Fantasy Football News

Barcelona v Real Madrid: 3 things to watch for in El Clasico

El Clásico has finally arrived.

Club football’s greatest rivalry and spectacle, only this time with a difference; this is the first ever meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid that will be played with no fans in the stadium.

That could be a great leveller, for if there were 99,000 Barca fans inside Camp Nou as normal, the hosts would almost certainly hold the advantage.

Continue reading

Calcio Predictions – Round Five

Sassuolo-Torino: the Neroverdi are coming off three wins in a row, the Granata have suffered three consecutive losses, so this one looks like a no-brainer, even though surprises can always be just around the corner: 2-0.

Atalanta-Sampdoria: the Bergamaschi bounced back from the stunning Napoli romp in Champions League and will look to do the same in domestic play, maintaining the pace they had in the first three successful outings. Sampdoria looked mighty good versus Lazio and got Fiorentina as well, but they might be forced to bend the knee here: 3-1. Continue reading

Introducing Lazio’s unlikely Champions League hero: Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro

IMG_1556

When Lazio’s third goal hit the net against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night to cap a superb return to the Champions League, the fans’ elation was mixed with surprise.

Who would have possibly predicted that the decisive goal of the Biancocelesti’s first group stage match in 13 years would be scored by Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro?

The midfielder himself appeared as stunned as anyone by how events unfolded.

“When I signed for Lazio I didn’t think that I would play straight away, I’d like to thank the coach for this,” he said after the game.

He wasn’t the only one. Akpa Akpro’s arrival from Serie B side Salernitana over the summer fell under the radar, with most fan and media attention understandably being directed towards €20m man Vedat Muriqi, a botched move for David Silva and the failure to upgrade the defence. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Five

Atalanta: Matteo Pessina returned in Champions League from a late-season patellar dislocation. Ruslan Malinovskyi had an old scar in his adductor flare up and missed the previous game, but he is set to be available SaturdayCristiano Piccini (knee) could return sooner rather than later, while Pierluigi Gollini (knee) is at least two weeks away.

Benevento: Nicolas Viola has resumed practicing after his meniscus surgery and might make the squad list. Gabriele Moncini and Federico Barba are iffy due to muscular problems. Continue reading

Celtic 1-3 AC Milan: Three things we learned from the Rossoneri’s start to the group stage

Following the win against Inter at the weekend, Milan extended their unbeaten run this evening and secured yet another three points, this time in the Europa League. Celtic never really stood a chance as the Rossoneri got the job done in Glasgow, scoring three goals in the end. 

Many questioned Stefano Pioli’s decision to start Rade Krunic over the likes of Rafael Leao and Jens Petter Hauge this evening, but the Bosnian came up big with the opener after just 14 minutes. Samu Castillejo was able to pick him out in the box and he made no mistakes with a lovely header.  Continue reading

Roma crush Benevento to head back into the top 10 in Serie A

After back to back wins Roma are now in the top 10 in Serie A after an initial slow start and after four games played are 8th and just five points behind current league leaders AC Milan.

Roma were widely expected to beat Benevento and let no one down as they powered through to a 5-2 win at Stadio Olimpico. But the visitors were not just going to roll over and gave Fillipo Inzaghi’s side a few scares.

Indeed in just the fifth minute Benevento took the lead through Gianlula Caprari’s shot which actually took quite a deflection before looping in and beating the goalkeeper for a freak goal.

From then on the game was predictable as Roma had the lions share of possession and made some good attacks although it took until just after the half hour stage to see Roma equalise through Pedro and bad defending.

Roma then took the lead just four minutes later through Edin Dzeko who after good work simply had to tap it in against a naive Benevento defence which were being torn apart by the pace of the home side. Soon after Roma thought they had a third goal but this was rightly ruled out for offside by VAR. The first half ended 2-1 to Roma and the second half seemed like it would be a formality.

However against the odds Benvento would be the next team to score and pull the game back to 2-2 after the 55th minute through Gianluca Lapadula. Jordan Veretout who is having a solid start to the season gave away a penalty after some confusion in their own box and Lapadula then missed the spot kick but got the rebound and suddenly we were in for a shock result.

However in the 69th minute Veretout made amends when Roma were awarded their own penalty when the goalkeeper fouled Pedro. Veretout stood up and made no mistakes to give Roma the lead once more.

Eight minutes later the game was effectively wrapped up as Dzeko struck again and again it was a simple tap in after good build up play where he couldn’t really miss. By this point Benevento who had worked hard throughout the match had given up the ghost and with just one minute left of the game Roma got their 5th.

It came through Carles Perez who may have scored the contender for goal of the season. Starting in his own half he beat 3 players before confidently smashing the ball home. Had Lionel Messi did that over the weekend the headlines would surely be tripping over themselves. It was a great win for Roma and their next game will be away to leaders AC Milan it what should be a mouthwatering encounter.

Top Roma performers in fantasy league so far:

1. Jordan Veretout 15pts

2. Henrikh Mkhitaryan 10pts

3. Antonio Mirante 10pts

Sign up to eurofantasyleague.com the game where football fans meet to compete.

 

Should Arsenal be judged on how they have reacted during the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the world and affected jobs and businesses the likes we haven’t seen since perhaps the second world war. But football clubs especially in the Premier League have still spent hundreds of millions on players over the last transfer window and it has become clear that even with no fans in attendance TV money certainly talks.

Good luck to the clubs and the structure of the Premier League, because a lot of hard work and promotion has gone into the product to make watching football in England’s top tier the most popular in the world. And this article is not about attacking one club in the Premier League but only because certain stories have surfaced that simply seem a little mind boggling.

The owners at Arsenal for example have made some questionable decisions that in a sensitive time have made very little sense. The first of which was letting 55 admin staff leave. Yes it’s true that the staff were not really needed anymore because of the virus meaning that there was less work available. But these were loyal staff and one wonders if the owners of the club really made the best choice, if not for them the right one?

It had been reported that the 55 staff laid off were going to save Arsenal just over £1m, that’s a lot of money, but in Premier League terms it feels more like a drop in the ocean. Countered only days after Willian joined the club on a free from Chelsea but was then given a reported £10m signing on fee. That’s one employee receiving 10 times the amount of 55 laid off staff and their years salary.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came out and said that he understood the clubs decision. But did he really? Was this really what Arteta was thinking? He’s just been given the managers job and hardly wants to come across as controversial but of course was asked the question which would have put him in a position.

Just recently Arsenal made the decision to let their mascot leave the club, a mascot that had spent many seasons at Arsenal and only on a small wage not that much more than the minimum. Again the decision in black and white made sense. Mascot’s are not needed at empty grounds. But Arsenal can afford the mascots wages until hopefully the pandemic blows over within the next 6-12 months and Arsenal can afford their admins wages and try to give them different roles within the club.

But of course football is a business and money seemingly can’t be lost unless it is lost on a player or a manager. Arsenal isn’t a badly run club but maybe they have made some questionable decisions and of course like everyone else have been caught out by the virus. But if you’re spending £45m on one player, the recent purchase of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid one does have to wonder why loyal staff couldn’t have somehow been kept on for a small fraction of that price?

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round Five

SASSUOLO-TORINO

Sassuolo (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Muldur, Chiriches, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Locatelli, Obiang; Berardi, Djuricic, Traore; Caputo.

Potential lineup changes: Ayhan for Chiriches, Bourabia for Obiang, Haraslin for Traore.

Likely bench options: Lopez, Raspadori, Ayhan.

Probable: Haraslin.

Questionable: Rogerio, Magnanelli (groin).

Ruled out: Romagna (knee), Defrel, Toljan, Schiappacasse (COVID). Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Five – Other Games

SASSUOLO-TORINO

Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were tested by Bologna, but they reacted vigorously and nabbed another win thanks to goal by their usual difference-makers, Francesco Caputo (fourth in the season), Domenico Berardi (third) and Filip Djuricic. The Serbian attacker started off slowly but found the target in the last two outings. Gregoire Defrel and Lukas Haraslin have hampered by injuries, while Jeremie Boga and Nicolas Schiappacasse had to deal with COVID, so the final spot in their front-line is up for grabs. Hamed Traore has first dibs if the absentees do not return, but Maxime Lopez could be an option as well. At some point they will have to start using Boga, but he missed a lot of practice time because of the virus. Mert Muldur and Georgios Kyriakopoulos have yet to turn it on this season, while Manuel Locatelli and Mehdi Bourabia have both hit the net once despite their role. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Previews – Round Five – Top Matches

ATALANTA-SAMPDORIA

Atalanta: the Bergamaschi looked unprepared to match Napoli’s aggressiveness in the last fixture and the much-anticipated bout ended with a shocking beating. They will look to return to form in Serie A as well after pummelling Midtjylland. Alejandro Gomez has been the tip of the spear so far and straight-up one of the best players in the League. Luis Muriel has put his name in the stat-sheet twice, like Sam Lemmers, who has made the most of his limited opportunities. Duvan Zapata has been more up-and-down. Josip Ilicic looked rusty in his first game back, but that is understandable: the good news is that he indeed came back and the coach will likely give him regular minutes to get him into shape. Ruslan Malinovskyi is questionable due to an injury, which may lead to some playing time for the intriguing Aleksey Miranchuk. Their stud wing-backs Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens have scored one goal each, with the German international adding two assists.

Suggested picks: Gomez, Muriel, Zapata. Continue reading