The Champions League never disappoints, and in fact, it didn’t, in the 1st leg of the semifinals. A thrilling toe-to-toe contest at the Etihad saw the hosts Manchester City only get a slight edge with a 4-3 win over Real Madrid. The other fixture, also in England, saw Liverpool crack open a resilient Villarreal defense in the 2nd half, to score twice and win 2-0. Both leads are slender leads as far as the competitiveness of the UCL is concerned. Therefore, we have compiled a guide for UCL Fantasy Matchday 12 2021/22 (Semi-Finals 2nd Leg), a watchlist that would suggest 6 players, whom managers may consider to bolster their team.
- Villarreal vs Liverpool (Aggregate: 0-2)
- Real Madrid vs Manchester City (Aggregate: 3-4)
Now with a maximum of 6 players from a team allowed in the squad and 3 free transfers in hand, fantasy managers need to shape their squad in such a way, so that they have to make minimum elimination-baed transfers for the final matchday. Here in this article, we are going to suggest players teamwise, whom you might consider taking or keeping in your squads. Do make sure to read till the end.
UCL Fantasy Matchday 12 Watchlist 2021/22
Villarreal vs Liverpool (Aggregate: 0-2)
Unai Emery‘s men did put up a genuine defensive display against The Reds at Anfield. However, the stellar attacking power of Liverpool proved to be too much for them. An own-goal from a Jordan Henderson cross and a cheeky pass from Salah cutting through the defense for Mane‘s goal ended the game 2-0 in favor of the Reds. The Yellow submarines had only one shot on goal, which wasn’t even on the target. However, the story might not be the same at the Estadio Ceramica. The stadium which saw their team beat Bayern Munich. Here are some fantasy options managers may consider from this 2nd leg semifinal fixture.
Alisson Becker (Goalkeeper) – 6.4 million
Perhaps the only goalie finishing the game with a clean sheet in the first leg was Alisson Becker. Despite not having to face a single shot in that game, he ended up in the Fantasy team of the week, due to that clean sheet. Although the defenders in front of him deserve massive credit for him becoming the only keeper in the top 5 European leagues to reach 20 clean sheets this season, it won’t undermine the class of Alisson a bit.
The reason for saying this is that he has a 72.8% save rate across all competitions, besides a 96% successful run-outs rate. He has a 56.3% clean sheet rate and also a PSxG of +0.07 per 90, which makes him highly likely to save a shot towards him. The UEFA algorithm also expects him to return the most points this week among the goalkeepers, at 5.3 points.
Raúl Albiol (Defender) – 5.7 million
The next option on our list is the 36-year-old center-back from Villarreal. He has been the 4th best Villarreal player this season in terms of fantasy points, with 51. He has helped his team keep 3 clean sheets so far in UCL, and has recovered the ball 67 times. With Danjuma a probable must-have from this team, Albiol can be a differential choice, with only 4% ownership.
Emery rested him in the weekend’s La Liga fixture against Deportivo Alaves. Another reason to take him is that he has been the 2nd best defender in UCL in terms of fantasy points, only behind Cancelo. He has 2.56 tackles+interceptions per game average and a 66.66% tackles winning rate. Keeping in mind his price and the condition of a differential, Albiol can be a decent addition.
Mohamed Salah (Midfielder) – 11.2 million
A name from this fixture that perhaps requires the minimum of introduction. The Egyptian has been in one of his finest forms this season while his team is on the quest for a quadruple. The Liverpool talisman had his first attacking return in the past matchday in the form of an assist, since matchday 7. With Villarreal needing to close in on a 2 goal deficit, their defenses might show a bit of vulnerability, which Salah might look to expose.
Besides, Klopp benched him this weekend against Newcastle, so his start is almost a guarantee in this fixture. Salah, with his 0.88 xG+xA per 90 and 4.35 SCA per 90 has a high probability to contribute in this fixture, and extend his tally of 8 goals and 1 assist this season in the UCL. To date he has 71 points, is the most selected UCL fantasy player, and is surely a no-brainer for this fixture. Especially, since the UEFA algorithm has predicted 8.0 points from him this matchday.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City (Aggregate: 3-4)
A thriller in the first leg, a supposed thriller for the 2nd leg too. Both sides decided not to give up at the Etihad. With the 1st finalist already determined the previous night, the 2nd finalist would be the winner of this clash. The Belgian, De Bruyne opened the scoring charts with an assist from Mahrez. Soon they went 2-0 up with Jesus‘s goal, assisted by De Bruyne.
But the most in-form striker of the ball at the moment, Karim Benzema soon reduced the deficit to make it 2-1. Foden made it 3-1, but a lightning-fast Vinicius down his wing gave no City defender a chance to catch up to him, and the score then became 3-2. After that, goals from Bernardo Silva and yet again Karim Benzema on either side of the pitch made sure the game ended 4-3 in City’s favor.
This week, the Santiago Bernabeu awaits. Having won their 35th La Liga title, the Madrid whites are on to win their 14th UCL title. However, the English champions would be on their way, putting a lot of resistance. Here are some fantasy options you must have, or consider transferring in from this fixture.
Kevin De Bruyne (Midfielder) – 11.2 million
The Belgium international had 2 goal contributions in the first leg, contributing to the 46 points he has this season. Besides, he has been involved in 12 goals in the past 10 games across all competitions. Based on such, the UEFA algorithm puts him on top of the pile of midfielders and expects him to return 8.2 points or more.
De Bruyne has provided 2.4 key passes per game in the UCL and so far has a xA+xG of 0.66 per 90. His SCA of 5.51 per 90 is one of the many reasons why he is a must-have for the clash at Madrid. He also didn’t start in City’s weekend fixture against Leeds and apparently is guaranteed a start in this fixture hence.
Gabriel Jesus (Forward) – 8.5 million
Here’s a differential choice to consider. City’s Brazilian forward is in a fine form currently and was one of the goalscorers in the 1st leg. He currently has 2.92 shots per 90, an xG+xA of 0.67 per 90, and 3.31 SCA per 90 making him a lethal force in the City’s forward line in the post-Aguero era. His low ownership (6%) might be a pulling factor for the managers who prefer differential options.
Besides, the algorithm also expects him to return decent points yet again this week with 7.1, third-highest among the forwards. Although he started against Leeds this weekend, Pep might yet again start him, considering his form and the importance of the fixture.
Karim Benzema (Forward) – 10.7 million
Karim the Dream! A fantasy choice nobody can ignore. The already Champions of Spain will undoubtedly give the Frenchman the maximum credit for their dominance in the domestic league this season. With 42 goals and 12 assists across all competitions, he has been a class apart this season. In terms of UCL fantasy, he is with the highest points at 89, above Mohamed Salah at 71. Of course, he is guaranteed to start, having played only the last 30 minutes against Espanyol.
Though his further stats might be of an inferior significance in front of his goal contributions, he has a 0.76 xA+xG, 3.82 shots per game, and an SCA of 4.03 per 90. No doubt that the algorithm would be expecting the maximum points of all players from him. He is expected to score more than 9 points this week, as per the UEFA algorithm, and quite rightly so. If you are one of the managers not having him in your squad, we severely recommend you to have him.
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