the spaces around and behind United's midfield double pivot.
A clinical edge in attack gave them an unlikely victory, with Ki Sung-yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson getting on the scoresheet in the 2-1 win.
6. FC Dallas
FC Dallas have been in great form of late in MLS and continued that with a resounding 5-0 victory over San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, their fifth win in six games.
Dallas didn't have as much of the ball as San Jose and certainly didn't fashion as many shooting opportunities—the Earthquakes managed 25 efforts on goal over the 90 minutes—but they showed a tremendously impressive clinical edge.
The away side were already 2-0 up when Chris Wondolowski missed a penalty for San Jose. Tesho Akindele completed a hat-trick in the rout.
Over to Ligue 1 now and French side Saint-Etienne have been quietly impressive over the last 12 months, starting this season with two wins from two and sitting joint-top of the fledgling table.
Despite falling behind to an own goal against Reims, they fought back on Sunday to score three times in the final half-hour and win 3-1, a just result for their domination.
Max Gradel scored the equaliser, with Kevin Monnet-Paquet and Mevlut Erding sealing the win.
4. Manchester City
Manchester City barely got out of third gear against Newcastle United in their Premier League season opener but still picked up a comfortable 2-0 win.
With Fernando looking impressive in central midfield and three top-class forwards all shining during the game, City rode a first-half wave of pressure to clinically take the lead through David Silva before the break.
Despite Newcastle actively attacking and looking for an equaliser, City rarely appeared troubled; the home side didn't manage a single shot on target all game. Sergio Aguero only got eight minutes on the pitch, but he still scored a goal to wrap up the victory.
Back to Ligue 1, and Rennes put in perhaps the most clinical performance of any side anywhere this weekend: nine shots, seven on target, six goals.
They beat Evian TG by a 6-2 scoreline on Saturday, despite the two sides being closely matched last season—just two points and two places separated them. In truth this game was fairly close too, in terms of chances created, but Rennes certainly had the edge in the final third.
Ola Toivonen, Mexer and Paul-Georges Ntep each scored a brace for the home side.
2. Sporting KC
Sporting KC took on Toronto FC in the big MLS game of the weekend on Sunday, a match which pitted first vs. third in the Eastern Conference.
If Toronto had harboured hopes of catching the leaders in the remaining weeks of the season, their ambition was laid firmly to rest as Sporting ran out 4-1 winners in impressive style.
The home side enjoyed more possession and shots on goal, though not by a huge margin, but two early Dom Dwyer penalties gave Toronto far too much to come back from. KC are now 10 points clear of Toronto, though the latter have two games in hand.
Our performance of the weekend goes to Ligue 1 club Bordeaux, who produced a great second-half comeback to destroy last season's league runners-up Monaco by a 4-1 scoreline.
A tight first half saw the away team take the lead just before the break after few real chances had been created, but once Bordeaux drew level there was only ever one team who would win. Two penalties and a probable offside for one goal meant the big decisions fell the way of Bordeaux, true, but they were far quicker, more aggressive and had more intent to get players in the box—and that's what created their danger.
If Monaco had any hopes of winning Ligue 1 this season they need a quick reality check; they haven't made any notable signings, they've sold James Rodriguez, Falcao still isn't fit and they've lost their opening two games of the season.
Bordeaux, however, were excellent—and sit second after two games.
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