Soccer Monday: Everton docked 10 points, Mazzarri 2.0 and Real Madrid's injury woes
Kick off your week with all the action from this past weekend
The international break — dominated by qualifiers for this summer’s European Championship and 2026 World Cup — gave everyone time to ponder on the ongoing club season.
Indeed, a break from games clubs are playing isn’t necessarily a time to stop thinking about what they are doing. This is especially true of teams that are going through a tough period.
Here are the highlights from this past weekend:
3. Will Everton be relegated this season?
It’s a very good question — and not just because of the way the Premier League club has been playing. In fact, the Toffees have paid a steep price for its leadership’s manic spending when they were deducted 10 points this past Friday for breaching the financial rules.
As a result, the team, which averted relegation last season, dropped into next-to-last place in the Premier League table that threatened its 70-year status in the top division.
The club was found by an independent commission to have made a loss of $155 million over three years up to the end of the 2021-22 season. The league’s profit and financial sustainability rules allow clubs to lose a maximum of $130 million over a three-year period or face sanctions.
In a statement, the club said it “believes that the commission has imposed a wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction.”
“Both the harshness and severity of the sanction imposed by the commission,” the statement added, “are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence submitted.”
2. Mazzarri’s Napoli return
Napoli appointed their former manager Walter Mazzarri as their new coach last week following a shaky start to the season. The 62-year-old takes over from newcomer Rudi Garcia following a 1-0 defeat at home to Empoli.
The defending Italian champions currently have 21 points, 10 behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan, after having lost three of their opening 12 league matches.
The Partenopei resume their domestic campaign on Saturday when they travel to Bergamo to take on Atalanta. They play on Nov. 29 against Real Madrid on the road in a crucial Champions League group-stage match.
The injured Victor Osimhen, the league’s top scorer last season, is set to return following an injury, a development that will serve as a major boost for a team in need of wins.
With many perceiving Mazzarri’s return as nothing more than an interim coaching role, the move has received a mixed reception. However, the 62-year-old’s reputation in Naples remains largely intact after guiding Napoli in 2012 to its first Italian Cup in 25 years.
1. Real Madrid’s injury issues
The international break was not kind to Real Madrid. In fact, nine of the club’s 23 players are injured, leaving manager Carlo Ancelotti with a depleted squad for their road match against Cadiz this coming Sunday.
For starters, midfielder Eduardo Camavinga sustained a knee ligament injury while on international duty with France. Los Blancos do not know how long Camavinga will be sidelined for and his absence will be heavily felt in the coming weeks.
Jude Bellingham has had to return prematurely from England duty with a shoulder issue, while Vinicius Junior suffered a thigh injury in Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to Colombia last Thursday.
Among the others injured: Aurelien Tchouameni, the French defensive midfielder, is also out with a stress fracture in his left foot, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Eder Militao are longer-term absentees in the defensive unit.
Attacking midfielder Arda Guler, the highly-rated teenager signed from Turkish club Fenerbahce last summer, is yet to make an appearance after suffering a persistent knee problem.
In other news: France captain Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick as Didier Deschamps’ side ran riot in a record 14-0 win over Gibraltar on Saturday in a Euro 2024 qualifier. Mbappe’s three goals in Nice saw him become the youngest player to reach 300 goals in Europe’s top five leagues and international games combined, at age 24 years, 10 months and 29 days. … Striker Romelu Lukaku scored four goals in a span of 20 minutes as Belgium cruised to a 5-0 win over 10-man Azerbaijan in a Euro 2024 qualifier in blustery Brussels on Sunday. Lukaku put on a magnificent display of clinical finishing as he took his tally in the pool to 14 in eight games to break the scoring record in a single European Championship qualifying campaign, previously jointly held by Northern Ireland's David Healy and Poland's Robert Lewandowski with 13. … The United States face Trinidad & Tobago on Monday in the second leg of the CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinals at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The USMNT won the first leg 3-0 last Thursday at Austin’s Q2 Stadium. The game also serves as a qualifier for next summer’s Copa America, which will be held in the United States.