What a difference a goal makes. Three weeks ago I made the crucial mistake of watching the match between FC Anji Makhachkala and BSC Young Boys, starring my fantasy captain Samuel Eto’o. I thus spent 90 minutes screaming “Pass it to Eto’o” at my television, but my efforts paid off as the Cameroon striker scored two goals – among the highlights of a good week for my fantasy team, in which Anthony Réveillère and Cleiton Xavier scored and new addition Salvatore Bocchetti contributed to a clean sheet.
This week, most of my players have tricky away games, so I may be in for a tougher night, and it has been necessary to make other changes. It is quite clear to me now that Thibaut Courtois will not be first-choice goalkeeper for Atlético in the early stages of the competition, André Schürrle has been a disappointment so far and I was set to sell Aritz Aduriz before he scored twice in La Liga at the weekend.
As always, I will wait until the last minute to make my changes so I advise you follow me on Twitter @UEFAcomJulienD to get all the latest tips. At the moment, I am looking to bring in PSV defender Marcelo (probably for Paolo Cannavaro), and I am very tempted to take the two-point penalty and make one or even two additional transfers. If I do this, expect me to substitute Courtois for team-mate Sergio Asenjo, Aduriz for Rubin Kazan’s Rondón and Omar El Kaddouri for PSV’s Kevin Strootman.
My team in short
Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96) €4.5m: The German international will get the nod if I don’t bring in Asenjo. He has conceded too many goals lately for me to feel comfortable.
Anthony Réveillère (Olympique Lyonnais) €4.5m: Again, I wish OL were not facing last seasons’s runners-up Athletic Club but Réveillère was my third-best player on matchday two.
Mariano (FC Girondins de Bordeaux) €5.5m: Bordeaux have the second-best defence in Ligue 1 and their opponents CS Marítimo have had a difficult start in the Portuguese league.
Salvatore Bocchetti (FC Rubin Kazan) €6m: The Italian defender picked up a minor injury before the weekend so while the prospect of playing at home against Neftçi PFK is enticing, I won’t rest easy for the next couple of nights
Marcelo (PSV Eindhoven) €6m: This is my free transfer of the matchweek. While I don’t expect the Brazilian centre-back to score in every match, I am confident he can help Boy Waterman keep another clean sheet.
Cleiton Xavier (FC Metalist Kharkiv) €7m: Professor Xavier scored away this weekend against FC Dynamo Kyiv. I will root for history repeating itself in Norway when his side take on Rosenborg BK on Thursday.
André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) €9m: Some people only give one chance - others give two. This is the German international’s third chance to dazzle me. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow it.
Thomas Buffel (KRC Genk) €4m: It is a good time to play against Sporting Clube de Portugal, and the 31-year-old has played a key role in his team’s attack.
Samuel Eto'o (FC Anji Makhachkala) €10m: The match at Liverpool FC won’t be easy especially with Lassana Diarra now out with an injury but I have complete confidence in the Cameroon striker. Call me crazy, but I still might strip him of his armband…
Vedad Ibišević (VfB Stuttgart) €6m: … and give it to Ibišević, who has been on target in the Bundesliga this weekend and will play at home this week.
Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) €5.5m: Different week, same question mark. I definitely should have waved him goodbye last time and introduced Dries Mertens instead. I will only keep him on my team if I play it safe and decide not to waste any points on additional transfers.
Thibaut Courtois (Club Atlético de Madrid) €6m
Steven Cherundolo (Hannover 96) €4m
Hernanes (S.S. Lazio) €8.5m
Paolo Cannavaro (SSC Napoli) €6.5m
Omar El Kaddouri (SSC Napoli) €5.5m
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