With the latest weekend of football action, there were loads of points available to our fantasy football managers as records were broken, two long waits for honours were ended and one milestone moved a step closer to fruition – plenty for the players to play for, in that case – and some really made the most of it.
For starters, it would be remiss not to mention the achievements of Antonio Conte’s Juventus this season. They won the Serie A title with a European record points overhaul of 102, and secured their 30th Italian title to boot – their third consecutively. For any fantasy managers who had the foresight to include captain Gianluigi Buffon, then that was a great shout. He has been Juventus’ best player points-wise this season, and his season total of 520 only leaves him 220 points behind the overall winner, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Considering Buffon is a goalkeeper, that is a fantastic feat – he added a healthy 30 points to his overall tally by keeping a clean sheet against visitors Cagliari.
Moving on to the long waits mentioned previously, there were two – Arsenal finally ended their nine-year wait for some silverware by beating Hull in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday, and the sense of relief was tangible as the usually calm and quiet Arsene Wenger was lifted onto his player’s shoulders, smiling like a Cheshire Cat absolutely doused in champagne. Anyone with a certain Welshman by the name of Aaron Ramsey in their fantasy football team will have been over the moon to see him netting the Gunners’ winning goal in extra time and bagging himself the Man of the Match award to boot.
Moving over to Spain, Atletico Madrid prepared for their upcoming Champions League Final against city rivals Real by earning a draw at title foes Barcelona, securing themselves their first league championship in 18 years – much like Antonio Conte at Juventus, coach Diego Simeone has received widespread acclaim for his side’s footballing standards this season. The club’s top performer over the season in this fantasy football competition has been on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with 550 points overall – however, the 22-year-old Belgian failed to add to that total as Barca managed to grab the lead through Alexis Sanchez, who added 20 points to his own total to finish off with a healthy 475.
Atletico’s title win gives them a real psychological boost ahead of that clash with Real in Lisbon, and the prospect of a league and European cup double is now tantalisingly close – though the 2-2 result the last time these two sides met offers little in the way of statistical aid. Real are by far the more experienced of the two clubs at this level, and will be looking to their top performer Cristiano Ronaldo – indeed, the second most prolific points-grabber in fantasy football with 695 – to turn up the heat as the club look to secure their 10th Champions League trophy and prevent Atletico from achieving their first ever double of this nature.