Who won the weekend? And who stunk out the joint? FOXSoccer.com fetes the stars who shone and shames the players who simply didn’t show up. Here are the weekend's studs and duds -- FOXSoccer.com's Jamie Trecker and Thomas Hautmann
Stud: Carli Lloyd (USWNT)
The reigning World Player of the Year wasted no time in making a statement, ripping Ireland with a hat-trick in the USA’s first match of 2016. Lloyd only needed a half hour to collect her three goals on an easy day out for the World Cup winners. Stiffer tests are to come as Olympic qualifying is on the horizon, but Lloyd’s torrid form seems to be continuing.
Stud: Marco Fabian (Frankfurt)
Alexander Meier was Eintracht Frankfurt's obvious stud for scoring his second career hat trick, but Marco Fabian may be the biggest winner. After Frankfurt were deservedly booed off by the home fans in the first half, the team came out of the dressing room with new energy and focus – and a new No 10. Marco Fabian wasn’t perfect in his Eintracht debut, but it was his tackle that led to the team's first goal and his dribble down the goal line that created Meier’s game-winner in stoppage time. Eintracht's winter signing is already paying dividends.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlex Grimm
Stud: Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Argentine winger brought the pain in PSG’s 5-1 thrashing of lowly Angers on Saturday, whipping in two brilliant goals. One was a delightful volley from range, the second a chip over the helpless keeper. Di Maria now has 11 goals and nine assists across all competitions for PSG. PSG are also a dizzying 24 points clear atop Ligue 1.
Getty ImagesXavier Laine
Stud: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
The young English starlet ripped in one of the goals of the season, a brilliant 25-yard volley that helped sink Crystal Palace. Alli collected the ball, flicked it over both his head and a defender’s, and then wheeled and buried the ball with a full volley to the near post. Spurs now sit fourth in the Prem, just five points off the top of the table.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Stud: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund)
Dortmund figured it needed a big individual performance to claim a rare win at Borussia Moenchengladbach, and the Armenian playmaker provided it. Mkhitaryan was excellent throughout the Bundesliga's game of the week, scoring one goal and assisting on another – his league-leading ninth of the season – in Dortmund’s first win here since 2009.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlex Grimm
Dud: Louis van Gaal (Manchester United)
After United turned in their worst performance of the season, van Gaal took the brunt of the fans’ abuse – and then admitted he deserved it. United have been woeful this season, but this show – anemic, plodding and generally pathetic – may finally have exhausted United’s patience with their manager.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
Dud: Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona)
Dreadful on the ball, not much better off of it, Vermaelen endured a poor day as Barcelona labored against Malaga. Booked for a late tackle, and lucky not to be sent off after another, this dire afternoon for the former Arsenal man was mercifully ended after 45 minutes.
AFP/Getty ImagesJORGE GUERRERO
Dud: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
City got another sullen, lazy game out of Toure, once the most influential player in the English game. At fault on West Ham’s opener after only 53 seconds, Toure rarely ventured forward and was too slack on defense to make up for it. Toure’s made more news lately because of his carping and complaining. He should get back to playing soccer and let his game do the talking.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
Dud: Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Another game against Chelsea, another red card: no team seems to get under the Gunners’ skin like their London rivals do. Today it was Mertesacker who was sent to an early bath, correctly ejected after 18 minutes for a foolish tackle on Diego Costa. That turned a game that probably should have ended in a scoreless draw into a damaging home loss for Arsenal, who now sit three points off the top of the table.
Dud: Jonathan Maidana (River Plate)
You’re playing in an exhibition game, a “friendly”, albeit against your arch-rivals, Boca Juniors. Boca have already been reduced to eight (!) men after three players were sent off. So what do you do? Why of course: you headbutt Carlos Tevez, sparking a melee and earning yourself a red. Classy stuff.