Champions League: Bellingham saves Real Madrid while Manchester United's struggles persist.
The second half of the 32-team field completed the first round of the group stage on Wednesday, with eight matches played overall, one day after the new Champions League season got underway.
Five brief conclusions may be drawn from Wednesday's events:
Arsenal wins its first Champions League match.
Passage of time. Arsenal taking on the elite club competition in Europe. It seemed practically a given that the Gunners would compete in the Champions League till 2017. And all of a sudden, it wasn't. But Arsenal is back after a five-year hiatus, and Mikel Arteta's squad celebrated with a commanding 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven, the top club in the Dutch league, at London's Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Less than eight minutes into the game, Bukayo Saka opened the scoring, and the hosts never looked back.
In the rout, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard also hit the net. This performance gives hope that the Gunners may go beyond Sevilla and Lens in the group and even make a serious run when the knockout round starts the following year.
Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid does it once more
It appeared as though the most successful team in European history would begin its most recent Champions League championship quest with a depressing scoreless draw against tournament newcomer Union Berlin as the clock ticked past ninety minutes in the capital of Spain.
Jude Bellingham, though, carried Real Madrid on his back, just as he has done the entire season. The 20-year-old rising sensation scored his sixth goal in six competitive games in the fourth minute of stoppage time. He had paid more than $100 million to join Los Blancos in July after leaving Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund.
For Real as far, Bellingham has been a revelation. Of course, he can't score in every game. However, he is also the main reason to think that Madrid will be present to claim the trophy for the fifteenth time when it is handed out during the championship game in June at Wembley Stadium in Bellingham, England.
Munich is where Manchester United's suffering continues.
After losing three of their opening five games in the Premier League, the Red Devils, led by coach Erik ten Hag, were already in a precarious situation. Given their present condition, Man United's task of emerging victorious against Bayern Munich in Germany to begin their 2023–24 Champions League campaign was always going to be difficult.
That's how the club's exciting 4-3 victory transpired. Andre Onana, the new custodian for United, made a terrible error that enabled Leroy Sané's shot to sneak past him and into the net, giving Bayern the lead early in the first half. Then, before the guests could even register a thought, Serge Gnabry increased the hosts' advantage.
Reversing the score, Rasmus Højlund scored his first goal for Ten Hag's squad. However, Red Devils' longtime transfer target Harry Kane, the captain of the England national team, tied the score with a third penalty kick in the second half to make it two goals.
Following then, the game took an odd turn as both sides exchanged three goals in seven minutes, five of which came in stoppage time in the second half. However, it remains just another defeat for United, who have now let up an incredible 14 goals in their last five games.
Napoli wins, and Inter Milan
Napoli is aiming for European success after winning the Italian championship last season for the first time since Diego Maradona was the team's major attraction.
So far, so good; after defeating Braga 2-1, Napoli will travel back from Portugal with three crucial points. The visitors had the advantage for the majority of the game, but they also had a little of luck when Sikou Niakate, a Braga defender, unintentionally put the winning goal into his own net in the 88th minute, only four minutes after the home team had equalised.