Top players of last season – Spanish Primera Liga

We begin our countdown to the new football season in earnest with a look at last season’s top performers, sorted by the league in which they were playing at the time. Using those statistics we try to see which players could reproduce their magical form from the last campaign and deserve an inclusion in your fantasy football team, and which may be best avoided for our fantasy managers’ consideration.

Next up in the series, we will be taking a look at the Spanish La Liga, and with some of the world’s top players currently plying their trade in the Iberian league this list makes up one of the best-known throughout our series, and in many cases some of the names are likely to come as a massive surprise to very few. That said, the league was a very hotly contested one last time around, with Atletico Madrid ultimately triumphing to make 2014 the first year since 2004 that a team not named Barcelona or Real Madrid lifted the title. Curiously, it was also the first time since 2004 that Real Madrid finished outside the top two as well.

Real, however, are a star-studded side – of that there can be little question. Atletico’s title win represents a major step forward for Diego Simeone’s men as well, while Barcelona retained a top two spot despite narrowly missing out on the title. With that quick recap done, let’s take a look at EFL’s top fantasy players from La Liga last season.

In fifth, Diego Da Silva Costa (commonly known as Diego Costa) of champions Atletico finished up with 505 points, putting him among the higher echelons of the overall rankings, though some way behind those at the very top. He proved his worth to Atletico by contributing 27 goals and three assists to the cause, and so it is perhaps no shock that 21% of fantasy managers threw him into their sides. The reasoning behind this is easy to understand given his price tag last term of only €6.50m! At that price, should EFL’s game rules permit it, managers could have had 14 fantasy Costa’s in their squad and romped home. He has since completed a transfer to Chelsea in the Premier League, but the question must hang over whether he can break the apparent hoodoo over Chelsea’s big-name strikers who have signed in recent years – some have done well, granted, but many have struggled. Despite that, 15% have signed him already this term, and with talent such as his there is certainly potential to make an instant impact.

A little way ahead in fourth was Thibaut Courtois, who was playing on-loan at – again – Atletico Madrid. His parent club, strangely enough, was Chelsea, but he really managed to stake a claim by his absence for a spot in the Chelsea team this season by proving himself the third finest goalkeeper in European football – at least by fantasy football standards! He grabbed 550 points from his 37 starts, keeping 20 clean sheets and only conceding 24 goals in the process. Fantasy managers the world round would be mad to overlook his potential inclusion. Granted, his actual status as far as pecking order for Chelsea remains unconfirmed, but Blues boss Jose Mourinho wants him back in west London this season, so there is surely scope to see him between the sticks at Stamford Bridge in the coming months.

Talent-wise, his addition should be considered all but a must, but circumstantially it may be best to hold off initially for a week or two to test the water and see where he is in relation to the first team. Of course, you could always go the other way – stick him in your side and maybe move things around if he isn’t featuring too regularly, but he will almost certainly earn you plenty of nice points any time he pulls on the shirt.

Third now, and we have yet another Premier League connection, with former Tottenham star Gareth Bale having glistened on the Real Madrid wing following his reportedly world-record move to the Bernabeu in at the start of the season. The Welshman was able to settle in quickly to the Spanish capital, and hounded rival defences consistently throughout. Despite Real finishing third, he played a big part on the opposite wing to Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, and snapped up 555 points to make any fantasy manager to sign him very happy indeed. His P/V ratio was 58.4, which is solid if not spectacular, which isn’t too much of a criticism given his asking price of €9.50m.

It still wasn’t a bad price, but this has been upped this time around to €12.50m. This isn’t too bad a price given the fact that he has proven he can cut it among the best in the world, and while it may be tough to get a massive P/V that seems relatively irrelevant should he reach the top end of the overall rankings again. A decision regarding Bale may be a tricky one really – as great a player as he is, those additional funds may be spent on a player or two that may yield a higher P/V come the end of the season, but he will almost certainly offer a massive return – he should definitely be a top consideration – after all, he did prove Real with 15 goals and 12 assists in the league.

In second place, we have the only player on the list without a definite connection to the top flight in England, with Barcelona’s iconic star Lionel Messi reflecting Barcelona’s final league position. The Argentinian was simply magnificent with a return of 680 points, from 28 goals and 11 assists. His P/V looks low at 23.1, but he was the joint most expensive player in the game at a huge €29.50m – approaching a third of the overall budget – so the P/V ratio again seems relatively irrelevant. That price is down to a somewhat more affordable €23.50m this time around, but this is still a huge outlay – people who include Messi need to be sure they have the knowledge to properly complement his inclusion in their fantasy teams with some slightly lower cost players in other positions on the field. He is almost guaranteed to return a massive points overhaul, but whether this will be enough to top what two or even three other quality players may provide is a risk managers must be certain they are willing to take before signing him into their squad.

The same can be said of last season’s La Liga winner, Cristiano Ronaldo. The ex-Man Utd star just edged Messi with 695 points, and at €28.00m last season he was also slightly cheaper. The two are regularly cited in the same breath during discussions around the finest players in the world today, and while Ronaldo may have edged Euro Fantasy League’s rankings last time it remains to be seen whether he can toppled his Argentinian counterpart again this season. He, again like Messi, is joint most expensive at €23.50m, so the asking price has come down a bit – surprising considering he topped the La Liga rankings last season, and ultimately finished second overall behind Luis Suarez, then of Liverpool.

This time next year we may be discussing that name in this article too as he has since moved to Barcelona to join the La Liga contingent, but Ronaldo is unlikely to let Suarez’s presence in the league affect his performance, and indeed this may spur him on to up his game even further. He is as much of a risky / expensive inclusion as Messi, but again is one that is likely to pay dividends to those that manage to accommodate his presence.

Top players of last season – English Premier League

We begin our countdown to the new football season in earnest with a look at last season’s top performers, sorted by the league in which they were playing at the time. Using those statistics and looking at the summer each individual has experienced to try and see which players could reproduce their magical form from the last campaign and deserve an inclusion, and which may struggle and may, in some cases, be best avoided for our fantasy managers’ consideration.

The next league we will look at will be the Premier League. Last season’s title race was decided on the final day, when Man City claimed their second Premier League title and broke hearts on the red half of Merseyside as Liverpool were bidding to claim their first Premier League crown, and first English league title since 1990. Liverpool’s campaign was largely headlined by the deadly duo of English striker Daniel Sturridge and his partner in crime, Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Both players made it onto EFL’s list of the top five Premier League players in last season’s fantasy competition based on points won, while City enjoyed one name on the list – a player who looked at one stage this summer destined to leave the Etihad Stadium following a reported spat with some of the club’s higher-ups.

The only other club to feature were Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, who managed to contribute two players to the top five despite finishing the Portuguese’s first season back in the helm at Stamford Bridge without a trophy. With all that said, let’s get down to the players.

In fifth place, Chelsea stopper Petr Cech earned a cool 450 points from between the sticks in the West Londoners’ side, and while his points-to-value ratio was perhaps not the highest in the league at 37.5, the points themselves would have been a welcome addition to any fantasy managers who opted to include the Czech international.

Technically, Cech wasn’t even Chelsea’s most successful goalkeeper last season, but Thibaut Courtois earned his tally playing for Atletico Madrid in Spain, and these lists look at players who earned their totals in the respective article’s country of focus, meaning Cech takes his place on the Premier League list having featured in that league last season. 16 clean sheets from 34 starts contributed largely to that total, and with only 24 goals conceded under his jurisdiction it was certainly an impressive season for the 32-year-old stopper.

Next up came the aforementioned Sturridge, who featured in 29 relevant games for Liverpool last time around after moving to Anfield to end his time at – ironically – Chelsea. 22 goals coupled with seven assists helped him reach the top five, and make him the only Englishman in the list. He managed 490 points, and his P/V total ended at 65.3 – certainly solid considering his initial €7.50m asking price. That has jumped up to €10.00m this season, but he will be without partner Suarez – more on that shortly. He will be enjoying provision of service by the likes of Liverpool new boy Adam Lallana this season, as well as veteran Steven Gerrard, and so the season could certainly prove to be a successful one for the England striker despite a disappointing World Cup campaign for the Three Lions in Brazil. €10.00m still isn’t a bad price for a player of Sturridge’s quality, though the biggest consideration will certainly be how well he can up his game with a new look side around him, without partner Suarez.

In third place, Eden Hazard becomes the second Chelsea player to feature here. Having moved to the Blues in 2012, the Belgian international has enjoyed his time at Stamford Bridge and came up last season ahead of team-mate Petr Cech in terms of points won. The 23-year-old grabbed himself 510 points, coming largely from 14 goals and seven assists from his 35 appearances – including three from the subs’ bench. He carried a €10.50m asking price last season, and this has now gone up to €11.50m – but it still seems difficult to look past Hazard as a popular inclusion in fantasy managers’ selections. He already features in 7% of teams at the time of writing, and should he be able to recapture last season’s fine form that will surely only go up.

Taking the effective silver medal on this list in Man City midfielder Yaya Toure, who nabbed a massive 630 points from his 35 appearances. 20 goals and nine assists make up the bulk of that tally, and his P/V of 74.09 is a very encouraging statistic. His value of €8.50m last time around surely proved one of the biggest bargains around, and that is borne out by this season’s asking price increase – a whopping €4.00m with it now at €12.50m. He did look like he could be heading for the Etihad’s exit door, but now looks set to stay and try to carry his side on to a second consecutive Premier League title, and third in total. The former Barcelona man is already in 15% of fantasy boss’ squads, and, much like Hazard, that figure could well be set to rise if he can get the league campaign off to a solid start.

Finally, making up the last position on the list and claiming the honour of being EFL’s top player in England last season – and, indeed, the top player in the world – was then-Liverpool striker Suarez. The Uruguayan had a spectacular season. Much like Toure this summer, the chances of Suarez remaining at Anfield for the 2013-14 season seemed remote at best at one stage, but he stayed on and enjoyed arguably his finest campaign of his career so far alongside Daniel Sturridge in the Reds’ frontline. He scored 740 points, garnered from a mouth-watering 31 goals and 12 assists from his 33 games for the Anfield outfit. He did eventually leave the north west, joining up with Spanish giants Barcelona in a deal worth a reported €75m, but his value in EFL’s game is only €16.50m – a much more attractive price to be sure!

His P/V last season wasn’t actually that much better than Cech’s as his asking price was exactly the same – €16.50m. He is one of the most expensive players in the game, and despite his obvious talent several considerations should be taken into account before fantasy managers select him in their squads. Firstly, he is turning out for a new club – and while the majority of players, all things considered, eventually settle in, it could take a bit of time. However, time is one thing the Uruguayan does have – he is banned from all football activity until November owing to on-field misdemeanors in Brazil this summer, though that is pending the outcome of an appeal at the time of writing. Given his new surroundings and potential absence until almost mid-season, it is perhaps no surprise that only 5% of managers have opted to include last season’s most successful fantasy football star this time around so far. Expect that to go up at the earliest opportunity once he does arrive on his new stage, but until then – or at least until the event that his appeal proves successful as that could mean his return by the end of August – it may perhaps be best to steer clear of spending so much cash on his selection at this stage.

Top performers of the weekend – Ligue 1 and Community Shield kick-off season

The football season is now officially underway, with France’s Ligue 1 kicking off over the weekend and the annual tradition of the Community Shield kicked off the English season, though that competition does not count points towards managers’ fantasy teams. That said though, it does give something of an indication of where things could be headed at least in the early doors of the season, so let’s get down to it and see just who the big hitters were.

No fewer than five players in the French top flight are presently tied for top spot on our points’ scorers tables, with Christopher Maboulou (SC Bastia), Mevlüt Erdinç (AS Saint-Étienne), Dario Cvitanich (OGC Nice), Mathieu Duhamel (Caen) and Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac all bagging themselves 40 early points – a cracking start for the guys, who all play as strikers. Interestingly, at the time of writing, only Gignac actually features in any fantasy teams – only 2%, however, foresaw his value up front. Of these guys, Erdinç proved the best value inclusion as his asking price is only €3.50m – a full mill lower than nearest counterparts Cvitanich and Gignac. All of these stars bagged two goals each for their respective sides on opening day.

Talismanic star Zlatan Ibrahimovic got off to a predictably splendid start, bagging two goals of his own for PSG, but unfortunately he also missed a penalty which cost him 10 points, dropping him down to 6th, 10 points behind the aforementioned strikers. Not only did that penalty miss mean he was deducted 10, but he also missed out on 10 as well as that would have meant a hat-trick, which includes 10 bonus points – meaning the miss was actually worth 20 to the negative for the Swede. Had that spot kick found its target, he would be top with a beautiful 50 points from the off.

Several defensive players find themselves with a mountain to climb already having finished their first games in negative totals, with goalkeepers Alphonse Areola (SC Bastia), Zacharie Boucher (Toulouse), Jesper Hansen (Évian Thonon Gaillard F.C) and Steve Mandanda (Marseille) all kicking off on -20. They are joined in that group by former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), who also finds himself there owing to having been dismissed.

Moving north of the pond towards England now, Londoners Arsenal saw off their northern rivals – and Premier League champions – Man City by an impressively comfortable 3-0 margin to claim the FA Community Shield. Having gone nine years without a trophy, this represents Arsenal’s second piece of silverware in as many competitive games. While the game does not directly impact on the league season, it does mean the Gunners arguably have something of a psychological edge over the Citizens ahead of next weekend’s kickoff, and goals from Santi Cazorla, midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Frenchman Olivier Giroud show that this trio in particular has an eye for finding the net already, and manager Arsene Wenger will surely be hoping that trend continues once the formalities get underway on Saturday.

With Man City, the direct implications of the result could well be that Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini looks to tweak his squad, though many cite the fact that the Blues’ starting lineup looked considerably weaker than the expected league teamsheet means that this scenario is unlikely. With Stevan Jovetic sniffing around goal there certainly seems to be some success in front of the net lying in wait for him this season, but regardless of one’s opinion of the strength of City’s team in this fixture, it could certainly be interpreted that the champions can scarcely afford any slipups this term, and can surely not become too complacent when it comes to selection. The quality is certainly there to oust them should they miss a beat, and Arsenal have proven themselves capable of being one of those sides breathing down City’s necks in the event of that happening.

Top players of last season – Serie A

We begin our countdown to the new football season in earnest with a look at last season’s top performers, sorted by the league in which they were playing at the time, and using those statistics and looking at the summer each individual has experienced to try and see which players could reproduce their magical form from the last campaign and deserve an inclusion, and which may struggle and may, in some cases, be best avoided for our fantasy managers’ consideration.

The first league we will look at will be Serie A. Of the nations included in our fantasy football game, Italy were surprisingly not always necessarily near the top of individual performers, despite being one of the top leagues in Europe. However, with a grand share of world class players and plenty of flair and elegance on display, there were plenty of gems vying for a place in the league’s top five. Let’s get this countdown started, moving from fifth to first.

In fifth place, Torino midfielder Alessio Cerci did well to work his way into the list with an impressive 400 points. His value in the game for this season is €8.50m, but his value at the time was a mere €4.00m, giving him a wonderful points-to-value ratio of 100 – a real gem of an inclusion for any manager who went with the 27-year-old. He helped Torino to a 7th placed finish in the end, having arrived at Stadio Olimpico in 2012 for a €2.50m co-ownership agreement from Fiorentina. This season could be set to be a little tougher for the club, with bookmakers predicting a 9th-placed finish. His value has also more than doubled to €8.50m, and so while this is a player clearly more than capable of cutting his own in Serie A, he may not be the top pick for many of our managers.

In fourth, Juventus’ Paul Pogba showed just why there has been interest in his services from other European nations, with Man Utd and Chelsea consistently linked with the former Red Devils youth player. His value last term of €4.50m was greeted with a fantastic return of 400 points, which gave him a P/V ratio of just shy of 89 – another great deal really for anyone that sought his inclusion in their fantasy team. As far as this season goes, his value – much like that of Cerci’s – has soared, in this case to a cool €9.50m, but Pogba is playing for a side that have proven their potential to beat just about any contenders on the day. Indeed, 15% of managers have already included the 21-year-old in their squads, and so don’t be too surprised if that number increases somewhat over the duration of the campaign.

In third was Pogba’s Juventus team-mate, and fellow Old Trafford alumni Carlos Tevez, who of course also spent a spell at Man City while in England. Tevez did a cracking job in his first season in Italy, amassing 440 points from his 30 starts. He scored a solid 19 goals, and from a value of €10.50m last season he had a decent P/V ratio of 41.9. While this may not have been the best in the league, it shows a solid return for a somewhat hefty price tag – but with a year in Italy now already behind him, the Argentinian will of course be focused on building on that good start – definitely worth a consideration!

Yet another Old Lady player took second place in the list of Serie A’s top fantasy performers last season, with custodian Gianluigi Buffon returning a whopping 520 points in Juve’s title-winning campaign. 19 clean sheets from 33 starts helped this tally hugely, and of course he went on to enjoy a World Cup campaign with his native Italy, despite the Europeans falling short at the group stages alongside England. His P/V return finalised at 40, so just short of Tevez, but then again he was far from the cheapest player available to fantasy managers at a nice €13.00m price tag. This season’s valuation has gone down a bit to €10.50m, and with the legendary stopper hoping to play a huge part in what Juventus will hope is a successful title defence he will surely be one of the top contenders for fantasy managers out there to keep an eye on things inside the six yard box.

Finally, we move on to Serie A’s top performer last season – and interestingly it is another goalkeeper, with the accolade going to Roma goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis. The 37-year-old has struggled as Buffon’s understudy on the international scene, but at club level he slightly outperformed his fellow veteran with a nice 580 points. His P/V ratio was also a wonderful 82.9 – admittedly short of Cerci and Pogba, but far better than the others in the top five list. He had a value of €7.00m, and this has only gone up slightly to €7.50m – if there is any goalkeeper likely to be considered ahead of Buffon in the EFL fantasy game, de Sanctis has to be one of the top contenders surely.

Man City vs Arsenal, Community Shield Preview

Calm down ladies and gentlemen – the wait is almost over. That awful period between one season ending and another kicking off is winding down, and the players are by now all but set to get things going for another grueling few months of week-in, week-out competition.

Traditionally, before the Premier League season kicks off we get a straight battle between the winners of the previous campaign’s FA Cup and the league champions – or league runners-up if a single team won both competitions. This Sunday, FA Cup holders Arsenal square up against Premier League supremos Man City at Wembley for the FA Community Shield – and fans of both sides will be keen to see how their players are shaping up after the World Cup in the summer, and especially to see how the new faces fit into their sides. With plenty of players turning out for their new club for the first time in competitive competition, this game seems a difficult one to call.

When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid around this time last year, many fans held out hope that the German could prove the catalyst to end their nine-year long wait for a trophy. Through a combination of team-work and dedication, the Gunners finally ended that hoodoo – and could claim another trophy in their next competitive game if they can overturn Manuel Pellegrini’s Citizens.

New Gunner Alexis Sánchez is valued at a cool €12.50m in our fantasy competition this season – some €4.00m more than the aforementioned Ozil – and this could be a risky investment considering the fact that he is only just arriving on English shores, having previously spent three years at Barcelona. Given his pace and general flair, it is not expected to be too much of an ask to see the 25-year-old settle in at the north London club fairly quickly and Arsenal fans will be hoping he can help the club sustain a serious title challenge this year. They were off to a great start last time around, but fell off in the later stages of the season.

Sanchez – the most expensive Arsenal player thus far in our new season’s game – held a value of €8.00m last season, but went on to earn a nice 475 points, ranking him as the 17th best overall player to have in your squad. This would certainly point to the fact that Arsenal have obtained a gem of a player, and one who can surely surprise City on the day if he is able to use his pace to catch them unawares.

The Blues, however, have their fair share of talent new and old on display as well – with former Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard potentially set to make his debut for the champions following the completion of his six-month loan move to the north west.
For any fantasy managers interested in throwing a couple of faces in their squads from the reigning champions – no doubt there will be a few – Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are the joint most expensive City players, but with the Blues having seemingly won their battle to keep the latter at the club it seems sure that he will be wanting to ensure they have not wasted their time – both players are likely to repay any fantasy managers’ faith with their inclusion, but former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna could come in to face his old club, and his value of €7.50m means he may well represent a good value signing for your fantasy team.

European Fantasy Football: Season 2014-15

After an intrigue-filled Summer in Brazil, attention is already turning towards the new season. The perfect partner to pre-season excitement comes in the shape of Euro Fantasy League, and our European Fantasy Football game, now launched and open to the public!

Free to sign-up to, Euro Fantasy League (EFL), allows users to choose players from one or all of the top five leagues in Europe – The Italian Serie A, English Premier League, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, and the Spanish Primera Liga.

The use of all five leagues gives footie fans the chance to prove their European football knowledge – and the creation of mini-leagues allows players to challenge their friends and colleagues. Once set-up, you also receive 20 free in-season transfers too.

There are two versions of the game to choose from – The Standard game allows users to pick 14 players from a budget of 100m, although you may choose no more than three players from the same team. Mini-leagues can of course be made in order to challenge your friends.

Draft games meanwhile, allows users to set-up a mini-league whereby you choose 14 players, however no player can be the same in any of the league’s teams – so if you have seven teams in your draft mini-league, then all seven teams must have entirely different players.

Once your sides are chosen, make sure to use EFL’s My Team page that lets you keep track of your team’s performance, and make any substitutions throughout the season. The Player Stats section meanwhile let’s you check the database of player performance measurements, showing information on all players across the five European leagues.

So show your knowledge of European Football and challenge your friends and colleagues to Fantasy Football this season – sign up on our homepage.

Suarez heads summer list of eye-catching transfers

With football set to return to pitches across Europe in just a matter of a week or two, we herald in the new season – and the launch of our 2014-15 Euro Fantasy League competition – by taking a look at some of the players who will be pulling on a new shirt this season. We are not of course talking about a club’s new home kit, but those who have swapped employers already in this transfer window and who will be kicking off the campaign wearing the new colours of the club they have joined.

The biggest transfer of the summer would seem to be Luis Suarez departing Merseyside for the sunnier Spanish climate as he completed a move said to be in the region of €75m to Barcelona. This would seem to set him in good stead as a healthy choice for many of our fantasy managers – the guy has proven himself to be among the world’s elite when it comes to talent. He did, however, have something of a controversial World Cup campaign which ultimately saw him given a global ban from all football related activities until November, and so this will probably go some way to explaining why only 5% of our managers have selected him in their squad.

That said, he has proven himself capable enough before, and so if he is able to recapture the form and clinical finishing he displayed in front of the Kop then those missed months could surely just mean the Uruguayan has a bit of catching up to do – he will, when he finally debuts, be turning out alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar week in, week out after all – Barcelona will be dangerous this season.

One of the busiest clubs in regards to transfer activity this year has been Southampton, who have just completed their second season back in the Premier League. However, unfortunately for Saints fans the bulk of the dealings have seen some of their top international stars departing St. Mary’s, rather than a host of talent arriving to join the revolution being enjoyed on the south coast.

England striker Rickie Lambert ended his five-year stint at the club by rejoining boyhood club Liverpool, and his EFL value of €7.00m mean he could prove a popular choice for a backup striker in any squad. He could prove great as a starter, but with Liverpool’s attacking lineup remaining strong despite the aforementioned departure of Suarez he may be a player managers will do well to watch with caution in the early stages until his true status in the squad is better clarified.

He is joined at Anfield by former Southampton team-mate – and international partner too – Adam Lallana, and the former Bournemouth loanee will be looking to establish himself at Anfield and maintain his England berth which he held admirably during the Three Lions’ indifferent World Cup campaign. He is valued in our competition only marginally more than Lambert, at €7.50m, and so the pair could be included for only €14.50m – two great talents for a relatively low outlay.

Another former Saint, Luke Shaw, completed a big money move to Man Utd and has been rated at €5.50m for the purposes of our EFL competition. This is a lovely valuation considering his actual transfer saw him become the world’s most expensive teenager at around £30m, and with the recent departure of Patrice Evra from Old Trafford to Juventus there is certainly room for Shaw to get himself plenty of football – he will surely be a cert to be included?