Man Utd v B Leverkusen
Plzen v Man City
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FiT Champions League 13/14
Man Utd are the runaway favourites to qualify from the group. There isn’t much between the other 3 teams however. From Shakhtar there is the defender Srna. He can also play in midfield, could be good for an assist or 2 and the odd clean sheet. Teixeira has been sitting a lot deeper since the departure of Fernandinho to Man City, so Fred and Costa will be the midfielders pushing forward. Up front Adriano is a decent option at 9.3m, he has scored 5 in 9 so far this season. Bayer Leverkusen have a wonderful player in Sidney Sam. He has scored 3 goals and got himself 2 assists in just 4 league games this season. He also costs just 5.9m. Up front Kiebling has been nearly as effective. 2 goals, 3 assists and valued at just 8.5m. I think Real Sociedad will struggle to qualify but watch out for their midfielder Griezmann and ex Arsenal forward Carlos Vela.
Real Madrid are the obvious favourites here. With the likes of Bale, Ronaldo, Isco and Benzema, we are spoilt for choice. I’d expect quite a few clean sheets from them as well. Be careful when selecting a Real Madrid keeper. Lopez is keeping Casillas out at the moment but that could change. Juventus should qualify along with Real. Their defender Bonucci has already managed 2 assists in just 2 Serie A games. Vidal, Pogba and Pirlo are all very dangerous players. Vidal has scored 2 goals managed 1 assist in his last 2 league appearances. Ex Man Utd player Paul Pogba will cost you just 5.7m and has registered 2 assists in as many games. We all know how good Carlos Tevez is, he has scored 2 in 2 and looks sharp. Galatasaray have 3 big hitters. Sneijder, Drogba and Yilmaz all have the experience and skill to rack up the FiT points. Be ready to ship them out before game round 5 if it is looking like Galatasaray are going to miss out on qualification. Don’t bother with Copenhagen players…
PSG should run away with this group. Sirigu at just 5.8m is the cheapest way of taking advantage of any potential clean sheets. Lavezzi is the best midfield buy in my opinion. 7.0m is not very expensive for a player of his quality. Cavani vs Ibrahimovic is a coin flip. Both are more than viable alternatives if you don’t want to rely on Ronaldo and Messi every week. Benfica have a class forward in Cardozo, 33 goals in 46 appearances last season. Lima isn’t to shabby either. Benfica haven’t had a great start to their domestic campaign but they should get out of this group. If you want to take a bit of a punt however, then look no further than Olympiacos players Fuster and Saviola. Both know where the back of the net is and could surprise a few people. Anderlecht have their own magical Suarez at just 8.5m. He has started the season off well, with 4 goals and 3 assists in just 5 starts.
A kind draw means that Manchester City should be able to shine at long last. There will be some serious questions asked if they don’t qualify from this group. Anyway, who to pick from Bayern? You can’t get much better than Lahm if you want a defender. He might be expensive but he is guaranteed to play pretty much every game. Alaba is a great alternative though and does like to bomb forward. Ribery, Robben and Muller are the stand out midfielders for me. Gotze is struggling to nail down a first team spot at the moment, unbelievable isn’t it. Up top Mandzukic should be the main man. What a squad they possess. CSKA have a pretty decent team and do have the potential to at least annoy the 2 bigger teams in the group. Full of internationals, the likes of Dzagoev and Doumbia should be pretty dangerous. Ignore Viktoria Plzen players.
Chelsea should top this one so I expect plenty of investment in their players. Schalke should qualify in 2nd and their players look great value for money. Schalke Captain Benedikt Howedes is a bargain at just 4.8m. Draxler and Farfan are relatively cheap and very promising midfielders that should score well. Huntelaar looks set to miss the first few group games through injury, so Szalai could be a great choice. He is only 8.0m and has scored 4 goals in 7 appearances this season. I don’t know enough about players from Basel or Steau to include any in my iTeam just yet. That might change if after a few games qualification looks odds on for either team.
This is probably the toughest group to get out of. Napoli currently sit on top of Serie A, Dortmund are on top of the Bundesliga and Marseille are 2nd in the French Ligue. Then we have Arsenal who have recorded 4 wins in a row since the defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. Dortmund have some great players. Even though Weidenfeller is a decent goalkeeping option at just 5.9m, I can see a lot of goals being scored in this group. I will probably try and avoid defenders from all of these teams. Reus is my favourite Dortmund player, he should provide a lot of assists but he is expensive at 7.8m. Then there’s Mkhitaryan who comes in 800k cheaper than Reus and has scored 2 in 4 so far this season. Up front Aubameyang has also started the domestic season well. 3 goals for him compared to 2 for Lewandowski. Napoli have only played 2 domestic league games so far but their star midfielder Marek Hamsik has scored 4 goals. With a FiT valuation of just 6.5m he will prove to be popular. Higuain has also started the season well with a goal and an assist. At 9.8m he is priced a little lower than some of the other big name forwards. Another ex Real Madrid player Jose Callejon should warrant our attention. He has also started the season well and is nearly a million pound cheaper than Higuain. We then have the underdogs Marseille. They are playing very well and could surprise us all. Payet and Gignac have started the season off very well, both have scored 3 goals apiece.
Zenit St Petersburg
I’m not sure which team will stand out in this group but I know it won’t be Austria Wien. Atletico have started their season off very well. 3 wins out of 3 puts them on the same points total as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Their midfielders have been very busy. Koke, Garcia and Turan have all provided good attacking returns domestically. Then they have Costa and Villa looking very good up top. Atletico players are not very expensive, so definitely consider one of the above mentioned for your iTeam. Zenit have some wonderful and inexpensive players. Danny, Shirokov and even Arshavin have shone in the qualifying rounds. Witsel is another decent option. Then there’s the Hulk and Kerzhakov up front. The latter isn’t the best finisher in the world but he does get in the right positions and could still be one to watch. I don’t know much about Porto but their stand out player is Jackson Martinez. He has scored 37 goals in 46 appearances for them. So if anyone is going to score for them it should be him.
To finish off we have group h. Barcelona and Milan should go through but anything can happen. Celtic at 8/1 could be worth a little flutter. The big thing that jumps out at you when looking at Barcelona defenders is Mascherano FiT value. He is nearly 1 million cheaper than the other big names. With Puyol suffering from constant injury problems Mascherano could be regular starter and a real bargain. Fabregas should be looking at a lot of Champions League game time and tops the La Liga assist charts so far this season. Then we have the forward line, drool. Messi Neymar and Pedro. The latter will probably be ignored by most, but at 9.1m Pedro could be a real differential. Then we have Milan and the return of Kaka. At 7.0m he is still to much of a risk for me, at least until we see a little of what he can do. Montolivo could be the better option. Milan will probably rotate their forward line a lot so I will probably stay away from the likes of Balotelli, Matri, Robinho and El Shaaraway. I don’t fancy anyone from Ajax so that leaves Celtic. I just can’t see Celtic keeping many clean sheets and with the exception of Samaras I can’t see any other player getting many goals or assists. I hope I’m wrong…
There we have it. There are plenty of players I have not mentioned and like I said earlier, this is just a general guide. Hopefully this has helped out a few of you at least. Good luck to you all, it’s going to be a great competition.