A Looney Opening Weekend & More | Case of the Mondays
Who's having the worst Case of the Mondays after this weekend's games? Let's find out.
The 6th place spot must be covered in quicksand and cement — that’s the only explanation for Manchester United’s 140 days straight (except for a two and a half hour run in between their game and Liverpool’s) in the exact same spot, despite an ever-increasing unbeaten run.Well, that or their bad habit of dropping winnable points. A 10-man Bournemouth rescued a point from them on Saturday, and although the Cherries keeper put in a great performance, United need to be doing better against bottom half teams — especially at home. It was the same story against Hull back in the beginning of February, and the fact that their next league games are against similar teams might be a bit worrying. It doesn’t look like they’ll be able to draw their way into the top 4.Zlatan has been bailing them out quite a lot lately — despite missing the likely game-winning penalty — but more so in other competitions than in the league. And while United fans will be happy that they have a trophy already and are in the running for a couple of others thanks to his goals, they probably won’t be happy if they also end up outside the top 5 or, at the very least, in another Europa League spot. But Zlatan is also only one of ten other players on the field; he’s not solely responsible for United’s immobility. And those other players will have to take an even bigger step up as Zlatan looks set to face a lengthy suspension for violent conduct. We’ll see if they’ll be able to.
Last year’s MLS Cup victors were in for a shock in MLS opening weekend as they fell to the Houston Dynamo, who finished the MLS season dead last, 2-1. The return of Clint Dempsey and his scoring ways almost restored hope to the defending champions as they pulled one back, but the effort wasn’t enough to salvage any points.Sounders fans shouldn’t worry too much, however. The team couldn’t string two wins together until late last season and look where that got them! A playoff season is a marathon, not a sprint; you can’t count out any team in any league after just one game, and in MLS, you can’t start counting teams out for many, many weeks after. But a loss is never the foot any team, let alone the champs, want to start off on.
Back for a second week in a row are Minnesota United, who got demolished 5-1 by Portland in their first ever MLS match. The scoreline set the record for heaviest opening day defeat of an expansion team and a rude awakening for what may be lying ahead for them in MLS. What probably hurts even more is how quickly the scoreline got run up so high, and how close it came to ending completely differently right before that. Minnesota pegged Portland back 2-1 in the 79th minute, but then shortly after Portland got a penalty and the floodgates opened. Conceding three goals in 20 minutes is going to sting for a long time. Maybe their preseason performance wasn’t such a fluke after all.
Usually getting beaten 6-2 would be the worst part of someone’s weekend, but Roger Schmidt had insult added to injury when he was sacked shortly after his Bayer Leverkusen suffered such an embarrassing defeat to Borussia Dortmund. This comes shortly after what might be an equally embarrassing 1-0 loss to 16th-place Hamburg, who have only won 6 all season. Bayer currently sit in 10th place and are set to crash out of the Champions League to Atlético Madrid after a 4-2 first-leg loss. A new manager at this stage might not be able to close the gap on top 4, but 5th place might be salvageable. Overall, it is a disappointing campaign for a team that looked pretty deadly towards the end of the last Bundesliga season that had them finished at 3rd.