Arsenal let down British contingent
Of the five British teams competing in this season’s competition, only Arsenal failed to win this week. The Gunners undoubtedly had the toughest match – up against last season’s runners-up, Borussia Dortmund – but they will be disappointed at losing their 12-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. The defeat really spices up Group F with Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli all locked on six points, and with three games remaining it promises be an engrossing battle for the top two spots with Arsenal having to travel to both Germany and Italy ahead of the group’s conclusion.
Meanwhile, both Manchester sides, Chelsea and Celtic all recorded wins. United and Chelsea top their respective groups, while City are currently winning the race with CSKA Moscow to finish behind defending champions Bayern in Group D. Sadly, City’s 2-1 victory in Moscow was marred by racist abuse directed at Yaya Toure from a small section off the home crowd. The midfield powerhouse was subjected to chants and was visibly upset after the game. UEFA need to act quickly and correctly by handing out a severe punishment to the Russian side to send out a message to the rest of football! This is a country set to host the World Cup in four years time!
North of the border in Scotland, Celtic kept their faint hopes of making the knockout stages alive by beating Ajax 2-1. The valuable victory sees them leapfrog the Dutch outfit into third spot and takes them within two points of AC Milan. If they can conjure up a memorable win in Holland in their next fixture then they will pile the pressure on Milan ahead of their clash with the Italians at the San Siro.
The irresistible Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a sensational four goals as PSG spanked Anderlecht 5-0 in Belgium on Wednesday. The win ensured that the French champions maintained their 100% start to the season and, bar a titanic collapse, they will progress through to the knockout stages of the competition. If the scintillating Swede stays fit, PSG could be a lively contender to be at Wembley for the Champions League final next May.
Ibrahimovic, who became the 10th man to score four goals in a Champions League and is clearly loving life in the French capital. His first goal on Wednesday was a simply tap-in, while his second was a skilful back-heel. The hat-trick came after just 36 minute and what a goal it was; an unstoppable 40-yard thunderbolt that rocketed into the back of the net, which was clocked at a staggering 93mph. The fourth and final strike he magnificently swerved in via the outside of his boot, which puts him second in the goalscoring charts.
Atletico Madrid are soaring
Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a stunning start to the season. Domestically, they are second only to La Liga leaders Barcelona, having won eight of their opening nine games. Their superb form has been replicated in Europe with three wins from three games taking them to the summit Group C, and therefore in pole position to qualify through to the last-16.
Their fantastic form is in part due to the incredible displays of striker Diego Costa who has been lethal in front of goal. The 25-year-old has bagged 10 goals in La Liga (two more than Ronaldo and Messi) while he has now scored three in the Champions League following his brace against FK Austria Vienna.
Atrocious Conditions in Portugal halt Benfica’s Chances
Benfica’s clash with Olympiakos in Lisbon was heavily affected by atrocious conditions which turned the pitch into a swimming pool. The second-half was farcical with the ball unable to move a few metres due to the extreme bogginess of the playing surface. In the end the hosts scored a late equaliser to salvage a draw, which means both teams are now locked on four points behind league leaders PSG.