Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in World Football After Weekend of August 29-31

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2014

Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in World Football After Weekend of August 29-31

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    Michel Euler/Associated Press

    The usual weekend of mixed action around the game saw outstanding results and performances in some quarters, both on the team and individual level, but a number of below-par displays from others.

    As is our custom, we've taken our post-weekend round-up of the games to bring you a list of who's hot...and who's most decidedly not.

    A quick mention first for Memphis Depay who finally saw his form dip enough to not register on our charts for the first time this season! Feel free to leave your own suggestions below.

Hot: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed last weekend through injury, but the PSG forward came back with a bang this time around.

    St. Etienne were the unlucky team to face his wrath after missing out on a chance to add to his goal tally a week ago, and he made up for it by blasting in a hat-trick in a 5-0 rout—and he only played for 73 minutes.

    That puts the Swede two goals clear at the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts already, with five in three games, despite playing one match fewer than his rivals.

Not: Stephane Ruffier

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    As if facing an in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn't enough, St. Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier even managed to give PSG a helping hand—or foot, actually—to get the ball rolling.

    Receiving a back pass at 0-0, Ruffier mis-controlled the ball and had to watch on in horror as it trickled past him and over his goal line: an own goal for the keeper to give the league champions the lead.

    Ruffier had no answer to PSG's goal threat, conceding five from just eight shots on target in total.

    Shots stats per WhoScored.com.

Hot: Diego Costa

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    There were some folk who would tell you, ahead of the new season, that Diego Costa was a one-season wonder in front of goal and he would flop somewhat at Chelsea.

    Presumably those folk only watched Costa in action at the World Cup this summer, where Spain as a whole were poor and the striker himself not entirely fit.

    Against Everton, just Costa's third Premier League match, he scored twice, taking his total to four goals already—the division's top scorer. His movement and on-the-ball impact was excellent, he was not deterred by missing a few early efforts and he never gave the Everton defenders a moment's peace.

Not: Muhamed Besic

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    Dave Thompson/Getty Images

    On the flip side of that crazy 6-3 win for Chelsea, Everton were disastrous in defence all game long and paid a heavy price.

    With the game already out of reach, 5-3 down with one minute to go, new summer signing Muhamed Besic came on to get his first taste of Premier League football. Nothing could go wrong in that time, right?


    One misplaced, ill-advised and poorly executed attempted back-heel in midfield gave the ball straight to Chelsea, on the counter-attack...and Costa wrapped up the win with a sixth goal. A harsh introduction to life in England for the Bosnia-Herzegovina international.

Hot: Raheem Sterling

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Down in London on Sunday, Liverpool were dishing out yet another lesson to Tottenham Hotspur, wiping the floor with Spurs in a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane, a successful outing for the Reds after a return to their diamond midfield system.

    Playing at the tip of that midfield quartet, Raheem Sterling ran the show once more, breaking into space to great effect, dribbling past the Spurs defenders at will and creating all kinds of attacking chances for his team-mates.

    Sterling netted the opening goal after just eight minutes and should have sealed the win late on with a Goal of the Season contender—a winding dribble past four defenders in the box...ended instead with a mis-hit shot straight at the keeper. That aside, he was superb.

Not: Pepe

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Enough of the Premier League—over to La Liga now, where Real Sociedad blew Real Madrid away by a 4-2 scoreline.

    That's crazy enough, but the defeated side actually led by two goals early on and looked for all the world likely to go on and rack up a rampant scoreline, until Sociedad's comeback.

    Central to all the best attacks that Sociedad made was...Real Madrid's Pepe. The central defender was awful in his positioning and marking, letting runners peel off him three times for three goals, while he also contributed to the general malaise and ineffectiveness at set pieces for his team.

    The Portuguese had a dreadful defensive performance.

Hot: Diego Lopez

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    Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

    Pepe's former team-mate, Diego Lopez, made his competitive AC Milan debut on Sunday after transferring to Serie A this summer.

    He made a pretty effective start, too—he made several impressive saves against Lazio, culminating in a late penalty save from Antonio Candreva. Only an own goal from team-mate Alex beat him, in a 3-1 win for Milan.

    It couldn't have gone too much better for new boss Filippo Inzaghi, with AC Milan sitting top of the table after Game 1.

Not: Yaya Sanogo

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Arsenal forward Yaya Sanogo retains the faith of his manager Arsene Wenger, but his performances are certainly testing that of the fans.

    With Olivier Giroud injured for the medium term, Sanogo will get his chance to lead the line for the Gunners on a regular basis...but he's still looking for a Premier League goal and came no closer against Leicester.

    He was "involved" in the Gunners' goal, but mainly by way of not controlling a bouncing ball then shooting directly against the keeper, only for Alexis to knock in the rebound.

    The rest of Sanogo's match mainly consisted of running offside, not being a terribly good focal point for the attack and never looking remotely close to scoring.