Busquets, Messi and Aguero in Champions League TOTW
With the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 matches done and dusted, it's time to look at the best XI this week ...
Goalkeeper: Paris St-Germain's Kevin Trapp was not called upon anywhere near as often as his opposite number, Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois, but he still made what could prove one of the most decisive interventions of the round. PSG had dominated the early stages without making a breakthrough when, from their first proper attack, Chelsea broke and Diego Costa rose to plant a free header towards goal six yards out. Moving to his left, Trapp flicked the ball on to the woodwork and prevented a goal that would have changed the complexion of the tie. PSG went on to win 2-1 and you could argue Trapp's save was the most important of the round.
Right-back: Arsenal's Hector Bellerin is becoming one of the best around in his position. It was a special night for the Spaniard against Barcelona, who came through the ranks at La Masia before moving to London at 16, and reports in Spain suggested that both Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta made a point of seeking him out after the game to congratulate him on his performance. Could Bellerin, 20, follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas in returning to the club where he began one day -- perhaps as a successor to Dani Alves?
Centre-back: A visiting Atletico Madrid defence, marshalled by Diego Godin, gave a solid base from which they will be firm favourites to progress to the quarterfinals. Godin was fouled by Gaston Pereiro for the red card that rules the PSV Eindhoven striker out of the next game, but his commanding display in a tough away stalemate was of far greater consequence.
Centre-back: PSV dug in to give themselves a fighting chance for their second leg with Atletico and few put themselves on the line quite as much as the former Chelsea defender, Jeffrey Bruma. He snuffed out the visitors' biggest opportunity of the match, clearing Luciano Vietto's early effort away from close to the line, and was later poleaxed by a fierce Angel Correa effort. It epitomised his side's commitment, shown particularly in the last 20 minutes after Pereiro's red card, and they will need more of the same in three weeks' time if they are to come through unscathed at the Vicente Calderon.
Left-back: Roma were kept under control by Real Madrid at Stadio Olimpico after a few first-half flickers and it was their left-back, Marcelo, who bided his time before prising the home team open. His through ball released Cristiano Ronaldo for the game's opener and the Brazilian was a constant threat supporting the attack. Real retain the feel of a work in progress under Zinedine Zidane but Marcelo's performance suggested the new manager is keen on playing to the attack-minded full-back's strengths.
Centre-midfield: There had been significant doubts about Marco Verratti's fitness to face Chelsea at Parc des Princes. The playmaker had only just recovered from injury but went on to complete 81 minutes and was in imperious form from the off, quickly picking up the tempo of the game and leading a PSG performance that was incisive enough on the ball to merit victory. Verratti makes PSG tick and a similar performance in the second leg at Stamford Bridge would be invaluable against a Chelsea side for which Nemanja Matic will be back from suspension.
Centre-midfield: Barcelona's deep midfield metronome Sergio Busquets will never be a headline-maker but he was his usual masterful self against Arsenal. Busquets was integral in keeping a clean sheet, knitting possession together in his usual fashion and keeping at arm's length an Arsenal side that played spiritedly. He completed 78 of his 83 attempted passes, a statistic only bettered by teammate Javier Mascherano, and intelligently screened a defence that seems to have done the hard work ahead of the second leg.
Right-forward: We have seen it plenty of times before but that does not make it any easier to prevent. Defenders have a perfectly good idea of what Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben will do when he receives the ball in space on the right side of the penalty area, but there is nobody better at creating half a yard and the Dutchman succeeds in making space to get a shot away time and again. His finish in the 2-2 draw against Juventus, after dribbling halfway across the box to create an angle, was sublime and although the home team showed superb heart to draw level it meant that Bayern, with two away goals, are firmly in control of the tie.
Attacking-midfield: Things have not quite gone to plan for Julian Draxler since his expensive move from Schalke in August. On the whole he has struggled to fill Kevin De Bruyne's boots but there are signs that he is finding his feet at Wolfsburg. Draxler had scored in the Bundesliga against Ingolstadt four days before Wolfsburg's 3-2 win at Gent, saving his best for the Champions League. He was untouchable at times and scored two beautiful goals, finishing the first after a one-two with Vieirinha and chipping in a sublime solo second. Gent's late comeback gave these goals added importance. Wolfsburg have a matchwinner on his hands who, on his day, can trouble anyone in the competition.
Left-forward: The superlatives have long since been exhausted, but Lionel Messi did it again at Arsenal and brought Barcelona to the brink of a place in the quarterfinals. Their vaunted front three had not quite clicked before Messi showed laudable composure to finish an opportunity on the counter-attack that was probably more difficult than it looked. He then converted a penalty that puts him six goals shy of Ronaldo's Champions League record. Ronaldo has 88 to his name and if Arsenal attempt to chase the tie at Camp Nou, chances should arise for Messi to close the gap further.
Striker: An on-form Sergio Aguero is Manchester City's best hope of a deep run into the competition and he proved it again in Kiev. His 15th minute finish in City's 3-1 win, converted sharply after the equally impressive Yaya Toure had headed a corner into his path, set Manuel Pellegrini's side fair for victory. A fine back-heel to Raheem Sterling paved the way for David Silva to score the second before Toure rounded things off.
Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC, the Guardian, FourFourTwo and the Blizzard, among others. Twitter: @NickAmes82.