Spain secured qualification for the World Cup in Russia next summer in style with a 1-0 win in Israel following hot on the heels of their 3-0 win at home against Albania. The results mean fellow former world champions Italy will have to settle for a playoff place to reach the tournament, and Spain’s path to the finals has undoubtedly been eased by a solid defensive showing complementing their attacking verve.
Six of Spain’s defenders over the course of the two games feature in the Euro Fantasy League game, so we will now be taking a look at just how their respective seasons are going so far.
The player with the lowest points tally of the group is Real Madrid’s Nacho. He has only featured in two clean sheets for Los Blancos so far this season, and as a result has accrued just six points to his name in these early(ish) stages of the season.
His club may find themselves already seven points adrift and sitting fifth place in La Liga, but it still seems too soon to dismiss Nacho’s inclusion in your fantasy squad for one very good reason indeed. He may only have six points, but in the 27-year-old you can have an experienced international footballer, getting game time at one of the world’s finest clubs, for just 2.50m. Now, the point is of course earning as many points as you can, but Nacho is one of those few players that, despite having a fairly quiet season so far, proves a fairly risk-free stop gap should you find the need to free up some budget to splurge elsewhere in your team.
Slightly ahead of him is club team-mate Sergio Ramos. One of the most well-known players in the game today, Ramos’ issue has often seemed to be disciplinary in nature. He is on a run of decent form as far as going into the ref’s book goes up to now – a red card in his first appearance was followed with a booking in his next outing. Since then, though, he has kept his nose clean – but unfortunately Real haven’t managed to keep too many clean sheets up until now.
That means Ramos has only managed to earn nine points so far, and with a valuation of 9.00m he certainly seems a far riskier inclusion than the aforementioned Nacho.
Gerard Pique, who plays for Ramos’ and Nacho’s club rivals Barcelona, may be going through a turbulent spell as far as his international career goes at the moment – but he’s putting in a good shift in La Liga so far this season. He has earned 16 points from his first five appearances, with the only real blemish being entering the referee’s book in Barcelona’s 2-1 win at Getafe last month.
At 9.50m he seems an almost infinitely safer bet than the likes of Ramos – and with Barcelona conceding very few goals so far that looks like a trend that is likely to continue for a good chunk of the current campaign.
Next up we have Arsenal star Nacho Monreal. A great 19 points return from a valuation of 8.00m looks much more like it. While he isn’t the cheapest defender around, he appears to be at a level well worth considering for your fantasy squads – Arsenal haven’t conceded a goal in his last four appearances, and he even chipped in with a goal in their recent win over Brighton.
Just across London, Cesar Azpilicueta has also been putting a shift in for Chelsea. More expensive by a pinch than Monreal at 8.50m, he also has a point more as well. His tally of 20 puts him in second place of Spain’s defenders this season. The Blues’ recent 1-0 loss at home to Man City was only the second game so far that Azpilicueta has failed to register a single point – and most of the other games have seen totals of between 5 and 9 apiece, so he will certainly be worth a look when you settle down to revamp your squad.
Finally, that means that Jordi Alba is the top performing Spain defender in the Euro Fantasy League game so far this season. 28 points from a valuation of 9.00m is starting to look like very good value indeed, and the Barcelona defender even made it into the EuroFantasyLeague Podcast’s Best XI of the season so far as well.
His highlight was providing two assists in Barca’s 5-0 win at home to Espanyol last month, while the low points was being booked in his side’s 2-1 win against Getafe last month – just like team-mate Pique.
If you fancy yourself as a Euro Fantasy League manager, why not get involved and register your team? It is always fun, and gives you the opportunity to show your tactical nous (or psychic tendencies, if you prefer) against other like-minded fans around the world.
If you feel La Liga specifically is more your cup of tea, then head over to Fantasy Liga, where you can play a version of the game containing only players and teams from the Spanish game. That is always an alternative if you prefer a more specific style of fantasy football management.