This week saw an exciting round of Champions League fixtures, featuring one of the best group stage games in recent memory as Chelsea and Roma played out a thrilling draw, along with some other intriguing fixtures.
Here’s a look at three winners and three losers from this week’s games…
Hazard says he’s absolutely certain he won’t win the Ballon D’or this year, and he’s not sure when he’ll be one of the real contenders for the award.
While he’s right about the first part, more performances like the one on Wednesday and the days of him just being among the top nominees and not a main contender will be over.
The Belgian covered up for a poor Chelsea side, who seem to be lurching back towards that crisis they seemed to have staved off at the start of the season.
The 26-year-old’s game by numbers vs. Roma:
5 chances created
Back to his best. pic.twitter.com/kD3bNYds9W
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 18, 2017
Who saw this coming? In a group with Porto, RB Leipzig, and Monaco, Besiktas are top with a perfect record.
Tosun has been a big part of that, driving the Turkish side’s progress with his goals, and he was at it again on Tuesday night. After Monaco scored to take the lead at home, they would have thought they were well on their way to getting a first Champions League win of the season, but a quickfire brace from the Turkish striker turned the game on its head.
Besiktas are now favourites to progress from the group, a stellar achievement given they were tipped to finish at the bottom.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 17, 2017
All the pre-match talk was about Harry Kane, but it was a different Harry who stole the show for Spurs on Tuesday.
Mauricio Pochettino has always been rewarded for his faith in youth – Kane himself is a shining example – and Winks is on his way to being another success story.
Thrust into a slightly unfamiliar defensive midfield role – at the Santiago Bernabeu, no less, against the European champions – Winks excelled, not once looking overawed by going up against Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
More performances like this, and he’s sure to get the opportunities for Spurs, and England won’t have a midfield selection headache for the World Cup – Winks will have smashed the door down to usurp Jordan Henderson in the starting XI.
Harry Winks v Real Madrid:
Spurs player with most passes ✅
Spurs player with highest pass accuracy ✅
Youngster getting better and better 👍 pic.twitter.com/06NzwoVYaq
— FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) October 17, 2017
Mertens has been in explosive form for Napoli since his switch to striker last season, and that form has carried the club to the top of the Serie A table. This was his stage, his moment to show that he could mix it with Europe’s best.
Instead, he fluffed his lines, especially in a horrid first-half. He simply went missing.
And that’s before we get to his penalty. You’ll rarely see him strike a ball so poorly. And it ended up being the difference between a loss and a draw against Manchester City.
Terrible penalty and rough half from Dries Mertens so far. On the other hand, John Stones is excelling. Again.
— Sam Tighe 🐯 (@stighefootball) October 17, 2017
It’s harsh to put a player who’s scored two goals in a Champions League away game, against the champions of England, in the losers column.
But it could have been even more. The moment was there: point-blank header to wrap up a hat-trick and earn his side a stunning win at Stamford Bridge. And Dzeko missed.
That Roma were in any position to win that game was down to the Bosnian in the first place, as he scored a wonderful brace to bring them back from 2-0 down and take a 3-2 lead. His first was a stunning volley reminiscent of Robin van Persie. His overall performance was fantastic.
But greatness comes down often comes down to small moments, and Dzeko came up just short.
That miss sums up Dzeko, wonderful at times but can miss sitters
— kέmaƦamέk (@jiorebel) October 18, 2017
The Frenchman is one of Europe’s most promising young defenders, but he had a nightmare on Tuesday.
Admittedly, he was left high and dry by Sevilla’s tactics, as they went irresponsibly gung-ho in their search for an equaliser and left little cover for their defence. But he lost his personal duel with Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes, and that ended up being key to Spartak’s rout.
Spartak are a good side, but Sevilla losing 5-1 to them is inexplicable. Lenglet can hopefully use the result as a lesson and come back stronger in the reverse fixture.
Post Sevilla views from last night, Kjaer no replacement for Pareja, Lenglet nervous alongside the Dane, Pizarro a pale imitation of N’Zonzi
— kevin keatings (@_keatings) October 18, 2017
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