Ernesto Valverde is facing a big week at Barcelona.

Valverde is under pressure early in the season after Barca slumped to a 2-0 loss at Granada to be left with just seven points from their opening five games of the LaLiga season.

Now, the next week is shaping as crucial for Valverde.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAYERS LOSING CONFIDENCE IN VALVERDE

Several Barcelona players have started to lose confidence in Valverde, according to ESPN.

With seven points from five league games, Barcelona have made their worst start to a season since 1994-95.

Monday's cover of Sport says Valverde needs an urgent reaction, with his side hosting Villarreal on Tuesday and visiting Getafe four days later.

 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are keeping an eye on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. Barca's sporting director Eric Abidal was present as Fabian scored in Napoli's 4-1 win over Lecce on Saturday, according to Calciomercato.

AC Milan want to strengthen at right-back and are considering Tottenham defender Serge Aurier, according to Sportmediaset, amid suggestions Andrea Conti is struggling to impress.

Jose Mourinho has had chances to return to management and the former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss apparently turned down a surprise opportunity last year. Fichajes reports Boca Juniors tried to convince Mourinho to take over, but the Portuguese tactician said he was not yet ready to leave Europe.

Everton have made a slow start to the Premier League season and are assessing ways to strengthen their attack. The Daily Express reports they are interested in signing Yussuf Poulsen from RB Leipzig. The Denmark international scored 15 Bundesliga goals last season.

Manchester City sent a message to the Premier League with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday, but Liverpool claimed victory at Chelsea to ensure they maintained the lead in this season's title race.

The Reds held their nerve in the wake of City's emphatic performance, taking a first-half lead at Stamford Bridge and withstanding a late wave of Chelsea pressure to emerge with a 2-1 win.

While the top two attempt to outstrip each other, Tottenham and Arsenal are lagging behind and there were mixed fortunes for the North London rivals in matchweek six.

After a thrilling weekend of top-flight action, the Opta data sheds light on the important details.

 

REDS SET RECORD AS FLYING START CONTINUES

Liverpool's 2-1 win at Chelsea made them the first team in top-flight history to win the opening six matches in two consecutive seasons.

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino helped maintain the European champions' unstoppable league form as they clinched their 15th consecutive domestic victory.

Even champions Manchester City have been unable to keep pace with the Reds this season, but Pep Guardiola's men remain the only team in top-flight history to have achieved a longer winning sequence (18 wins between August and December 2017).

It was Jurgen Klopp's 92nd victory in his 150th Premier League game in charge of the Reds, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (105 wins) is the only manager who can boast a better return from his first 150 matches in the competition.

Blues manager Frank Lampard is still without a home win after taking charge of four matches in all competitions at Stamford Bridge, making him only the second Chelsea boss to start with such a long winless run after Bobby Campbell in 1988.

RECORDS TUMBLE AS CITY RUN RIOT

With the champions determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's rampant side.

The records tumbled as City recorded their biggest ever victory in the English top-flight and inflicted the Hornets' heaviest ever defeat in the top four tiers of English football.

David Silva's opener after just 52 seconds was the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, while City's five goals in just 18 minutes made them the fastest team to go 5-0 up in the competition's history.

Not only did Sergio Aguero bring up 100 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium with his early penalty, he also became the first player to score in seven consecutive Premier League appearances since Romelu Lukaku in December 2015.

SPURS LET LEAD SLIP AGAIN AT LEICESTER

Tottenham's stuttering season continued at the King Power Stadium as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City despite Harry Kane's goal giving them a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Ricardo Pereira equalised in the 69th minute before James Maddison struck the winner five minutes from time, condemning Spurs to a third consecutive Premier League away game in which they led at half-time but failed to win – their first such run since March 2008.

Maddison's goal was his first in the Premier League since he scored against Huddersfield Town in April, ending a frustrating run of 31 shots without finding the net as he clinched three impressive points for the Foxes.

There were some positive stats for Kane, who has scored more goals (14 in 13 games) against Leicester than any other side in his professional career and more away goals (13) than any other Premier League player since the start of last season.

But those figures will feel meaningless to the England man after his side lost for the second time in four league games.

GUNNERS PULL THROUGH AFTER MAITLAND-NILES SEES RED

Arsenal were 1-0 down at home to Aston Villa when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for a second bookable offence but Unai Emery's men prevailed 3-2 after an impressive second-half performance with 10 men.

It was the ninth time in Premier League history that a team had won a match after having a man sent off while trailing and Arsenal had Nicolas Pepe, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for finding the net.

Aubameyang scored the winner in the 84th minute and his goal-scoring record stands at 16 in his past 16 games in all competitions for Arsenal, including goals in each of his last four outings.

Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, became the first Arsenal player to be sent off more than once in the Premier League in the same calendar year since Laurent Koscielny in 2013 (both players sent off twice).

The Premier League has had an established 'six of the best' for the past three seasons, but in 2019-20 it looks like being Liverpool, Manchester City and the rest. 

Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea all fell to defeats over the weekend and the chances of one or more of that trio - or Arsenal - finishing seventh or lower for the first time since 2015-16 appears very real. 

Few expected anyone to realistically challenge champions City and Liverpool - the closest pursuers last term - for the title this time around, but few expected the other heavyweights to look so punch-drunk by late September either. 

Tottenham, Champions League finalists only three months ago, slipped to a 2-1 loss to Leicester City on Saturday - throwing away a lead for the second time in four days after a 2-2 draw with Olympiacos in the Champions League. 

The purse strings may have finally loosened in north London in the close season but Mauricio Pochettino's increasingly agitated demeanour suggests something is amiss - as does one win in five and a residency in seventh spot. 

Things are even more dire at Old Trafford, where United's woeful away form continued with a 2-0 loss to West Ham on Sunday. 

Jose Mourinho's assertion he didn't "see any improvements" from the side he managed last term may have had an ulterior motive but it is hard to argue with its validity, particularly with Marcus Rashford now potentially facing a lengthy absence. 

It was common knowledge United are way behind their two biggest rivals but the gap is seemingly growing wider by the week. 

Chelsea, handicapped by a transfer ban, always looked the most vulnerable to slip out of the top six prior to the season, and for all the plaudits thrown the way of Frank Lampard and his young charges, the reality is the Blues are in the bottom half of the table, below Bournemouth, Burnley and Sheffield United. 

The Blues pushed Liverpool hard in a 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge but are now 10 points adrift of Jurgen Klopp's table-toppers after six games. 

And then there's Arsenal, fourth in the table, but flattering to deceive once more. 

Yes, the Gunners came from 2-1 behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with 10 men but the manner in which they were dominated for long spells - after toiling against woeful Watford seven days earlier - should be concerning to those rooting for Unai Emery's side. 

They are one of a quartet of flawed teams that no longer belong in the same bracket as City and Liverpool, who once more displayed their title credentials with victories. 

Pep Guardiola's side bounced back from their shock loss to Norwich City with an 8-0 drubbing of Watford. Meanwhile, Liverpool made it six wins from six this term - responding in style to their own defeat to Napoli in the Champions League in midweek. 

Leicester - champions in 2015-16 - and Southampton are the only non-big six clubs to finish in the top six since Everton managed it in 2013-14. 

Liverpool and Manchester City may be assured of the top two spots again, but the early indications are that the rest of the established order is crumbling. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is at the wheel but for how long?

After a blistering start to life at Manchester United, initially as interim manager, the Red Devils have struggled to convince.

United have won two of their opening five games ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham and Paris could be the location of a possible replacement…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND BARCA BATTLE FOR TUCHEL

Manchester United have sounded out Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel, according to Le10 Sport.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed a permanent three-year deal after initially replacing Jose Mourinho in December, but the Red Devils have been far from convincing following a brief upturn in results.

United have reportedly informed Tuchel of their interest, though LaLiga champions Barcelona are also tracking the German as pressure mounts on Ernesto Valverde after Saturday's shock loss at Granada.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Sunday Express, Tottenham have identified Leicester City star James Maddison as a potential replacement for soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen. Maddison has also been heavily linked to Manchester United.

United, meanwhile, have been told it will take £90million (€101m) to lure Germany star Kai Havertz from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, claims the Express. The 20-year-old is also attracting interest from Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool. As for United and their hopes of signing RB Salzburg star Erling Haaland, they could be scuppered by agent Mino Raiola. The 19-year-old made headlines with a hat-trick on his Champions League debut. However, United's relationship with Raiola could thwart their plans, writes The Sun.

- The Mirror says Arsenal are keen to re-sign PSV's Donyell Malen, who left the Gunners two years ago. It could cost Arsenal up to £50m (€56m) to bring the 20-year-old back to London. Liverpool are also believed to be interested.

- Marca reports that Real Madrid are keen to sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. The 16-year-old has dazzled in Ligue 1 this season.

David Alaba should be available for Bayern Munich's next Champions League game against Tottenham, according to Niko Kovac.

The left-back tore a muscle in his left thigh before Bayern's 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig earlier in the month.

He subsequently missed the 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade that got Bayern's Group B campaign up and running.

But after Bayern beat Cologne 4-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Kovac assured that Alaba's absence will not be a long lay-off.

"David Alaba is making progress," the coach said. "We need to increase the intensity of his running each day before he can re-join team training. We hope to have him ready for Tottenham.

"I think Paderborn will be too early. That will probably also interest the Austrian national coach. He will be fully operational again by the next international break."

Bayern go to London on October 1 for what is expected to be a game that helps decide who tops their Champions League group.

But prior to that clash, Bayern eased to a 4-0 win at home to Cologne partly thanks to Robert Lewandowski's double, while Philippe Coutinho's penalty opened his account for the club.

"We performed well today, especially since we only had 72 hours of rest since Wednesday," Kovac added.

"Cologne did well, it was not always easy to find the right solution. In the second half we did a better job, we created good chances.

"4-0 sounds pretty high, but we could have scored one or two more. Seven goals this week, you can build on that."

Cologne coach Achim Beierlorzer felt the scoreline flattered the champions.

"4-0 feels extremely bitter for us," he said. "At the end of the first half we were already really good in the game and had good chances to score. Bayern struck three minutes after the kick-off, because we were not awake. The corner for 2-0 has hit us very hard.

"If you want to get something here, the gameplay has to fit. But the way we were on the road today encourages me for the next games. It's bitter that we did not score a goal today."

Manchester City claimed their biggest-ever top-flight victory with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday to move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick.

A 3-2 defeat away to Norwich City last time out had raised questions about the hunger in Pep Guardiola's squad, but they responded with a brutal dismantling of the Hornets on home turf.

Liverpool will restore their five-point cushion at the top if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester City two points behind Guardiola's side after a 2-1 win over Tottenham.

In the day's other matches, Burnley moved up to seventh with a routine 2-0 home win over Norwich, while Everton lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield United.

DEVASTATING CITY BACK TO THEIR BEST

City's defeat against Norwich at Carrow Road had been their first since January, but any concerns it was anything more than a minor blip were pointedly answered by Guardiola's men against Watford.

The swagger with which City brushed aside Watford to take a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes was a reminder of the defending Premier League champions' quality and ruthlessness.

David Silva opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and that was followed by a Sergio Aguero penalty six minutes later – his 100th league goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Watford's defenders were left in a daze by City's slick interchanges as three goals – scored by Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo and Nicolas Otamendi – blew the visitors away.

The second half could have been something of an anti-climax, but Bernardo notched his hat-trick before the sensational Kevin De Bruyne rounded off the scoring.

LEICESTER FIGHT BACK DESPITE VAR

Mauricio Pochettino's 250th Premier League game in charge of Tottenham ended in defeat as his side's away day blues continued at the King Power Stadium in a match dominated by VAR.

Spurs have been memorable beneficiaries of the VAR review system in draws against Manchester City – most famously in a dramatic climax to their Champions League quarter-final second leg last season.

However, when Serge Aurier's goal was disallowed at the King Power Stadium because of the tightest of offside decisions against Son Heung-min when they were 1-0 up thanks to Harry Kane, it took the wind out of their sails.

Leicester were re-energised and after they equalised through Ricardo Pereira they took all three points thanks to a sublime low strike from James Maddison.

The Foxes themselves had earlier been denied a goal when the score was 0-0, after Wilfred Ndidi bundled in from close range only for it to be chalked off by VAR for offside against Ayoze Perez.

BLADES SLICE THROUGH TOFFEES

It was a tetchy day at Goodison Park as Everton suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League against newly promoted Sheffield United.

An own goal from Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who headed in an Oliver Norwood corner, came against the run of play, but the Toffees were unable to find a way back despite long spells of pressure.

When Lys Mousset slotted in his first goal for the Blades with 11 minutes to go it was start of grumbles from the Everton fans about whether Marco Silva is the man to take them forward as they started to stream towards the exits. They became boos when the full-time whistle was blown.

Chris Wilder's side, meanwhile, leapfrogged the Blues into the comfort of mid-table.

CLARETS ENJOY HOME COMFORTS

Burnley's ability to punch above their weight in the Premier League in recent seasons has been largely down to their impressive results at Turf Moor. 

A typically dogged and disciplined display from Sean Dyche's men secured another three points and lifted them up to seventh in the table.

Victory was secured thanks to two goals in four minutes from powerful striker Chris Wood, as Norwich failed to hit the heights of their previous win over Man City.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino claimed the goal his side had disallowed by VAR inspired Leicester City to their victorious fightback at the King Power Stadium.

Spurs had a 1-0 lead through Harry Kane in the Premier League fixture on Saturday when Serge Aurier’s low angled drive nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

However, referee Paul Tierney reviewed the goal by VAR and it showed Son Heung-min was offside by the thinnest of margins in Spurs’ build-up so it was chalked off.

Leicester equalised shortly afterwards through Ricardo Pereira before James Maddison secured a 2-1 victory for the Foxes with a sublime long-range strike.

Pochettino believed the VAR decision was a decisive one which gave Leicester hope, when a second goal for his side would have killed the game as a contest.

"It gives belief to a team that could have been dead," Pochettino said, as his 250th match in charge of Spurs ended in defeat.

"Both sides are affected by this situation. If we score the second, the game is over.

"That is football. It is true to concede two goals every game makes it difficult to win. Before we concede we were the best side.

"After we concede at 1-1 we had chances to score the second. But in Premier League it is the most beautiful league because it is never over."

Leicester head coach Brendan Rodgers revealed the psychology of VAR decisions in matches was something he discussed with his team during team meetings before the new campaign.

The Foxes were denied a goal themselves when Wilfried Ndidi scrambled the ball home from close range when the scoreline was goalless.

"We spoke with the players in pre-season about VAR," Rodgers said 

"You have to deal with it, sometimes for you and against you. Have to accept it and move on. It was a very important three points.

"It's what happens with VAR, you have to get your head round it. It works for you and against you. It worked both ways for us today."

It meant Pochettino was left to rue another miserable Premier League away day without victory, a run that stretches back nine games to January.

"We need to improve our performance away from home," said the Tottenham boss. "We are going to work hard and improve. In the big picture, I am disappointed but very positive and optimistic."

Rodgers, meanwhile, reserved praise for Maddison’s spectacular winner.

"James didn't have his best game for him, but he is a top-level player," added the Northern Irishman. "He is a top young player, with so much improvement to make. He always has an eye for goal."

James Maddison's superb long-range strike helped Leicester City come from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 following VAR controversy at the King Power Stadium.

Harry Kane's brilliant improvised finish saw Spurs head into half-time with the advantage on Saturday but a spirited Leicester, who had seen an Ayoze Perez goal chalked off early on, fought back following the interval.

After a Serge Aurier strike had been ruled out by VAR due to the tightest of offside decisions, Ricardo Pereira got the Foxes back on level terms when he arrived to convert Jamie Vardy's low cross.

Leicester's comeback was then crowned when the impressive Maddison struck from distance five minutes from time.

The result means Tottenham have still not won an away game in the Premier League since January, while Leicester climb above them into the top four.

Tottenham are without Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli for the Premier League trip to Leicester City.

Lloris misses out due to the birth of his child, while no reason has been given for Alli's absence from the squad.

There are four other changes to the side that drew with Olympiacos in midweek, with Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies, Lucas Moura and Christian Eriksen all dropping out of the starting XI.

They have been replaced by Paulo Gazzaniga, Serge Aurier, Danny Rose, Son Heung-min, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko.

Leicester, meanwhile, have made two changes from the side that lost to Manchester United last weekend, with Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes replacing Demarai Gray and Hamza Choudhury.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will not change his transfer strategy despite completing a £637million refinancing of loans taken out to support the construction of the club's new stadium.

Spurs supporters were left waiting for over a year for new arrivals after Lucas Moura signed for a reported £25m from Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018, with transfers taking a back seat while Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was completed.

That barren interval ended in July when Jack Clarke was purchased from Leeds United for what was understood to be £8.5m, and a club-record deal worth £62.8m for Lyon's Tanguy Ndombele followed soon after.

Ryan Sessegnon also arrived from Fulham for a reported £25m ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, and Levy has no plans to change his approach in the market.

"[The refinancing] will have no bearing on how we run the club… and no bearing on those types of short-term movements [like transfers]," Levy told the Financial Times.

"We could have easily spent more money on players. Who knows if that would have bought us more success or not.

"The right approach is to build from the bottom up. There is no quick fix to becoming a much more significant global club.

"I understand, as I am a fan, clearly you want to win on the pitch. But we have been trying to look at this slightly differently, in that we want to make sure we ensure an infrastructure here to stand the test of time."

Levy described the club's financial manoeuvre as "prudent" and indicated that efforts would be made to utilise the 62,000-capacity ground for more than just football to help recoup their investment.

"We have continued to develop Tottenham Hotspur in line with prudent financial management and investment into the club's key infrastructure and our fast-growing global brand, successfully matching long-term assets with long-term financing," Levy told the club's official website.

"It is a tribute to the team on and off the pitch that we have achieved what is considered to be one of the most attractive financing deals in the world of sport.

"Our club is extremely well-positioned as we move forward delivering the excitement and entertainment of Premier League and Champions League football, NFL, rugby, concerts and much more."

Mauricio Pochettino has no concerns over Christian Eriksen's form and commitment ahead of Tottenham's Premier League trip to Leicester City.

Eriksen was linked with a move away from Spurs during the close season and his contract is set to expire at the end of the current campaign.

The Denmark playmaker was benched for Tottenham's first two home games of the Premier League season amid such uncertainty over his future, although he returned to the starting line-up to open the scoring in the 2-2 north London derby draw against Arsenal.

Eriksen still appeared to be operating some way short of his brilliant best as Pochettino's side continued a mixed start to the campaign – giving away a two-goal lead, as they did versus Arsenal, to draw their Champions League opener 2-2 at Olympiacos.

"No, I am happy with the performance," Pochettino told a pre-match news conference on Thursday, in response to a question over Eriksen's recent output.

"Maybe Olympiacos wasn't his best game, like the team. The collective performance wasn't the best from us.

"I am happy with the commitment of Christian. He ran a lot and was very committed with the team. I am not concerned about him."

Harry Kane expressed frustration at Spurs' latest failure to hold on to a lead after the Olympiacos match.

"That's the hard part to get your head around because we’re not young any more, we’re not inexperienced," Kane told reporters.

"We've played in big games for club and country. I can see why the manager is frustrated because he’s been here for six years now and we're still making similar mistakes to the ones we were in his first year.

"We've got to find a way to get around it, improve and get better."

However, Kane insisted Spurs' problem is not one of mentality, and Pochettino agreed – choosing to focus upon the recent achievements of his team as he called for them to make further improvements.

"We need to improve in this type of situation - leading against Arsenal, leading 2-0 against Olympiakos," Pochettino said. "We are not talking about quality, we are talking to be in this type of situation to manage it better.

"Look, a few months ago we played the final of the Champions League, we were not talking about mentality because we played the final. We got a lot of praise because we played the final."

Where Pochettino appeared more frustrated in the immediate aftermath of the Olympiacos game was with an accusation that his players failed to "respect the plan", something he expanded upon before chasing back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

 "We were talking at half-time that our positional game, the plan was different and that is why we changed after 20 minutes, we decided to play with Lucas [Moura] close to Harry Kane as a striker, with Christian on the right and Dele [Alli] on the left," he said.

"We all agree, for different reasons, we didn’t play in the way we planned to play, but this happens. It happens at Tottenham, it happens at different teams and the most important is to realise and to fix the problem."

Giovani Lo Celso (hip) and Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) remain sidelined for the trip to the King Power Stadium.

Mauricio Pochettino accused his Tottenham players of failing to "respect the plan" in their Champions League draw with Olympiacos.

Having led 2-0 after half an hour in Athens, Spurs were pegged back to draw 2-2, allowing Bayern Munich to move top of Group B with a 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.

Harry Kane opened the scoring with a penalty 26 minutes in, which was the visitors' first shot of a match in which they were second best.

Lucas Moura struck a fine second but Daniel Podence halved the deficit just before the interval and Mathieu Valbuena's second-half penalty sealed a point for the Greek side.

Pochettino was unhappy with Spurs' display throughout the contest and felt they did not show anywhere near the level of effort they produced in last Saturday's 4-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace.

"I feel very disappointed. To be honest, first half, I wasn't happy with our performance," he said.

"From the beginning, we had a plan. We didn't respect the plan. I told the players at half-time.

"We scored two goals but if you only analyse the performance, it wasn't great. We conceded a lot of chances to them and the first goal was so painful. We didn't translate that type of aggression these types of games demand.

"How many times didn't we anticipate? And how were we not proactive like we were against Crystal Palace? At this level, you need to match your opponent. That is the first demand."

Spurs, who travel to Leicester City in the league this weekend, host Bayern on matchday two on October 1 and Pochettino wants his players to be optimistic about improving on Wednesday's result.

"It's disappointing because we are not talking about quality, we are talking about intensity, will and aggression," he told Spurs TV.

"We need to be optimistic and positive. It's only the beginning, a point here and now we need to be ready for Saturday when we play Leicester and that's going to be another tough game."

Harry Kane says Tottenham have "got to get better" after letting slip a two-goal lead to draw against Olympiacos on Wednesday, but he remains confident they will qualify for the Champions League knockout stages again.

Losing finalists last season, Spurs opened their Group B campaign in 2019-20 by picking up a point from a tricky trip to Greece.

However, it could have been much better for Mauricio Pochettino's side after Kane's 26th-minute penalty was followed by Lucas Moura's strike from the edge of the box, putting the visitors 2-0 up.

Kane acknowledged conceding just before the interval was crucial, with Daniel Podence halving the deficit in the 44th minute. 

Mathieu Valbuena then drew Olympiacos level from the penalty spot in the second half, forcing Spurs to settle for a draw ahead of a home game against Bayern Munich in their next Champions League outing.

"We put ourselves in a great position but the goal before half-time changed the momentum. We've got to get better," England international Kane told BT Sport.

"We didn't play well in the first half but we scored two goals, which away from home isn't bad.

"Overall, we're disappointed because it's a game we want to be winning but we have to look back and try to improve.

"In the second half, it was 50-50. We could have done better on the ball, but it's a point away from home."

Tottenham have no reason to worry just yet, though, as they also made a slow start to the competition a year ago. 

They picked up just a solitary point from their first three games in the group stage in 2018-19, yet still managed to squeeze through as they pipped Inter to join Barcelona in qualifying for the last 16.

"Last season we didn't start too well and had to play catch-up. This is only the first game and we are definitely backing ourselves to go through," Kane added.

Tottenham threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Olympiacos in their opening match of this season's Champions League.

Last term's beaten finalists were two goals to the good after half an hour in Athens thanks to Harry Kane's penalty and Lucas Moura's excellent finish.

Mathieu Valbuena was the catalyst for a deserved Olympiacos comeback, though, setting up Daniel Podence for a goal on his debut in the competition before burying a penalty 54 minutes in.

Olympiacos seemed to target Davinson Sanchez at right-back in the early stages and one such attack led to Guerrero rattling the base of the left-hand post with a shot from just inside the area.

The home side were certainly the stronger until Kane fired a spot-kick high into Jose Sa's net, having been tripped by Yassine Meriah as he worked his way into the box.

There was another blow to Olympiacos four minutes later, as Ben Davies stole back the ball in their half and fed Lucas, who lashed a shot beyond Sa from the edge of the area.

Pedro Martins' side grabbed a lifeline before the break, though, Podence exchanging passes with Valbuena and firing past Hugo Lloris' right hand.

Spurs were then punished again when some slack play from Christian Eriksen led to Jan Vertonghen standing on Valbuena's foot, allowing the French midfielder to send Lloris the wrong way from the spot.

Dele Alli was denied by the legs of Sa, who also kept out an effort from Erik Lamela, as Spurs failed in a late push for a winner, meaning they still have not won back-to-back away matches in Europe's elite competition.

 

What does it mean? Spurs frailties a growing concern

The problems in Mauricio Pochettino's defence were apparent last term even as Spurs reached the final – indeed, they have now conceded 20 goals since the start of last season's competition, more than any other team.

While most would still expect them to progress from Group B, this was a stark reminder of Spurs' fallibility at the back. They might not have merited a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes, but a team of their standing should certainly not have surrendered it so meekly.

Olympiacos dance to Valbuena's tune

Valbuena set up Olympiacos' first goal and won and converted their penalty, capping a fine display in which he largely dictated the pace of the game.

Eriksen a shadow of himself

When Spurs threw away a two-goal advantage at Arsenal this month, it was a result that did not do Eriksen's excellent display justice. On this occasion, he summed up Spurs' frailties completely, offering next to nothing in attack and conceding possession in the build-up to Valbuena's penalty.

What's next?

Spurs – who face Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday – play their second group game at home to Bayern Munich on October 1, when Olympiacos head to Red Star Belgrade.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid begin their respective Champions League campaigns with huge tests against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in the pick of Wednesday's action.

Atletico will be smarting from last season's 3-2 aggregate defeat to Juve in the round of 16, when Cristiano Ronaldo – a consistent nemesis of theirs during his time in LaLiga – netted a hat-trick in a 3-0 second-leg win to see the Old Lady into the quarter-finals.

Madrid get started away to PSG, who will be aiming to continue their fine run at home in the group stage despite being without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

Last term's beaten finalists Tottenham, Premier League champions Manchester City and German giants Bayern Munich are also in action.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's contests.

Club Brugge v Galatasaray

4 - After losing their first two matches in the 2018-19 Champions League, Club Brugge remained undefeated in their final four (W1 D3) – should they avoid a loss in this match, it will be the best unbeaten run by a Belgian side in the competition took on its current format in 1992.

12 - Galatasaray's new striker Radamel Falcao has scored 12 goals in the Champions League, just one goal off the record by a Colombian player in the competition: Jackson Martinez with 13.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid

21- PSG are unbeaten in 21 Champions League home games in the group stage (W15 D6), not losing since December 2004 against CSKA Moscow (1-3). 

1.97 - Real Madrid have averaged the most goals per game (2.13) in Champions League history. PSG are third on 1.97, with Barcelona the only club separating them in the rankings (2.02).

Olympiacos v Tottenham

8 - Olympiacos are winless in eight Champions League matches (D1 L7) since a 2-1 win against Dinamo Zagreb in November 2015. It is their joint-longest winless run in the competition alongside a streak that ended in October 2003.

50 - Mauricio Pochettino's will oversee his 50th European game as manager of Spurs on Wednesday. Only Bill Nicholson (55) has presided over more for the club.

 

Bayern Munich v Red Star Belgrade

36 - Robert Lewandowski has scored 36 goals in just 52 Champions League appearances for Bayern – only Thomas Muller has scored more for the club in the competition (42 goals in 105 games).

17 -  Red Star conceded more goals in the group stage of the 2018-19 Champions League than any other team (17).

Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta

11 - Dinamo Zagreb have lost their last 11 consecutive Champions League matches, their joint-worst run in the competition. Only Anderlecht have lost 12 successive matches in Europe's elite competition, that run coming between December 2003 and November 2005.

3 - Just three of the nine Italian clubs to have participated in the Champions League before Atalanta have won their opening match in the competition: AC Milan in 1992, Juventus in 1995 and Udinese in 2005.

 

Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City

79 - Excluding own goals, 79 of Shakhtar's 124 Champions League goals have been scored by Brazilians (64 per cent) – only Barcelona (85) have seen more goals scored by Brazilians than Shakhtar, while Braga (11-12 – 92%) are the only team to have had a higher proportion of goals scored by players from Brazil.

124 - Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick for City in their last meeting against Shakhtar in November last year, inspiring a 6-0 win. Of the 73 Brazilians to have scored four or more goals in the Champions League, Jesus has the best minutes-per-goal (124) ratio.

Atletico Madrid v Juventus

54 - Atletico will be competing in their first Champions League season without Antoine Griezmann since 2013-14. He scored or assisted 54 per cent of their goals in the competitions (19 goals, 7 assists) between September 2015 and March 2019 before leaving this year for Barcelona.

25 - Juventus star Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in his career against Atletico, having tormented them regularly in derbies with Madrid and netted a hat-trick last term for the Bianconeri. Only against Sevilla (27) has he scored more in all competitions.

 

Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow

0 - Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz has yet to win a Champions League game as a manager (D2 L4, with Dortmund). Each of Leverkusen's past four managers have failed to win their first Champions League match in charge.

7 - Lokomotiv forward Jefferson Farfan will be looking to score in his seventh different Champions League campaign (2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2018-19). The only Peruvian to have scored in more seasons is Claudio Pizarro (eight).

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