After the conclusion of all the mid-week group stage champions league encounters between the top European football clubs, one could conclude that the English clubs were the ones who failed to impress. While champions Manchester United were pitted against Swiss club FC Basel, Chelsea were visitors to Valencia, Arsenal entertained Olympiakos at home and Manchester City faced the uphill task of ending Bayer Munich’s unbeaten run. Elsewhere in Europe, B.Dortmund versus Marseille , Barcelona versus BATE Borisov and Real Madrid versus Ajax were the other top fixtures, potentially the deciders of standings in the group.
Arsenal faced one of the weakest sides of their group, Olympiakos, at home. But the 2-1 victory of Arsenal was not as effortless as one would have expected. In a game that saw numerous missed chances and terrible defensive lapses, the North Londoners held their nerves to clinch a much needed victory. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain scored in his debut in the premier European football competition and new Brazilian signing Andres Santos soon doubled the lead. Olympiakos got one back as David Foster headed home to set up an intensely nervy finish to the match. Arsenal lie in the second place in the group table, trailing behind Marseille, who won against Dortmund, by 2 points.
Oxlade Chamberlain 8′, Andres Santos 26′
Mancheter United, who played hosts to FC Basel at Old Trafford, could only manage to salvage a draw, thanks to Young’s goal at the dead end of the match. FC Basel exposed serious kinks in United’s defense and other teams will surely pay heed to that. The scoreline read 3-3 at the end of the match and the minnows from Switzerland were more than happy to win a point, out a very likely three, from last edition’s runner ups.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV6Hr1ztFvM
Wellbeck 16′ 17′ Fabian Frei 58′ Alexander Frei 60′ 76′
Chelsea FC visited Valencia and Andres Villas Boas expected nothing less than a win from his in-form team. Juan Mata played against his former employers and his eagerness on the pitch to do well pushed everyone else around him too. 33 year old veteran Frank Lampard scored the opener for Chelsea, silencing all critics en-route, who thought he was too old to lead the Chelsea midfield now. Chelsea looked the better of the two sides during the whole match, creating numerous chances but failing to score past the Valencia custodian. In an unfortunate turn of events for chelsea, Solomon Kalou handled the ball inside the box in the 86th minute and Roberto Soldado converted the subsequent penalty kick. Chelsea stand at the top of their group with 4 points from 2 games.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaZ7BC3bB0s
Lampard 56′ Soldado 87′
Bayern Munich handed high flying Manchester City a thumping 2-0 defeat as the cash stuffed club failed to show the flamboyancy that it showed against the opponents in the EPL. In other matches, Barcelona felt no difficulties in defeating BATE Borisov by a handsome margin of 5-0, AC Milan won comfortably against FC Victoria Plzeň, the scoreline reading 2-0. Marseille and Leverkusen also registered easy victories over Dortmund and Racing Genk respectively.
With the tournament heading towards the end of group stage encounters in the coming weeks, the fights for berths in the knockout stage will push the teams further. The future holds many more interesting matches and epic duels.