And then there were four. The continued English-Spanish club football dualism and rivalry is to be continued in the penultimate stage of this season’s UEFA Champions League. Undoubtedly the two of the greatest football leagues of Europe would be having 2 representatives each from them. The quest for European royalty continues and so does the fantasy football season. Former winners Real Madrid and Liverpool take on Manchester City and Villareal respectively, who are looking for their 1st UCL title. Now, the managers need to refresh their squads and make sure they have vital players from all 4 teams. Here, in this piece of the UCL Fantasy Matchday 11 Watchlist 2021/22, we’d be talking individually about all the 4 teams, and suggest 2 players from each of them for the managers’ convenience. Make sure to read this article till the end.
- 1. Real Madrid
- 2. Manchester City
- 3. Villarreal
- 4. Liverpool
UCL Fantasy Matchday 11 Watchlist 2021/22
1. Real Madrid
The record 13-time champions have had a splendid run many didn’t even anticipate. They were of course not the favorites to even reach the semifinals before the start of the season. But now, here they are. Having accumulated 15 points in the group stage with 5 wins and a shocking loss to Sheriff Tiraspol, they finished top of their group.
After that, a win with an aggregate of 3-2 over an apparently gigantic PSG side, boosted their confidence much. Then, they had a thriller contest against the titleholders Chelsea whom they beat 5-4 on aggregate after the extra time. Now they have Pep’s Manchester City on their way to reaching the finals for the 17th time. Here are 2 players whom fantasy managers may consider, based on the fact that they already have in-form Karim Benzema in their teams.
Thibaut Courtois (Goalkeeper) – 6.7 million
The most popular GK choice among the four teams in the 29-year-old Belgian. He has featured in all of Real Madrid’s UCL games and has accumulated 50 points so far. 11 of those points came from the 43 saves he made. He also saved a penalty and kept a total of 4 clean sheets in the group stage. It should be kept in mind that despite not keeping a single clean sheet in the knockouts, he is still the most popular choice.
Also, Courtois boasts a 76.2% save percentage and a 39.1% clean sheet rate. The semifinal clashes are all expected to be the ones with a lot of goals o at least shots on goals. Hence, goalies can be expected to provide a lot of points from shots saved. Cleansheet points would be an added asset. Additionally, he has a PSxG of +3.8 which denotes he has a high probability with the shots he would face, or he would save them eventually.
Luka Modrić (Midfielder) – 8.4 million
Not a conventional fantasy pick, but the 36-year-old Croatian has been the pivotal orchestrator of Real’s season so far. The 49 points he accumulated so far this season have 4 assists, 31 ball recoveries, and two Player of the Match awards as his main contributors.
The official UEFA has predicted Modric to score 7.3 points this game week against Manchester City. With 0.28 xG+xA, he has also provided 1.4 key passes per game in the UCL. Though he might not be having low ownership like the so-called differentials, the idea of having him in the fantasy team is the idea of a manager who prefers to have differentials.
2. Manchester City
The Skyblues of Manchester have to lock horns against the European giants Real Madrid and win if they are to participate in their 2nd consecutive UCL final. They didn’t have a smooth group stage as they somehow managed to get 12 points from 4 wins while losing the other 2 fixtures. In the RO16 they got a comparatively easier opponent Sporting CP whom they managed to beat 5-0 overall in aggregate. The tight affair against Atletico Madrid in the Quarterfinals was somehow resolved with a 1-0 aggregate. Now with Real Madrid their final hurdle for the finale, here are 2 picks from the defending PL champions.
Riyad Mahrez (Midfielder) – 9.7 million
The Algerian didn’t start against Watford and interestingly, has featured in all of City’s 10 UCL games, having started in 9 of them. There’s a high chance he’d start against Real, and be a constant threat to them.
With a npxG+xA of 0.57, he has so far scored 23 goals and 8 assists this season, which isn’t talked about enough. In terms of UCL fantasy, he has a total of 57 points collected, besides 6 goals and an assist. He has been a popular midfield choice this season, with only Mohamed Salah having more owners than him.
Aymeric Laporte (Defender) – 5.6 million
An alternative to an injured John Stones may be the Spaniard Laporte. After Stones received a knock, Laporte has been playing as the CB. A team that hasn’t conceded a single goal so far in the knockouts surely has risen the expectations in the defense department of the UCL fantasy managers.
With only a mere 7% ownership, he still would be a differential defender choice from the City team. So far he has collected 39 points, majorly contributed by the 4 clean sheets he helped his team keep. The UEFA projected points algorithm expects Laporte to return the most points among the defenders with 6.6.
Perhaps the surprise contestant at this stage is Unai Emery‘s men, the UEFA Europa League champions. Nobody would have expected them to clear the group stage, let alone come so far. Their group stage saw them qualify as runners-up, with only one point separating them from toppers Manchester United. Everything else they did was sort of an underdog story or a fairytale, however, you describe it.
First, beating Italian giants Juventus 4-1 on aggregate in the RO16, and then a surprise and sensational 2-1 victory over hot favorites and European giants Bayern Munich. Now they have to face European Royalty, the Reds of the Merseyside if they are to play a second European competition final in a row.
Arnaut Danjuma (Midfielder) – 7.6 million
The reason, the cause, the main on-field propagator of Villarreal’s submarine adventure has been the Dutch Danjuma. With 6 goals, 2 assists, and 2 Man of the Match awards so far, he has accumulated a total of 64 points so far. The UEFA algorithm expects him to provide somewhere around 8 points this week. His pace can be a real problem for Liverpool’s high line of defense.
Also, his considerably lower price makes him an appealing asset. Emery deploys Danjuma mainly as a forward and hence, managers who bought him should expect him to return decently. Furthermore, he has failed to produce anything only once away from home in this UCL season. Additionally, to enhance the flavor, he has an astounding 0.6 xG+xA per 90 and 2.16 SCA per 90.
Gerónimo Rulli (Goalkeeper) – 5.2 million
The best value goalie among the four would be Villarreal’s Rulli. The Villarreal side has only conceded only twice in the knockouts, while Rulli collected 20 points in the last 3 game weeks. He is expected to be busy against a free-scoring Liverpool side. However, his potential to save shots is undeniable.
Having only 5% ownership, he surely is the lowest owned among the goalies which remain. However, among the 4, he has the 2nd most fantasy points so far, just behind Courtois. He has stopped 74.6% of shots towards him and has a 9% chance of stopping across. Also, he has a +0.7 PSxG, which denotes he might be much more likely to face shots not on target, or would save them most of the time.
The only team to have won all 6 group fixtures, and still be in the competition. The Reds of the Merseyside, the 6 times UCL champions, despite being in the apparent Group of Death, demolished all of their opponents. Next, they faced a resilient Inter Milan side, whom they beat 2-1 on aggregate.
After that, a Quarterfinal against Benfica which they won 6-4 on aggregate. Now they have to face the current Giant-killers in order to reach another final after 2 seasons. A final against either Manchester City or Real Madrid waits for them, or maybe Villarreal, only time will tell.
Ibrahima Konate (Defender) – 5.6 million
Despite Liverpool‘s poor defensive form in the UCL this season, their defenders actually changed their roles to playmakers or goalscorers. Having said that, Liverpool’s young French CB Ibrahima Konate is currently in a scoring form, having scored in both the legs against Benfica. He also scored against Manchester City in the FA Cup final.
Now, with the home leg at first, the UEFA algorithm anticipates him to return decent points with 5.4. Besides, he is an excellent differential and cheaper alternative being priced at only €5.6 million at 2% ownership. Also, he has 3.38 progressive carries and 3.45 progressive passes per game to be worthy of consideration. Besides, he has had 30 ball recoveries this season and 2 goals along with helping keep 2 clean sheets.
Sadio Mané (Midfielder) – 10.5 million
One player not discussed enough, despite having a decent season so far is the Senegalese superstar. Having already won 2 trophies both for club and country already, he also scored 3 and assisted 1 in the UCL so far.
With only a 5% ownership and 2.9 shots per match, he has kept 1.2 on target per game and provided 1.2 key passes per game. Also, he has projected points of 6.9 this week. Further his stats include 0.71 xG+xA and 3.28 SCA per 90, which might be enough convincing to have him in the squad.
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