The race for the Mondogoal £30K qualifier rages on, which is what will lead us to playing a particularly difficult slate for the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals. On Tuesday Juventus are the biggest home favourites, while a Madrid Derby will have our attention as well. Wednesday sees PSG and Barcelona playing again following their group stage battles, as well as Bayern visiting Portugal.
Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus v. Monaco (£10,2m): Oddsmakers have set Juventus as the top favourite to win and to keep a clean sheet. Buffon is world class and should not see much threat as Monaco likely will just hope for a scoreless draw. Expect Juventus to play more organized in defence than Arsenal and be less prone to any counter attacks.
Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich @ FC Porto (£9,6m): For just $600k more, Buffon is a better play but Neuer is no slouch. The concern is he is away and facing a more potent attack. The most likely scenario where we end up with Neuer is if we decide on 4 other Juve players and cannot select Buffon as well.
Differential: Salvatore Sirigu, Paris Saint-Germain v. Barcelona (£4,7m): By no means do we see a clean sheet in the offing but stranger things have happened. The hope with playing Sirigu in an upside league is that they keep Barcelona to one goal and he gets 5-6 saves. Obviously, Joe Hart’s performance in the second leg of the round of 16 would be great but that seems unlikely. And frankly you’d hope PSG’s defence plays more soundly than City’s.
Stephan Lichtsteiner, Juventus v. Monaco (£10,2m): Keep an eye on the formation that Juventus plays with but Lichtsteiner should have an opportunity for a number of crosses and one could easily lead to an assist. Monaco plays well in defence so loading up on Juventus players may not be too bright – but selecting a defender that also gets forward may be the perfect combination.
See also: Patrice Evra, Juventus v. Monaco (£8,9m), Leonardo Bonucci, Juventus v. Monaco (£8,9m)
Joao Miranda, Atletico Madrid v. Real Madrid (£6,7m): Miranda is becoming a hot transfer property and rightly so. His game log lacks consistency but that is why his value is so reasonable. He is a good enough player to find you 3-4 points fairly easily if he can avoid fouls, and then if Atletico can keep a clean sheet you will turn a profit on his value.
Differential: Phillip Lahm, Bayern Munich @ FC Porto (£11,8m): Lahm is still getting back from injury but has been logging more pitch time each match and piled up 8 Mondogoal points last time out. He plays in the midfield so the extra clean sheet bonus points for a defender are a nice perk.
Mario Gotze, Bayern Munich @ FC Porto (£12,2m): Gotze is an explosive player out of the midfield and should benefit from Robben’s absence. His role and pitch time should certainly be more secure with Ribery missing out as well. He’s a threat for a goal though he can get 10 points without one.
Roberto Pereyra, Juventus v. Monaco (£8,3m): Juventus’ loss of Pogba has led to the gain of Pereyra who has filled the role admirably. His pitch time has been somewhat inconsistent, however, so ensure he is starting before you finalise your lineup.
Arda Turan, Atletico Madrid v. Real Madrid (£7,2m): Turan is a hugely talented player with the propensity to disappear. We don’t expect that to be a concern in the Champions League Quarterfinals against Real, however. He is creative enough to start a goal or score one himself, though his goal drought is a big reason his value has slipped so far.
Differential: Blaise Matuidi, Paris Saint-Germain v. Barcelona (£8,7m): PSG have looked great in Champions League despite not quite running away with Ligue 1 as expected. Matuidi is an exciting player, though while his value is reasonable he almost certainly needs a goal or an assist to be worth the price. That makes his return more volatile but he played well against Barca in group play.
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich @ FC Porto (£16,0m): Bayern’s in form striker will bring his threat to Portugal on Wednesday. Robben is expected to miss out again which opens up opportunities for Lewandowski which he has more than taken advantage of. His value is a bit on the heavy side but he could well pay off.
Carlos Tevez, Juventus v. Monaco (£15,5m): Tevez has missed the past two games but will be fit for this one and looking for ‘redemption’ from his time at City. Regardless he is the best threat on a team likely to score, and comes at a significant discount to Messi and Ronaldo.
Differential: Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain v. Barcelona (£7,8m): With the budget so difficult and Ibrahimovic banned, Cavani may be more popular than our typical differentials. However, it is still a stretch to take a striker on a team that should find trouble scoring, so from a risk standpoint Cavani qualifies. He should have some opportunities, it will just depend on if he can make the most of one.
Remember: you can have any player on Mondogoal, but you can’t have every player, so use your budget wisely!