As anticipated, the Champions League gave football fans across the world with exciting and amazing results, leaving them reeling for more of the beautiful game on Tuesday and Wednesday night.
A viral clip of Arsenal’s midfielder, Declan Rice mesmerizing the UCL ball during a pre game training showed fans a glimpse of what the UCL means to players.
In the first set of games 48 goals were scored, with Barcelona scoring the highest after they defeated Antwerp by five goals to nil.
In other games, AC Milan and Newcastle played 0-0; Young Boys and RB Leipzig played 1-3 in favour of the away team.
Feyenoord won Celtic 2-0, while Lazio and Athletico Madrid played a 1-1 draw. Manchester City defeated C Zvezda 3-1, PSG nailed Dortmund 2-0, while Shakter Donetsk lost at home to FC Porto 1-3.
On Wednesday, Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen played 2-2; Real Madrid took it late to defeat FC Union Berlin 1-0; Arsenal won PSV 4-0; Bayern Munich defeated Manchester United 4-3; Benfica lost at home to Salzburg 0-2: Braga were defeated at home by Napoli 1-2 while Sociedad and Inter Milan played 1-1; similarly Sevilla and RC Lens played 1-1.
Following the conclusion of the first set of games of the UCL, below are few takeaways
i. Jude Bellingham continues to shine- Jude Bellingham scored an injury-time tap-in as Real Madrid left it late to beat Champions League debutants Union Berlin at the Santiago Bernabeu. Bellingham’s strike was his sixth goal in six matches for Madrid since joining Los Blancos this summer. The former Borussia Dortmund forward is fast becoming a proper name at the Santiago Bernabeu. His perchance for scoring goals when needed for the team is fast pushing him to becoming one of the elites of the world given the fact that popular names like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Mane and others have left the big stage.
ii. Arsenal pull a magical return to UCL at the Emirates – Arsenal made up for their six years absence from the UCL with an emphatic four goals to nil victory over PSV on Wednesday night.
While it is far too early to debate just how deep Arsenal can go into the Champions League after one game, but no-one can doubt this was a hugely impressive return.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Trossard, Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard gave the Arsenal fans a magical night in front of their home fans.
iii. Aaron Ramsdale or David Raya, Arteta stirring the waters – Arsenal coach, Mikel Arteta left fans asking the questions, who is the number after he picked David Raya ahead of Ramsdale in his first UCL game. Recall that Mikel in Arsenal last game against Everton dropped Ramsdale, leaving fans to ask if Ramsdale is still the number one goal keeper for the Gunners.
While fans will continue to ask this questions, Arsenal legend Theirry Henry in his assessment states, this is no goal keeper rotation, it’s clear statement from the coach that he thinks that David Raya is a better goal keeper to win him the league.
Iv. Mixed night for Manchester United – While many football fans has expected a whitewash at the Allianz Arena given their team below par display in recent weeks, the team did put up decent performance in their loss against Bayern Munich.
While the Bravarians had started the game leading by two goals, the Red Devils did put up a good fight to end the game at 4:3 on Wednesday night.
v. Tough night for Andre Onana- A viral image of Onana being pulled by up by a team mate after conceding the first goal sums up the night for the Cameronian goalkeeper.
His performance echoes back his pre match statement that it’s not easy to replace David de Gea, and giving his performance in recent weeks, the scrutiny continues to stay on him.
A goal keeper scores on UCL night: Against the run of play, Lazio goal keeper, Ivan Provedel was the Messiah for Lazio as they secured a 1-1 draw at the Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday.
Ivan Provedel became the fourth goalkeeper in UEFA Champions League history to score a goal as Lazio rescued a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the fifth minute of added time.