Analysing the Champions League line-ups

The fifth round of Champions League group stage matches precede Gameweek 13 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), where all four English sides managed to win. With a hectic December about to heighten rotation worries of Fantasy managers, let’s try to guess what can be expected for this weekend’s action.

CHELSEA 4-0 JUVENTUS

Mendy – Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger – James, Kante (Loftus-Cheek 37′), Jorginho (Niguez 76′), Chilwell (Azpilicueta 71′) – Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi (Mount 76′) – Pulisic (Werner 71′)

Having lost the earlier meeting in Turin, Chelsea needed to win here and picked a strong side that resulted in an emphatic result. However, the suspected ACL injury of Ben Chilwell will force a transfer for many managers, with reports indicating the wing-back will be out for at least the remainder of 2021 but likely beyond that, potentially even ending his season. N’Golo Kante also departed with a knee injury but Thomas Tuchel may be able to recall Romelu Lukaku for Sunday’s clash with Man United. He was an unused substitute here.

Although Cesar Azpilicueta replaced Chilwell, Tuchel admitted the only reason it wasn’t Marcos Alonso was because the club captain was already warming-up to enter proceedings. Mason Mount should play at the weekend, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek likely to start in the absence of Kante and Mateo Kovacic.

VILLARREAL 0-2 MAN UNITED

De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Alex Telles – McTominay, Fred – Sancho (Mata 90′), van de Beek (Fernandes 66′), Martial (Rashford 66′)- Ronaldo (Matic 90′)

Michael Carrick took charge of Man United’s trip to Spain while the club arrange an interim manager and pulled off an impressive win that seals qualification for the next round. His headline team pick was benching Bruno Fernandes for Donny van de Beek, which Carrick insisted was a result of being spoiled for choice. It’ll likely be a similar side to face Chelsea, assuming they have converted back to a four-man defence – especially in the absence of suspended Harry Maguire.

Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane remain injured, so Carrick’s main decisions will be whether to start Fernandes or van de Beek, as well as choosing between Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

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MAN CITY 2-1 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Ederson – Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo – Gundogan, Rodri, Zinchenko (Jesus 54′) – Mahrez, Bernardo, Sterling

The absences of Kevin De Bruyne (Covid), Phil Foden and Jack Grealish (both knocks) meant Pep Guardiola only named an eight-man bench against PSG, with Gabriel Jesus the sole substitution made during their important comeback win. A re-shuffle put Bernardo Silva up front and gave Oleksandr Zinchenko a game in midfield, as the Ukrainian proved his versatility once more. A left-back for Man City and further upfield for Ukraine, he was able to effortlessly drop into the back line whenever Joao Cancelo strayed forward.

The champions are at home to fourth-placed West Ham at the weekend, knowing that their Etihad draw against Southampton and defeat to Crystal Palace are two slip-ups too many. Foden should return for Sunday and Ruben Dias is likely to stay in the XI, having being rested against Everton.

LIVERPOOL 2-0 PORTO

Alisson – N Williams, Matip, Konate, Tsimikas (Robertson 63′) – Morton, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Milner 82′), Thiago (Henderson 63′) – Salah (Fabinho 71′), Minamino, Mane (Origi 71′)

Already guaranteed first place in Group B, Jurgen Klopp was able to rest Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Diogo Jota for the win against Porto. It was a risk for him to still play Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but, once the Egyptian put Liverpool two up, both were replaced without incident.

Andrew Robertson made a cameo appearance, after missing the 4-0 win over Arsenal because of a hamstring problem. Klopp should be able to go strong against Southampton, knowing that wins need to be stored up before Salah and Mane depart for the African Cup of Nations. Roberto Firmino (hamstring) will still be missing, enabling Jota to start up front and offer a superb option to Fantasy managers.

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