Our Champions League awards honour the best – and worst – of the midweek quarter-final action.
Moment of the Week
All eyes were on the Etihad this week, as the Champions League favourites went head-to-head.
Manchester City arrived into the clash in confident mood after eight consecutive wins in all competitions, but faced a huge challenge against a Bayern Munich team who had reached this stage in flawless fashion.
What had been billed as a blockbuster turned into a one-sided affair. City were too good and too slick for their overwhelmed opposition. Rodri’s wonderful effort opened the scoring, before City stepped up another gear after the break with the balletic Bernardo Silva heading home and Erling Haaland scoring his obligatory goal to put the result – and likely tie – beyond doubt.
Manchester ✅⁰Munich 🅰️🔜 pic.twitter.com/VaO1Dr54ht
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 11, 2023
This was a statement win for a City side who have too often flattered to deceive on this stage in recent campaigns. Gone appear the nerves of past seasons, a team whose catalogue of heartbreaks might just have led to a new steely resistance. Add in the supercharged spearhead that is Haaland and Guardiola’s team will take some stopping.
City’s last nine games have all been won at an aggregate score of 34-4. Their battering of Bayern made a top team look ordinary at best. There is growing optimism that City can achieve something special this season.
Player of the Week
Manchester City’s statement win against Bayern Munich was an almost flawless team performance, one which had several standout candidates for this award.
Bernardo Silva’s outstanding performance takes this accolade, as the midfielder produced a magnificent display of dazzling dribbling, intensity off the ball and balletic footwork. Silva is a truly unique footballer, one who combines almost unmatched work-rate with a feather touch and ability to keep the ball when space rapidly appears to be running out.
Bayern Munich’s backline could have found themselves inside a phone box with the Portuguese and still struggled to dispossess Silva, whose ability to wriggle through traffic – ball glued to his feet – is captivating.
Pep Guardiola says Bernardo Silva is one of the best players he's ever worked with 🌟 pic.twitter.com/Dx1wWJ6OUp
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) April 12, 2023
A run of consecutive nutmegs on red shirts brought the Etihad to its feet, as Silva made a mockery of several challenges and gave Alphonso Davies a difficult night. His display was rewarded with City’s second goal, as the midfielder met Erling Haaland’s cross to head home a second and put the Premier League champions in cruise control.
Goal of the Week
Rodri chose the perfect time to open his account in the Champions League this week, as the Manchester City midfielder opened the scoring against Bayern Munich with a beauty at the Etihad.
The Spaniard stepped inside before bending a brilliant effort past Yann Sommer, one which set the tone for one of City’s most memorable wins in this competition.
RODRI'S FIRST-EVER #UCL GOAL 🤯
Unreal strike from the Man City midfielder 🚀 pic.twitter.com/u7F8p3uQna
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 11, 2023
Save of the Week
Mike Maignan was the hero as AC Milan earned an advantage against Napoli this week, with the goalkeeper making a string of saves to deny the visitors at the San Siro.
Napoli – the runaway leaders in Serie A this season – dominated much of the game against their compatriots, but could find no route past Maignan.
The 27-year-old is yet to concede a goal in the Champions League knockout rounds this season and made a crucial stop from Giovani Di Lorenzo in the closing seconds. It could be a big moment in the tie, with Milan set to travel south to Naples in protection of a 1-0 lead next week.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 12, 2023
Stat of the Week
Chelsea’s shot-shy side earned an unwanted record this week, as the west Londoners failed to score for a fourth consecutive game in all competitions.
It’s the first time since 1993 that Chelsea have gone four games without a goal, following blanks against Aston Villa, Liverpool, Wolves and Real Madrid.
Frank Lampard’s side were second best in their 2-0 defeat at the Bernabeu and face a huge challenge to reach the last four. It’s now 17 games in which Chelsea have failed to find the net this season, their most since 1994-95 (also 17).
4 – Chelsea have failed to score in four consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since December 1993. Blank. pic.twitter.com/EHDdblMRPr
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 12, 2023
Todd Boehly might have splashed the cash since arriving at Chelsea, but the American might just want to dig deep in search of a centre-forward this summer.
An honourable mention must go to Karim Benzema, who continued his absurd record in the Champions League’s knockout rounds.
Benzema’s brilliance in last season’s competition resulted in Champions League success and the Ballon d’Or, while the Real Madrid forward appears to have found form at the business end of the season once again.
It’s now 14 goals in his last nine knockout stage appearances.
14 GOALS IN HIS LAST 9 UCL KO GAMES 🤯
⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs. PSG
⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs. Chelsea
⚽️ vs. Chelsea
⚽️⚽️ vs. Manchester City
⚽️ vs. Manchester City
❌ vs. Liverpool
⚽️⚽️ vs. Liverpool
⚽️ vs. Liverpool
⚽️ vs. Chelsea
Benzema not from this planet 🤖 pic.twitter.com/KFQMYNQTo8
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 12, 2023
Donkey of the Week
Dayot Upamecano will not want to return to the Etihad in a hurry.
The French defender has had an excellent season at Bayern Munich, but wilted under the pressure of the Champions League spotlight and Manchester City’s press.
Upamecano misjudged a first-half header inside the box to provide Ilkay Gundogan with a good chance, before suffering a meltdown after the break. A calamitous mix-up with Yann Sommer almost gifted City a second goal, an incident which seemed to drain confidence from the centre-back.
City smelt blood and Upamecano was robbed off possession by Grealish as he dawdled on the ball in the build-up to City’s second, with his passing becoming more and more erratic as belief reduced and nerves grew. This was a bad night for the defender, as Bayern were battered in the Manchester rain.