PARIS, September 29 – Chelsea and Arsenal maintained their perfect records to edge closer to the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, while Europe's elite club competition revelled in a little Brazilian magic.
Chelsea handed former player Didier Deschamps a miserable Stamford Bridge return as his French champions Marseille suffered a 2-0 defeat.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, rocked by their shock 3-2 Premier League defeat by West Brom, overcame a testing night, as well as faulty floodlights, in Serbia to see off 10-man Partizan Belgrade 3-1.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea had suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season at Manchester City on Saturday, just days after crashing out of the League Cup against Newcastle.
But there were no such problems against Marseille thanks to an early goal from John Terry and Nicolas Anelka’s first-half penalty.
The win left Chelsea top of Group F, ahead of Spartak Moscow on goal difference, after two games of their latest bid to win Europe’s elite club competition for the first time.
Ancelotti said: "We had a good analysis about the last defeat, then we prepared this game well and played a good game. Now those defeats are forgotten."
Deschamps was scathing of his team, who have lost both of their opening games.
"We were dominated both technically and physically. There was a huge difference between the two sides," said the 1998 French World Cup winner.
Arsenal are top of Group H after following up their 6-0 demolition of Braga with a 3-1 win at Partizan, despite missing a penalty.
It was also a match where Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski restored some of his tarnished reputation.
Andrey Arshavin gave Arsenal a 15th-minute lead but Partizan draw level through Brazil-born striker Cleo.
Then, after Marko Jovanovic was sent-off early in the second-half, Arshavin saw his resulting penalty saved by Vladimir Stojkovic before Marouane Chamakh restored the London club’s lead 19 minutes from time.
Sebastien Squillaci headed in substitute Samir Nasri’s corner to make it 3-1 in the 82nd minute.
There was still time for Partizan to force a penalty but Fabianski, in for the injured and equally under-fire Manuel Almunia, dived to his right to save Cleo’s spot-kick.
"We have seen the Lukasz I see everyday," said Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. "I believe it’s a good encouragement for him."
Breathing down the Londoners’ necks are unfashionable Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk, whose European dreams are being fired by a legion of Brazilian imports.
Russian champions Spartak brushed aside Slovakia’s Zilina 3-0 with Brazilian striker Ari scoring twice and compatriot Ibson adding the third.
Meanwhile, Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano teamed up to steer Shakhtar Donetsk to a 3-0 win at Braga.
Costa, one of Europe’s most sought-after young talents, set-up both of Adriano’s goals before adding the third with a last-minute penalty.
Elsewhere, it was business as usual in Europe.
Real Madrid have a perfect six points from two matches in Group G after a late goal from substitute Angel di Maria earned Jose Mourinho’s side a 1-0 win at Auxerre.
AC Milan are second in the group after coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 at fellow former champions Ajax.
Ex-Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed the equaliser in the 37th minute after Moroccan international Mounir El Hamdaoui had put Martin Jol’s side ahead 14 minutes earlier.
It was Ibrahimovic’s third goal in the tournament this season, after he scored twice in the opening 2-0 win over Auxerre.
In Group E, last year’s runners-up Bayern Munich had Bastian Schweinsteiger to thank for both goals in a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Basel.
Roma saw off Romanian side CFR Cluj 2-1 in the other group game.