Peak of the Week: Canadians shine, Liverpool fall flat, Kvaratskhelia conjures more magic
Canadian MLS clubs may have had yet another forgetful week, but CanMNT stars cheered up fans with some fantastic showings.
Throw in some nasty goals all across Europe and a public spat in the Premier League, and we have some phenomenal features in this edition of Peak of the Week.
Game of the week: Bayern Munich 5-3 FC Augsburg
It’s not often you see eight goals in one game, let alone four of them being classy finishes. Throw in a hilarious penalty and Canadian icon Alphonso Davies’ first league goal in almost two years, and Bayern Munich’s 5-3 romp over FC Augsburg pretty much had it all!
Two strikes stood out from this goalfest, and French defender Benjamin Pavard was responsible for both.
The first one came via a half-volley after former Liverpool man Sadio Mané delivered an audacious bicycle kick assist. The World Cup winner then did his best Bundesliga logo impression to slam a volley into the Augsburg net to make it a brace for himself.
Canadian fans, who have had a week to rejoice, would have saved their loudest cheers for when Davies showed his prowess in the box for Bayern’s fifth and final goal of the game.
New arrival João Cancelo, who scored himself earlier, turned provider this time with a neat cross into the box, and Davies made no mistake with a smart finish on the stretch. So much for the whispered suggestions Cancelo may have been in Munich to replace Davies.
If you had to describe this game in two words, it would be “Box Office!”
Team performance of the week: Bournemouth vs. Liverpool
Liverpool fans were craving 7UP a week ago. They’d certainly prefer that to a Cherry Coca-Cola now.
After thrashing Manchester United 7-0 at Anfield, the Reds’ away woes continued when they slumped to a 0-1 loss against Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.
Liverpool dominated possession and had 10 more shots than Bournemouth including a missed penalty kick from Mo Salah, but a heroic performance from the aptly-named Neto in goal helped the home side take all three points.
Aside from the upset win, the biggest feel-good story of the game was the return of David Brooks to the Cherries side. The Welsh attacker was part of the squad for the first time since his cancer diagnosis in October 2021.
Jürgen Klopp’s side looked like they might embark on a late run to make the top four but were stopped in their tracks by a relegation-threatened side. Opposite manager Gary O’Neil further rubbed salt in the wounds after saying his side should have scored more goals. That quote was surely the cherry on top of the cake for the home fans.
Player of the week: Jonathan David
Every time Jonathan David converts a penalty kick for Lille, Canadian fans must be thinking about how the Belgium game might have gone had it been the Ottawa native taking the spot kick instead of Alphonso Davies.
During his last game against Lyon, David scored twice from the spot as he netted his first hat-trick of the season. The Canadian international is now the joint-top scorer in Ligue 1 alongside PSG’s Kylian Mbappé with 19 goals each.
With this treble, David also became the club’s all-time top scorer in the 21st century with 52 goals, eclipsing Belgian star Eden Hazard who previously held the record.
As his goal-scoring continues, it is surely only a matter of time before a Premier League club ropes in the 23-year-old to become their talisman.
Honourable mention: Leandro Trossard
Leandro Trossard recorded three assists in one half for Arsenal, during the league leaders’ 3-0 away win against Fulham on Sunday.
For £26 million ($38 million CAD), the Gunners seem to have picked up one of the bargains of the winter transfer window, after another impressive display by the Belgian, who has seamlessly slotted into their team.
Goal of the week: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia vs. Atalanta
It’s been seven months since the season started, but it is still hard to believe that the signing of the season across the top five leagues in Europe might be an unknown 22-year-old who joined from Georgian club Dinamo Batumi.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, more commonly known as Kvaradona, has been the name on Napoli fans’ lips all season (along with Victor Osimhen) for his breathtaking performances. When Napoli played Atalanta, the Georgian gave those fans another reason to celebrate by scoring a stunner.
After receiving the ball from Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia fooled three defenders with a shimmy, sent them in the wrong direction once again, before unleashing a shot that left goalkeeper Juan Musso merely a spectator like the rest of us. Kvaradona, indeed.
Kvara has scored several bangers this season, and it seems they only get better with every new goal.
Honourable mention: Sporting’s Nuno Santos vs Boavista
If the rabona is an art in football, then Nuno Santos shall be called Michaelangelo.
The Sporting midfielder hit one of the cleanest rabonas in recent memory against Boavista for the opening goal of the game. Santos pounced on a loose ball in the box, and displayed some outrageous technique to bury the ball in the back of the net.
This guy knows a thing or two about flair.
Drama of the week: Antonio Conte vs. Richarlison
Tottenham have been unimpressive this season, unfortunately, to no one’s surprise. One of the biggest disappointments of their season so far has been big-money signing Richarlison’s poor form, which has led to irregular game time for the Brazilian.
Last week, the former Everton man finally spoke out against manager Antonio Conte, blasting him for benching him in their Round of 16 second-leg game against Milan in the Champions League, while acknowledging that the club was having a “shit season.”
The Italian coach snapped back at Richarlison, immediately pointing out that he has zero Premier League goals, while brutally labelling the Brazilian’s season “not good.”
It didn’t end there.
When Spurs played Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Conte gave Richarlison a surprise start to which the 25-year-old responded with a goal. In front of watching eyes, he celebrated by shushing Conte, only for him to be left red-faced after his goal was disallowed for offside. A lesson to never celebrate too early, especially when you’re trying to rub your manager’s nose in it.
Tottenham are often on the receiving end of a lot of jokes on Twitter for their trophy drought and ‘bottled’ results. For better or for worse, one thing they’re rarely short of is drama.