Later today, in the third calendar day of MD-7 features, Chelsea hosts Lille, and Juventus flies to Spain to clash with Villarreal. Tomorrow, Benfica hosts Ajax while Atletico Madrid welcomes Man United.
All we can do as fantasy managers between day 3 and 4 of MD-7 is to decide on substitutions and changes of captaincy. If you are still not satisfied with how your captain fared, then you may have been a little unlucky, especially after some Man City players earned double digits last week.
Before we get into the team news for these matches, here is my fellow author Dhivakhar’s review of the matches already played in MD-7.
After defeating Brazilian club Palmeiras to win the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, Chelsea returned to London lifting gold. In last weekend’s EPL match, Chelsea defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 in preparation for hosting Lille today.
The club’s medical clinic has been busy recently, Reece James and Ben Chilwell long term absentees. Thomas Tuchel expressed in his prematch press conference that Mason Mount is back in training but unlikely to start the match. Cesar Azpilicueta, rested on the weekend, is in contention to reclaim his spot at right-back. Callum Hudson-Odoi is also a returnee from injury but is not yet ready to play.
It is worth noting that Tuchel has recently changed Chelsea’s system to 4-3-3. This system allows for Hakim Ziyech’s skills to flourish, but whether he will ever be favored over Mount is yet to be seen.
Aside from Angel Gomez, Lille enjoys a clean bill of health for key players. Gomez was forced off during the first half of Lille’s goalless draw with Metz this weekend. The French club is experiencing a period of poor form with only two wins in the last seven matches. It is unlikely to surprise anyone tonight. Lille is expected to park the bus, hoping to exploit the lack of prolific scorers in Chelsea’s squad in an effort to delay the match outcome until the second leg.
The Spaniards’ run of four clean sheets ended last weekend when Granada breached their defenses. Villarreal however scored four goals in return. Midfielder Arnaut Danjuma is in exceptional form, so if you have him on your UCL fantasy bench, then you must give him a chance to play tonight. Villarreal will be without Francis Coquelin, Gerard Moreno and Ruben Pena when hosting Juventus today. Tottenham on-loan player Giovani Lo Celso suffered a minor injury during the match against Granada and may miss out. Another doubtful player for the yellow submarines is Etienne Capoue.
Lady luck frowns yet again at Paulo Dybala; it seems the player always suffers some kind of injury when it is time for a Champions League match. Juventus’ attack will suffer since Federico Chiesa is out until the end of the season. Dusan Vlahovic will be feeling the pressure as he partners up with Morata against a well-organized and composed Villarreal defense. Juventus’ injury list also includes Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani. Max Allegri was happy to announce during his prematch press conference yesterday that Leanardo Bonucci and Luca Pellegrini are back training.
After a 2-2 draw last weekend with Boavista, the Portuguese club hosts the monstrous Ajax attack. Benfica could not keep a clean sheet in any of its last six matches, losing two, drawing two and winning two. Benfica will be without Haris Severovic, Lucas Verissimo and Rodrigo Pinho. On the other hand, Alejandro Grimaldo returned from injury and played on the weekend.
With a little bit of luck, Ajax may return to 1990s glory days with the current talent at the club. Benfica’s leaky defense may decide this match as early as tomorrow night in the first leg. Eric Ten Hag has an experienced player in Tadic, a prolific goalscorer in Haller, and creativity combined with speed in Antony, with all of them orchestrated by mastermind Steven Berghuis. If any of those names are on your fantasy bench, then a change of the arm band may be what your team needs on the last day of MD-7. The list of injuries includes long-term absentees Maarten Stekelenburg, Sean Klaiber, Brian Brobby and Jurrien Timber.
Diego Simeone will host Man United and Ronaldo with some of his important players missing out or racing to be fit. Matheus Cunha remains injured along with Daniel Wass. Thomas Lemar, Koke and Mario Hermoso are doubtful and may not be able to start. Yannick Carrasco will serve his suspension during this match and watch from the stands.
Edinson Cavani is expected to remain in Manchester while the team travels to Madrid. Other than that, only Mason Greenwood misses out, suspended by the club. United’s morale has picked up after recording two victories in a row following three consecutive 1-1 draws. The defense remains a concern, so some changes are expected heading into this match.
Keep an eye on the comments section for press conference reports and any other status updates before today’s deadline. Good luck everyone!
How’s your team faring? Are you debating whether to twist your captain? Do you have any tactical questions? And which matches do you plan / wish to watch as a fan? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism