The second international break of the year has arrived and the Concacaf Nations League is set to bring a healthy serving of drama on Matchdays 3 and 4.
Mexico, the U.S., and the other top seeds in League A are set to join the inaugural tournament, so there’s no excuse to not tune in if you missed the opening rounds.
Before the tournament returns, the latest edition of Concaclusions brings you the top storylines involving Concacafers plying their trade across the pond.
Is there anything Raúl Jiménez can’t do?
Wolverhampton Wanderers continue to delight in the production of Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez. El Tri’s frontman made his name as a giant-slayer last year with goals against a collection of the Premier League’s top sides, and once again he played a key role in pulling off a massive upset — this time a 2-0 win against defending champions Manchester City.
If there’s only one moment you catch up on from the weekend’s Premier League action, make it Jimenez’s brilliant run and assist to play provider for Adama Traoré.
Christian Pulisic looking to climb the Chelsea ladder
If you haven’t heard the ruckus surrounding Christian Pulisic’s lack of playing time at Chelsea, then it’s probably past time to leave your rock and see the light of day. Coach Frank Lampard continues to attempt to lower the temperature amid his young team’s solid start to the season.
“If anyone is getting too excited about this, they should calm down”, the first-year tactician said concerning Pulisic. “He has started five games for us.”
The only thing to do for the 21-year-old at this point is to put his head down and work to earn an increased role for the Blues and shrug off the immense weight of a U.S. Soccer community desperate to see him take the Premier League by storm.
Sunday’s match against Southhampton saw Pulisic come on as a late substitute, and the result was just what you’d want to see from the American given his current situation. His precise ball into the box set up Michy Batshuayi for Chelsea’s fourth goal — good for his fourth assist of the campaign.
The assist from Pulisic 😍💯 and the finish by batshuayi 👌💪 pic.twitter.com/bFkrV6efZn— Anthony (@RealTony_cfc) October 6, 2019
Keylor Navas shining for PSG
Neymar. Mbappe. Icardi. Cavani. Di Maria. We all know about PSG’s full stable of offensive weapons, but it’s been their defensive record that has really impressed so far in 2019. With an astounding nine clean sheets in 11 matches played and 0.36 goals per game average, the French giants are head and shoulders above the rest of Europe in terms of keeping their opponents at bay.
Much of that success at the back comes down to the efforts of Keylor Navas, who has registered four clean sheets in his five starts. After losing his grip on the starting role when Real Madrid went all in for Thibaut Courtois, the three-time Champions League winner has quickly found his way in the French capital and is demonstrating why he remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the world.
Meanwhile, things aren’t so rosy for the ‘keeper in the Spanish capital…
🤷♂️ Thibaut Courtois has conceded 12 goals in 7 games in the Champions League since he signed for Real Madrid— The Sportsman Bet (@TheSportsmanBet) October 1, 2019
It took Keylor Navas 19 games to concede the same amount for the club...#RMABRU pic.twitter.com/c379DdfcEe
Pressure building on Lozano to perform for Napoli
Napoli pulled off one of the acquisitions of the summer when they put pen to paper with Hirving “Chucky” Lozano. The Mexican winger lit up the Eredivisie and garnered the largest sum ($46 million) the Italian club has ever paid for a player, a clear statement of ambition to once again challenge Juventus all the way to the end.
The 24-year-old showed glimpses early on and got his scoring account off and running in a wild 4-3 loss to Juventus, but he has failed to build on that in weeks since. Following another game in which he failed to produce and Napoli drew Torino 0-0, the Italian press is already showing its teeth by criticizing his lack of production in light of the hefty transfer fee.
Lozano will need to fully settle in and make a lasting impact in the final third sooner rather than later if the Partenopei are to ameliorate their scoring struggles and hang with Juve and Inter at the top of the league.