The curtain comes down on the Champions League group stage this evening. Desh Parthab takes a look at five players to keep an eye on including Julian Alvarez, Mason Mount and more
Tottenham finished Group D in top spot after beating Marseille 2-1 thanks to a late Pierre Emile-Holjberg winner. The Londoners join Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City as all of the English teams qualified for the last 16.
Porto handed Atletico their third loss in Champions League this season – which means Rojiblancos are now winless across their previous five in the competition.
Barcelona put four past Viktoria Plzen, as the Spanish outfit ended their run in the competition. They drop down to the Europa League for the second successive season.
There are two spots up for grabs in this evening’s matches. One of them involves a straight shoot-out in Group E. AC Milan come into this one on the up and will progress if they avoid defeat against a Salzburg side who currently top the Austrian Bundesliga, with a 10-3-1 record.
Similarly, Leipzig will make the remaining spot theirs if they avoid defeat against Shaktar in their Group F showdown.
Paris Saint Germain have confirmed their spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League. They head to Turin where Juventus lie in wait. The Old Lady have underwhelmed this season but can secure a spot in the Europa League with a win tonight.
In any case, here are five players to keep an eye out for as the Group Stage comes to an end.
Alvarez gets another chance as Haaland ruled out
Julian Alvarez may well add to his Champions League account this evening when the Citizens host Sevilla. The striker has started back-to-back fixtures for City and could make it three on the trot at the Etihad this evening. Guardiola’s men are confirmed as Group G winners, but they have won just two of their previous five across all competitions.
Ruiz the best of the rest at PSG?
Fabian Ruiz is my pick of the Parisians to get on the scoresheet this evening. Only the front three of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe have attempted more shots than Ruiz in the Champions League, with the midfielder spurning a chance to open his account as seen by his one big chance missed. The French outfit will be motivated to ensure that the three return to Paris. They will need to better Benfica’s result on the night to guarantee top spot in Group H.
🗣️ Fabian Ruiz to @elpais_deportes :— PSG Chief (@psg_chief) September 21, 2022
“When the offer came, I couldn't say no to a club like PSG. It was a very good choice. My agents called to let me know that PSG were interested, so I spoke to Campos who explained the project to me.”#PSG🔴🔵🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/sPzzqBPar2
Mount getting back to his best
Mason Mount could be in the thick of things when Chelsea take on Dinamo Zagreb this evening. The midfield maestro has been quiet of late, creating just three chances across his previous three appearances, across all competitions. In the reverse fixture, Dinamo dispatched Chelsea 1-0 which was Thomas Tuchel’s final game as Blues boss.
Rose getting the best out of Szoboszlai
Leipzig have grown from strength to strength under new manager Marco Rose. The mentor has guided The Red Bulls to victory in eight of his 12 fixtures in charge – a spell which includes relieving Real Madrid of their unbeaten start to the season. Dominik Szoboszlai has delivered two assists from the 10 chances created across his five Champions League appearances. Whilst the dangerman is yet to open his account for the season, he has hit the woodwork – from his only shot in the competition.
Toothless Copenhagen to bow out with a whimper?
Copenhagen are yet to score a goal in the Champions League this season – the only club in the competition yet to do so. The Danish outfit have hit the woodwork three times and missed four big chances during their five tournament appearances. Lukas Lerager was responsible for one of those big chances missed, from his four shots attempted. Across his previous three appearances (across all competitions), the dangerman has returned one goal from his seven shots and one assist from his seven chances created.