Suggestions on the UEFA Champions League Fantasy picks
Personally, I rate Champions league as the best sporting extravaganza on planet earth. Never mind the winter chill, never mind the midweek, never mind the odd timings (03:45am kick off for me at SE Asia), never mind its annual occurrence and never mind its awful fantasy league. Wake up, splash water and hear the anthem “We aaareee the Chaaaaampions..” – enough to send a shrill down your spine – even more during the knockout games.
Strangely UEFA have done nothing about improving its Fantasy league. No bonus points, assists/clean sheets aren’t recorded properly… too many issues to list.. The only positive they picked was introduction of substitution after first round of games on each match day. To think of it, the best fantasy league just passed us in the summer of 2010 – the FIFA WC 2010 – would be the only instance FIFA beat UEFA!! Or you may say UEFA are still experimenting with a Fantasy league just as FIFA did with Jabulani!
Nothing else explains when 2.3 million players play the EPL FL, why is CL FL played by just one tenth of that number!
Champions league returns tonight, for the last time in 2010. It’s the last round of group games, many inconsequential and some only a battle for honours – exactly a situation where a fantasy league pundit gets to test his in depth knowledge about the best of European football. Here’s a guide to players to watch out for and teams not to watch out for!
The “WTF I need to play” teams
(assured of next stage and cant improve standings even if they win)
Barcelona: It’s a must win game for Rubin but a team which has scored just two goals so far aren’t expected to trouble Barcelona’s B team also. Can take: Bojan / Jeffren
Chelsea at Marseille: Chelsea have more worries about weekend game vs Tottenham. Marseille are secured in second spot. This match has bore and drab written all over it. Can take: McEachran
Bayern Munich: Its more a must win game for Basel but Bayern have little to show domestically (17 points off the leaders) and will chase a morale boosting win. Can Take: Ribery / Gomez
Real Madrid: Real are expected to romp and the challenge here is to see who takes the pitch. Jose Mourinho certainly cannot – after UEFA banned him for his unsporting & utterly tasteless decision to let Ramos & Alonso foul the opposition to earn red cards. Can Take: Pedro Leon / Benzema
AC Milan: Home game of no consequence – in such instances Milan just like keeping clean sheets. Ajax welcome new coach Frank De Boer. Can Take – Robinho / Jankulovski
FC Shakhtar Donetsk: Just need to ensure they don’t lose and give away the hard earned top spot. Can take – Srna
The “cant lose” teams
(teams who may get knocked out or lose top spot if they lose)
Arsenal: A visit to OT awaits them this weekend. Before that they face Partizan Belgrade – a team which has a -9 goal difference in CL. Expect goals. Can Take: Bendtner / Wilshere
FC Kobenhavn: Ditto as Arsenal, face a home game vs a team (Panathinaikos) which, surprisingly has a -9 goal difference in CL. Kobenhavn cant risk a draw. Can take: N’Doye / Vingaard
Roma: At FC Cluj. Can take Vucinic/Boriello
Manchester United vs Valencia: Tough to see Valencia even attempting for a win. Tough to tee United stretch themselves when they have a key game vs Arsenal coming up. Can Take: Kuszczak / Smalling
FC Schalke 04: They travel to Benfica to keep the top spot with them. Will seek a win. Can take: Huntelaar
Olympique Lyon: Home game vs Hapoel Tel Aviv and will stretch for a win. Can take: Lloris / Cissokho / Lisandro
Inter Milan: Visit to Bremen and need a win to top group. Benitez under fire (must have got used to!!). Can take: Pandev / Muntari
Tottenham Hotspur: Away game to FC Twente but will go for a win for (a historic) topping the group. Never mind hosting Chelsea over the weekend. Can Take: Kranjcar / Crouch
Enjoy, and be sure, the team lineups will have many hair tearing surprises for you!