UCL: Top Performers Of UCL Matchday 2

UCL: Top Performers Of UCL Matchday 2

  • UCL
  • September 15, 2022

The UEFA Champions League resumed with Matchday 2 and there were some interesting results across Europe. Here’s our take on the best performers from the UCL from the second matchday of the 2022/23 season.

Also read: ‘Earthquake Style’: Spalletti’s Napoli Serve Liverpool Reality Check On A Memorable Night In Naples

Lionel Messi

PSG won their game comfortably against Maccabi Haifa, and Lionel Messi had one of his best performances in a PSG shirt. He scored 1 and assisted Mbappe’s goal as the Argentine was at the heart of PSG’s attack.

Messi completed 2 key passes and recorded a 91% passing accuracy. Two of the most impressive stats were his progressive passes (9) and progressive carries (8), as he was a constant threat in between the lines. Messi was also involved in a stunning 8 shot-creating actions.

If by any chance, PSG are going to finally win the European Cup this season, Messi’s consistency will be a key factor for the French giants.

Joel Matip

Liverpool looked a lot like themselves in the game against Ajax. The fans were relieved to see Jota and Thiago back in the starting lineup. However, none of them have made that list as two of Liverpool’s back four are in our top performers list, and one of them is Joel Matip.

In the game against Napoli, Liverpool were all over the place in the first half, and as soon as Matip came on for Gomez, they looked stable and in control. Trent was having a bad time with Gomez behind him, but with Matip, Trent looks like a completely different player.

Matip recorded 2 clearances, 1 interception, and 3 tackles against Ajax. The centre-half also won 9 of his 10 aerial duels against the Dutch club. In possession, Matip was immaculate for Liverpool. 8 progressive passes along with 9 progressive carries is something that’s rare from a center-back.

Regardless of his late winner, his performance was excellent. It’s hard to believe it, but at the moment, Matip is making Van Dijk better. His presence makes Liverpool a completely different side.

Kostas Tsimikas

Another Liverpool player who was significant in the game against Ajax was Tsimikas. For over a year now, he has been the second choice in his position behind Robertson, who has been one of the best left-backs in the last five years.

However, whenever Tsimikas plays, he provides them with a different dimension. He is not as explosive and direct as Robertson but is excellent at areas where Robertson struggles. The Greek full-back is great going forward and is creative in the final third.

Against Ajax, he recorded an eye-catching 5 key passes and 3 progressive passes. Tsimikas was involved in 5 shot-creating actions and completed 4 progressive carries. The late-headed goal by Matip was assisted by Tsimikas, and his delivery throughout the game was impressive.

Lucas Hernandez

The final scoreline between Bayern Munich and Barcelona doesn’t tell the true story of the game. For large parts of that game, Barcelona dominated Bayern, and the German side were struggling to deal with Barcelona’s passing play. The away side had more big chances missed (3) and had more shots from inside the box (11).

However, Barcelona simply couldn’t finish, and one of the reasons behind that was the robust performance from Hernandez. He got a goal as well but sometimes, a goal scored by a defender overshadows how immaculate he was defensively.

Hernandez completed 4 interceptions, and 2 tackles against Barcelona, and his game reading in certain situations was spot on. He physically and dominated Lewandowski and outthought him on multiple occasions.

Julian Nagelsmann

Despite struggling for large parts of the game, Bayern got the job done, and their excellent defensive display was a major reason behind that.

However, Nagelsmann’s decisions in terms of his substitutions were excellent. Sabitzer did not have a particularly good game, and Kimmich neither had a good first half.

To get the most out of Kimmich and bring some dominance back into the midfield, Nagelsmann replaced Sabitzer with Goretzka. The dynamic changed immediately after the change. With Goretzka beside him in midfield, it helped Kimmich push up when required.

In the first half, Bayern had just 4 shots, 1 on target, and no real punch in the game. It changed after Nagelsmann’s first change at halftime, and Bayern in the second half had 9 shots and 3 of them on target. They had 0 big chances in the first half, with 2 in the second.

A brilliant tactical decision by Nagelsmann as he perfectly utilized the skillset of the right players at the right time.

Pep Guardiola

Quite similar to Nagelsmann, Guardiola has made it among our top performers because of his accurate substitutions against Dortmund. Manchester City had a poor first half and started the second half with no changes, and Dortmund took the lead through Bellingham. Until this point in the game, Dortmund were cruising, and then came Pep’s changes.

To increase the intensity and directness of City’s attacks, he replaced Gundogan with Bernardo Silva and Mahrez with Alvarez. The other change was Foden in for Grealish. All of a sudden, the dynamic changed, and Dortmund were struggling to get out of their own half.

In the first half, City had 4 shots and none on target and 3 shots from inside the box while in the second half they mustered 8 shots with 3 on target  and 5 shots from inside the box.

Pep’s changes did the trick and resulted in another win for City in the Champions League.

Also read: UCL: Top Performers Of UCL Matchday 1

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