There have been eyebrows raised when the teamsheet got here out and Brighton captain Lewis Dunk was not within the matchday squad. Roberto De Zerbi confirmed pre-match that he was injured, together with striker Evan Ferguson.
We already knew that his absence could be an enormous blow, nevertheless it was a little bit of shock simply how a lot Brighton missed him.
Whereas AEK’s opener was a second of high quality, their different two objectives got here from a scarcity of defensive consciousness from Brighton’s again line. It was not helped by misplaced passes that the guests capitalised on, however there isn’t any doubting the presence of Dunk in the course of defence would have helped massively.
Not solely together with his personal defensive qualities, but in addition his management and organisation of the crew. That was missing at instances when AEK had been on the assault.
The truth is, De Zerbi himself arguably summed up precisely what Brighton had been lacking with Dunk’s absence, saying: “After we defend set-pieces in opposition to these groups, we have now to be extra targeted, extra with the fitting perspective, extra sensible.
“Generally, we did not do it. If we need to make one other improve, we have now to know earlier than the sport the conditions the place we are able to concede objectives.”
Jan Paul van Hecke did properly in spells, however he too may have performed higher for AEK’s third. It is onerous to pick any standout moments in defence from Dunk’s substitute Igor both.
When Brighton had set-pieces, their clear plan was to seek out Van Hecke on the again publish. Nonetheless, this didn’t work and in addition allowed AEK an perception into what was to come back. The Seagulls missed Dunk’s aerial presence too in these conditions in what had been wasted moments.
It was disappointing that Dunk needed to miss out on such a monumental evening for a membership he has given a lot to. But when something, it proved simply how important the defender is to the Seagulls’ success, providing a well timed reminder as Brighton embark on a historic European journey.
Jurgen Klopp vowed he would use the Europa League “to compete, to not give alternatives” after which made 11 adjustments – however his second-string facet did not let Liverpool down.
Ben Doak turned the membership’s third-youngest participant to characteristic in a European recreation on the age of 17 years and 314 days, 18-year-old midfielder Stefan Bajcetic was deployed at right-back for his first minutes of the season and new signing Ryan Gravenberch was handed his first begin.
That they had work to do at half time however Liverpool’s high quality got here by. Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz led one more fightback with Gravenberch fantastically aiding the second purpose. Mo Salah got here on for his customary European purpose.
Klopp might be inspired by how his much-changed facet delivered an essential victory to get their Europa League marketing campaign underway whereas easing fixture congestion on his squad.
“I knew it will be actually troublesome, and it was troublesome, even when individuals did not imagine me,” stated Klopp, though few will imagine him over his subsequent crew choice.
West Ham had 78 per cent possession within the early phases of the primary half of their win over Backa Topola with out carving any alternatives open. They had been making incorrect choices after they had been stepping into areas after they wanted to flash balls into the field.
The change in personnel was wanted. They wanted that point of interest by the center and Michail Antonio gave them that. Danny Ings was dropping into little pockets of house the place you do not actually need him. You need somebody to occupy the three centre halves. Antonio did that.
West Ham actually did give it a go ultimately. It was a extremely good response. They might have gone on and received it by 4 or 5. They wore them down.
They’ve a greater squad now to handle the calls for of the Premier League and European soccer. It is a lengthy season once you’re in Europe. David Moyes has the luxurious of with the ability to relaxation gamers and utilise the squad.
There was some criticism for Rangers’ performances, particularly within the massive video games, and so they’ve managed to get the consequence in opposition to Actual Betis.
Within the second half, Rangers deserved it. They had been glorious. Within the first half there wasn’t a lot between the 2 groups.
Kemar Roofe was glorious, an actual striker’s efficiency, a No 9’s efficiency, again to purpose, bringing his team-mates into it, and he had an enormous say within the purpose as properly, together with his shot blocked.
After the outcomes this week it has been left to Rangers to assist Scottish soccer with the co-efficient factors and so they’ve managed to try this.
It is a massive consequence for Rangers, there isn’t any doubt about that. For Rangers to bounce again, get their Europa League marketing campaign up and operating, I am certain Michael Beale and the gamers might be delighted.
Possibly Unai Emery underestimated Legia Warsaw. They had been superb – properly organised, turnovers unbelievable and good on the counter-attack.
As for Villa: massive, massive query marks. I do know gamers got here into the facet who have not featured a lot this season however it’s important to are available in and have an effect and so they did not try this. That is why they fell brief.
I believe this can have an effect on their Premier League type. It wasn’t their strongest crew nevertheless it was sufficient to get a consequence.
In the event you begin group phases properly you get the arrogance, the knock-on perception. That did not fill me with any confidence. That jogged my memory of the Newcastle recreation in the beginning of the season with objectives conceded far too simply.
They regarded annoyed on the bench and it is a dangerous begin to Europe.
Few would have anticipated Aberdeen to trigger Eintracht Frankfurt critical issues forward of kick-off. The Dons, with simply two factors from their first 5 Scottish Premiership video games, had an enormous process on their arms in opposition to a facet unbeaten within the Bundesliga and who received the Europa League simply a few seasons in the past.
But, Barry Robson’s facet will go away Germany feeling annoyed by happening 2-1.
Dante Polvara picked a nice second to attain his first purpose for the membership, equalising to stun the 55,000 within the Waldstadion. Ester Sokler virtually topped it – however shot extensive in stoppage time when it regarded like he might degree the match for a second time.
Working Frankfurt so shut, it was a efficiency Aberdeen might be happy with. However such had been the nice margins, it may have been a really memorable evening.
“I’m proud of the best way we performed and the dedication we put in, however I really feel we may have deserved much more, had
that one probability proper earlier than full-time whistle gone in,” Robson stated afterwards, earlier than expressing his frustration at conceding from a set-piece and penalty.
Encouragement, then. But additionally an consciousness that much more is required if this European journey goes to be a profitable one.