Champions League Talking Points: Bayern thrash Arsenal
The big story from the midweek Champions League games came from the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich put Arsenal to the sword, coming out 5-1 winners on Wednesday to all but secure their passage into the knockout round, simultaneously taking the Gunners’ Champions League destiny out of their hands.
Can Arsenal progress?
Arsene Wenger’s side must beat Dinamo Zagreb in the next match and, in order to progress beyond the Group Stage for a 13th season in a row, have to hope Olympiakos lose their next match, at Bayern, and then beat the Greek side by two clear goals at the Karaiskakis Stadium in their final group match.
A stern ask for any side, but things could well go to the final day. Arsene Wenger has an impeccable European group stage record and, if you ask me, will probably find a way to keep it that way.
Willian leads the way
Chelsea, meanwhile, eased the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho with a crucial 2-1 home win against Dynamo Kiev, with Willian scoring a peach of a free kick with less than 10 minutes to go to send his side second in Group G.
The Brazilian has been the standout performer for the Blues in what has been a highly troubled season so far, and he was once again the driving force on Wednesday evening. The 27-year-old sent over the vicious cross that saw Dynamo defender Aleksandar Dragovic put the ball in his own net for the opening goal, and then stepped up in the 83rd minute to curl in from 25 yards out. Outstanding again from the winger.
Los Blancos through to the knockout stage
Real Madrid edged past French champions PSG at the Bernabeu, with a first half goal from Nacho sending the La Liga side through to the knockout phase. Manager Rafa Benitez has had to deal with a spate of injuries to key first team players in recent weeks, with Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez playing no part in the match on Tuesday, although the latter did make the bench.
PSG can count themselves unlucky to have come away empty-handed, having hit the woodwork on two occasions, with winger Angel di Maria, who was one to hit the post, clearly enjoying his run-out against his former club.
Manchester United struggled to break down a disciplined CSKA Moscow side at Old Trafford, and it took a late Wayne Rooney to end the club’s three-game goal drought, giving his side a 1-0 win after heading in a teasing cross. But the crowd at Old Trafford clearly showed their dissatisfaction throughout the encounter, booing the side off after a goalless first half, and lambasting Louis van Gaal for bringing on Marouane Fellaini for striker Anthony Martial late on .
Mike Smalling is back!!! pic.twitter.com/3FeOvuAlLv— Man Utd Videos ⚽️ (@ManUtdVines) November 3, 2015
"I'm not deaf. That's the opinion of the fans but afterwards they shall not be disappointed," Van Gaal said after the game. There was also time for the Dutchman to once again call Chris Smalling “Mike,” which continues to bring both amusement and concern to the United faithful.