UEFA Champions League. Preview of the matches to be played on 15/03 and 16/03
It seems like the Champions League play-off has just started, yet it’s time to sum up the round of 16 results. TimeToDraft will give you an insight on the last matches and help you pick the right players for fantasy tournaments.
Manchester City vs. Dynamo Kiev
3-1 advantage after the away match all but guarantees Manchester City the long-awaited spot in the round of eight. Something extraordinary should happen for Manuel Pellegrini’s squad to squander a solid advantage on home soil. At the same time it’s clear that he will not field reserve players against Dynamo Kiev. There might be some changes in the lineup, but definitely nothing too bold. So we can safely gamble on regular big shots like Sergio Agüero or Yaya Touré. Don’t forget to double check the squads for injuries one hour before the game just in case.
Those of you who still have faith in the Ukraine champions should be wary of Andriy Yarmolenko serious hip problem. There is a big chance of Serhiy Rebrov leaving him on the bench as a precaution. Let’s face it, the Etihad game doesn’t mean a lot for the visitors anyway. Dynamo has a difficult run-in in the national championship as they are only three points ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk. Next weekend they host third-placed Zorya and will probably switch their attention to that game.
Atlético Madrid vs. PSV
At first glance this match seems the most boring fixture of midweek legs. However, it represents particular interest for fantasy managers. Unless the aliens conquer the Earth before kick-off, Atlético Madrid and PSV will deliver another tough performance with plenty of tackles and few attempts. Evidently, you’ve got to have defenders representing these teams, and the home team backs should come as a priority as the Mattressers are expected to gain a typical minimal score win. There is high probability of Atlético scoring from a set piece, so pay attention to such person as Diego Godín.
The only drawback of such choice is an increased possibility of red cards. Let’s hope you are lucky and your defenders manage to get out of this hell without disciplinary sanctions.
Bayern Munich vs Juventus
Contrary to common predictions, there is still intrigue in this clash that was not killed in the first leg. Not least courtesy of Bayern Munich center back problems that came into play in Turin. Situation has got a little better in the past weeks as Mehdi Benatia got back to the roster and Bayern managed to keep clean sheets in the last two games, including the clash with free-scoring Borussia Dortmund. There are no problems with attack though, which was proved in the recent Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen, where Guardiola’s side netted five goals.
Naturally, Bayern are going to start the second leg at Allianz-Arena as favorites. However, Juventus’ solid defensive line is able to stun Bayern’s monstrous forwards. The Old Lady has not conceded a goal in the past ten(!!!) matches in Serie A!
Barcelona vs. Arsenal
That’s a nice cover, but hardly anything left inside. The Catalans have already solved a quest of reaching the quarterfinal in London and will probably play a somewhat exhibition match at Camp Nou. Fans and football amateurs will almost certainly get satisfaction, but fantasy managers will need to think hard when picking players representing these two teams. It can’t be an easy guess in such a match. Hence we call upon spending wisely on Blaugrana and Gunners titans – there might be surprises in the squads, namely resting some big shots. There is no chance to check the lineups beforehand as the match is scheduled for Wednesday.
The perfect captain
Only Fanaments posted the fantasy prices of the players at the time of issuing the article, so we are going to base our view on those valuations. It’s important to note that the mentioned fantasy platform calculates the player’s price based on his previous performance in this particular tournament, so some valuations may seem odd at first glance. Having this in mind, there are not many options for a perfect captain this week. The leader of Manchester City’s attacks, Sergio Agüero, is only worth 7,7 million, so most of the managers will definitely give him the captain’s armband. Particularly before the game against a team out of Europe’s elite.
If you would like to stay away from mainstream opinion, stick with Yaya Touré. The Ivorian costs 9,4 million, but proved to be more efficient than Agüero in the first leg. Still, the entire fantasy science advises against sticking with a halfback and preferring a forward in such cases. Besides, should Manuel Pellegrini decide to apply squad rotation, the ageing Ivorian will likely fall victim to strategic planning in the first place.
What about other matches? Bayern Munich are most definitely going to score against Juventus, and have Thomas Müller (15,1) and Robert Lewandowski (14,4) in the squad. Let’s face it, these guys seem a little overpriced comparing to Sergio Agüero and keeping in mind the opposition they have to face. Eccentric fantasy managers can opt for Kingsley Coman (9,9), who made three assists against Werder Bremen last weekend. Mario Mandžukić (9,6) and Paulo Dybala (7,1) are the options from the Italian side, but this choice would seem too adventurous as Juventus can easily fail to net a goal.
There are no promising options in Atlético Madrid and PSV rosters as we don’t expect many goals and the forwards somehow seem overpriced. There will most probably be some goals in Barcelona vs. Arsenal fixture, particularly coming from the hosts, but it seems as if Fanaments tries to convince us to miss out on Messi, Neymar and Suárez offering unbelievable price tags of 19,8, 16,8 and 14,5 million respectively.
Players to miss the return legs
Sidelined: Delph, De Bruyne, Nasri, Tasende (all – Manchester City), Morozyuk (Dynamo Kiev), Savić, Tiago (both - Atlético Madrid), Pereyra (PSV), Badstuber, J.Boateng, Javi Martínez (all – Bayern Munich), Cáceres (Juventus), Piqué, Rafinha (both – Barcelona), Čech, Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Koscielny (all – Arsenal).
Doubtful: Yarmolenko, Rybka, Sydorchuk (all – Dynamo Kiev), Guardado, Lestienne (both – PSV), Chiellini (Juventus), Arteta (Arsenal).
Manchester City vs. Dynamo Kiev
Agüero and Touré are offered at such low prices on this fantasy platform that looking for other joker options will almost make you feel embarrassing. But if you do, pay attention to Fernando (5,3), who can always catch the goalkeeper off guard with a well-placed long-range shot. Vitaliy Buyalskyi (5,8) from Dynamo Kiev, who netted a goal in the first leg, could be considered for fantasy selection, but there is no guarantee whatsoever he will be as useful in the return match in Manchester.
Atlético Madrid vs. PSV
Luciano Vietto is an interesting fantasy option in Atlético roster (6,6) as he started in the Netherlands and had a great chance. The other players are inadequately expensive in my opinion. PSV players are significantly cheaper, but have fewer chances to deliver points for your fantasy team. Luuk De Jong (8,6) is one of the few Dutch players worth consideration.
Bayern Munich vs. Juventus
Mehdi Benatia is almost certain to start and is ridiculously cheap at 4,5 million! However, the Germans will have to work hard to keep a clean sheet. Paulo Dybala (7,1) is a good option from Juventus.
Barcelona vs. Arsenal
Barcelona’s entire first squad is excessively expensive. Likewise, Arsenal players’ prices bite, although they can hardly be expected to shine at Camp Nou. So we don’t want to draft players from these two teams for our fantasy team.