Things didn’t go as planned for both Arsenal and Chelsea in Tuesday’s Champions League action with both English sides picking up just a point from games they would have expected to win.
Chelsea were in Belgium to take on FC Genk knowing a win would all but secure qualification but Villas-Boas’ men suffered a bit of a hangover from Saturday’s defeat to Arsenal. The returning Ramires had put the Blues into a first half lead and it seemed as if it was going to be plain sailing from then on against a side they had beaten 5-0 last time out. David Luiz missed a penalty to put them 2-0 up and they paid for that.
After the hour mark, the home side deservedly levelled the game up thanks to young striker Jelle Vossen, his second of the season. It was Genk’s first goal of the campaign.Chelsea could have easily won it with Lampard and Malouda both missing great opportunities to snatch all three points but Genk held on for a famous point.
In the other game in Group E, Valencia kept the pressure on Chelsea with a comfortably 3-1 home win over Bayer Leverkusen. It was a good result for the Blues though as second placed Leverkusen lose ground on the leaders. Jonas’ goal for Valencia came after just 11 seconds, the second fastest goal in Champions League history.
- Chelsea 8 pts
- Bayer Leverkusen 6 pts
- Valencia 5 pts
- FC Genk 2 pts
Arsenal knew if they beat Marseille they would progress to the knock out stages with two group games to go. Unfortunately for Wenger’s men, they also suffered a hangover from Saturday and failed to get into first gear to test the French side. Marseille had a few chances of their own but it ended 0-0.
Borussia Dortmund boosted their chances of staying in European competition after Christmas with a 1-0 win over Olympiacos. This is how Group F looks like after Round 4…
- Arsenal 8 pts
- Marseille 7 pts
- Borussia Dortmund 4 pts
- Olympiacos 3 pts
In Group G Zenit beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in Russia. The only goal coming after 45 minutes thanks to Lombaerts. Apoel maintained their fantastic start to the campaign and are on course to qualify for the knock out stages for the first time after a 2-1 win over Porto.
- Apoel 8 pts
- Zenit 7 pts
- FC Porto 4 pts
- Shakhtar 2 pts
Finally, Barcelona became the first side to progress to the next round after comfortably beating Viktoria Plzen 4-0 thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick. Cesc Fabregas got the other goal of the game as Barca qualify with two games to spare and maintain their ambition of defending their crown.
Bate Borisov did the Catalan giants a huge favour by holding AC Milan to a 1-1. Milan were on target to top Group H ahead of Barcelona but dropping points against Bate means they are likely to finish second unless they can beat the Spanish giants in game week 5.
- Barcelona 10 pts
- AC Milan 8 pts
- Bate 2 pts
- Viktoria 1 pt
Some stats after tonight’s games…
Arsenal’s 0-0 draw was their eight in the CL. Only Porto have played more goalless draws than the Gunners. They have been involved in 9.
Borussia Dortmund have never been beaten in the CL when they have lead at the break
Lionel Messi’s hat trick saw him break the 50th goal mark in the calendar year of 2011. He has now scored 48 for club and three for country this year.
His first goal was also his 200th for Barcelona in all competitions.
Chelsea fielded just one Englishman against Genk, the third time this has happened in the CL in ten years for the Blues.
10.6s – Jonas’ goal is the second-fastest ever in Champions League history (after Makaay 10.3s vs R Madrid in Mar 07)
3.5 – Years since Fernando Torres last scored away from home in the Champions League (March 08 at Inter).
All of Shakhtar’s goals and assists in the CL this season have been by Brazilians: Adriano, Jadson, Texeira and Willian
Chelsea have fired in more shots on target than any other team in the Champions League this season