Leg 1 of the UCL quarterfinals is in the books. Benfica’s talented young players were not enough to make a stand against mighty Liverpool. The English club continues to fight on three different fronts, and successfully so. They already won the EFL Cup back in February and trail Man City by a mere point in the race for the EPL title. Their 3-1 victory in leg 1 of the UCL quarterfinals sets up to advance to the semis, and this weekend they once again face off with City in the FA Cup semifinals.
Unlike their Portuguese neighbors, Villarreal not only poked the beast but almost put paid to Bayern’s chances. The first leg match ended 1-0 in favor of the Europa League title holders, and now we can expect the German beast to awaken and attempt to squash Villarreal’s hopes in Munich.
Pep Guardiola was able to break through Atletico Madrid’s high line at home, but a one goal lead against the Atleti may not be enough to prevent the Spaniards from reversing their fortunes. Atletico Madrid will host Man City in the return leg after two 1-0 defeats while the Citizens may struggle to recover following Sunday’s end-to-end EPL showdown with Liverpool that ended in a 2-2 draw. It will all come down to the mental preparation for this one as the tie can still go either way.
Another Spain vs England contest brings Chelsea to Madrid. The London club bounced back after the Benzema hattrick with a 6-0 away victory over Southampton in the EPL. Thomas Tuchel seems to have finally realized that the 3-5-2 is what works best for his squad, and that Romelu Lukaku is not the right fit for his style of football. This epiphany may come too late to recover from a 1-3 deficit considering the Italians are experts in Cattenaccio, which will probably be implemented by Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid with Vinicius Junior the man to finish the job.
️ @J__Nagelsmann: "We can't give Villarreal the time they need to find their rhythm. We need to be more unpleasant to play against. However, we shouldn't spend too much time talking about it, and instead need to make sure we deliver tomorrow." #packmas #FCBVCF pic.twitter.com/0cmDCE0t2u— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 11, 2022
If you missed it, it is worth going back to read NMA’s UCL MD-10 Preview. My fellow author and UCL expert Dhivakhar has also given us his MD-10 player picks, and Chris shared his plan for tackling the tricky upcoming MD-10.
This is just a reminder that fantasy managers are allowed three free transfers ahead of MD-10. Also fantasy managers can now include five players in their squad from each club.
Crazy Monday - Injury/suspension updates
Here are the latest injury / suspension updates:
The Portuguese club has no injury concerns. There are eight players in danger of suspension if booked: Grimaldo, João Mário, Otamendi, Gonçalo Ramos, Rafa Silva, Weigl, Yaremchuk and Adel Taarabt.
The hosts have no injury worries either. Two forwards, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, will be suspended if booked.
The Citizens are without Gabriel Jesus due to suspension and Palmer through a foot injury. Ruben Dias is doubtful but will most probably not be risked. Kyle Walker is back from three-match suspension. Joao Cancelo and Kevin De Bruyne will be suspended if booked.
The injury list of Atletico Madrid now consists of only two doubtful players; Herrera and Gimenez. Carrasco is back after three-match suspension. João Félix, Héctor Herrera, Kondogbia, Llorente, Reinildo, Suárez, Correa and De Paul are at risk of suspension if booked
Sule, Tolisso and Choupo-Moting are sidelined for the return leg against Villarreal. Lucas Hernandez is the only player in danger of missing the next match if booked.
The Yellow Submarines have Alberto Moreno as the only confirmed injury. Dia is doubtful due to muscular problems. Parejo and Rulli are one booking away from suspension.
Ben Chilwell is joined by Lukaku and Azpilicueta on the injury list. Loftus-Cheek and Rudiger face suspension if booked.
Eden Hazard, Isco and Vallejo make up the injury list for the Spanish royal club. Eder Militao is suspended since he was booked in the first leg.
How’s your team faring? We have three free transfers this time — do you have any questions about how you should use them? Do you have a captain candidate for both game-days? Which matches do you plan / wish to watch as a fan? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!