Phil Foden Manchester City Champions League

Champions League Matchday 4 Review

After this week’s action, Manchester City became the first English club to secure their place in the Round Of 16 in the Champions League.

Yet another week of enthralling 2023/24 UEFA Champions League football has come to a close, with a number of teams officially securing their place in the Round Of 16 following the fourth round of Group Stage matches. All the teams participating in this tournament aim for a top two spot, but the top spot in their group is how they can increase their chances of getting an ‘easier’ draw in the next round of the competition.

The winners of a group will face the runners-up from another group, and vice versa. No less than 16 matches took place throughout Tuesday 7th November and Wednesday 8th November 2023. Arsenal welcomed Spanish Giants Sevilla to the Emirates Stadium, whilst Manchester City faced Swiss heavyweights BSC Young Boys at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United made the trip to face Danish Champions FC Copenhagen a day later.

Pep Guardiola’s City knew that a win would secure their spot in the Round Of 16, whilst Arsenal knew that a win would put them within touching distance of qualification for the next round. As for United, they knew victory in the Danish Capital would see them move into second in Group A and only behind six-time European Champions Bayern Munich.

In the end, following the action in matchday four, Manchester City were comfortable 3 – 0 winners, which saw them secure their place in the Round Of 16, whilst a 2 – 0 win against Sevilla saw Mikel Arteta’s Gunners increase their lead on PSV in second place to 4 points. A victory in the next group stage match against French club Lens will see them confirm their qualification in the Round Of 16 in this year’s Champions League.

Manchester United are bottom of their group following a 4 – 3 defeat, but they are still just a point behind Galatasaray and Copenhagen in third and second place, respectively.

Here, we will look back and review all of the 2023/24 Champions League action from this week, and we shall start with Tuesday’s matches.

Manchester City (England) 3 – 0 BSC Young Boys (Switzerland) – Tuesday 7th November

After winning all three Group Stage matches, European Champions Manchester City were looking for a fourth consecutive victory in the Champions League on their matchday four encounter with Swiss Champions BSC Young Boys at the Etihad Stadium.

In the end, Guardiola’s side did exactly that, winning 3 – 0 to secure their place in the Round Of 16 as they look to win two Champions League titles in as many years. Erling Haaland (23’ – Penalty, 51’) and Phil Foden (45+1’) were on the scoresheet in a ruthless City win.

The Cityzens now have a place in the Round of 16, and sit top of their group (G) with 12 points, three ahead of RB Leipzig who are their next opponents in the Champions League on matchday five. If they beat their German counterparts, then Guardiola’s side will win the group.

City are most certainly on track to become the first club to retain the Champions League since Real Madrid did so for three consecutive seasons between 2015 and 2018.

Manchester City’s remaining Champions League Group Stage matches are as follows:

Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 2 – 0 Newcastle United (Germany) – Tuesday 7th November

After a draw, a win and a defeat in their opening three Champions League Group Stage matches, Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United were sat 3rd in Group F with 4 points and one ahead of 7 time European Champions AC Milan.

A win would have seen the Magpies go level on points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of their group, but unfortunately for the Toon Army, they fell to another defeat against the German side, this time losing 2 – 0 at the Signal Iduna Park. Niclas Füllkrug (26’) and Julian Brandt (79’) were on the scoresheet for Edin Terzić’s side on the night.

Following this result, Newcastle sit bottom of Group F, but they are still only 2 points adrift of Paris Saint-Germain in second place and three behind leaders Dortmund. There is an opportunity to return to the top two spots should they beat PSG at the Parc des Princes in the next match in late November.

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 1 – 0 FC Barcelona (Spain) – Tuesday 7th November

The biggest shock result of matchday four in the Champions League was in the Group H game between Shakhtar Donetsk and five-time winners FC Barcelona. Despite dominating possession (63%) and having the most attempts on goal (12), the Blaugrana were defeated 1 – 0 by their Ukrainian counterparts at the Volksparkstadion. The only goal of the game came from 22-year-old forward Danylo Sikan, who found the back of Barcelona’s net late on in the first half (40’).

Barcelona remains top, but they are now level on points with Portuguese giants FC Porto (9). Meanwhile, Shakhtar is third with 6 points, and they are only three behind the Blaugrana and Porto.

Atletico Madrid (Spain) 6 – 0 Celtic (Scotland) – Tuesday 7th November

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid welcomed Scottish Champions Celtic to the Estadio Metropolitano on Tuesday evening, and in the end, it was an emphatic 6 – 0 win for the home team. Antoine Griezmann (6’, 60’), Samuel Lino (66’), Saúl (84’) and ex-Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata (45+2’). The Spanish side were helped by the fact that the Bhoys were reduced to ten men when Daizen Maeda was sent off with just over twenty minutes of the match having elapsed (23’).

Celtic are on the edge of being eliminated from this season’s competition with 1 point from 4 matches, leaving them six adrift of second place with only two group stage matches to go. Atletico is at the top of Group E with 8 points, one ahead of Lazio in second place.

Lazio (Italy) 1 – 0 Feyenoord (Netherlands) – Tuesday 7th November

In another battle for a place at the top of Group E, Lazio welcomed Dutch Champions Feyenoord to the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday. Le Aquile (The Eagles) emerged as 1 – 0 winners thanks to a goal for star forward Ciro Immobile in first-half stoppage time (45+1’).

Lazio now sits second with 7 points and just one behind Atletico at the summit. Feyenoord are still third, and they are just a point behind their Italian counterparts with two matches remaining in the Group Stages.

AC Milan (Italy) 2 – 1 Paris Saint Germain (France) – Tuesday 7th November

Two European heavyweights went head to head at the San Siro as they fought for second place in Group F. The Rossoneri won 2 – 1 on Tuesday night, thanks to goals from Rafael Leão (12’) and ex-Arsenal and Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud (50’). Former AC Milan central defender Milan Škriniar scored the only goal for the visiting Parisians in the first ten minutes of the contest (9’).

Despite this victory, AC Milan remains outside of the top two in Group F with 5 points, but they have leapfrogged Newcastle and are now just a point behind PSG, who are still in second.

Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) 1 – 2 RB Leipzig (Germany) – Tuesday 7th November

On Tuesday night, Serbian Champions and 1991 European Champions Red Star Belgrade went toe to toe with German Giants RB Leipzig at the Stadion Rajko Mitić. In an intense contest, Leipzig secured a 2 – 1 away win after Xavi Simons (8’) and summer signing Lois Openda found the back of the net (77’). Red Star scored their only goal of the net thanks to an own goal from Benjamin Henrichs (81’).

This result knocked Red Star out of the Champions League, whilst these three points secured a spot in the Round Of 16 for RB Leipzig. The German Bundesliga side can still secure top spot, and they face Group G leaders Manchester City away from home on matchday five.

FC Porto (Portugal) 2 – 0 Royal Antwerp (Belgium) – Tuesday 7th November

The final match to look back at from Tuesday was between Portuguese heavyweights FC Porto and Belgian Champions Royal Antwerp at the Estádio do Dragão. With the away side going down to ten men early on in the second half, the Dragões (Dragons) secured a comfortable 2 – 0 win. Brazilian forward Evanilson (32’ – Penalty) and former Real Madrid central defender Pepe (90+1’) were on the scoresheet that night for the home side.

Now that we have gone through Tuesday’s results, we will look back on Wednesday’s matches in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages.

Napoli (Italy) 1 – 1 Union Berlin (Germany) – Wednesday 8th November

Starting with a match in Group C, Napoli and Union Berlin played against each other at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday evening. It was a 1 – 1 draw in the end, with the Italian Champions taking the lead through Matteo Politano  (39’) before Union equalised early on in the second half through Chelsea loanee David Datro Fofana (52’).

Napoli are second with 7 points after four matches and are within touching distance of the Round Of 16. As for Union Berlin, they could still finish third and qualify for the Europa League, but they are nonetheless close to being eliminated from the 2023/24 Champions League.

Real Sociedad (Spain) 3 – 1 Benfica (Portugal) – Wednesday 8th November

Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad side were one of two Spanish sides to qualify for the Round Of 16 on Wednesday night after they defeated Portuguese Giants Benfica 3 – 1 at the Reale Arena. The Spanish side’s victory eliminated two-time European Champions Benfica from this season’s competition.

La Real (The Royal)’s goals came thanks to former Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino (6’), Mikel Oyarzabal (11’) and Ander Barrenetxea (21’). Rafa Silva scored Benfica’s only goal of the game (49’).

Bayern Munich (Germany) 2 – 1 Galatasaray (Turkey) – Wednesday 8th November

Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer Harry Kane, who is now leading the line for Bayern Munich, scored both of the Bavarians’ goals (80’, 86’) as they were able to beat Turkish Champions Galatasaray 2 – 1 at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday. Cedric Bakambu scored the only goal for the visitors on the night (90+3’).

Following this victory, Bayern Munich secured their place in the Round Of 16 in the Champions League. They also confirmed the top spot in Group A, as they are 8 points ahead of Copenhagen and Galatasaray in second and third place, respectively, with two Group Stage matches remaining.

FC Copenhagen (Denmark) 4 – 3 Manchester United (England) – Wednesday 8th November

Unfortunately, Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United side fell to a 4 – 3 defeat at the hands of Danish Champions Copenhagen at Parken in what was perhaps the game of the week in the Champions League. The home side won 4 – 3 in the end, and they scored through former Southampton forward Mohamed Elyounoussi (45’), Diogo Gonçalves (45+9’ – Penalty), Lukas Lerager (83’) and Roony Bardghji (87’). United’s goal scorers were Rasmus Højlund (3’, 28’) and Bruno Fernandes (69’ – Penalty) from the spot. Marcus Rashford was also sent off for the Red Devils in the late stages of the first half (42’).

The result leaves Ten Hag’s United at the bottom of their group with 3 points. However, with two games to go, they are a point behind third and second.

Manchester United’s remaining Champions League Group Stage matches are as follows:

Arsenal (England) 2 – 0 Sevilla (Spain) – Wednesday 8th November

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal edged ever closer to securing their qualification for the Round Of 16 after a 2 – 0 victory against Spanish Giants Sevilla at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. Leandro Trossard (29’) and Bukayo Saka (64’) found the back of the net to ensure the Gunners remained in top spot.

The North London side is now on 9 points after four matches, with a gap of four points separating themselves and PSV Eindhoven in second place. Meanwhile, Sevilla have 2 points but are just three adrift of third and second, meaning that they can still progress with two matches to go.

Arsenal’s remaining Champions League Group Stage matches are as follows:

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 1 – 0 Lens (France) – Wednesday 8th November

The battle for a spot in the top two is fierce in Group B, and PSV was looking for a win against French club Lens to secure second place. They did just that, beating Lens 1 – 0 following a goal from Luuk de Jong early in the first half (12’).

PSV are second thanks to their record against Lens in this season’s competition, with both sides having 7 points.

Real Madrid (Spain) 3 – 0 SC Braga (Portugal) – Wednesday 8th November

Fourteen-time European Champions Real Madrid are on track for a fifteenth title after confirming their place in the Round Of 16 following a comfortable 3 – 0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu against Portuguese side Braga. Brahim Diaz (27’), Vinicius Junior (58’) and Rodrygo (61’) were all on the scoresheet for Los Blancos on Wednesday night.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will win the group if they beat Napoli at home in Matchday Five. Braga are third and four behind second – they have a slim chance of securing a spot in the Round Of 16 with two matches yet to be played.

RB Salzburg (Austria) 0 – 1 Inter Milan (Italy) – Wednesday 8th November

The final game of matchday four that we will look back on is the match between Austrian Champions RB Salzburg and Italian heavyweights Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri won 1 – 0 after World Cup winning forward Lautaro Martinez found the back of the Salzburg net in the dying embers of the second half (85’ – Penalty).

The win ensured a place in the Round Of 16, whilst Salzburg were eliminated from this year’s competition. Inter are level with leaders Sociedad with 10 points, and they can win the group with two matches remaining.

Now that Manchester City have become the first English side to qualify for the Round Of 16 this season, Arsenal and Manchester United will be looking to join them in the coming two matches over the next few weeks.

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