The Champions League is back this evening! Desh Parthab looks at Erik Lamela’s form, Erling Haaland’s return to Signal Iduna Park and more from matchweek 5!
Europe’s finest are back at it again as the Champions League group stage nears its completion.
Graham Potter continues to work wonders at Chelsea. Since his arrival from the south coast, the Blues boss is yet to taste defeat. The Blues currently occupy top spot in Group E.
Juventus have looked out of sorts of late, and things went from bad to worse for the Old Lady in matchweek four. Israeli minnows, Maccabi Haifa, scored a seismic 2-0 win against the Italians. Massimiliano Allegri’s men now need a minor miracle to qualify for the last 16.
The Bianconeri are up against a Benfica side who have lost just one of their previous 14 tournament appearances, and things could get sticky for them in that one.
Erling Haaland will once again grace the Signal Iduna Park, albeit, in sky blue. The Manchester City forward is the most deadly striker in world football, but perhaps it’s his former teammates may have a plan to contain him?
PSG’s quest for a Champions League title continues this evening. Lionel Messi has delivered six assists to one Kylian Mbappe on the domestic front – the highest tally of assists from one player to another across Europe’s top 5 leagues.
That said, here are my picks to keep an eye out tonight!
Haaland returns to Signal Iduna Park
Erling Haaland returns to Dortmund for the first time since his move to Manchester City. The forward’s meteoric rise continued this weekend as he bragged a brace against Brighton. Only Bournemouth and Liverpool have prevented Haaland from finding the back of the net this season. The mood in Germany will be one of optimism – after all, Dortmund confirmed their place in the next round of the DFB-Pokal Cup before hitting VfB Stuttgart for five at the Westfalenstadion. They’ll be keen to spring a surprise here.
Lamela’s domestic form a boon for Sevilla
Erik Lamela has netted in back-to-back outings for Sevilla and can make it three on the trot tonight! The former Spurs man has attempted seven shots in that spell, missing one big chance. The first strike was enough to rescue a point against Valencia as the Argentinian equalised in the 86th minute. He followed that up with a leveller against Real Madrid, shortly after the second half resumed – only for Sampaoli’s men to concede two in two minutes. That was the Argentine’s first loss as Sevilla’s manager, and I anticipate a strong response tonight.
Real Madrid 3-1 Sevilla highlights.— Kyama (@ElijahKyama_) October 23, 2022
Valverde scored another superb goal. He is Real Madrid's top scorer [6 goals] in La Liga this season.
Luka Modric scored an early opener before Erik Lamela equalized for Sevilla.
Lucas Vazquez scored the second goal.pic.twitter.com/yEdd2A95an
Juventus on the brink
Juventus made it back-to-back wins in the Serie A for the first time this season, with a 4-0 win over Empoli. Allegri’s men need to carry that momentum into tonight’s fixture as the Bianconeri have taken just three points from their opening four Champions League fixtures. Juan Cuadrado played an integral role in The Old Lady’s flurry of goals, and I expect him to get in on the act this evening. The 34-year-old is yet to register an attacking return in the tournament thus far but has created a team-high nine chances so it can’t be too long now. Any goals or assists will likely be for nowt with Juventus’ exit from the competition all but confirmed by their 2-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa last week.
Leáo and Milan need
Rafael Leáo must find his shooting boots or risk crashing out of the Champions League. Across his previous five appearances, the forward has returned just a single goal. AC Milan sit third Group E with Leáo yet to open his account in the competition. You have to wonder if they have the necessary firepower to progress out of the group stages. The forward has hit the woodwork once en route to attempting five shots across his four Champions League appearances. Leáo has netted five times in Serie A this season, so he is more than capable.
PSG gaining momentum as hunt for Champions League continues
PSG extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 on the weekend, after putting three unanswered goals in against Ajaccio in Corsica at the weekend. Lionel Messi was heavily involved in that victory, supplying two assists (to Mbappe) before helping himself to the Parisian’s third of the night. With two wins and two draws, Christophe Galtier’s men occupy top spot in Group H. PSG’s string of attacking talent shone the last time they faced Maccabi, and I sense another big win on the cards tonight!