After an exhilarating week of domestic football, the much-awaited 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals is here. We’re now at the business end of the season both in the real and the fantasy versions of the game. Every goal scored or saved could affect your rank drastically, making it important to get your transfers right. Here are some player picks to help shape your team.
Alisson Becker (€6.4m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
With just three free transfers in the bank, you wouldn’t want to use a transfer to bring in a goalkeeper. But if there aren’t other fires to put out, Alisson is the best goalkeeper to transfer in. Liverpool held Villareal to zero shots on goal for an xG of 0.05. If those numbers are anything to go by, the Brazilian #1 should have an untroubled night in goal yet again.
Scott Carson (€3.8m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
If you already trust your starting keeper and have a spare transfer to raise cash by setting fire to your bench, then Carson could be your man, an enabler still available at less than the original minimum. Bonus: In the unlikely event that Ederson goes out injured, Carson could even earn a point! (but don’t hold your breath)
Trent Alexander Arnold (€6.9m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
TAA is joint #1 for assists (three in seven appearances) among defenders left in the game, making Liverpool’s right-back one of the best attacking defenders to transfer in. Despite playing as the right-back, TAA has the most key passes in the premier league and is the most likely to set up a goal for Liverpool.
Juan Foyth (€5.0m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
Owned by just 1% of the managers, Foyth could turn out to be a great value pick. Foyth is the cheapest starting defender left in the game and could return points if Villareal gets off to a good start and manage to beat the odds again.
Virgil van Dijk (€6.4m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
Van Dijk has been a rock at the back for Liverpool throughout the season, and he was integral to the Reds’ impressive defensive display in the 1st leg. He has a great ball recovery potential in combination with a decent goal threat from set-piece situations, making him a useful buy ahead of MD-12.
João Cancelo (€6.7m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
Man City felt the impact of Cancelo’s 1st-leg absence as the Citizens conceded three goals (1.84 xG) at the Etihad Stadium. Man City’s defense will be revitalized with Cancelo’s return from suspension — The Portuguese fullback has been one of the stars this season. Cancelo has the highest points among the defenders left in UCL fantasy (62 points in 8 appearances) and could be on the end of some chances, especially if Madrid is as open as they were in the 1st leg.
Andy Robertson (€6.6m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
Andy Robertson is arguably the best left-back in the world at the moment. Robertson has two goals plus ten assists in 27 premier league appearances and is a constant threat down the left flank for Liverpool. With Luis Diaz grabbing all the attention on the left-hand side, Robertson could be on the end of some great chances if not tracked.
Kevin De Bruyne (€11.2m,Real Madrid vs Man City)
De Bruyne is in red hot form coming into MD-12. In the 1st leg, he was the best player on the pitch, scoring a goal and providing an assist to cap off his brilliant display. If Real Madrid doesn’t tighten up at the back, Debruyne could have a field day yet again.
Mo Salah (€11.2, Villareal vs Liverpool)
Salah is #1 for points (71 in 11 appearances) among midfielders left in the game, and he’s the go-to man in attack for the high-scoring Liverpool side. Salah will be extra motivated to score in MD-12 as the winger is having a mini drought, having not scored in the last four UCL games.
Riyadh Mahrez (€9.7m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
Mahrez is Manchester City’s main man in the Champions League, unlucky not to score in MD-11 as the Algerian was denied by Thibaut Courtois’ brilliance and the post. The Madrid back line could be in for a long night if it isn’t well prepared to deal with Mahrez in MD-12.
Arnaut Danjuma (€7.8m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
Despite Danjuma’s fantastic season so far, the Dutchman was restricted to 0 shots on goal in MD-11. But hear me out, Villareal isn’t a team that relies on the volume of shots to score goals. Rather, the yellow submarines are efficient with their shots. For instance, Villareal had a total of two shots over the two legs against FC Bayern and managed to score two goals with Danjuma getting one of them. With Liverpool playing a high line, there is always room to exploit, so Danjuma could be the key to unlocking the Reds’ defense.
Phil Foden (€8.2m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
Foden is in sizzling form coming into MD-12, scoring two goals and providing two assists in his last three appearances in all competitions. Priced at €8.2m, Foden is a great value pick if you can’t afford Mahrez and Debruyne. The youngster has the potential to match their points, especially if he features as the #9.
Karim Benzema (€10.7m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
Karim Benzema is the best player in the world at the moment. He has scored in each of his last 4 UCL appearances to become the top point-scorer in UCL fantasy. Don’t leave him out.
Luis Diaz (€8.5m, Villareal vs Liverpool)
What a signing Luis Diaz has turned out to be for Liverpool! The Colombian has earned his place in the starting 11 and has sometimes outshined the likes of Salah and Mane with his flare. In MD-11, although Diaz didn’t score a goal or provide an assist, the Liverpool #23 was a live-wire down the left-hand side, taking more shots on goal (3) than any other player on the pitch. Caveat: Diaz’s minutes could be managed with Jota available. Since the official Liverpool lineups will be out before the MD-12 deadline, you can wait to buy him. Be sure to tune into NMA’s Pre-Deadline Chat for team news, before locking in your transfers.
Vinicius Jr (€9.1m, Real Madrid vs Man City)
Vinicius is #1 for assists in UCL (6 assists in 11 UCL appearances), outperforming the likes of De Bruyne and Salah in the creativity department, despite being €2m cheaper in the game. Like MD-11, Vinicius is going to be a handful for the Man City defenders to deal with, especially if Man City play a high line as they did in the first leg.
MATCHDAY 11 BUILD-UP
UCL expert MiQ has already posted a handy MD-12 Fantasy Preview to help shape your thinking. Tomorrow, UCL expert Guy will publish an MD-12 Rate My Team article, talking about his strategies and transfer plans.
You are welcome to post tactics chat and questions in the comments section of this article as well. And of course, MiQ will be posting the UCL Live Chat article on Tuesday. Injuries and suspensions lists will be covered there, so be sure to check-in.
NMA UCL Fantasy Mini-League
If you played our UCL mini-league last season, or if you played our Euros mini-league over the summer, you should automatically be entered into NMA’s 2021-22 mini-league as soon as you create a team. Head to gaming.uefa.com and get to work!
If you are new to us, then once you create a team you can join our mini-league manually with the following info. Come join us, we’d love to have you!
- Code: 71MQALVG07
How’s your 2nd-leg squad shaping up? What vacancies do you need to fill? What balancing do you want to achieve before half of all our players crash out? whom do you plan to captain on day 1 and (if needed) day 2? Are you playing a chip or recovering from playing a chip? Do you have questions of your own? Please log in and share your thoughts in the comments below!