Champions League Results 2014: Top Takeaways from Wednesday Action

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Champions League Results 2014: Top Takeaways from Wednesday Action
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

There were just two Champions League fixtures on Wednesday but there was plenty to take away from the matches between AC Milan and Atletico Madrid and Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

Atletico were the better club against Milan, defeating them 1-0 on the strength of a late goal from Diego Costa. Neither team dominated play, though it was clear that Milan have difficulties playing Spanish sides.

In the other fixture, Bayern dropped Arsenal by a score of 2-0. Toni Kroos and Thomas ller both netted goals to lead Bayern to the win.

Week 16 will not continue until next Tuesday (Feb. 25), but Wednesday's results left the fans with plenty to think about until then. Here are the top takeaways from Wednesday's games.

 

Atletico Madrid Channeling 1997 Form

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Atletico are on pace to do something that they haven't done since 1997. Costa's header in the 83rd minute kept his team on course to reach the Champions League quarterfinal for the first time since 1997.

Costas goal was a bit unexpected, as Milan had the better goal-scoring chances earlier in the match. Neither side dominated, but Milan appeared to have the better opportunities prior to Costa sending one off the back post.

Milan obviously could not capitalize on said opportunities. They were, however, flashing some signs of their old form, per Stephan Shemilt of BBCSport

On his Champions League bow, Adel Taarabt, on loan from QPR, grew in confidence on the Milan right, while Kaka showed glimpses of the ability that saw him crowned world player of the year in 2007 - the last time Milan lifted the Champions League trophy.

Atletico and Milan will next face off on March 11, albeit in front of Atletico's home crowd.

 

Arsenal Perform Poorly Against Bayern Munich

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Emirates Stadium is not an easy place to play, but Bayern handled Arsenal with ease. Their two goals came after the break, and the first half could be summed up by Arsenal's missed opportunities. It was not a good game for their side.

In fact, Phil McNulty of BBC Sport goes so far as to say that it should be a "night of regrets": 

It will be a night of regrets for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his players after Mesut Ozil's careless early penalty was saved by Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer and opposite number Wojciech Szczesny was sent off before half-time for fouling Arjen Robben in the area.

The penalty by Szczesny didn't result in a score, however, as Bayern's David Alaba wasted the attempt.

Playing with just 10 men, Arsenal could not hold out against Bayern's numbers. Even after a compelling first half by both sides, the match went south in terms of excitement. Playing with just 10 players, Arsenal easily surrendered the advantage to Bayern.

 

Toni Kroos Performs Admirably

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Toni Kroos performed well against Arsenal, and it was his goal that really put the competition away.

In the 54th minute, Kroos showed off his striking skills by curving the ball outside the right post and back into the top-right corner of the net. Lukasz Fabianski, Szczesny's replacement in goal, could not stretch out far enough to tip the offering.

The goal was particularly important considering the aggregate score. It was an important strike away from home in the two-leg series. Having gone down to 10 men, Arsenal had little chance of getting that goal back.

Kroos was actually involved in the play that forced Arsenal to go down a man. He showed great vision to create an opening for Arjen Robben, who was then challenged by Szczesny and ultimately fouled.

Kroos will need to keep up this kind of play for Bayern to progress through the Champions League.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @kennydejohn

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