Another midweek of UEFA Champions League action is only a few hours away and, as usual, we have our usual run through of all the salient points leading up to first kick-off this evening…
There are still issues to be had with the game this term. The Champions League format underwent a change between seasons and the new platform that has been bestowed upon us has most definitely encountered some kinks. Aesthetically there are plus points but ergonomically we have come across problems.
After the first two Matchdays of action, however, we can be happy to say that there have been improvements in the league display which hopefully bodes well for further updates in future rounds. We can now actually view other teams which, as simple as that seems, is a major plus point.
We can now give European Fantasy managers in the Scout League their proper dues and praise Shindokung for jumping to the top of our league (and 16th overall) off the back of an incredibly strong 88 points in the previous Matchday. The expensive but rewarding strike-force of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin Van Persie brought home plenty of bacon with 42 points between them. He even got a goal out of BATE Borisov – a charmed life.
After a couple of rounds there is a moderate split back to Wazza in second place at the hands of a strikeforce very much empowered by the best La Liga has to offer. That’s what 26.0m of your budget buys you – the best in the world. Dennil345 is a mere single place back in third with exactly the same pair of forwards doing the heavy lifting and a nice varied defence helping boost the tallies for Matchday Two.
Four other managers have been able to reach at least 150 points after two rounds of the competition with mafesan and sam777 beating it by a point with jjeva186 (our leader following Matchday One and the only of our top seven to do so without Cristiano Ronaldo lending a hand) and Chris Thompson falling right on the mark.
The Scout Team’s own, Anorak, has managed to hold firm in the upper echelons by staying exactly where he was with a berth at 32nd in the Scout League.
With the men between the sticks, it seems that transfers being made have got one eye on saving a penny or two along the way. Manuel Neuer and Iker Casillas are first and third for transfers out respectively since the end of Matchday 2, while the markedly cheaper Helton and Wilfredo Caballero of Malaga are the leading candidates in the replacement department.
Those not looking to scrimp on goalkeepers seem to be favouring Joe Hart with two ties against Ajax up next on the calendar for City.
Marcelo has gone and broken his foot so there’s no surprise he tops the defenders on their way out with Gerard Pique not too far behind and John Terry also attracting negative equity. The FA sanctioned ban on the latter doesn’t extend to the Champions League so European Fantasy managers are either misinformed or have simply had enough with the Chelsea captain.
In tandem to that transfer we find David Luiz rocketing up the charts following his goalscoring exploits in Denmark last time round, with Thiago Silva of PSG attracting similar levels of interest. FC Porto defender Alex Sandro is the real hot property this week though with managers coming in their droves to snap him up.
Malaga have had a bright start to their Champions League careers and, to go alongside their goalkeeper, a pair of their midfielders, Isco and Eliseu, are garnering a great deal of interest as a result. Chelsea’s Oscar is drawing just as much attention which is no doubt aided by the fact he was severely underpriced at a mere 6.5 (2.5 grades cheaper than Eden Hazard, for example) in this format.
Those on budget are also shopping in the midfield ballpark as Cluj playmaker Rafael Bastos and Edgar Oleknovich of BATE have seen more than a handful of transfers in since last week.
Those midfielders dropping out are invariably coming from one of two places: Bayern Munich (Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben in particular) or the Premier League (Eden Hazard, Santi Cazorla, Nani and Antonio Valencia all seeing marked declines in interest).
European Fantasy managers may have been scrimping and saving in the previously mentioned because 13.0 heavyweight Cristiano Ronaldo is the most sought after striker this week. Robin Van Persie and Gervinho are the (much varied) alternative striking options of the week.
Interest in Bayern Munich’s pair of Marios continue to stumble up front, with the injured Gomez unsurprisingly losing investment hand over fist, while his current deputy Mandzukic also plummets after defeat to their Belarusian rivals BATE Borisov last time round. Carlos Tevez has also seen a good deal abandon ship, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic right at the front of the queue as his 12.0 stake seems to be an easy transition for those wanting Ronaldo.
ONES TO WATCH
Younes Belhanda – with just a point picked up from their first two fixtures, Montpellier will really be looking at tomorrow’s fixture at home to Olympiacos as a must-win if they want to continue in their Champions League adventure beyond the group stages. If anyone is going to invigorate the reigning French champions out of their slumber the odds will be in favour of their number 10 lynchpin Belhanda.
Jackson Martinez – with expensive options often taking up a couple of berths in European Fantasy managers’ strike-force, the need for a good value third option is often called for. Ahead of a home fixture with Dynamo Kiev Martinez is a forward who fits that mould rather nicely – he comes in at just 6.5 and plays for a side buoyed by their recent victory at home to Paris Saint Germain in the previous round.
Nicolas Lombaerts – FC Zenit have been experiencing a tumultuous beginning to a Champions League campaign that was hoped would be the start of something special. With a home tie against RSC Anderlecht coming up, Luciano Spalleti will be hoping that the tides of change will arrive if a little later than anticipated. Any success must be built on the bedrock of a solid defence so Lombaerts, just 4.5 in this format, is a nice cheap option in what should be the Russian champions’ game to win.
Lionel Messi – this pretty much goes without saying but, for the approximately quarter of European Fantasy Managers who haven’t yet welcomed Messi into their teams, we figured we’d reiterate the fact. Barcelona have the world’s best player leading their charge and a home game against Celtic tonight – it’s an equation with a very simple solution.
Please note that deadline for your UEFA Fantasy Champions League team selection will be at the earlier time of 17:45 CET today. This is due to Benfica’s trip to Spartak Moscow kicking off earlier than the seven remaining scheduled fixtures today.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas