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UCL Semifinal 1st Leg Player Picks

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The biggest tournament in world club football is nearing its conclusion, but there’s still a lot of exciting action in store for us. Let’s dive right in and look at the fantasy picks for the semifinals of the Champions League.

Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City  - UEFA Champions League Semifinal Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

This season’s UEFA Champions League has been quite a rollercoaster. We’ve seen a plethora of outstanding goals scored and some rigid defensive performances from a variety of teams. The quarterfinals were no different. We saw heavy favorites Bayern Munich eliminated on away goals by PSG while Real Madrid sped past Klopp’s Liverpool comfortably.

In fantasy football, it unfolded pretty much as expected with the big names delivering good points for their owners. Now, the pool of players to choose from has shrunk, simplifying how to decide on our teams.

Regardless of how you’ve done so far, there’s still an opportunity to do well and win some prizes up for grabs. Let’s try to maximize our gains and look at the best players from the four remaining teams.


GOALKEEPERS

West Ham United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Edouard Mendy (€5.5m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

The Chelsea shot-stopper has been performing well consistently in the competition this season. He stands as the top goalkeeper in fantasy with a whooping 51 points to his name. He faces the best team in the history of this competition, but given the way the Blues have been performing under Tuchel, this game is anyone’s guess. I expect him to do well against Madrid, so he is the best option for me between the posts.

Thibaut Courtois (€6m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

The second best alternative in goal is Real Madrid’s Belgian shot-stopper. This tie could go either way, but if Madrid is at the top of its game, we know how difficult it can be to beat them. Courtois offers a good alternative for those of you who don’t trust or rate Chelsea’s defense much, and he also has low ownership making him a good differential.

However, since Mendy and Courtois play each other, they perforce play the same day, so you should choose one but not both. Your bench keeper should come from one of the Wednesday teams (unless you trust your starter enough to leave a min-priced placeholder burning on your bench).


DEFENDERS

Manchester City v Chelsea: Emirates FA Cup Semi Final Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Joao Cancelo (€6.1m, PSG vs Manchester City)

He faces a very difficult opposition but it’s hard not to include him given his heroics in the Champions League this season. He’s the top defender in the tournament with four clean sheets and a goal to his name so far. I still think City will get the better of Paris and end their long wait for glory in the tournament. If City thrives, expect him to be involved in whatever Pep’s men do going forward.

Antonio Rudiger (€4.9m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

The German is definitely the top option for a budget defender. He has been impressive with five clean sheets so far, and he sits at a pretty low ownership of just 9%. One can argue that Azpilicueta is a better option with him being just €0.5m more expensive, but budget is going to be tight since all we’re left with now are the big names, so Rudiger a perfect option for your defense.

Ferland Mendy (€5.9m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

Although he’s not popular among fantasy managers, he provides a great route into a defense that is otherwise expensive. Also, he has out-pointed all of Real Madrid’s defenders this season with 46. Again, if the Spanish side runs riot against Chelsea, I fully expect the Frenchman to be involved in goals.


MIDFIELDERS

Manchester City Training Session Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Phil Foden (€7.3m, PSG vs Manchester City)

I think there’s little need to justify why he’s part of the player picks for the semifinals. It may come as a surprise to some, but he’s the top midfielder in the competition so far at an impressive 55 points. He has scored three goals, provided two assists and recovered 29 balls. He’s the most complete midfielder you can pick for your team at this stage, so if Manchester City are in tune, then you’re in for a treat from the Englishman.

Angel Di Maria (€8.9m, PSG vs Manchester City)

He has not performed anywhere near what we expected at the beginning of the season, but he has a habit of coming to life when it matters. The Parisians will have a lot of work to do if they’re to get past the Citizens, but if the Argentine finds his rhythm, it’s extremely difficult to contain his threat, especially from set-pieces. Granted, he’s very expensive for the performances he has put in this season, but I still think he will finish strong in a game that is arguably one of the most critical in the club’s history.

Casemiro (€6.3m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

He’s just here because he allows us to spend money better elsewhere while being a great option at the same time. He has earned 45 points this season, which is excellent for a defensive midfielder. He recovers a lot of balls that give him a decent floor, and has that odd goal in him for an occasional boost, which is all we can really ask for at his price. If you’re short on budget and need good cheap enablers, the Brazilian is your man.


FORWARDS

FC Metz v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1 Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe (€11.2m, PSG vs Manchester City)

What else do we need to say about this guy’s ability to create goals? He’s an absolutely astonishing footballer with so much potential in him. He’s heavily owned at 40%, which makes him a must-have in my opinion because if he goes mad and you don’t own him, your rank will suffer some serious damage. It’s better to just pick him and build the rest of your team around him.

Karim Benzema (€10.4m, Real Madrid vs Chelsea)

I am not too confident about this pick myself, but the French striker has proved his critics wrong time and again. At this stage when Real need him to step up, I think he’ll do exactly that. It has been a good tournament for him so far with five goals scored, and I am backing him to build on that tally against the Blues to get Los Blancos into the final.

Mauro Icardi (€9.5m, PSG vs Manchester City)

Here’s my maverick pick among the forwards. We’ve seen little from him yet to deserve a place in our team, but given the lack of options and budget limitations, the Argentine forward is a great differential if you need to climb the ranks in fantasy football. This match has all the qualities of becoming a high-scoring encounter, and Icardi is lethal when it comes to putting away the chances he gets. He’s owned by almost no one, so he could prove to be the difference between you and the people you’re trying to chase down.

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That’s it for my player picks for the semi-finals. I hope it was a bit helpful for you in trying to build your squad for the semifinals. I wish all my readers the best of luck for the remainder of the competition, and may you all get green arrows this week.

Cheers,

Prakhar

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Have you picked your team yet? Whom do you have your eyes on who has been mentioned above? Is there anyone who has been left out of this article whom you would recommend? Which match do you most want to watch as a fan? Please let us know in the comments!

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