Both Manchester teams were able to secure 3 points in the first half of gameweek 4, with each going top of their group. Things are a bit rosier for the Premier League teams in Champions now, with Arsenal hoping to build on their win in a tough away match.
Barcelona v. BATE Borisov
Camp Nou received some bad news this week as Messi will miss the first El Clasico in a couple of weeks. A game with BATE is a good way to offset that disappointment. The obvious plays are Neymar and Suarez and fitting both of them could well be worth it. Sergi Roberto burned us last time out by coming off injured early (before Rakitic scored twice in his stead) but has been playing well, with a pair of assists in his last league match. Alves and Alba are veritable locks for clean sheets but the Barca players will all carry high price tags. On a site that limits the number of players from one team you’ll want the maximum number of Barca players, though fitting them is a different story.
Congratulations to BATE for completing the Barcelona portion of their schedule. It’s easier sledding from here on out.
PREDICTION: How many goals is too many goals? We’ll say they start to ease up at 4-0.
AS Roma v. Bayer Leverkusen
Roma and Leverkusen played to a thrilling 4-4 draw last time out in Germany and there is little reason to believe there won’t be goals here again. Pjanic does it all in the midfield though his form is so good his price has risen along with.
It was only a matter of time but Chicharito has left his mark on Leverkusen. He leads in goals both domestically and in Champions League with 3 each, and takes penalties as well. Calhanoglu was completely ineffective against Roma despite the 4 team goals, and while we like him as a player it’s hard to look past his shakiness domestically as well.
PREDICTION: Look for Roma to try to control the game at home, 2-1 win.
Bayern Munich v. Arsenal
The big news in Munich is the return of Arjen Robben, who had a massive first game back against Koln with a goal before a quieter second game where Munich dropped their first domestic points of the term. They will be looking to finish around the goal better against Arsenal than they did at the Emirates with Lewandowski likely leading the line. It seems plausible that this Arsenal struggles to score without some key players, leaving Neuer a possibility, particularly in larger contests where you’d hope for a handful of saves. There won’t be many opportunities to save budget with Bayern players but Coman and Costa are certainly options if they fit.
Arsenal have done well to turn their hopes around after two devastating losses to Zagreb and Olympiacos, but repeating their performance at the Emirates in Munich seems like a tall order. For one, Munich dominated that match, Arsenal just converted their chances better that day (and Cech was outstanding). Second, Arsenal are now down Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, and Bellerin. They will try to play deep and counter attack but missing all of the pace from their injured players will make that awfully difficult.
PREDICTION: Bayern remind Arsenal what the very best in the world looks like, 2-0.
Olympiacos v. Dinamo Zagreb
A late goal in gameweek 3 changed Olympiacos’ fortunes tremendously. Had they failed to secure all 3 points, they’d have a much more difficult challenge to hold Arsenal off for the second spot in the group. As it is it will still be difficult but a win in Greece in this match would go a long way. Olympiacos should score and when that happens it is Fortounis that is the man to look to. Pardo and Ideye are serviceable enough strikers and since they aren’t very good and Barcelona is playing, they could provide considerable equity in larger tournaments. We got away with him last week but Roberto is a great play and remains aggressively underpriced on Mondogoal.
Zagreb have proven to be a feisty side. It was not an accident that they had the longest consecutive winning streak of all CL clubs entering this season. Compliments aside, there is not much to see here.
PREDICTION: Olympiacos can see the light and pushes for a 3-1 win.
Chelsea v. Dynamo Kiev
There is not much to say at this point that we haven’t said before. The quality is still suiting up in Chelsea kits each week, but it’s not translating to anything on the pitch. If you are a stock trader and feel like calling the bottom then feel free to invest heavily in Chelsea. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out.
If we think Chelsea is an absolute horror show, then by definition Kiev is in play. Yarmolenko is the star here and should be difficult for Chelsea to mark. Danilo Silva is a good option at defender but there is too much risk here to really build a team going away to the Bridge. No matter how far they’ve fallen they won’t lose this match 3-0 right? ……………………..Right?
PREDICTION: We wouldn’t bat an eyelash for 2-0 in either direction, but with Kiev being thrilled with a draw we think they will be the one controlling. 1-1.
FAA Gent v. Valencia
Despite being virtually eliminated from Champions League play, Gent have earned some new supporters this term. They play with passion and have given these teams trouble, including virtually knocking Lyon out. If they are able to play spoiler that would be exciting, but is far enough off the path of reasonable prediction that we will just have to avoid them.
Valencia are not quite where they want to be domestically but another win here would put them where they want to be in Champions League. Feghouli has been their star in Champions League play and that includes his disallowed goal last gameweek – though he has picked up a heel injury. Gaya and Cancelo are two of the more attractive defensive players as Gent have yet to demonstrate they can keep possession. Alcacer has goals in each of his last two Valencia matches and certainly has the quality to make that a habit.
PREDICTION: Gent don’t quite have enough here, 1-0 to Valencia.
Lyon v. Zenit St. Petersburg
It’s been a rough go for Lyon who have mustered just a point from the opening 3 matches. There is no good reason to reach for many Lyon players here though they have a fair chance of putting up a couple of goals. If that happens then Valbuena and Lacazzette are most likely to be involved. Jallet is amongst the best fantasy defenders in Champions League and can score points regardless of his team performs.
Hulk has lived a curious football life in Russia and may have finally drawn enough interest to be pulled out. Until that happens he will ply his trade in St Petersburg and his form has been absolutely incredible. Shatov and Witsel are excellent players but this is a difficult trip for Zenit and Lyon are desperate. Not a great combination.
PREDICTION: Lyon win 2-0.
Maccabi Tel Aviv v. FC Porto
While they still have the tire fire that is Chelsea yet to face, this home match may be Maccabi’s best chance at a goal. If you want to predict that goal against Porto, we would strongly suggest employing the works of Zahavi.
The reverse fixture was unkind to Maccabi but that hardly portends this series is interesting. Porto have plenty to get through this match unscathed with Aboubacar and Brahimi both as fantastic options for the weekend. [Note: H/T @RememberMe: Brahimi will miss out. Corona could be the beneficiary for DFF purposes].
PREDICTION: Maccabbi get on the board but Porto are just too strong. 2-1.