There’s just a few hours to go until this season’s Champions League gets underway. For those managers participating in the official UEFA Fantasy Champions League game, we’ve already rolled out an extensive look at the Player List yesterday:
With the Matchday 1 deadline at 19.30 (GMT) this evening, we roll out our first set of picks for the campaign – given that most Fantasy managers are intent on snapping up Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, our plan is to look for alternatives to the duo in each of our articles.
Arturo Vidal – the Chilean’s performances in the Juventus midfield have helped steer his side to second in Serie A after three round of matches. Top scorer for Juventus so far, Vidal has racked up three goals and an assist and is also head of the queue for spot-kicks – a price of 8.5 still looks enticing as the “Old Lady” prepares for a trip to Group B underdogs FC Copenhagen.
Jefferson Farfan – priced at 6.5, the Schalke winger looks a strong mid-price option for our five-man midfields ahead of a home clash against Steaua Bucharest. Farfan is also on spot-kick duties in light of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s injury absence and has notched a goal and assist over the last couple of league fixtures. With Schalke winning each of their last two, form is picking up after an uneasy start to the domestic campaign and the Peruvian looks key to his side’s prospects tomorrow.
Robin Van Persie – for domestic Fantasy managers, the Dutchman is the number one target this term but when it comes to Champions League football, it’s a different matter entirely. With Messi and Ronaldo dominating the ownership for forwards, Van Persie welcomes Leverkusen to Old Trafford as a differential – just 5% have picked him up so far. Having scored three times for Holland in the recent internationals and notched against Palace on Saturday, we know his capabilities all too well to ignore the 12.5 priced frontman.
Mario Mandzukic – top scorer for the defending champions under new boss Pep Guardiola, the big Croatian looks in good form ahead of the visit of CSKA Moscow. Mandzukic warmed up for this one with a goal in the weekend home win over Hannover and now has three Bundesliga strikes under his belt – fellow Bayern forward Thomas Muller has yet to notch by comparison. Coming in at 11.5, Mandzukic is far from cheap but looks a real armband contender for this evening’s round of matches.
David Villa – we’re handing the former Barcelona forward the chance to make the difference as Atletico Madrid play host to Zenit tomorrow evening. Diego Simeone’s side are full of goals at the moment and sit joint-top of La Liga with Barcelona after notching 14 times in four matches – with top scorer Diego Costa suspended for the opening pair of Group G fixtures, Villa’s contribution will be more key than ever. Backed by the creativity of Arda Turan, Gabi and Koke in midfield (the trio have each produced a pair of assists apiece in the league) the 9.0 priced Villa will be looking to add to the form which has harvested two goals and an assist already this season.
Mario Balotelli – Milan will be looking for their temperamental star to steer their injury-hit side to victory against Celtic at the San Siro. With the likes of Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo amongst the injured for the Italians, Balotelli’s form on the night will likely be decisive – having scored in each of his last couple of matches, he looks in the mood to deliver. A back-to-the-wall performance is expected from Neil Lennon’s side but they’ll struggle to contain the 10.0 forward, who also has spot-kicks to boost his appeal for Wednesday’s match.
For those playing the official game, just a heads-up that we’ve set up the official Fantasy Football Scout league – the code to join is 1209685-489925.