19 Jul 2020
Caution is still the watchword as football’s return continues, but with comprehensive health and safety measures being implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, play is back under way in a number of leagues and the weekends are once again filled with football – just the way the fans like them.
The stadiums may be filled with banners or cardboard cut-outs, but at least the supporters get to watch their beloved teams in action on television. And over the past seven days, they have had plenty of action to enjoy.
FIFA.com goes around the grounds and gives you a run-down of what has been happening on and off the pitch over the past few days.
Sassuolo's Francesco Caputo scored the 1,000th goal of the 2019/20 Serie A season, which equalled an average of 3.02 goals per match. The last Serie A season that featured more than three goals per match was almost 70 years ago.
By shutting out Crystal Palace on Thursday, David de Gea kept his 112th Premier League clean sheet for Manchester United - equalling Peter Schmeichel's club record. The Spaniard has, however, taken 311 matches to reach this tally, while Schmeichel managed it in just 252.
Portland Thorns' 1-0 victory over North Carolina Courage in the opening NWSL Challenge Cup quarter-final was the upset of the weekend. The result ended a 26-match run in all competitions with at least one goal for two-time defending champions Courage dating back to 4 May 2019. Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom was in incredible form, too. She made eight saves in the match to become the only goalkeeper in the league to make eight (or more) saves while keeping a clean sheet on two occasions since 2016.
Led by the ruthlessly-efficient Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal defeated Manchester City to reach a record 21st FA Cup final in the club's history. Because Manchester United failed to reach the final, losing to Chelsea 3-1 the next day, Arsenal (13) can now distance themselves further from United (12) at the top of the competition's titles list. Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in the FA Cup final on 1 August. It will be the clubs' third meeting in the final with The Gunners winning each of the previous two in 2002 and 2017.
Real Madrid's La Liga title is Zinedine Zidane's 11th as Los Blancos manager: three Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, two La Ligas, two FIFA Club World Cups and two Spanish Super Cups. The Frenchman is now only three trophies away from equalling the club's most successful manager, Miguel Muñoz.
Before their quarter-final loss to Sky Blue FC on penalties, Washington Spirit were unbeaten in their last ten NWSL matches against the team from New Jersey, including winning all three of their meetings last season. However, goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was in scintillating form as she saved the decisive penalty to send Sky Blue into the semi-finals where they will face Chicago Red Stars.
Real Madrid became the only side to have won titles in each of the last eight decades in Spain. However, the past decade represented their lowest tally: two in the 2010s.
LAFC's Diego Rossi became the first player to score four goals against the LA Galaxy in a Major League Soccer (MLS) match since Mamadou Diallo on 15 June 2002. Rossi led LAFC to a stunning 6-2 victory over their cross-town rivals in the MLS is Back Tournament.
Three of the four quarter-finals of the NWSL Challenge Cup ended in goalless draws and subsequently went to penalties. Portland Thorns will face Houston Dash and New Jersey's Sky Blue will take on Chicago Red Stars in the semi-finals in Utah on 22 July. It was upsets galore in the knockout round as the four semi-finalists had a combined three wins during the preliminary round of the tournament.
Norwich City became the first team to collect two red cards before half-time in an English Premier League match in almost five years on Saturday. The Canaries' Emiliano Buendia and Josip Drmic received their marching orders in the 2-0 defeat to Burnley, making them the first pair of Premier League team-mates to be sent off inside the opening 45 since Stoke City's Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam on 29 August 2015. That was just one of the depressing stats to emerge for Norwich, who were already relegated and have now lost five successive home matches without scoring a single goal. No team in England's top flight has suffered that indignity since Birmingham City way back in 1922.