UCL is back again midweek, this time following a congested schedule for all clubs. While Spain, Italy and most other European countries played an additional domestic league game-week, England, Germany and the remainder of Europe played cup matches. The major news items since MD-3 were the sacking of Ronald Koeman, the fall of Man City at home to Crystal Palace, and back to back losses for Juventus to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.
From a fantasy perspective, MD-4 is the most straight forward of them all. It is usually “The Matchday” for fantasy managers, and its tab on your application should show the highest number of points among all tabs by next weekend.
In addition to that revelation, MD-4 is also the only guilt-free week there is since the games are exactly the same as MD-3 with a change of venue. Also all teams will put their best starting XI since there is no more room to experiment (thinking of the one and only) even if you are playing against Club Brugge.
Success vs Failure
Even clubs with perfect marks until now (9 points) will play to secure qualification with the potential of winning the group this early. Here is a summary of which teams can secure qualification and which may consider this their last chance!
Group A: PSG can secure qualification with a win over RB Leipzig only if Man City defeats Club Brugge. Expect the Germans to go all out in Paris since this is their last chance; any result except winning knocks them out of the UCL.
Group B: Liverpool has a rare chance to not only qualify but win the group by beating Atletico Madrid if Porto does not win over AC Milan. The Italians could be knocked out of the competition only if they lose to Porto; a draw or a victory should keep their hopes alive.
Group C: Ajax may exert dominance against injury-struck Dortmund again in order to end MD-4 with a group win. Then Ajax could play the last two matches with the youth team. If Dortmund does not lose, then Besiktas could lose all chance with a loss or even a draw vs Sporting CP.
Group D: It is impossible for any of Inter Milan, Sheriff or Real Madrid to secure qualification at this point. On the other hand, the results of this round will determine if this group will become a real threat by MD-5 or if they will play clawing for points towards the end hoping for the Europa League spot.
Group E: Three points are enough to seal the group in Bayern Munich’s favor. Benfica, Barcelona and Dynamo Kyiv may need to play to the end for the second qualification spot.
Group F: My favorite group hardly disappointed this season with hot competition. All teams; Man United, Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys will most probably continue until the end, shuffling group standing positions until the final whistle of MD-6.
Group G: Surprisingly, Salzburg can end MD-4 with qualification secured by defeating Wolfsburg if Lille does not win over Sevilla which is the most probable scenario of MD4!
Group H: Juventus is the only team with a chance to secure qualification from this group, needing only to win again over Zenit. Considering recent form, this group is in line for rude awakening and probably a third consecutive defeat for the Old Lady. At the bottom, Malmo will lose all hope if / when the minnows cannot somehow shake the foundation of football and steal three points from Chelsea.
MD-3 FANTASY GUIDE
- Man City vs Club Brugge
- Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk
- Malmo vs Chelsea
- Villarreal vs Young Boys
- Sheriff Tiraspol vs Inter Milan
- Dynamo Kyiv vs Barcelona
- Juventus vs Zenit
- Bayern Munich vs Benfica
Similar to MD-3, four ties stand out as the most fertile fields for clean sheets, and those are the top four matches in the above list. Villarreal however conceded a late goal in MD-3. Villarreal also lost two key players to injury (Gerard Moreno and Juan Foyth). Inter Milan was able to defeat Sheriff with a clean sheet as well.
The remaining three matches at the bottom of the list are still concerning; Juventus has two straight league matches, Barcelona is without a manager, and Bayern conceded seven goals in the last two games. Adding to that, clean sheet records usually dwindle towards the end of the group stage since the stakes are raised and some more risk is taken.
Painters and Net Rattlers
- Group A: RB Leipzig posed a big threat against PSG scoring two goals but still lost 2-3. A total of 11 goals were scored in this group on MD-3. Any attacker or midfielder in this group should have high chances to score and/or assist.
- Group B: 6 goals were scored during MD-3 with the same fixtures, but only one of them was scored in the first 90 mints of Porto vs Milan. With Milan on the brink of elimination from UCL, more risks will be taken by Stefano Pioli to recover the team’s position in group B. Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool is always an entertaining match with many goals, but how is Klopp going to line up his attack for this one? Is it time for Salah to rest with this busy schedule or will Klopp only think of qualification?
- Group C: Even though nine goals were score in this group, both matches were one-sided. It is a safer bet to consider an attacker or midfielder from Sporting CP for a repeat win over Besiktas than relying on Ajax when they face revenge bound Dortmund.
- Group D: Inter Milan and Real Madrid won comfortably over Sheriff and Shakhtar Donetsk in MD3 scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. It would be a surprise if the results were not repeated.
- Group E: It took Bayern 70 minutes to break the deadlock against Benfica but it also took the Bavarians 15 minutes to score four goals. Barcelona are still in danger of elimination and have their work cut out for them against Dynamo Kyiv but it is unknown how they are going to perform without a manager at the helm.
- Group F: Atalanta and Man United are set for a second date. The English club has been extremely inconsistent so picking any player should be done at your own risk. The Italians on the other hand are still suffering an injury crisis missing at least four key players. Villarreal should be able to collect three more points from Young Boys with ease.
- Group G: Salzburg is a team that will go all out to bring in the qualification ticket home so they not rest until they manage a comfortable lead against Wolfsburg. Sevilla continue to underperform but consider Lille are not pushovers, it is hard to consider this match will go any different from MD-3 which ended in a goalless draw.
- Group H: Chelsea is one of the few consistent teams in Europe at the moment and there is no question that they will defeat Malmo again this week. Juventus and Max Allegri are scaring their own fans with unexpected defeats since last week. Zenit must be thinking of taking an advantage to keep their qualification hopes alive.
This is just my humble opinion but if any manager thinks of resting any key player in MD-4 then that manager should be immediately sacked. There are a few examples where rotation is somewhat acceptable such as Diogo Jota for Firmino and Rodri for Fernandinho. However, resting on fire Salah with Jota is something out of the question.
Notable Injuries / Returns from Injury and Suspensions
Keep an eye out for the weekend domestic league matches for new injuries / returns. This table will be updated in our Live Chat on Tuesday.
MD4 Injury/Suspension List
|Angel Di Maria||Returned from suspension|
|Man City||Benjamin Mendy||Suspended by club until 1st Jan 2022|
|RB Leipzig||Dani Olmo||Returned|
|Yannick Kessie||Returned from suspension|
|Atletico||Stefan Savic||Suspended until MD-4|
|Ajax||Stekelenburg||Unknown||End of Season||Out|
|Andrea Onana||Suspended until MD-4|
|Inter Milan||Cristian Eriksen||Head||Unknown||Out|
|Sergi Roberto||Physical discomfort||November||Out|
|Man Utd||Luke Shaw||Returned|
|Sheriff||Sebastien Thill||Returned from suspension|
|Malmo||Anel Ahmedhodzic||Returned from suspension|
To help guide your player selections, here are my difficulty tables:
Rules, Tricks, and Tips
For the inside scoop on how to beat your mini-league rivals, please read Dhivakhar’s article on the secrets to success in fantasy UCL.
NMA’s authors have put together an article stream covering each group in the tournament. Be sure to check it out for the lowdown on the players who should be on your fantasy watch-lists.
MD3 How did you do
Sraxan shared his experience throughout MD3 including a well detailed summary of the all fixtures. Read his article for insights.
NMA UCL Fantasy Mini-League
If you played our UCL mini-league last season, or if you played our Euros mini-league over the summer, you should automatically be entered into NMA’s 2021-22 mini-league as soon as you create a team. Head to gaming.uefa.com and get to work!
If you are new to us, then once you create a team you can join our mini-league manually with the following info. Come join us, we’d love to have you!
- Code: 71MQALVG07
MATCHDAY 4 BUILD UP
Rate My Team article was posted on Saturday. On Monday, I will be exploring MD4 player picks based on this preview and you may keep coming back to this page for pre-deadline chat and questions. And of course, I will be posting the UCL Live Chat article on Tuesday — be sure to join in!
Have anything to add? Still have questions? Please post in the comments below!