Bayern Munich 3-0 Barcelona: Player ratings as Blaugrana limp out of Champions League

Bayern Munich comfortably swept past Barcelona to a 3-0 Champions League victory on Wednesday night, knocking the visiting Catalans out of the competition in the process.

In the wintry conditions of an empty Allianz Arena, Barcelona managed to gamely compete with Bayern for the first half an hour. Holding the Bavarians to just one shot – a blocked free kick – they carved open the best chance of the opening exchanges. But Ousmane Dembele blazed over from the top of the box as Bayern sluggishly recovered from a counter attack.

However, it was the hosts that went on to break the deadlock in the 34th minute. Slicing through Barcelona’s attempts to press, Robert Lewandowski toyed with Gerard Pique in the penalty area before picking out Thomas Muller, craning his neck to cleverly steer a header over the line, despite Ronald Araujo’s best efforts.

With Benfica already leading Dynamo Kyiv by two goals in the other group E fixture Barcelona, visibly deflated by Bayern’s opener, needed a win to progress.

Instead, Leroy Sane doubled Bayern’s advantage with a long range effort that swerved through a shaky Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the first half drew to a close.

Alphonso Davies injected some characteristic thrust into a contest that had been winding down shortly after an hour. Jinking past a flat-footed Araujo, FC Bayern’s Roadrunner snapped a cutback to Jamal Musiala who tucked in the game’s third goal.

Bayern jogged their way through much of an eerily passive second half as Barcelona struggled lay a glove on their dominant hosts. Sane squandered a pair of clear chances either side of Musiala’s third but Bayern’s victory was enough to sent Barcelona crashing out of the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000/01 campaign.

Manuel NeuerManuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer celebrates Bayern Munich’s dominant performance against Barcelona / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Manuel Neuer (GK) – 7/10 – Eager as ever to be involved in the play, Neuer crystallised the ease Bayern enjoyed playing out from the back when he tried to play a one-two with his centre back in his own box.

Benjamin Pavard (RB) – 5/10 – Beaten for pace by Dembele on one or two occasions, Bayern’s World Cup winner had his teammates there to bail him out.

Dayot Upamecano (CB) – 8/10 – The most difficult moment Bayern’s serene centre back faced all night was helping the referee with his communication apparatus – he even did that pretty swiftly in fairness.

Niklas Sule (CB) – 7/10 – What little Bayern’s man mountain had to do, he carried out with little fuss.

Alphonso Davies (LB) – 8/10 – Rapidly established he had the beating of Sergino Dest at either end of the pitch – and anyone else in yellow for that matter.

Corentin Tolisso (CM) – 7/10 – Cruised through a comfortable midfield display before being withdrawn for a half-hour rest.

Jamal Musiala (CM) – 7/10 – At his slippery best, Musiala’s mature performance was rewarded with his second ever Champions League goal.

Thomas Muller (AM) – 8/10 – Relentless from the off, there is evidently no room for ‘dead rubber’ in the vast vocabulary of ‘Radio Muller’s’ running commentary.

Kingsley Coman (RW) – 7/10 – Breezed beyond whichever opponent was unfortunate enough to (however momentarily) lineup in his path.

Robert Lewandowski (ST) – 7/10 – Instrumental in Bayern’s opener, a player with more goals himself than the entire Barcelona team this season didn’t add to that tally.

Leroy Sane (LW) – 8/10 – Causing all manner of problems floating infield, arguably the most admirable aspect of Sane’s performance was when he sprinted back to bump Dembele off the ball as he approached Bayern’s box.

Marc Roca (CM) – 6/10 – Will very much have enjoyed the procession over Barcelona as a former Espanyol man.

Bouna Sarr (RW) – 5/10

Omar Richards (LB) – 6/10

Malik Tillman (ST) – N/A

Tanguy Nianzou (CB) – N/A

Leroy SanéLeroy Sané

Marc-Andre ter Stegen left flailing haplessly at Bayern’s second goal / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 3/10 – Will be mightily disappointed with his flap only vaguely in the direction of Sane’s long ranger.

Ronald Araujo (RB) – 4/10 – Not the first, nor surely the last, player to be left roundly beaten by Davies throughout.

Gerard Pique (CB) – 3/10 – Having outlined the way to neutralise Lewandowski was by ‘keeping him away from our area’, Pique was led on a merry dance by the prolific Pole in Barcelona’s box.

Clement Lenglet (CB) – 3/10 – Haplessly stood flat-footed, watching lamely as Muller steamed in to score Bayern’s opener as he and Oscar Mingueza left Lewandowski’s cross for one another.

Jordi Alba (LB) – N/A – A doubt coming into the contest, Alba was left punching the frosty turf in frustration after feeling his right hamstring inside the opening half hour.

Gavi (CM) – 5/10 – Scurrying all over the pitch with an extra snap in his attempts to win back possession, Gavi rarely got near the ball.

Sergio Busquets (CM) – 4/10 – On his 650th appearance for Barcelona across all competitions, Busquets won’t look kindly back upon this night which was a landmark for all the wrong reasons.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 3/10 – Repeatedly bypassed by the blur of red that flooded either side of him.

Benjamin Pavard, Ousmane DembéléBenjamin Pavard, Ousmane Dembélé

Ousmane Dembele (right) up against fellow World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Sergino Dest (RW) – 4/10 – Tasked with dropping on the outside of Araujo to make a five when Barcelona don’t have the ball, Dest was more comfortably running at Davies rather than trailing in his wake going the other way. Hooked at half-time.

Memphis Depay (ST) – 5/10 – Often the target of head-high clips on the halfway line, Depay understandably struggled in a role that is very much not playing to the strengths of a player the same height as Pedri.

Ousmane Dembele (LW) – 6/10 – Barcelona’s brightest spark only momentarily flickered.

Oscar Mingueza (LB) – 3/10 – Skittishly prodding a heavy touch straight to Coman – who blitzed past him – as his first involvement was the sign of things to come on an awkward, surprise introduction.

Nico Gonzalez (CM) – 5/10 – Struggled to exert any real influence on proceedings.

Riqui Puig (CM) – N/A

Philippe Coutinho (LW) – N/A

Yusuf Demir (RW) – N/A

Carles Gil named Major League Soccer’s 2021 MVP

Major League Soccer announced New England Revolution player Carles Gil as the winner of the 2021 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award.

Gil managed a stand out season, recording four goals and 18 assists to inspire the Revolution to a record-breaking point tally of 73. Though the New England side were ultimately eliminated by MLS Cup finalist NYCFC, the team lifted the Supporters Shield.

After a historic season, the midfielder is taking in the moment for all its worth.

“A lot of emotions in my head,” said Gil. “You have not-so-good moments that make you value these moments. Sometimes we don’t value these moments enough. But I thought a lot about my family and friends who are far away from me, back in Spain. In general, a lot of emotions.”

Gil has been the key to New England’s resurgence this season, leading the league-best attack match after match. 

It was not always smooth sailing for Gil, who missed most of 2020 with an injury after arriving in New England following a stint in the Spanish second division.

Now, the midfielder is on top of the league.

“I came here in a complicated moment,” Gil said. “I didn’t enjoy the field and I wasn’t performing the way I wanted to perform. So I came here looking for something different. I came here hoping to find myself again and fast forward three years later, I’m happy, I’m enjoying it and I’m giving the best version of myself.”

While the award is a major accomplishment for Gil, the 29-year-old is not finished yet. With his team eliminated early in the postseason, he is looking to take home the MLS Cup in 2022 while improving as a player.

“It’s important to continue on the same line and continue improving,” Gil said. “Each and every year we keep bringing in great players. We know we have a tough loss with Tajon [going to Club Brugge], but we have to continue improving. I’m sure we’ll keep being a winning team and hope to fight for it all again next season.”

Arsenal vs Barcelona – UWCL: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction

Arsenal and Barcelona meet at the Emirates Stadium in the Women’s Champions League this week in what is easily the biggest game of matchday five of the ongoing group stage.

There is no let up for Arsenal just days after being comfortably beaten by Chelsea in the FA Cup final. A point would guarantee the Gunners a place in the knockout rounds – even as things stand they are all but certain of going through. But that is easier said than done against the reigning champions, who made Chelsea look very ordinary in last season’s final.

Barcelona have taken maximum points so far, are already assured of a knockout place, and are the clear favourites to lift the trophy again. They also have two of the best three players in the world this year, according to the final 2021 Ballon d’Or Feminin vote, in their ranks.

This is everything you need to know about the game…

When is kick off? Thursday 9 December, 20:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Emirates Stadium
TV channel/live stream? DAZN UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel
Highlights? DAZN UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel
Referee? Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS)

Tobin Heath's ongoing absence if frustrating Arsenal fansTobin Heath's ongoing absence if frustrating Arsenal fans

Tobin Heath’s ongoing absence if frustrating Arsenal fans / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Tobin Heath still isn’t available for Arsenal because of niggling fitness trouble, while Leah Williamson remains a more critical loss for the Gunners,

Asisat Oshoala won't have the opportunity to haunt her former clubAsisat Oshoala won't have the opportunity to haunt her former club

Asisat Oshoala won’t have the opportunity to haunt her former club / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

Barcelona have travelled without influential centre-back Mapi Leon. Former Arsenal player Asisat Oshoala is also missing, as is teenage forward Bruna Vilamala, but everyone else is fit.

Alexia Putellas plays in the Champions League for the first time since being presented with the 2021 Ballon d’Or Feminin trophy just over a week ago.

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Catley; Maanum, Walti, Little; Mead, Miedema, McCabe

Barcelona: Panos; Torrejon, Paredes, Pereira, Ouahabi; Engen, Guijarro, Putellas; Hansen, Hermoso, Martens

The tables have turned since Barcelona first met Arsenal in the Champions League almost a decade ago, in what was the former’s first ever appearance in the competition.

Putellas was just a teenager for those last 32 ties at the start of the 2012/13 campaign and had only recently returned to the club from Levante. Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners in Spain, before a crushing 4-0 victory at home for a 7-0 aggregate win overall. Centre-back Jennifer Beattie, who will play on Thursday night, scored four of those seven in total.

When the clubs met earlier this season, Barcelona were comfortable winners. They tore Arsenal apart on matchday one, leading 3-0 shortly after half-time and eventually settling it 4-1 after the Gunners pulled a consolation goal back.

Mariona Caldentey, the aforementioned Putellas and Oshoala, and Lieke Martens scored the Barcelona goals that night. Frida Maanum got Arsenal’s.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall was honest in admitting that he effectively underestimated Barcelona in the reverse fixture. He won’t make that mistake again and both he and his players will have learned important lessons from that defeat.

It is not ideal timing coming so soon after being taken apart by Chelsea at Wembley, but the Gunners will hope to ride the wave of what is anticipated to be a decent crowd at the Emirates Stadium and at least make it a closer contest than last time.

For Barcelona, if they do what they know they can, the result won’t be in question.

Prediction: Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona

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Tottenham confirm Rennes clash off due to Covid-19 outbreak

Tottenham have confirmed their Europa Conference League fixture with Rennes will not take place on Thursday due to the number of positive Covid-19 cases at the club.

A number of players and staff have tested positive this week, with manager Antonio Conte visibly upset during his Wednesday press conference, describing the situation as ‘scary’.

Spurs have now confirmed the game on Thursday won’t take place, with another statement on the rearrangement of the fixture expected in the future.

A club statement read: “We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home fixture against Stade Rennais will not take place tomorrow (Thursday 9 December at 8pm UK) after a number of positive COVID-19 cases at the Club. Discussions are ongoing with UEFA and we shall provide a further update on this fixture in due course.

“Additionally, following discussions with the Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) and DCMS advisers, the Club has been advised to close the First Team area of its Training Centre at this time, in the interests of the health and safety of players and staff.

“All other areas of the Training Centre remain operational.”

Tottenham’s game at Brighton at the weekend is also in doubt. The club is expected to request the fixture’s postponement to the Premier League.

Earlier on Wednesday, Conte said: “Today another player and another member of staff positive. Tomorrow, who? Me? Another member of staff? I want to speak about football. This is not a good thing for you, the fans and staff.

“Everyone is a bit scared, we all have families. I ask why? Why? Yesterday we trained and two positives, today we trained and after another two positives. Who next? It’s not right, we’re going home to our families.”

Spurs are already a game behind the rest of their Premier League rivals, having had their trip to Burnley called off due to poor weather.

For more from Jude Summerfield, follow him on Twitter!

Juventus 1-0 Malmo: Player ratings as Old Lady stumble to low quality win

Juventus go through to the Champions League last 16 as one of the seeded clubs after finishing top of Group H, securing it with a scrappy win over Malmo on matchday six.

Juve started the night second in the standings after losing heavily to Chelsea last time out, but knew a victory could still send them top if Chelsea slipped up against Zenit Saint Petersburg, which is exactly what happened in an action-packed 3-3 draw in Russia.

Moise Kean scored the only goal of the game on a rare start, which proved to be enough.

To be expected, Juve dominated possession and forced Malmo goalkeeper Ismael Diawara into a couple of saves before getting in front, all without holding a real sharp edge.

The opener when it came in the 18th minute was at least well worked. Federico Bernardeschi whipped a pinpoint cross into the penalty area with the outside of his left foot that Kean met with a powerful header only a few yards from goal.

But wastefulness rather characterised the rest of Juve’s performance. Chances went begging to extend the lead, which always made Malmo a potential danger – Mattia Perin had to be sharp to smother the ball on one occasion later in the first half.

Paulo Dybala was withdrawn at half-time and replaced with Alvaro Morata, which changed little and Juve appeared to be lacking confidence when it came to making a final pass or taking a shot.

Juve looked like they would have a second when Diawara spilled a low shot from Adrien Rabiot, whose forceful run forward was a refreshing injection of energy. But the Malmo stopper threw out a leg to deny Kean an easy tap-in – it was a top save but he shouldn’t have been given a chance.

Juve players finished the game assuming the victory wasn’t enough to leapfrog Chelsea until news filtered down from the stands that Zenit had equalised at the death.

Koni De Winter made his first senior start for JuventusKoni De Winter made his first senior start for Juventus

Koni De Winter made his first senior start for Juventus / MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

Mattia Perin (GK) – 6/10 – Sharp when he needed to be but not busy.

Koni De Winter (RB) – 6/10 – Full first-team debut. Held his own.

Daniele Rugani (CB) – 6/10 – Will be delighted to get a rare 90 minutes under his belt without being tested too much.

Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 6/10 – Pretty much all of the game was played in front of him, making it a comfortable night.

Alex Sandro (LB) – 5/10 – Quiet performance.

Federico Bernardeschi provided an outstanding assistFederico Bernardeschi provided an outstanding assist

Federico Bernardeschi provided an outstanding assist / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Federico Bernardeschi (RM) – 7/10 – Glorious assist with the outside of his left foot to break the deadlock. Forced a good save later on.

Arthur (CM) – 7/10 – Hardly gave the ball away and was important in winning it back in central areas.

Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 5/10 – Had been largely ineffectual until a purposeful run forward with 10 minutes to go almost gave Juve a killer second goal.

Rodrigo Bentancur (LM) – 6/10 – Occupied a few different roles across the midfield over the course of his 89 minutes on the pitch.

Moise Kean justified his inclusion in the starting XIMoise Kean justified his inclusion in the starting XI

Moise Kean justified his inclusion in the starting XI / MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

Paulo Dybala (ST) – 5/10 – Spent most of his time in a ‘number 10’ role and saw plenty of the ball. Didn’t do enough to impact the game.

Moise Kean (ST) – 7/10 – Looking to impress on a rare start. Attacked the ball in the six-yard box to score his headed goal but should have scored another later on when he gave Diawara a chance to save.

Alvaro Morata (ST) – 3/10 – His presence was ultimately quite pointless.

Mattia de Sciglio (RB) – 5/10 – Back from injury.

Juan Cuadrado (RM) – 5/10 – Joined the wasteful brigade with a clear chance blazed over the cross bar.

Marco Da Graca (ST) – N/A

Fabio Miretti (CM) – N/A

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!