The first matchday of the Champions League came to an entertaining finish on Wednesday (catch all the action on Paramount+), with a handful of Europe's biggest sides securing all-important victories. Bayern Munich and Arsenal were among the big winners of the day, but it was not a straightforward outing for the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid. It makes the journey to next spring's final all the more intriguing as matchday one comes to a close.
Here are a few takeaways from Wednesday's action.
- Real Madrid 1, Union Berlin 0
- Galatasaray 2, Copenhagen 2
- Bayern Munich 4, Manchester United 3
- Benfica 0, RB Salzburg 2
- Braga 1, Napoli 2
- Arsenal 0, PSV 4
- Sevilla 1, Lens 1
- Real Sociedad 1, Inter Milan 1
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Arsenal deliver in Champions League return
In their first Champions League outing in six years, Arsenal notched a commanding 4-0 win that saw them dominate from start to finish. The scoring started early through Bukayo Saka, who scored his first Champions League goal in the eighth minute, which sends them top of Group B after Sevilla and Lens' draw. It continues their impressive start to the season as they team aims to make their return to the Champions League a memorable one.
The game also marked David Raya's second consecutive start in goal after he played in the team's 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday, and makes Arsenal's goalkeeper situation worth keeping an eye on. Mikel Arteta refused to answer questions about Raya being the number choice over longtime keeper Aaron Ramsdale on Sunday, and is unlikely to announce a changing of the guard, but Raya's appearance against PSV might be the answer many have looked for.
Real Madrid, Inter wasteful
Both Real Madrid and Inter escaped their Champions League matches with at least a point and each scored a goal, but the two left something to be desired going forward. It comes as no surprise that Jude Bellingham scored for Madrid and that they dominated, but the team's talented attackers struggled to put the ball in the back of the net until the 94th minute. The statsheet tells the tale of a below average attacking performance -- Real Madrid had 32 shots but just seven on target and an expected goals tally of 3.38.
Madrid's offensive output could be down to some bad luck, while Inter also posted an unimpressive attacking showing for different reasons in their 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Last season's finalists had seven shots in total but just one on target and an expected goals total of 0.54, well behind Sociedad's 14 shots, four on target, and expected goals tally of 1.38. The performance is even less impressive when considering when Inter actually took their shots. They notched their first strike in the 18th minute, and their second in the 86th minute. They finished the match well and Lautaro Martinez scored a goal to show for it, but the performance marks quite the contrast from their 5-1 demolition of AC Milan on Saturday.
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Manchester United's season goes from bad to worse
With two wins out of five to start their Premier League campaign, Manchester United needed a strong showing against Bayern Munich to correct course on a season that has already started to sour. There were some positives to take away from their 4-3 loss, but that much-needed result never came.
Andre Onana's gaffe to gift Leroy Sane the opening goal in the 28th minute was the most notable defensive error of the night, but it was far from the only one. United's performance was laden with sloppy defensive mistakes, and is indicative of a trend at this point -- the team has conceded three or more goals in their last three games.
United actually did manage to score three times on Wednesday, which is an improvement from their back-to-back 3-1 losses to Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion. That will not ease, whose team has yet to put out an impressive performance despite spending big to please him over the summer.