UEFA Champions League Matchday 4 (MD4) gives us the reverse fixtures from MD3. Whilst this certainly gives a statistical headstart, as all these teams have played each other recently, we need to be careful not to fall into traps of hindsight.
So, here’s a run-through of what you need to know for your UCL Fantasy captains and the player picks ahead of MD4.
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TEAMS TO BACK
Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid beat Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the reverse leg and it really could have been more. Karim Benzema (10.1m), Vinicius Junior (8.1m) and Rodrygo (7.6m) are starting to work together brilliantly and David Alaba’s (5.6m) El Clasico goal showed that he’s settling nicely in the Spanish capital. Real have good Fantasy options across the park ahead of welcoming the Ukrainians to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The English champions swept aside Club Brugge last time and will come into this game angry after their disappointing loss to Crystal Palace at the weekend. Pep Guardiola knows he needs every point he can get in a group with Paris Saint-Germain and he won’t take any risks against this plucky Belgian side. Pep will be particularly keen to shore up defence, having conceded seven goals in their first three UCL games.
Chelsea have scored eleven goals without reply in their last three Premier League games and Thomas Tuchel’s men visit a Malmo side with the worst record in this season’s UCL. Their defence has only conceded three league goals from ten matches, two of which were penalties, and their own 26 goals is only bettered by Liverpool. Despite the absence of Timo Werner (9.0m) and Romelu Lukaku (10.6m), Chelsea have quality Fantasy options across the pitch and an incredibly kind fixture.
MD3 proved that Sheriff weren’t invincible and Inter are constantly improving under Simone Inzaghi. They’re unbeaten in their last four games and will know that Sheriff are there for the taking on MD4. Nico Barella (7.1m) has failed to register a goal or assist in the UCL this season but has six assists and a goal from 11 Serie A appearances
Sporting have won their last six games in all competitions and swept aside Besiktas during their meeting in Turkey. They now have all key players back to full fitness and should have too much for Sergen Yalcin’s side, who fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Hatayspor at the weekend.
TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER
Captain Sensible: Robert Lewandowski (11.7m)
Lewandowski has scored five UCL goals this season, adding to his 12 Bundesliga goals and one assist from ten games. Since a shock 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on 3rd October, Bayern have won their last five games, scoring 23 goals and conceding three. Despite a slow start to the game, Bayern revved into gear and scored four in the reverse fixture in Lisbon two weeks ago. Lewandowski is an outstanding captaincy choice this week.
Captain Differential (less than 10% owned): Ben Chilwell (5.5m)
Unlike my poor prediction that Marcos Alonso (5.1m) would start last time Chelsea played Malmo, we have a better idea that Chilwell will start this time round. More importantly, we get to see the Chelsea line-up before deadline, meaning there’s only so much trickery Tuchel can produce. Chilwell has scored in three of his last four league games and is a constant penalty box threat. Malmo have comfortably been the poorest side in the competition so far, failing to score yet conceding 11 goals. With a high chance at both scoring and keeping a clean sheet here, Chilwell is a great captaincy option.
WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER
Captain Sensible: Mohamed Salah (10.6m)
Many will pick Benzema in this spot but his domestic form hasn’t been great over the last four games, and he’s finding himself sharing the spotlight with Vinicius Junior more often. The same cannot be said for Salah. The Egyptian King scored twice at the Wanda Metropolitano and has nine goals and four assists during his last six Liverpool matches. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are obviously a renowned defensive side, but nothing can seem to stop Salah of late.
Captain Differential (less than 10% owned): Riyad Mahrez (9.1m)
Despite his lack of Premier League game time, Mahrez has played every minute of UCL football so far this season. He’s on penalties for Man City when he plays and was brilliant in their 5-1 drubbing of Club Brugge in MD3. Pep will be looking to shake things up after Saturday’s Crystal Palace defeat and Mahrez could provide the spark for another big win.
SPOT THE DIFFERENTIAL
A selection of players who are less than 5% owned to help your team climb the ranks on MD4.
- Noah Okafor (RB Salzburg – 2% – 5.0m) – Although Wolfsburg are now under new management, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to turn their fortunes around on the European stage. Florian Kohfeldt, their new head coach, has never coached a UCL or Europa League game before. Starting out-of-position as a striker alongside Karim Adeyemi (7.3m) in their last game, Okafor grabbed a brace and the Player of the Match award. He’s got two goals and two assists in the three games since, across only 191 minutes.
- Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich – 2% – 9.6m) – When Lewandowski is an option in the Bayern frontline, it’s easy to see how players like Thomas Müller get ignored from a Fantasy standpoint. However, Müller has now registered two goals and five assists in his last three Bundesliga games – form which is almost too good to ignore. Ahead of Benfica’s visit to the Allianz Arena, Müller is an incredible Fantasy differential from a team in brilliant goalscoring form.
- Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan – 2% – 5.1m) – Anyone who followed this summer’s Euro 2020 saw what Dumfries can do. Despite not yet nailing down his spot in the Inter Milan line-up, the Dutchman has three assists from five starts and grabbed one in the 2-0 weekend win over Udinese. Inter proved that they can beat Sheriff Tiraspol last time out and Dumfries will be key in their attempts to do it again.
- Pedro Goncalves (Sporting Lisbon – 0% – 8.0m) – Despite his campaign so far being marred by injury, Pote – as he’s better known – is Sporting Lisbon’s key attacking piece. His form last season, grabbing 23 goals and four assists in 32 league appearances, shows what he can do and he also got a goal against Besiktas on MD3.
- Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund – 0% – 8.0m) – Dortmund were beaten by Ajax last time but it’s hard to envision it happening again. With Erling Haaland (11.0m) out injured, Hazard seems to have replaced him up top, grabbing a brace off the bench against Ingolstadt in the Pokal last week and scoring against Köln at the weekend. If Dortmund are to get anything out of this game, Hazard will be involved in it.
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