Champions League hits and misses: Wins for Premier League teams but did Man Utd merely paper over the cracks?

Man Utd’s comeback cannot paper over cracks

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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring towards Atalanta to finish Manchester United's comeback

A stirring Old Trafford night time to recollect or Cristiano Ronaldo papering over the cracks? Maybe it was each. Manchester United’s second-half comeback towards Atalanta was vital. It lifted them from the backside of Group F to the prime. But this 3-2 victory did not even come near answering the questions on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his aspect.

Instead, it was a reminder of every thing that we already knew. They can look disjointed and disorganised, too straightforward to play towards. They are weak and could be uncovered defensively. And they’ve world-class gamers who can cancel out these flaws instantly.

Bruno Fernandes’ extraordinary imaginative and prescient sparked the comeback along with his cross to Marcus Rashford for United’s first. Ronaldo accomplished the turnaround with the type of header that he makes look easy but no one else in world soccer appears in a position to rating.

  • Man Utd 3-2 Atalanta – Match report
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

Cheered off at the finish, it would show the catalyst for a extra assured exhibiting towards Liverpool. But it won’t. United have had their moments already this season. This was not even Ronaldo’s first late winner in the Champions League since making his return.

If there may be to be any conviction that this marks a extra vital shift in fortunes and type, a extra managed efficiency was required, one that may persuade those that the subsequent two guests to Old Trafford – Liverpool and Manchester City – could be saved at arm’s size.

This was not that efficiency. Solskjaer described his staff setup as 4-2-4 earlier than kick-off and that’s the way it performed out. His ideas on a primary half that noticed Atalanta lead by two at the break? “I thought we played well.” A stirring night time. But the cracks stay.
Adam Bate

Also See:

  • Champions League outcomes
  • Salah scores twice as Liverpool edge thriller at 10-man Atletico
  • Palmer heading in the right direction as five-star City thrash Brugge
  • Champions League group tables

Bold Tuchel’s threat backfires on physio desk

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Romelu Lukaku was substituted after a number of minutes of remedy earlier than half-time and disappeared straight down the tunnel in Chelsea's win over Malmo

There had been barely 24 hours between Thomas Tuchel blaming psychological and bodily fatigue for Romelu Lukaku’s lack of targets in current weeks and then naming Chelsea’s report signing on his staff sheet to face Champions League minnows Malmo. Sadly, that might not be the most ironic facet of the scenario.

Tuchel had wished to bounce his principal man into type, discover him a purpose – or two – towards a keen goal in an opposition who had conceded seven targets of their opening two Champions League video games. But as Lukaku hobbled down the tunnel 23 minutes into that sport, it turned evident his wait to return to scoring type could be halted for some time longer.

“If I knew before I wouldn’t have done it. But you can’t know it before and it was necessary that he was on the pitch,” stated a defiant Tuchel when requested about the seemingly contradictory actions of the earlier day and a half.

  • Chelsea 4-0 Malmo – Match report
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

Tuchel pointed to the reality Lukaku’s damage was brought on by Lasse Nielsen’s horror problem moderately than the muscle points he had alluded to, but the threat of taking part in him in any respect nonetheless got here with its personal worries.

If he did play Lukaku, then why Werner too? Since Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham had been each offered with Tuchel’s blessing in the summer time, the German is the solely different out-and-out striker left at Stamford Bridge, even when Kai Havertz is greater than able to filling in when required.

Havertz might want to just do that for the foreseeable future after Werner too hobbled off the pitch holding his hamstring, precisely the problem Tuchel had prompt had involved him about Lukaku.

He has began solely 4 of Chelsea’s eight Premier League video games thus far but will doubtless get his probability to shine after his effective purpose towards Malmo, coupled with the lack of different choices at Stamford Bridge, and it could present a chance for Callum Hudson-Odoi too, after his promising link-up along with his makeshift strike associate in that sport.

The huge bonus for Tuchel and Chelsea is that their subsequent 5 opponents earlier than November’s worldwide break are Norwich, Southampton, Newcastle, Malmo and Burnley. Otherwise, the supervisor’s dangerous determination may have had extra critical penalties in what seems the best Premier League title race in years.
Ron Walker

Foden now a central determine for Guardiola

For years Pep Guardiola has pleaded for endurance with Phil Foden. The Man City boss has gently uncovered the ahead to first staff motion, generally seemingly holding him again with the intention to shield and develop him. But it is all paying off now.

Foden is flying. He’s in the finest type of his profession and he is now central to this City aspect. While that does not at all times imply central by way of place, as we noticed at Anfield, it did on Tuesday night time away to Club Brugge – and it was from the center third of the pitch he pulled the Belgian aspect aside.

There had been a collection of wonderful passes from the 21-year-old early in the sport but it was on the half-hour mark that his inch-perfect loft over the prime launched Joao Cancelo to attain the opener.

  • Club Brugge 1-5 Man City – Match report
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats
  • Champions League outcomes | Group tables

That cross got here after Foden had dropped right into a deep place, successfully the central midfield zone that Gareth Southgate had experimented with him in throughout the final worldwide break. But it was as a false 9 that Foden starred for the majority of this huge City win.

He was the hyperlink man for his aspect, receiving the ball from City’s centre-backs and Rodri earlier than combining with Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne to maneuver his aspect up the pitch. In specific, his work with Grealish – supported by ahead runs from Bernardo Silva and Cancelo – induced Brugge all kinds of issues on the left flank.

The solely disappointment was there was no purpose of his personal. It wasn’t for a scarcity of attempting; Foden had 4 photographs in the match. But with him pulling the strings, there was the alternative for others to capitalise in the field and City had 22 photographs in whole.

Another standout story from the sport was the arrival of Cole Palmer on the huge stage, with the 19-year-old scoring his first Champions League purpose.

Like Foden, Guardiola has resisted sending Palmer out on mortgage, as a substitute preferring to familiarise the ahead along with his future first-team colleagues. The hope might be it’s as productive an method with Palmer because it has been for Foden.
Peter Smith

Alisson, Fabinho diversion pays off for Liverpool

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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson made three saves towards Atletico Madrid, together with this one to maintain out Thomas Lemar

Liverpool’s win over Atletico Madrid served up good chaos. From the early targets to the fast comeback, from Antoine Griezmann’s purple card to penalty drama in each containers late on. But amid the wild motion inside an electrical Wanda Metropolitano, some cool-headed planning from Jurgen Klopp and his teaching workers performed a key function.

The Reds had blocked a few of their gamers occurring worldwide obligation earlier this season, with quarantine restrictions that means they’d have then been unavailable for the Premier League fixture with Leeds. However, with that not an possibility throughout the September worldwide break, Klopp as a substitute instructed Alisson and Fabinho to return from their Brazil duties by way of Madrid.

  • Atletico Madrid 2-3 Liverpool – Match report
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

The determination meant the two gamers missed Saturday’s breeze previous Watford but had been prepared and ready in the Spanish capital when their team-mates arrived for Tuesday’s Champions League conflict. And each performed key roles.

Alisson, particularly, was in distinctive type, making three essential saves together with a wonderful one-on-one cease from Griezmann throughout the first half. He picked up the man of the match prize for his efficiency. Fabinho, who started on the bench, added an air of calm amid the storm when he got here on at half-time for Naby Keita, who had struggled defensively after his wondergoal.

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Fabinho had an vital affect for Liverpool off the bench at Atletico Madrid, making three tackles and finishing 35 of his 37 passes

No participant received extra tackles than Fabinho and he taken care of the ball too, with no Liverpool outfielder bettering his 95 per cent passing accuracy. Griezmann’s purple card early in the second half helped, but he introduced some management in the center of the park for Liverpool – though, Atletico, impressively, nonetheless induced issues.

Both gamers are attributable to return to Merseyside slightly later than the remainder of the first staff as a part of the rules for folks getting back from South America but they are going to be accessible for Sunday’s journey to Old Trafford, the place they’re more likely to have vital components to play once more. Rarely has a long-haul flight stopover been so rewarding.
Peter Smith

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