The Champions League returned for its second round of fixtures with a bang on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Well, for the likes of Bayern Munich it did. For Tottenham, it returned with a whimper, a flying white flag. Mauricio Pochettino's men were taught a lesson for the ages as the German giants beat them 7-2 in front of their own fans, with former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry the star of the show, scoring four goals. It may be a different shade this time, but this week London truly was red.
If scoring four goals and recording an assist doesn't get you a perfect 10, then there is something wrong with the whole system, damn it! The Arsenal reject was incredible against Spurs. His first goal was a display of extreme pace and close control as he cut through the opposition defence to slot home, while his second was placed calmly in off the post. The third saw him leave Serge Aurier for dead with a run in behind followed by a passed finish past Hugo Lloris, while the icing on the cake was a whipped strike into the corner from the edge of the area. An assist for Robert Lewandowski, too. You pretty much can't be more effective in a game of football. Bravo.
It was not a vintage Manchester City performance against Dinamo this week, but despite not being at their effervescent best they controlled proceedings from start to finish. This control was largely due to the presence of Rodri in midfield. He completed a remarkable 116 out of 126 attempted passes on the night and also won 100% of his tackles, and 100% of his aerial duels. His composure when things perhaps weren't running smoothly for City helped them eventually win 2-0.
With Lionel Messi starting the match against Inter despite being nowhere near fully fit, the impetus was eventually put on Suarez to step up and save Barca after Inter went 1-0 up through Lautaro Martinez. The Uruguayan scored his first to equalise with a ferocious volley from the edge of the area which nearly burst the net. His second, to win the game, was as good, if not better. Messi played a huge part as he went on a signature run down the right, leaving defenders in his wake before dinking a pass neatly for his team-mate. Suarez's first touch was genius as he burst in between two defenders before slotting home.
Gnabry will, rightfully, take all the headlines from Bayern's win over Tottenham, but Lewandowski's contribution really cannot be overstated. The Pole was a nightmare for the Spurs defence all night, ensuring his presence was enough to open up space for the likes of Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. He scored two on the night. The first, was quite incredible, as he initially made Jan Vertonghen look like a fool with a looping, heeled touch right over his head. Later in the move, he gave Bayern the lead before half-time with a stunning turn and finish from 20 yards. HIs second was superbly struck, too, nestling perfectly in the corner.
A hugely entertaining game at Anfield saw Liverpool squeeze out with a 4-3 victory over an impressive RB Salzburg side. The hosts went 3-0 up, with Salah scoring the third after a poor save by the opposition goalkeeper, only for the Austrian side to peg them back to make it 3-3. In the end, the match winner was the Egyptian, who allowed the Liverpool fans to breathe a sigh of relief when he got in behind the Salzburg defence to guide a half-volley into the corner from 12 yards.
Ajax, and Dusan Tadic (8.7) in particular, continued to impress in the Champions League this week. The Serbian recorded two assists as the Dutch champions humbled Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla. Roberto Firmino (8.7) assisted two goals of his own for Liverpool, while Achraf Hakimi (8.6) impressively scored two for Dortmund versus Slavia Prague.
ROUND TO FORGET
Hugo Lloris (3.9) conceded no less than seven goals against Bayern on Tuesday, and although he didn't really have a great say in any of them going in, letting so many strikes go by you really is not very good, at all. He did make three saves, though, so good for him...