This week's top Champions League performers

Sports Mole selects five players that have made an impact in the Champions League this week.

With the group stage of the competition moving past the midway point, all eyes were on this week's Champions League fixtures to see who could take a step nearer qualification for the second round.

As expected, many of the 16 results have changed the shape of their respective groups, with plenty of goals and eye-catching performances taking place around Europe.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at which players have made an impact over the past couple of evenings.


Manchester City's Spanish forward Ńlvaro Negredo scores the fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group D football match between Manchester City and CSKA Moscow at The City of Manchester stadium in Manchester, north-west England on November 5, 2© Getty Images
1. Alvaro Negredo

Before Manchester City's match with CSKA Moscow, striker Alvaro Negredo had enjoyed a solid start to his City career after his summer arrival from Sevilla.

The Spanish international had netted six times in 15 appearances, but the 28-year-old improved that record with three goals against the Russian outfit on Tuesday night.

His opening two efforts came from close range after good work from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri, before he completed his hat-trick in the final minute by heading in a cross from James Milner.

Negredo has played second fiddle to a free-scoring Aguero for the majority of the campaign, but his treble against Moscow would have reminded the Argentine that there is another world-class forward at the Etihad Stadium.


Arsenal's Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring the opening goal with Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil during the UEFA Champions League group F football match Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal London in Dortmund, western Germany on November 6,© Getty Images
2. Aaron Ramsey

After previously netting just 11 goals in 150 appearances for Arsenal, midfielder Aaron Ramsey has has made a stunning impact for the Gunners since the start of the season.

Ahead of Arsenal's trip to Borussia Dortmund, the Welsh international had scored 10 goals in 16 matches, and he added another to his tally on Wednesday evening as the North London outfit stunned last season's Champions League runners-up.

Ramsey struck on 62 minutes, diving in to head home Mesut Ozil's cross, to give his side the lead from their first attempt on goal in Germany.

The 22-year-old dug deep for the remainder of the encounter as Arsenal managed to fend off Dortmund's fluid attacking game to register three vital points to move to the top of Group F.


Chelsea's Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o celebrates scoring his second goal during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Chelsea and FC Schalke at Stamford Bridge in London on November 6, 2013© Getty Images
3. Samuel Eto'o

After a muscular injury ruled Fernando Torres out of Chelsea's game with Schalke 04, Samuel Eto'o was handed the opportunity to impress manager Jose Mourinho after a slow start to his career at Stamford Bridge.

The Cameroonian barely featured during a quiet first 30 minutes, but he was gifted his second goal in a Chelsea shirt when goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand struck the ball against his right boot, with the ball deflecting into an empty net.

It was the kind of luck that hadn't been present in the former Barcelona man's opening months at Stamford Bridge, but there was nothing fortunate about his second of the night as he confidently fired the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

With Torres expected to miss Saturday's game with West Bromwich Albion, all eyes will be on Eto'o to see if he can add to his tally against the Baggies.


Napoli's Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League group F football match SSC Napoli vs Olympique de Marseille at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples on November 6, 2013© Getty Images
4. Gonzalo Higuain

After reportedly coming close to sealing a move to Arsenal during the summer, Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain netted two goals on Wednesday night that leaves the English side's qualification remaining in the balance.

The Serie A outfit had fallen behind at home to Marseille, but two minutes after a Gokhan Inler equaliser, Higuain drilled a volley through the goalkeeper's legs to give Napoli the lead.

Marseille brought the score level midway through the second half, but 11 minutes later, the Argentine frontman converted from six yards to earn his team an important triumph.

That took Higuain's Champions League tally to three goals, and Napoli will be relying on him to net a fourth when they travel to Dortmund later this month.


Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the match against Valencia on September 1, 2013© AFP
5. Lionel Messi

Before Barcelona's fixture with AC Milan, Lionel Messi had endured a bleak spell in front of goal after failing to score in his previous three matches.

That's a long time for a player who is widely regarded as the best in the world, but the Argentine bounced back on Tuesday night with a double at Camp Nou.

The first came from the penalty spot after Neymar had been hauled down, before the second was converted seven minutes from time as Barcelona completed a 3-1 victory.

Messi's goal also ensured his side's qualification for the knockout stages, but they still require one point to confirm first place in Group H.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match Juventus vs Real Madrid at the Juventus stadium in Turin on November 5, 2013
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