UCL Round of 16 - Mar 12 & 13

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After last week’s drama, we can expect some more this week! Will Juve comeback from an 0-2 deficit? If they do, that will be one of the greatest comebacks in history of the UCL – tough task, an Atletico goal will surely ruin them. Everyone expects Barcelona to breeze at home, but we’ve seen stranger things happen; will Lyon pull an upset?

Shaping up to be another fun week, let’s get to it!

Tuesday – Mar 12 – (2 games)

Atletico Madrid @ Juventus

First Leg Result: Atletico 2-0 Juventus – yup, it was a surprise but two set pieces did the job. Two teams known for their defensive abilities but Juve was lacklustre on the day!

With that said, look for Juve to use the home crowd as extra motivation to pull them through – an early goal here would be a blessing! Expect Juve to dominate possession and expect Ronaldo to keep firing shots – eyes will be on him to turn this tie around. Dybala is next in line who also got some rest on the weekend, he needs to have a big game here to give Juve any hope of progressing. Pjanic will man the centre of the park and should be on mot sets. Mandzukic I would assume is the one who will join the attack, GPP play based on the game script. They also rested Cancelo over the weekend so expect him to push forward a ton and swing in crosses – I think he is an excellent play this slate.

As for Atletico, they won’t be much of a priority for me this slate as their gameplan will be to play tight at the back and with everyone behind the ball. The only possible player I’m willing to look at would be Oblak – think of Lloris last slate where he notched 24 pts, Oblak is in a very similar spot. Two key injuries may play a role as both starting WB’s look to be injured.

Schalke @ Manchester City

First Leg Result: Schalke 2-3 City – it was a close call for City, two late goals put them ahead in this leg. Don’t expect the same in the return leg as thinking Schalke getting two PK’s again is out of the question.

City is the biggest favourite on the slate but I can see them also being the lowest owned on the slate considering the high end options out there. Aguero is clearly their best chance at a goal, but you have two world class players to choose from instead. Sterling is coming off a hat trick but he looks overpriced to me considering those other options. I would much rather take a chance on Bruyne at least for cash as he should garner most sets. If he’s out, look for Gundogan even though he has been playing a bit more defensive role to make up for Fernandinho’s injury. Ederson undoubtedly should get the win but I’m not paying up at GK as that has haunted me for the past week.

If you think Schalke get more PK’s, lock in Bentaleb. I say this with a bit of laughter because if he breaks the slate again, I’ll go nuts! The one cheap piece that probably everyone sees here is Ozcipka as he has been on sets and since Caligiuri is injured, he may have a monopoly. Just keep an eye out for Konoplyanka as he may share in them – would be a cash play but matchup isn’t positive.

Wednesday – Mar 13 – (2 games)

Lyon @ Barcelona

First Leg Result: Lyon 0-0 Barcelona – this is a great result for Lyon, not conceding any at home is close to a win for them. If they can manage a hard fought 1-1 tie which is possible, they will go through. Problem is, Barcelona can score a lot at home, don’t expect Lyon to keep a clean sheet again.

Messi is surely one of the biggest locks of the slate, he can’t let another UCL campaign slip away – he will be the driving force of every Barcelona attack. I can see people pairing him with Ronaldo and still have a decent looking line. Dembele would make a useful pairing with him as well as he garners over some sets and is quite the attacking piece to this team. There is talk of an injury so this may see Coutinho inserted back into the lineup. If he is, I can see many people picking him in cash as well as he will take close to the same set pieces as Messi. Suarez is there for goals, he will probably be the lowest owned of these three. Alba is the only defender I’d touch as he has been consistent in the UCL this year.

As for Lyon, I think many will start with Lopes. At $3.8K, he can concede and still hit 2x value. Lyon, after all, will need his saves once again if they have any chance to stay in this game. Depay should be on sets and if his team does proceed, he will surely have an influence on those goals. The fact is it’s a tough matchup on the road. Fekir may also be back but he is a GPP only target. Their WB’s are relatively cheap as well, just depends if you need to pay down that much as they don’t have that much upside in this matchup.

Liverpool @ Bayern

First Leg Result: Liverpool 0-0 Bayern – a quiet night at Anfield in the first leg leads to an epic night at the Allianz. Liverpool will be happy that they did not concede so I will give them the slight advantage away from home. However, they will not be pleased that they failed to score at home where they can rack up the goals.

This is an interesting game to say the least. And it is probably the most even match we have on the slate. With Kimmich out, we could see Rodriguez take over on all sets which makes him a prime cash target. Martinez is still lowly priced even though his peripheral stats stand out – only if he once again starts in the midfield. All the other options like Lewandowski, Gnabry, Alaba, and whoever else starts on the wing, are only GPP viable on this slate.

As for Liverpool, Arnold had a huge game in the first leg as he had a monopoly over sets and attacked down the flank quite a bit. I think that will be dialed back a bit more and if Milner starts, his set piece role will be slightly reduced. Robertson looks cheap to me if you want exposure to this game, he won’t awe you but if he gets that random assist, you’re looking good. Other than that, their attacking three on this slate are pure GPP plays but secondary at most in my opinion.

Good luck footy fans! Let’s hear your thoughts!!!

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