February sees the return of European football for many of our favourite Fantasy Premier League (FPL) assets. Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are back in the Champions League knockout stages and Spurs, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United restart their Europa League campaigns.
This means double the fun for FPL managers with the restarting of the Champions League Fantasy Football competition, as well as trying to avoid rotation in their FPL squads.
We asked the Fantasy Football Scout International members for their thoughts on the best assets for Champions League Fantasy as well as what impact the European competitions have on their FPL teams.
Who are the best picks for the Champions League Fantasy Football?
FF Titan (Singapore)
It’s still somewhat early days but here are some early picks to keep a lookout for. Price changes do not happen as often as in FPL so there is no need to get these players in immediately.
Kingsley Coman (€8.5m)
Coman is Bayern’s top-scoring UCL fantasy asset with 33 points and he has only played four of the six Group Stage games. He has scored as many goals in the Champions League (three) as in the Bundesliga (three), and his 11 assists to date have been very impressive. Coman hardly ever gets the full 90 minutes but is usually one of the first names in the starting eleven.
Robert Lewandowski (€12.1m)
Lewandowski is having quite an odd season in the Champions League. Domestically he has scored 24 goals in 18 games but has only returned three goals in four Champions League games. The Pole is at the peak of his powers and cannot be ignored.
Ilkay Gundogan (€6.7m)
The German midfielder is enjoying one of the best goalscoring seasons of his career, having already netted nine times in 23 games in all competitions for Man City. At his price he is an enabler in UCL Fantasy, a must-have to free up cash in other departments.
Raheem Sterling (€10.5m)
Without Kevin De Bruyne (€11.5m) and Sergio Aguero (€9.8m), Sterling is becoming essential for anyone who wants an attacking City asset. He has already found the net 10 times in 28 games, although he is not as prolific in the Champions League so far with just one goal in six group stage games.
Erling Haaland (€11.1m)
Despite missing games with a muscle injury, Haaland is back to his best goal scoring form. He has 22 goals in 21 games to date, including 6 in the Champions League. The Norwegian is fixture proof and can be backed to score against any team.
Luis Suarez (€9.9m)
At 34, Suarez is again enjoying his football and having one of the best goal scoring seasons of his career. Although he has yet to score in the Champions League for Atletico Madrid, he has 14 league goals in 16 appearances.
Alvaro Morata (€9.0m)
Ronaldo is naturally the top choice for a Juventus player but Morata has been in great form in the Champions League. He is the current joint top scorer with six, two more than Ronaldo (€12.0m). Also, he is way more affordable.
Americans Talk FPL (America)
Here are some of our favourite picks, along with a few differentials.
Wojciech Szczesny (€5.5m)
Following an inauspicious start under new manager Andrea Pirlo, Juventus have really started to find their feet in recent weeks, having finally settled on a 4-4-2 formation after some early-season tinkering.
Juventus have a deep squad, with rotation occurring on a weekly basis all throughout the lineup. With that in mind, Szczesny offers the safest route into one of Europe’s elite defences, with a favourable match-up against Porto.
Cristian Romero (€5.1m)
The runaway leader in balls recovered, Romero has scored at least seven points in every group stage match he played in. While a match-up with Real Madrid seems daunting, it’s worth noting that the annual favourites have been disappointing (by their own high standards) in both La Liga and the UCL group stages.
With the added potential of attacking returns (one goal, one assist in the group stages), Romero looks like a safe pick that could turn out to be game-changing if Atalanta can manage an upset.
RB Leipzig have been doing their best to keep up with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. Angelino is a vital component of their team giving excellent width, speed and crosses. In the Bundesliga, Angelino has played 19 games, returning four goals, four assists, and plenty of final third touches.
In his last game against Schalke, Angelino created two assists and put in a man of the match performance. And of course, I have to mention his excellent European form. In the group stages, he scored three goals and created three assists, including a huge goal and assist against Manchester United. This player is basically essential and will surely be a threat to Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.7m) and the recent leaky Liverpool defence.
Thomas Muller (€10.0m)
With an embarrassment of riches in attacking midfield at Bayern Munich, picking the correct option seems a difficult task.
While Kingsley Coman may have been the standout in the group stages, Muller offers a safer route into the side, as Coman has to deal with the rotation threat of Serge Gnabry (€9.8m), Leroy Sane (€9.4m), and Douglas Costa (€7.2m). Muller managed one goal and three assists in the group stages, but it’s his Bundesliga form that has really caught the eye, with 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 matches, crucially starting in every match this season.
Federico Chiesa (€7.0m)
This is a clear differential/Wildcard pick. It took near half a season to gel to being in a big club, but Chiesa has had excellent form in December and January. This includes games such as Milan where Chiesa bagged a brace and a man of the match level performance and goal against SPAL.
Chiesa gives Juventus pace in attack and has the capabilities of scoring in or outside the box. Let’s also not forget his crossing ability, registering four assists in Serie A. I believe he is an essential part of Pirlo’s Juve.
Youssef En-Nesyri (€7.4m)
Despite not featuring heavily in the group stages, En-Nesyri still managed to score four goals in just 236 minutes of action, to go along with his 13 goals in 21 matches in La Liga, putting him second to only Luis Suarez.
Coming up against a Borussia Dortmund side that have underperformed this season, with only one clean sheet in all competitions since the turn of the calendar, this may be one of the weakest defences still left at this stage.
Suarez is the top goalscorer in La Liga with 14 goals, including two penalties in 16 matches played. Atleti have been on a roll at the top of La Liga and are scoring in abundance. Particularly Suarez, who has scored five goals in the last four games. I feel Atleti’s tried and tested strategy will give them an edge against a team in Chelsea that is still in transition.
FPL Side Net (Australia)
Europe’s elite club competition returns, and with it a slate of exciting matches as we enter the knockout rounds. Some players to keep an eye on for your teams:
While Leipzig have only kept one clean sheet during the group stages, Angeliño comes with massive attacking potential .With the prospect of coming up against a questionable Liverpool defence, he could have more opportunities to add to his three assists and three goals so far.
Chiesa is definitely making an impact in his first season with the Old Lady. His current goalscoring run and impressive performances along with an embarrassment of riches and amazing depth at Juventus bode well against a Porto side that should be no match for the Italian giants.
Youssoufa Moukoko (€4.3m)
16-year-old Moukoko has only recently been eligible to play for the Dortmund first team and after impressing in the junior teams, has already made an impact for “die Schwarzgelben”. At €4.3m and playing back-up to Haaland, Moukoko should play across the two legs and could be a very handy differential and enabler.
What impact does the return of European football have on FPL?
Seven English teams are still in Europe – three in the Champions League and four in the Europa League.
For the four in the Europa League, I would not be too concerned about rotation. Spurs, Arsenal and Leicester have a history of prioritising the Premier League, playing weakened sides in Europe. I also won’t expect Manchester United to be too fixated with the Europa League, given that they are still in the title race
As for the three teams in the Champions League, they are already seasoned teams with a long history of European participation. They are already well into the groove of playing two high-intensity games per week. I do not foresee the resumption of European competitions having too much of an impact to their Premier League team selections.
Just as FPL managers were starting to emerge from a busy period of navigating multiple Gameweeks per week, European football is back. This will collide with what will probably be one of the key moments of our FPL season.
It is always important to try to weigh up how big a specific competition is for a team. For instance, it is probably fair to say that since Manchester City’s win at Anfield yesterday, Liverpool’s priority this year has now switched to the Champions League.
Owners of Andy Robertson (€6.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold should then perhaps be concerned by possible rotation during Premier League games. This is something that Klopp potentially hinted at when he replaced the Scottish left-back with Kostas Tsimikas (€4.3m) in the Gameweek 23 match with Manchester City.
Liverpool assets should be safe for the Gameweek 24 to Gameweek 26 period, however their second leg against Leipzig is sandwiched between Gameweeks 27 and 28, and thus throws some big uncertainties on to the Reds’ line-ups for those two Gameweeks.
For Manchester City, their first leg of 16 against Borussia Mönchengladbach is sandwiched between Gameweek 25 and a very likely Double Gameweek 26, meaning a potential four games in 11 days for City.
The impact on their starting 11 for these matches and the threat of rotation will be of concern to FPL managers who have tripled up on City assets and are looking at a Bench Boost strategy in Double Gameweek 26.
The impact of Champions League fixtures is that the probability of all three of an FPL manager’s City players featuring in both Double Gameweek 26 matches is reduced.
Manchester City are not the only team having a European game in-between Gameweek 25 and Double Gameweek 26. Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man United also have one which makes a potential Wildcard in Gameweek 25 with the prospect to Bench Boost in Gameweek 26 very tricky.
We think it is wise to know this before getting excited by the potential of Double Gameweek 26, which should be announced a few days after the FA Cup 5th round games are completed. Work on templates with all the European data in hand as there are a lot of uncertainties still in the air.
The resumption of European club competition shouldn’t cause too many headaches from an FPL landscape, but managers should still use caution when picking assets that feature for the big title-chasing clubs.
We have seen in the past with Manchester City that Pep roulette can swing into overdrive as the club tries to capture the trophy that continues to elude them. With many managers doubling and tripling-up on City assets, don’t be surprised to see big names rested.
With Chelsea assets starting to pique our interest on the back of Tuchel’s arrival and three clean sheets, the continued rotation could be a danger. At this stage, it looks like only the back three can be guaranteed to be starting (when fit).
We are pleased to welcome FPL Froggies to FFS International! FPL Froggies produce a French language weekly FPL podcast.
Leo from Bendito Fantasy was the first member of FFS International to join FPL Family’s Sam on the new Scout Network podcast, Scout The Gameweek. Leo feature on episode 3 which you can listen to here.
The guys at FF Titan are really glad to see the relaunch of UCL Fantasy and they have already started to produce content on the best options available. They also produced a quick refresher of what to look out for on Match Day 7 and a review of a few new signings.
Americans Talk FPL have continued to provide weekly FPL content on their YouTube Channel, with some extra focus on the upcoming Double Gameweeks.
They also recently released an episode dedicated to the UCL Fantasy Round of 16 1st leg, where they discuss the rule changes for the knockout rounds, what fixtures to look out for, and our early picks for our wildcard squads. This episode can be found here.
Episode numéro 17 de notre podcast en français
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