Sports

Champions League team of the week: Gameweek 3

With the international break thankfully in the rearview mirror, the glorious sound of the Champions League anthem returned to us this week before the goals flew in across the Tuesday and Wednesday night fixtures.

Erling Haaland, you might have heard him, increased his personal tally to 28 in only 22 appearances in the competition but as Pep Guardiola took him off at half-time to deny the Norwegian the opportunity to bag his fourth hat-trick of the season, he just about misses the cut here for our Champions League team of the week.

Here is an XI of our star performers across this week’s games.

Diogo Costa saves a penalty during Porto's Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen

Diogo Costa gets down low to deny Patrick Schick from the penalty spot / MIGUEL RIOPA/GettyImages

An honourable mention must go to Club Brugge’s Simon Mignolet for shutting out Atletico Madrid and a dishonourable one, too, to Sporting’s Antonio Adan for spontaneously combusting against Marseille, but this week’s number one is Diogo Costa.

The 23-year-old is comfortably the best goalkeeper in Portugal at the moment and showed it with a superb stop to deny Patrik Schick from the penalty spot – one of six fine saves on the night as Porto won 2-0 against Bayer Leverkusen.

Reece James

A man of the match display from Reece James against AC Milan / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/GettyImages

With all the talk this week focused on Trent Alexander-Arnold it was a perfect moment for England’s other world-class right-back to remind everyone just how good he is.

James was rampant down Chelsea‘s right flank as they swept Italian champions AC Milan aside, putting one goal on a plate for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tap home and smashing one into the roof of the net himself on the way to a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Raphaël Guerreiro

Raphael Guerreiro opened the scoring for Dortmund / David Ramos/GettyImages

Often quite shaky defensively and more of a winger in disguise than a full-back, Guerreiro did what he does best and bombed forward in the sixth minute, before collecting a delicious crossfield pass from Jude Bellingham and firing across the helpless Yassine Bannou.

Edin Terzic’s men played some scintillating football on the way to a 4-1 away win against Sevilla, which proved to be Julen Lopetigui’s final match in charge of the struggling Andalusians.

Lionel Messi, Nicolas Otamendi

Otamendi is still going strong at 34 years of age / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

PSG have been playing testimonial football so far this season in the very best sense, with their glittering front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi combining to devastating effect without really breaking a sweat. The quickfire triangle of passes that led to Messi’s glorious opening goal sums it up really.

Enter Nico Otamendi, the old head in the Benfica rearguard who managed to keep his cool long enough – other than one slightly mishit back pass, because of course – to help Benfica hold the Parisians to a 1-1 draw.

António Silva

A name to remember: Antonio Silva / Octavio Passos/GettyImages

This brings us neatly to Otamendi’s centre-back partner, the 18-year-old Antonio Silva, who already looks completely at ease on the big stage. In front of a raucous Estadio da Luz crowd and against the best attacking line-up in world football, the teenager dealt with everything PSG could throw at him as though he’d been around for years.

Afterwards, he told the press: “I’m only dreaming of playing against Rio Ave in the next match”.

What an attitude. You really do love to see it.

Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa

Driving Napoli forward from midfield: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

What on earth was this man doing playing for Fulham?

In lieu of including the entire Napoli team – they were really that good – we’re selecting their best player on the night, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

The silky midfielder was once again both a creative and destructive presence all over the pitch, a hurricane wearing a kimono, as Napoli ran riot to trounce Ajax 6-1 at the Amsterdam Arena. The Cameroonian finished the night with two assists to his name but even that doesn’t quite do his performance justice.

19 years and 98 days old and captaining Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Make it make sense.

The first English teenager ever to captain a team in Europe’s elite competition, Jude Bellingham is so far ahead of the curve he’s off the entire graph. And then he goes and scores a goal like the one above to boot.

Adrien Rabiot

Rabiot looks set to become a free agent this summer / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

According to 90min’s resident Juventus ultra Jack Gallagher, Adrien Rabiot broke into a sprint for the first time in about two years on Wednesday night.

Not only that, he scored two impressive goals during the 3-1 home win against Maccabi Haifa: a lovely little give-and-go with Angel Di Maria finished with aplomb and a glancing near-post header from a corner. Playing for that new contract he’s never going to get, clearly.

Ferran Jutgla celebrates after scoring for Club Brugge against Atletico Madrid

Ferran Jutgla made only nine appearances for Barcelona’s first team but has been on fire for Club Brugge this season / ANP/GettyImages

Ferran Jutgla joined Belgian champions Club Brugge over the summer and has been something of a revelation, scoring six times during his first 10 games in the domestic league.

Against Atletico Madrid he was the sharpest player on the pitch during a shock 2-0 win, creating the opener for teammate Kamal Sowah and scoring a beauty himself. In fact, it could have been a brace for the former Barcelona B player were it not for the lightning reflexes of Atleti keeper Jan Oblak.

Christopher Nkunku

Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku looks set to join Chelsea next summer / Martin Rose/GettyImages

Get this one over the line, Todd Boehly. Christopher Nkunku was a constant menace to the Celtic rearguard this week, who simply couldn’t live with both his creativity and movement as the forward stretched them this way and that during Leipzig’s 3-1 win.

The Frenchman had a sumptuous chip over Joe Hart disallowed for the most marginal of offsides – thank you as always VAR – but took another chance superbly to open the scoring along with creating Leipzig’s third and final goal with a delicious switch of play.

Leroy Sane controls the ball before scoring

Leroy Sane has four goals already in the Champions League this season / Adam Pretty/GettyImages

It could have easily been Sadio Mane or Jamal Musiala, but former Manchester City forward Leroy Sane was the pick of Bayern Munich’s frontline as they beat Viktoria Plzen 5-0.

The German international skipped past three defenders to smash in the opening goal and set the Bavarians on their way to the rout inside seven minutes, as well as adding a second goal that is worth watching immediately, like right now, for his sumptuous first touch alone.

Luciano Spalletti

Somehow still never happy. Luciano Spalletti has Napoli playing with the hand brake all the way off / BSR Agency/GettyImages

After three games Luciano Spalletti has Napoli comfortably top of Champions League Group A with a goal difference of 11. You are reading that correctly.

His team are playing the most exciting football in Europe at the moment (Napoli also sit top of Serie A) and show absolutely no signs of slowing down. I’m not even going to mention ‘Kvaradona’, let’s all just enjoy it while it lasts.

Back to top button