Champions League – Winners and losers: Zlat’s how to do it

We take a look a look at who was hot and who was not after the first round of Champions League group matches, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in fine form for his new club Milan.

HOT

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – It won’t be enough to get the detractors off his back, but Ibrahimovic showed exactly what he is capable of against Auxerre with one well-taken poacher’s goal, and a superb first-time finish for his, and Milan’s, second.

Davie Weir – The Rangers captain became the second oldest outfield player to play in the Champions League behind Alessandro Costacurta. The defender responded with a masterful performance to snuff out the threat of Manchester United as Rangers picked up a valuable point at Old Trafford.

Cesc Fabregas – Fabregas was utterly imperious as he grabbed a brace and provided two assists in the Gunners’ demolition of Sporting Braga. A complete performance from the Arsenal skipper, and one which finally put those summer transfer rumours out of mind.

Bayern Munich’s strike force – Forward duo Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose look like they are in top form; they both scored the goals that gave Bayern a 2-0 win over Roma and seem to have picked up from where they left off for Germany during the World Cup.

Michael Essien – The Chelsea midfielder put in a typically dominant display in midfield against Zilina and opened the scoring with a move that he started and finished. Without doubt one of the best midfielders in the world at the moment.

Lionel Messi – What is left to say about the Barcelona magician? His performance against Panathinaikos was bordering on perfect, indeed it would have been had he not inexplicably missed a penalty. Maybe he is human after all…

NOT

Sir Alex Ferguson – The Manchester United manager got it horribly wrong by making 10 changes to the side which faced his old club. By resting Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov, he robbed his side of the inventiveness needed to cut through Rangers.

Luiz Felipe – The Braga goalkeeper was fortunate not to have been sent off in just the ninth minute for a reckless lunge on Marouane Chamakh when he conceded an early penalty. And his evening got steadily worse as he shipped six goals.

Hugo Viana – Newcastle once paid £8.5 million for the Portuguese flop, who turned in a pitiful display in midfield at the Emirates as he barely competed with Jack Wilshere and Fabregas before being hauled off just after half-time.

Petr Cech – Chelsea’s goalkeeper has made his reputation on consistency, but he flapped wildly for Zilina’s goal and was shaky throughout the game in Slovakia. Cause for concern for Carlo Ancelotti?

Lucho Gonzalez – Marseille’s fortunes against Spartak Moscow took a nosedive when the Argentine midfielder somehow conspired to head wide with the goal at his mercy on 76 minutes. Five minutes later the Russians broke the deadlock against the run of play and held out for all three points.

Eduardo – The former Arsenal striker didn’t even get off the bench in Shakhtar’s game against Partizan. Perhaps he’s being saved for the clash against his old club? At least they won without him.

Eurosport

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