UCL Group A – Matchday 2 Preview (“The Group of Death”) by MJ6987

Going into the qualification group two weeks ago it was being billed in some quarters as the archetypal “Group of Death” with all four teams highly ranked in overall FPL standings. The first two weeks has done little to dispel this with each team picking up a win and a loss, sitting on 3 points a piece going into GW26 (the Liverpool / Swansea DGW!). Who will seize the advantage this week?

Stade Rennes (Sarnab) vs Hamburg SV (Herr Vets)

Sarnab is the relative newcomer in the Group, with just two previous seasons in FPL (108k and 27k last season), however he has kicked on this season and went into the Group stage in a strong position. Sarnab peaked in GW21 at 525 but has slipped slightly to 2,293 going into this week.

Looking at this week’s fixture the two line ups are very similar, the only differentials being:

Sarnab: Mignolet (RDG), Zabaletta (sot), Michu (QPR/LIV)…+4 pts home advantage

Vets: Begovic (RDG), Clichy (sot), Bale (NEW)…-4 points hit

With Sarnab’s home advantage coupled with Vets’ 4 point transfer hit, this is going to need something special from Bale to give Herr Vets a win.

Verdict: Home win

FPL veteran Herr Vets seemed to “click last” year, finishing 6787 overall after several solid but unspectacular seasons in the game. Vets had an “up and down” start to this campaign but is very much the form team in the Group right now, having risen phoenix-like from 51k to a current rank of 4k in just 7 weeks.

Atalanta (MJ6987) vs Liverpool (Optimus)

I have had three previous seasons in FPL, finishing a respectable 15k in my first campaign and then 434 followed by 9,076 last year. After a good start to the season I have been treading water since GW9 hovering largely around the 2-3k mark since then, currently sitting at 2,714.

Optimus, like myself, has three seasons under his belt, finishing 61k in his debut season followed by 13k and 1,536 last time out. Optimus had a reasonable start to 2012/13 but has been motoring since GW7, peaking at 957 last week before falling back marginally to 1,257 making him the highest ranked team in the Group right now.

This fixture is looking much more open with quite a few key differences in the two line-ups. For example, I have Suarez captain who doesn’t feature in Optimus’ side whereas, although I have Sturridge, Optimus has brought him in and captained him. So, where is this one going to be won and lost…

Me: Begovic (RDG), Zabaletta (sot), Azpi (WIG), Bale (NEW), Suarez x 2 (WBA/SWA)…+4 pts hoe advantage

Optimus: Jaask (AVL), Johnson (WBA/SWA), Evra (EVE), Silva (sot), Lambert (MCI), Sturridge…- 4 points hit

The key battles fields seem to be how well Suarez vs Sturridge do, Bale vs Silva and whether Liverpool can reward Reds’ fan Optimus with a couple of clean sheets.

This one is difficult to call but I am hoping that my 8 points start will be enough!

Verdict: Home win (but could go either way)

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