CREME DE LA CREME: WHO MADE THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TOTW
To the amazement of most, Lokomotiv Moscow were able to earn a valuable point from Atletico Madrid and they can certainly thank Guilherme Marinato for his performance in between the sticks.
The experienced shot stopper, who has been at the Russian side for 13 years, proved why he is still the man in between the sticks.
Two superb saves from long range strikes by Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco respectively, kept Lokomotiv Moscow in the game and earned them a valuable point as they remain only two points off second place Atletico Madrid.
In more recent years Barcelona haven’t quite hit the nail on the head with some of their recruitment, however that can’t be said for Sergino Dest who justified his hefty price tag with a quality performance.
Surprisingly at 20-years-old, Dest was one of the more senior players that took to the field with Ronald Koeman naming a fairly youthful side, but the lack of experience didn’t affect Barca as they stormed to a simple 4-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv.
Dest scored his first goal for his new club after some intricate play from Pedri and Martin Braithwaite.
The clean sheet was never truly in doubt as Barca nullified most of the attacks from Kyiv but Dest was able to add some contributions going forward as well, the sign of a great full-back.
Ten goals in two games against Shaktar Donetsk has enticed the more defensive players to get on the scoresheet for Borussia Mochengladbach in both games, and this time round it was the turn of Nico Elvedi.
While also scoring a glancing header for Mochengladbach’s second, Elvedi won six of his seven duels and earned another seven this time in ball recoveries, ensuring a second consecutive Champions League clean sheet.
It seems Mochengladbach have taken the role of Atalanta from the previous campaign by just scoring tons and tons of goals, something that will certainly please Marco Rose.
It looked a pretty certain bet that Manchester City would qualify top of Group C, it was just a question of who would join them in the knockout stages and it seems very likely that it will be FC Porto.
Marseille struggled defensively against their Portuguese opponents and were made to pay after an uncleared corner gave Zaidu Sanusi two opportunities to score, the second of which he took.
Sanusi was also given multiple opportunities to drive forward producing another two shots in the game and having more touches in the opposition half than in his own to go along with his clean sheet.
Now on nine points, Porto have put themselves six points clear of Olympiakos and only be a miracle will they not be in the draw for the Round of 16.
After the seemingly inevitable move to Manchester United in the summer didn’t materialise for Jadon Sancho, the 20-year-old has struggled for form so far this season, but against Club Bruges he showed his undeniable talent.
Dortmund started extremely brightly at the Signal Iduna Park and after 18 minutes they were ahead, as Sancho set Erling Haaland free in the Bruges box and the Norwegian forward did what he does best.
Sancho was then able to get himself on the scoresheet with a delightful free-kick just before half-time to extend the host’s lead.
With everything Haaland touches at the moment turning to goals and Sancho providing a trademark performance, who’s to say Dortmund can’t push on for more than just participation in both the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Istanbul Basaksehir were unable to make lighting strike twice as they were handily beaten 4-1 by Manchester United, with Bruno Fernandes unsurprisingly starring.
In a game where United did find the back of the net with a penalty, both of Bruno’s goals were from open play.
The first, which was the game’s opening goal, was a brilliantly hit half-volley which flew into the roof of the net and for his second a slightly less glamourous strike following a calamitous mistake from Istanbul keeper Mert Gunok.
Despite being withdrawn after an hour, with the result seemingly wrapped up, Fernandes ability to link the play together was outstanding and his goals make you wonder where United would be had they signed him six months earlier.
After superb results against Real Madrid and Inter Milan, Ukrainian outfit Shaktar Donestk have been brought back down to earth with two humbling defeats against Borussia Mochengladbach and they’ll be sick of the sight of Lars Stindl.
The attacking midfielder, who scored and assisted goals in the reverse fixture was at it again in Germany, scoring from decisively from the spot placing a whipping corner straight onto the head of Nico Elvedi.
Mochengladbach surprisingly top the group ahead of European heavyweights Inter & R. Madrid, setting up an exciting final two matchdays where the German’s must face them both.
Italian free-scorers Atalanta defied all odds at Anfield producing a magnificent display against Liverpool to put themselves back in the conversation for qualification from Group D with Robin Gosens delivering a near-perfect display.
Jurgen Klopp’s team were far from their best, not even registering a shot on target in the whole 90 but that’s not to take anything away from Atalanta.
Gosens kept his composure wonderfully to head past Allison following a knock down from Hans Hateoboer, but as a wing-back the German had plenty of defending to do, of which he did superbly, winning the most duels (7) of any player in the game.
Now on seven points, the matchday five game against Ajax is a crucial fixture as to who will most likely qualify alongside Liverpool.
It’s certainly been a fantastic week for Erling Haaland, he was announced as this year’s golden boy before following that up with four goals at the weekend, and it got even better for him in the Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund eased past Club Bruges to remain top of Group F with a 3-1 over the current Belgian league leaders and Haaland was at the heart of it.
The Norwegian forward scored the game’s opening goal with a smart finish at the near post of Simon Mignolet. He followed up his opener by reacting sharply to a ricochet in the box to put Dortmund three goals to the good.
A clinical brace on matchday four capped off a superb week for the 20-year-old as he helped Dortmund edge one step closer to the knockout stages.
In the absence of Lionel Messi for Barcelona’s trip to Ukraine the goalscoring responsibilities were placed on the shoulders of Martin Braithwaite and he certainly didn’t let anyone down.
Ronald Koeman’s side confirmed their place for the next round with a comfortable 4-0 triumph against Dynamo Kyiv.
Braithwaite set up Sergino Dest for the opener and then got on the end of Oscar Mingueza’s flick from a corner to double the visitors lead early in the second half.
He then won a penalty after receiving a push in the back from a Kyiv defender and emphatically dispatched the spot-kick.
Undoubtedly this was Braithwaite best performance since signing for Barca and fans will be hoping he can continue this form in the La Liga.
Although he was unable to get himself on the scoresheet, Alejandro Gomez was integral to all of Atalanta’s build-up play against English champions Liverpool and without him the two goals wouldn’t have even happened.
Being just under 5ft 5ins, Gomez agility and end-product are the best parts of his game, both of which he got to showcase at Anfield.
The Argentine’s whipping cross on the hour-mark was turned in by Josep Ilicic and for Atalanta’s second goal, another cross towards the back post this time to Hans Hateboer was directed back across goal for a simple header for Robin Gosens.
After a pretty un-inspiring goalless draw in Serie A at the weekend, Atalanta returned to their best in England with Gomez starring.
Gian Piero Gasperini
The Italian media were very concerned following Liverpool’s 5-0 victory in Italy three weeks ago, but rather than being worried about the return fixture, Gian Piero Gasperini made sure his team took the game to Liverpool, and they certainly got their reward.
Gasperini brought Martin De Roon, Robin Gosens and Josep Ilicic into the team and both players had a huge impact at Anfield.
In the home fixture for Atalanta, Gomez played in a deeper attacking midfield role, at Anfield however he partnered Ilicic up front yet continued to drop deep causing problems between the Reds midfield and defence.
The back three were totally solid, not allowing a single shot on target for Liverpool, despite them fielding Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.
It was a brilliant performance from Atalanta not just on the pitch but also in the tactics room with Gasperini getting just about everything spot on.