Joel Sanderson-Murray·20 September 2023
Joel Sanderson-Murray·20 September 2023
Here is what we made of a captivating night across Europe, which you can catch up on all the results of here.
When it rains, it pours.
Manchester United started and finished brightly in Munich but it eventually turned out to be a miserable night in Germany and the stats don’t make for great reading.
It’s the first time they have conceded three or more goals in three consecutive matches since 1978, the first time they’ve conceded four goals in the Champions League since 1994 and their worst start to a campaign in over a decade now extends to four defeats in their first six games in all competitions.
Ten Hag is having to deal with an injury crisis at the moment but Bayern’s overawing quality eventually told but the Dutchman will take some pride in how his team fought back to almost come away with a remarkable point.
Rasmus Højlund did bag his first goal for the club out of nothing to offer some promise but this is another result that leaves more questions for the Premier League club.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man (again).
Plucky Union Berlin looked as if they were about to earn a remarkable draw in the Santiago Bernabéu on their Champions League debut until Jude Bellingham did what Jude Bellingham does – broke hearts.
The 20-year-old was in the right place in the right time to poke home after Fede Valverde’s shot had ricocheted into his path and just like he did against Getafe on LaLiga matchday four, he scored a stoppage-time winning goal.
It means Bellingham has scored on his LaLiga debut, first appearance at the Santiago Bernabéu and now his Champions League debut for the club.
Real always seem to be there or thereabouts when it comes to this competition and they will likely be there again even without Karim Benzema’s goals.
The hole left by the Frenchman was evident tonight with Joselu missing chance after chance but with Bellingham in tow Los Blancos are more than capable of lifting ol’ big ears for the 15th time.
Arsenal made their return to the Champions League after six years and the night couldn’t have gone any better for the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta’s men went into the half-time break 3-0 up against PSV as we got to see what this new phase of Arsenal looks like with Gabriel Jesus back in the side – the Brazilian was making his first start of the campaign.
Jesus knitted the attack together perfectly but it was the performance of his captain Martin Ødegaard which shone through at a rainy Emirates.
The Norwegian ran the show from midfield, operating in the role as conductor of a team playing to the famous Champions League anthem in perfect harmony before bagging the fourth goal in the second half.
It’s like they’ve never been away.
Bayern Munich are ruthless in the group stage, aren’t they?
Tonight’s 4-3 win over United is their 14th consecutive group stage victory as they extend their unbeaten run at this point in the competition to 35 games.
The Allianz Arena crowed bore witness to the strengths, weaknesses and everything in between of this Bayern side as their blistering attacking prowess was complimented by their midfield being overrun and the holes at the back being exploited by a team currently struggling to form an cohesive unit.
Thomas Tuchel screamed until he was blue in the face about the need for a defensive midfielder in the transfer window (hello João Palhinha) but the German will be thanking his lucky stars for Harry Kane – it’s five goals and two assists in his six starts so far after his penalty tonight.
Whisper it quietly, but VAR might’ve had a good night.
Inter were staring into the abyss in San Sebastian midway through the second half of their clash with Real Sociedad when Nicolo Barella was sent off for an alleged stamp.
However, referee Michael Oliver was diverted to the pitchside monitor before eventually going back on that decision after replays showed the Italian made no attempt to stand on his opponent.
Simone Inzaghi will be kissing that monitor tonight as Inter eventually came back to snatch a draw thanks to Lautaro Martinez’s late equaliser.
In other refereeing decisions on the night, let me bring the decision to send Benfica defender Antonio Silva off to your attention. What was Silva thinking?!