The stands are empty, in some countries they partially filled complying with social distancing. The supporters are stuck in their self made bubbles. The dark cloud is relenting slowly, allowing sunlight to break through. What replaces the dark cloud of the pandemic in the near future is yet to be discovered.
In this UCL season, fans of Real Madrid missed match-day 6’s once in a lifetime performance defeating high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0. Bergamo citizens were spared watching live the 5-0 hammering their Atalanta team received from Liverpool in match-day 3. Barcelona may be a team that just cannot do without the motivation of entertaining their supporters.
Even though songs have been sung, anguish has been translated into screams, anticipation of a masterpiece goal in the making has created unpredictable human reflexes, the television screens have witnessed numerous self knocks back to the couch after a spider speed save, and furniture has been replaced due to goal celebrations; none of that energy touched the players on the field.
Fantasy Team of the Group Stage
Never Manage Alone brings you the best of the best of this season’s group stage. The criterion is simple: The players returning the most fantasy points at each position made the team regardless of minutes played or price tag.
So far this season, the defenders are taking the lead with forwards following suit to leave behind the midfielders and goalkeepers.
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) - 29 Points
Chelsea summer signing played five games in the group stage managing to keep four clean sheets and making 15 saves. The shot-stopper averaged 6-7 points in four match-days making him one of the few consistent players this season.
Agustin Marchesin (Porto) - 28 Points
Also with four clean sheets in five matches, the Portuguese keeper is also consistent, earning 6 or 7 points each match-day except the first against Manchester City when he conceded three goals.
Cristian Romero (Atalanta) - 50 Points
The Brazilian center-back proved that football is not only an attacking game; defense is as important in so many ways. Having missed Atalanta’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool on MD3, Romero’s worst points earned in his five matches was the seven-pointer in which he brilliantly recovered 19 balls, giving Zapata the chance to score the equalising goals. He now has the highest points returns at 50 total, a 10 per game average.
Angelino (RB Leipzig) - 46 Points
On loan from Manchester City, Angelino is second overall with three goals scored, three assists and 25 balls recovered in six matches. He was the MVP of the do-or-die match that eventually knocked out Manchester United.
Zaidu Sanusi (Porto) - 46 Points
Conceding three goals against Manchester City on MD1 and earning only one point, Sanusi added 45 points in the remaining five matches, achieving five clean sheets, scoring one goal and recovering 32 balls.
Chancel Mbemba (Porto) - 38 Points
A consistent points return player with seven points in each of four matches and eight on the fifth. Mbemba earned only two points on MD1 against Manchester City. He managed to recover 28 balls in the group stage.
Mats Hummels (Dortmund) - 37 Points
The center-back played a huge part in Dortmund’s triumph in Group F with 54 balls recovered in five matches (second best after Romero), adding an assist on MD6 that secured the three points for the Germans.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 34 Points
Inconsistent but lethal at times, the Egyptian scored three goals, assisted one, and earned a penalty for Liverpool, earning high returns on three match-days while ghosting in the other three.
Ferran Torres (Manchester City) - 34 Points
Signed from Valencia in the summer, the midfielder became Guardiola’s pick to lead the attack in absence of Aguero, Sterling and Jesus. He delivered by scoring four goals, keeping four clean sheets and recovering seven balls in five matches.
Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) - 33 Points
Taking advantage of Gabry’s absence early in the season, the winger punished Atletico Madrid and continued to score three goals, assist twice, keep two clean sheets and recover five balls. Then he was not risked to start on MD5 and MD6, not even appearing as a substitute.
Dioge Jota (Liverpool) - 33 Points
Liverpool’s new sensational signing earned 26 of his total points in two stellar matches, earning 18 points on MD3 and 8 on MD2 from four goals and three clean sheets.
Juan Cuadrado (Juventus) and Joaquin Correa (Lazio) - 32 Points
Both midfielders hit 32 points. While it took Correa six matches, Cuadrado did the same in five. The Colombian has five assists to his name, 2 of which were made in the group-winning performance against Barcelona in MD6.
Alassane Plea (B. Monchengladbach) - 41 points
Plea was inconsistent, scoring 36 points in three matches but only five more across the other three. He scored a hattrick on MD3, of which the overhead kick is one of the best goals in the group stage. He was involved in eight goals (five scored and three assisted).
Neymar (PSG) - 40 Points
Having failed to deliver in the first encounter with Manchester United, and picking up an injury that lasted for a month, Neymar returned against RB Leipzig and performed brilliantly. He started with one goal on MD4, followed that with two more in MD5, and finished the group stage with a hattrick in MD6 to bring his total to six goals.
Immobile (Lazio) - 37 Points
The Italian striker played only four matches as he was part of the COVID-19 testing investigation. He scored five goals and had one assist.
The Midfield Dilemma
Since most clubs have the midfielders taking most of their squad spots, it is probable that increasing the number of subs from three to five has given RL managers more room to distribute minutes to all squad players. One of the managers who felt too comfortable was Ole on MD3, starting second string players against Istanbul Basaksehir. Unfortunately, five substitutions were not enough to turn around the result.
How many of these players are in your UCL fantasy team? What is Porto doing right to have three players in our list? Join us in analyzing all of those numbers in the comments section below, and please mention our twitter account @NMA_Blog.