Well last weekend was something that resembled a semblance of normality for football fans.
Four of Europe’s top five leagues were in action following the return of Serie A, with normal service resumed in that respect as Inter Milan won thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku (£2.04) and Lautaro Martinez (£3.65), while the free-scoring Atalanta had to settle for just the four goals on their return to action.
Meanwhile, barring Burnley who play tonight, all other Premier League sides got their campaigns back underway in conditions that are now the new normal.
Something that fans may have to get used to as well is sticking with games for the long haul. Of the 23 goals that have been scored so far in the Premier League since its restart, 18 have come in the second half compared to five in the opening 45 minutes.
Whether that is due to players getting back up to speed with match-day fitness or knowing how much there is still left to play for before the end of the season, it means there is plenty more excitement in the second half of games, which works for us.
Thursday 18th June Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Star Player – Karim Benzema (2p)
- Top Defender – Daniel Carvajal (2p)
- Top Midfielder – Toni Kroos (2p)
- Top Forward – Karim Benzema (2p)
- Media – Timo Werner (3p)
Friday 19th June Silver Match Day Winners:
- Star Player – Danny Ings (4p)
- Top Defender – Nelson Semedo (4p)
- Top Midfielder – Oscar Rodriguez (4p)
- Top Forward – Danny Ings (4p)
- Media – Paul Pogba (3p)
Saturday 20th June Gold Match Day Winners:
- Star Player – Robert Lewandowski (8p)
- Top Defender – Luigi Sepe (8p)
- Top Midfielder – Lars Stindl (8p)
- Top Forward – Robert Lewandowski (8p)
- Media – Neal Maupay (3p)
Sunday 21st June Silver Match Day Winners:
- Star Player – Denis Suarez (4p)
- Top Defender – Jeison Murillo (4p)
- Top Midfielder – Denis Suarez (4p)
- Top Forward – Willian (4p)
- Media – Joelinton (3p)
Records Continue to Tumble for Robert Lewandowski
Those that thought Bayern Munich’s foot would ease off the accelerator having already secured a 30th Bundesliga title were mistaken as they brushed aside Freiburg 3-1 over the weekend.
Joshua Kimmich (£4.28) got the opener for the hosts, but it was the brace from Robert Lewandowski (£2.20) that stole the headlines to take his league tally to 33 for the campaign, which has seen him break the record for most goals by a non-German player in a single Bundesliga season, held previously by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£2.00) with 31.
Record aside, the Pole’s performance was enough to take home Star Player and Top Forward Dividends on Saturday to the tune of 16p alone, with their being one final round of Bundesliga games this coming weekend.
Having also assisted Kimmich’s strike, it’s taken his league goal involvements to 37 for the season – 33 goals and four assists – which is more than any other player across Europe’s top five leagues.
Lewandowski is currently at the peak of his powers, while the probable addition of Leroy Sane (£3.89) at the season makes Bayern Munich a very dangerous proposition for both Germany and the rest of Europe over the next few years.
Post-Lockdown Karim Benzema Is Lethal
Fresh from his Thursday triumph – that saw him win Top Forward and Star Player Dividends – Karim Benzema (£0.96) was at it again on Sunday with another goal for Real Madrid in their 2-1 win over Real Sociedad yesterday.
The Frenchman got the second for Los Blancos on the night, which turned out to be the winner, that sent his side to the summit of La Liga following Barcelona’s goalless draw with Sevilla on Friday.
Only Lionel Messi (£5.15) (21) has scored more than Benzema’s 17 goals in La Liga this season, while the 32-year-old is on course to equal his best-ever return in a league campaign of 24, which occurred in 2015/16.
Trading at just £0.96 as well, Benzema is an in-form player that should not be overlooked between now and the end of the La Liga season.
Danny Ings – Southampton’s New Saints
By the time the Premier League was shut down in March, Danny Ings (£1.27) had 15 goals in the league, which was easily his best return to date.
It was interesting then to see how the 27-year-old would fare once play resumed and whether he was able to recapture the form that put him on the cusp of a potential England call-up.
Those fears were allayed with his 16th league goal of the season coming in the shape of a beautiful curling effort to begin the scoring in Southampton’s 3-0 win over Norwich City – resulting in Star Player and Top Forward Dividends.
His strike was a significant one, as he became the first player since 2002/03 to score more than 15 Premier League goals in a season, when James Beattie netted 23, while this season only Jamie Vardy (£1.20) (19) and Aubameyang (17) have scored more than him.
One of the stars of the season, Ings began the 2019/20 campaign trading at just £0.58, while his current Share Price is now £1.27; an increase of 119%.
Not bad at all.
Delightful Paul Pogba Cameo
It was all that dominated the build-up to Manchester United’s game with Tottenham Hotspur. That was, whether Paul Pogba (£8.02) and Bruno Fernandes (£10.30) would start at the heart of their midfield.
We had to wait until the 63rd minute before the Frenchman was introduced to proceedings, but it was an impressive cameo that galvanised his side to earn a point in north London.
Pogba won his side a penalty, that was converted by Fernandes, after being brought down by Eric Dier (£0.47) having skipped past him moments earlier, while his all-round display was a major positive from the draw for those of a United persuasion.
He almost set Marcus Rashford (£8.27) up for a winner with a delightful pass on the half-volley in the final minutes, but it was not meant to be in a performance that offered huge encouragement, but we have been here before with Pogba.
Pogba is now trading in the £8-bracket for the first time since the end of March, and will likely stay there for the foreseeable if Friday’s display was anything to go by.
As always though, the criticism of Pogba has never been about quality; only consistency.
Wolves Continue Champions League Fight
Of the sides chasing Chelsea for fourth place in the Premier League, only Wolverhampton Wanderers enjoyed a win; 2-0 away to West Ham United.
While many predicted ‘second season syndrome’ for Wolves, especially with their involvement in the Europa League, they’ve managed to kick on and mount a serious challenge for a place in next season’s Champions League.
The game-changing moment came with the introduction of both Adama Traore (£3.35) and Pedro Neto (£2.08), with the former getting the assist for Raul Jimenez‘s (£1.79) opener, before the latter rifled home a spectacular for the visitors’ second.
Wolves’ first goal was a well-known combination, with six of their goals in the league this season coming from Jimenez goals assisted by Traore. Only Sergio Aguero (£1.51) and Kevin de Bruyne (£4.86) can match that tally in the Premier League.
Jimenez meanwhile has already equaled his entire goal involvement tally from last season in the league (13 goals and seven assists) this campaign with 14 goals and six assists, giving just one representation of the quality Nuno Espirito Santo has at his disposal.
*All Share Prices, rises and falls accurate at time of writing