Champions League remains the best form of DFF possible. If you played two weeks ago you experienced the flurry of action that surrounds each day. And we still have 10 match days to go in group play!
Arsenal v. Olympiakos
Arsenal have faced an up and down season, but return home to the Emirates after a cathartic 5-2 victory at Leicester. Whilst they have struggled of late in Champions League play, they will need to dispatch of Olympiakos to retain hopes of advancing from group play. Their entire team is in play midweek with Cech and his fullbacks Monreal and Bellerin (unless Debuchy plays) amongst the stronger options at the back. Alexis and Walcott are scoring goals again (as is Giroud who may be up top), and are supported well by Cazorla, Ozil and Ramsey. It would seem Wenger will stick with his first choice team for such an important match, even ahead of an equally important domestic tilt with United.
[Edit: Giroud will serve his ban for his red card in Croatia].
Olympiakos were no match for Bayern in Greece, and would seem to have a better chance at withstanding the Arsenal onslaught in the home tie. We won’t be considering any of their players in this match.
PREDICTION: Arsenal lived up to their expected goals at the weekend and continue with a convincing home win.
BATE Borisov v. AS Roma
BATE were able to score away to Bayer Leverkusen, but don’t expect that to be a habit. We will continue to ignore their players for DFF purposes.
Roma, on the other hand, present quite nicely in this match. Edin Dzeko was lost to injury, but Salah, Falque, and Pjanic are all very intriguing in this match. De Sanctis will be expected to retain his place in goal and is worthwhile as well. Roma are in a different class than BATE and should be able to shake some questionable recent form to get a convincing win.
PREDICTION: Belarus is not an easy trip but Roma will come out victorious.
FC Barcelona v. Bayer Leverkusen
Losing Messi for 6-8 weeks is bad for Barcelona and a tragedy for daily fantasy players. They have plenty of firepower behind him in Suarez and Neymar, and we like Rakitic to step up his play as well. Barca should still make quick work of a Leverkusen side that fails to play effective defence the majority of games.
Leverkusen were amongst our favourites last Champions League round and came through for the most part against BATE, but now away to the defending champions we can safely move to other clubs.
PREDICTION: Barca struggle a bit to move on without Messi, but get enough in the end to win.
Bayern Munich v. Dynamo Zagreb
Bayern may be the odds on favourite to win Champions League after the Messi injury and are the form team regardless. Lewandowski demonstrated an unbelievable touch around goal scoring 5 times in a second half flurry midweek. He tacked on 2 more at the weekend for good measure. Muller and Douglas Costa are great options as well, and really anyone in the Bayern midfield. Neuer is the best keeper option and their defence is fantastic as well. Nothing to dislike about Bayern this week in one of the big mismatches of group play.
[Note: Vidal expected to miss out].
Zagreb will be proud of their win against Arsenal, which may end up being all the points they have to show for their Champions League appearance.
PREDICTION: Bayern can win this match by as many goals as they like, we’ll guess 4-0.
Lyon v. Valencia
The loss of Fekir continues to hamstring Lyon, who are in relatively poor form in Ligue 1. In terms of fantasy options, nothing stands out here. Lacazette is a solid play and should be on penalties, and Valbuena is always good though there is no discount in sight.
Valencia ended up in a wild first match with Zenit and figure to be chasing at least a point in France. La Liga sides showed well and will be a tough out for Lyon. Valencia are not the best selections here with a Gent tie coming up, but keep an eye on which midfielders are in form, as well as the dynamic fullback duo of Cancelo and Gaya.
PREDICTION: This screams 1-1.
Maccabi Tel Aviv v. Dynamo Kiev
Maccabi are overmatched in Champions League and even with Kiev coming to town are not expected to win. This is most favourable fixture they will have in group play so if there are any players you have had your eye on, it is now time to buy. We will be passing, however, as they just don’t appear to have enough to compete.
Yarmolenko was left out of the squad for the first match but will likely feature here. He has tremendous upside and will not be picked by many managers, so certainly one to keep an eye for larger contests. Their defence will be in play as they hope to keep Tel Aviv off the scoresheet.
PREDICTION: Kiev will be facing a wild atmosphere, but should have enough for a narrow win.
FC Porto v. Chelsea
Porto get their former manager Mourinho at a tough time for the Chelsea boss. They lost a fair bit of talent in the summer transfer window but Aboubakar has made that easier to swallow, notching twice against Kiev. Expect him to cause all sorts of trouble for Chelsea as well.
It is difficult to expect much of Chelsea in this match. They were celebrated after beating Maccabi, then a 10 man Arsenal, then Walsall in Cup play – but were brought back to reality against Newcastle. They are still a mess defensively and could really struggled in Portugal. Pedro’s dynamic first game is a distant memory and Hazard has seemingly decided to answer the question of whether he is on par with Messi and Ronaldo rather emphatically. Chelsea have the wage bill and pedigree to turn their season around but this may be too big an ask.
PREDICTION: Porto have enough at home for a 2-1 win.
Zenit St. Petersburg v. KAA Gent
Hulk flexed his muscle in an away win at Valencia and have led Zenit to the top of the group. They will extend that lead with an easy win against Gent. Midfielders Shatov and Witsel are great options as well as the entire defence. Better teams have gone to St. Petersburg and struggled mightily, Gent will not have enough to provide a challenge.
Several smaller clubs showed well in the first week but there is no reason to believe Gent will be able to cause a stir in Russia.
PREDICTION: Zenit should come away with an easy home win.