The center-back was sent off in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on Monday after allegedly insulting the linesman while protesting an offside call.
Pique admitted that he was in the wrong for his actions, but denied hurling any insults at the referee. It is reported that Pique had some choice words about the lineman’s mother, which is never acceptable.
With the four-match ban, Pique will miss the start of the La Liga season, which Barcelona opens against Athletic Bilbao this weekend, the same team that just defeated them in the Spanish Super Cup.
He will also miss Barcelona’s huge early clash with Atletico Madrid on September 12, as Luis Enrique will have to manage without his first-choice center back.
While everyone knows Barcelona’s attack will be free-flowing, the team’s defense has been an issue during the preseason. They have conceded nine goals in their past three matches, and now must begin the season without their starting center-back over the past seven seasons.
Reyna’s goal was assisted by English teen Jude Bellingham, and fellow UK export Jado Sancho set up Haaland’s second of the day in the 77th minute as Dortmund took advantage of their chances on a day Gladbach started with Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea on the bench.
Reyna started at attacking midfield underneath Haaland and Sancho. He finished with 100 percent passing over 78 minutes, drawing three fouls, registering a key pass, and winning an atypical 3-of-9 duels.
“It was a very good start to the season,” Reyna said. “We have a lot of young players, it’s really enjoyable. We all have so much energy, but we need to keep working, we need to improve even more. We were so happy to see that some of our fans could be there again. That’s very important for us as players.”
Those of us who went out on a limb and said Hertha Berlin could be a surprise team in 2020-21 were validated for a day by the visitors to the Weserstadion.
Dodi Lukebakio and Matheus Cunha both scored, Vladimir Darida had two assists, and Peter Pekarik joined Jhon Cordoba on the score sheet for the away side.
Hertha produced five big chances and conceded little to Bremen, who scored via Davie Selke in the 69th minute.
USMNT forward Josh Sargent played further back from the front line in an advanced midfield or wing role. He had a key pass, two tackles, an interception, and a clearance. He won only four of 10 duels and completed half of his passes on a 33-touch day.
Koln 2-3 Hoffeheim
Leicester City knew what it was doing when it signed Andrej Kramaric in 2015, but the spoils have all been seen in the Bundesliga.
Kramaric gave Hoffenheim 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 leads on Saturday in Cologne, overcoming home equalizers from Sebastian Andersson and Dominic Drexler.
The 29-year-old Kramaric now has five goals in two outings this season to give him 75 goals and 30 assists in 152 appearances for Hoffenheim.
Bayern Munich 8-0 Schalke — Friday
Union Berlin 1-3 Augsburg
Stuttgart 2-3 Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
RB Leipzig v. Mainz — 9:30 am ET Sunday
Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen — Noon ET Sunday
West Ham will host Wolves next, buoyed perhaps by the improvement shown from a Week 1 loss to Newcastle.
3 things we learned from Arsenal – West Ham
1. Arteta’s magic touch springs winner: Lacazette got the start and scored but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was not afraid to take off the goal scorer and replace him with… a goal scorer. Nketiah ran into the heart of the box to be available for Dani Ceballos’ cutback of Bukayo Saka’s through ball and the Gunners fought through the congested 5-4-1 for a 2-1 win.
2. Steely lineup (kinda) works for Moyes: A week after leaving Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson, and Andriy Yarmolenko on the bench against Newcastle — and seeing Haller look strong in the League Cup — David Moyes again opted for a bit more steel and a lot more defending. Moyes’ men were set to counter in a 5-4-1 and they really limited Arsenal’s attack. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was kept from the danger areas apart from his assist, and it took a real touch of class in possession and movement for the Gunners to find their winner.
That said, Arsenal was a bit open at the back and was forced into playing Sead Kolasinac when Kieran Tierney pulled up with an injury before the game. Might Anderson and Yarmolenko have been able to produce a second goal?
3. Super Ceballos: His assist came from a great run and the appropriate final ball to Nketiah, but the Real Madrid loanee was exactly what Arteta needed on a day the Gunners were treated much like Man City was when the manager helped Pep Guardiola and Co. find its way through a packed-in group of defenders.
For his stat line, see “Man of the Match” below.
Man of the Match
Ceballos had 119 touches and completed 90-of-98 passes. He won 8-of-12 duels and collected three tackles, three interceptions, three clearances, and two blocked shots. A complete performance.
Arsenal – West Ham recap
Angelo Ogbonna had the first chance of the game but Declan Rice’s headed flick didn’t have enough power for the defender to head past Bernd Leno.
The Gunners soon asserted themselves on the game and Aubameyang put it on a tee for Lacazetteto head home and provide a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
West Ham tied it when Antonio got in front of Rob Holding to tap Ryan Fredericks cross home after great work from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.
“You can see we are short and they deserved the points,” Solskjaer said after the game. “They were sharper than us in challenges, tackles. We started off slowly and that had a knock-on effect for the rest of the game when they got the first goal. We had a long season last season and we didn’t finish until August 16 and we have not had enough preparation time to be sharper. We’ve worked hard with the ones who’ve been here, there have been a few players away on internationals.”
Sure, that’s true, but Solskjaer should know those excuses wouldn’t be afforded to Liverpool or Man City, clubs he’s trying to reach, and so they aren’t adequate now.
Whether the club needs to buy some better talent or not, few will argue that United doesn’t have the ammunition to stick with Palace at home. Juan Mata wasn’t in the 18 and probably would start for at least half of the Premier League’s clubs.
But Solskjaer’s men were wobbled, especially at the back, and the Norwegian manager left big buys Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek on the bench. The latter came off the bench to score United’s lone goal.
The Red Devils have spent plenty on players — yes, even under Solskjaer — and did get a very good performance out of Bruno Fernandes that was wasted by out-of-sorts Daniel James, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford.
“We will improve quickly, hopefully quicker than we’ve seen today,” Solskjaer said. “Today was a performance that you don’t see very often from these players because these players are better than that.”
As for transfers?
“We are always looking to improve if there is something out there that is available at the right price. We always want to strengthen. But we can all look ourselves in the mirror, instead.”
The former Ajax midfielder then snapped a reaction shot inside the far post to pull United within 2-1, but finished the day with not much more than the goal in 23 minutes. Van de Beek was credited with 30 touches, a tackle, and 18-of-23 passing.
“First match for the club, a day you want to win,” Van de Beek said to Manchester United TV. “It doesn’t matter how, you want to win and I’m really disappointed that we lost 3-1 at home, that’s really bad. In the week of training we did really well, we trained good so my feeling was really positive. But today we played too slowly, too long with the ball and I think against an opponent like Crystal Palace you need to speed up the game to create something. That was not good enough.”
It may take Solskjaer some time to get his best XI in order and the Red Devils were playing a Palace team with a PL match and League Cup outing under their belt. Still, the performance was poor and Van de Beek may find himself starting soon.