The last match of the outgoing legs for group play are Tuesday and Wednesday. Arsenal are nearly dead in the water with a home and home with Bayern Munich looming. Chelsea are headed to the Ukraine where they may need a result. The more interesting matches are Wednesday but there is plenty to evaluate for DFF on Tuesday.
Arsenal v. Bayern Munich
Wenger’s questionable decision to start Ospina the opening two group stage matches has been taken away from him as Ospina picked up a shoulder injury during international duty. Unfortunately it may be too little too late for the Gunners unless they can come close to winning out. Back to back matches with Bayern will likely pour some cold water on those efforts. With Arsenal values inflated due to playing well in league play, we can safely avoid them here.
Bayern are a bit trickier of a proposition. They are probably in the best form in the world right now. That said, a trip to Emirates is one of the more challenging matches they could have and they have a number of injuries to deal with. Muller and Lewandowski are difficult for any side in the world to deal with, and Thiago should find himself in an important position for Bayern. If you think the typical Arsenal team will show up, then Neuer could face plenty of traffic without much threat.
PREDICTION: Despite Arsenal’s return to form in the Prem, it is difficult to see them tangling with a team like Bayern, injuries or not. 2-1 away win.
BATE Borisov v. Barcelona
BATE stunned Roma last set of games and will be looking to slow down Barca without Messi. We are not going to be looking at any BATE players here, of course.
Neymar and Suarez are in strong form and good options despite being away. Neymar notched 4 times last match which could make him particularly popular. The defence is worth investing in, as well as Sergi Roberto who should earn a spot in the midfield.
PREDICTION: Barcelona have taken their time to get going without Messi but should cruise to a 2-0 win.
Bayer Leverkusen v. AS Roma
Leverkusen held Barca under wraps for much of the game last slate but ended up conceding two late. They are not playing particularly well in league play but this has the feel of a game that could be wide open. Calhanoglu and Bellarabi could prove to be underowned but have solid upside.
It’s hard to know which Roma team will show up: the one that drew Barcelona or the one that lost to BATE. There could be goals here though and Pjanic is in strong form. Florenzi may be asked to play the wing, and Dzeko should be available. Leverkusen/Roma players make for cheeky differentials while others focus on the more obvious goalscoring teams.
PREDICTION: We expect this game to open up and like Leverkusen in a 3-2 thriller.
Dinamo Zagreb v. Olympiakos
Each of these teams embarrassed Arsenal and were embarrassed by Bayern. They now face eachother with a great chance to make a statement to take the second position in the group. Junior Fernandes is the best striker of the bunch and should be in contention to score in this match. Marko Pjaca plays for the Croatian national team and is a nice value midfielder if you are shopping for one to round out your lineup.
This is not the Greek Super League, but Fortounis has 7 goals in 5 starts (2 substitute appearances) in domestic play. Zagreb is in line with that quality though, so he should be considered strongly at midfield. Roberto is enticingly cheap on Mondogoal if you are looking to stack your outfield players, though a clean sheet may be hard to come by.
PREDICTION: Probably not a game to target for DFF, as a 1-1 draw seems likely.
Dynamo Kiev v. Chelsea
Kiev is a stout opponent for Chelsea given their current struggles and will welcome the Blues to the Ukraine on Tuesday. Yarmolenko was back in the team in the second gameweek and quickly announced his presence with a goal. Given Chelsea’s current struggles at the back he is a reasonable punt though his price is getting up there. Unless you are confident Kiev has their way with Chelsea its difficult to justify going much past Yarmolenko.
A trip to Ukraine is not an ideal way for Chelsea to try to build on their Aston Villa momentum, if you can call that momentum. If they are able to make this trek and win that could give a bit of confidence but that’s what it’s come to now for Chelsea where beating a team from the Ukraine is a boost. With Pedro missing out Hazard could find his way back into the XI, though Mourinho was not particularly complimentary of the player. Without him, Costa and Willian will lead the attack.
PREDICTION: It’s a long flight into Ukraine and it may be a longer flight back, hosts win 1-0.
FC Porto v. Maccabi Tel Aviv
Porto have the biggest advantage in the Tuesday set of games though determining which players to target will be a challenge. They are most likely to keep a clean sheet so Casillas is a great play and is reasonably priced. Brahimi and Aboubacar are great goalscorers while young Corona has been scoring in the Portuguese league and should start alongside. Andre Andre has a Champions League goal and is in good form. Maicon is expected to miss out so Layun and Maxi are the defenders to consider.
Maccabi have had a few defenders accumulate decent point totals due to the sheer frequency of chances to intercept the ball and make tackles, but that is not reason enough to risk them here.
PREDICTION: Porto has some fun en route to a 4-0 win.
Valencia v. FAA Gent
Valencia’s away win against Lyon last gameweek was critical for their chances of advancing, as is taking care of business against Gent. There are a number of players all over the pitch to consider here in this home match. Parejo is slightly expensive but is on penalties and has been in strong form. Feghouli leads the team in chances created and should have plenty of opportunities here. Paco Alcacer is in fine form in internationals for Spain and is likely to be thrust into starting duty here. Gaya and Cancelo pair up for a solid fullback duo.
We won’t be touching any Gent players but Sven Kums will be one to watch for the home leg of this tie.
PREDICTION: Valencia eases into a 2-0 win.
Zenit St. Petersburg v. Lyon
Much of the discussion last week regarding Western European teams heading to Russia hold true this week, except now it’s cold. Hulk has been transcendent and you wonder when another power will try to make a bid for him. At 29 he still has strong value, and in this game in particular he should do well. His price has caught up with his skills and there are several other teams in more favourable matchups, so tough to see using him other than in a couple teams in large contests.
Lyon isn’t playing particularly well domestically and now has to travel to St. Petersburg. Lacazette can score but this seems like a tough place to do it, and Valbuena has been good but is now awkwardly embroiled in a sex tape controversy. Jallet is a good defender but there are not very many good reasons to select Lyon players here.
PREDICTION: Hulk cannot be contained in a 1-0 Zenit win.