Haaland ready to fire club and country to glory in 2020

By the end of the summer, Erling Braut Haaland’s stratospheric rise to the upper echelons of football could well be complete.

Because, by then, he could be a Champions League and German Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund, and would have sampled his first major international tournament with Norway.

The young attacker bludgeoned eleven goals in his first seven appearances for Dortmund, and that incredible output has led fans of BVB to think that he could fire their team to glory on the domestic and continental front – they are into odds of 11/2 in the outright Bundesliga winner betting market.

 At the time of writing on February 25, Dortmund find themselves three points adrift of RB Leipzig in second and four shy of Bayern at the summit of the table.

However, they still have ample chances to close the gap, given that they host the current German champions on April 4th and then travel to the Red Bull franchise on May 9th.

BVB have won five of their last six Bundesliga games, scoring a ridiculous 24 goals in that spell, and such firepower means they will take some stopping from here-on-in.

The Champions League is looking rather promising too. Dortmund won the first leg of their Round of 16 tie with PSG – Haaland bagging a brace in his debut appearance in the competition for his new employer, and while the French side’s away goal complicates matters the Germans will be hopeful of netting an away strike or two of their won with their Norwegian sensation in the ranks.

BVB are still very much outsiders in the betting market at 25/1 to win the Champions League, but with one tentative foot in the quarter finals those odds will surely shorten soon enough.

Norsk Power

It’s been 20 years since Norway appeared in a major international tournament.

They were dumped out of Euro 2000 in the group stage back then, and will be desperate to make up for lost time this time around.

The Norwegians are just three games away from booking their spot at Euro 2020. They must first defeat Serbia in a two-legged tie, which they are favourites to do according to the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers odds, and then get the better of either Scotland or Israel in an all-or-nothing clash. Again, the betting market would favour Haaland & Co over either of those potential opponents.

The winner’s reward? A spot in Group D alongside tournament favourites England and World Cup finalists Croatia.

Haaland, at 19, is a curiously late starter in international football given that he was rattling in the goals for Red Bull Salzburg as far back as January 2019.

He has only made two appearances for his country, and at one point it looked as though he might choose England as his preferred international team – he was born in Leeds after all, and his father Alf Inge spent many years in English football playing for Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.

But in the end he opted to follow his Norwegian roots, and after representing them at youth level – scoring plenty of goals, naturally – Haaland made his senior debut in August 2019 as part of their Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

That was the start of a long international career you suspect, and while Norway aren’t giants of the international scene what a fillip it would be if they could take their place in Group D of the European Championships.

For Haaland, it might just cap the most unbelievable of trophy-laden seasons.

La Liga: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Week 24

Real Madrid were shocked as they could draw at home against Celta Vigo 2-2. With Barcelona getting past Getafe with a 2-1 win it means that Barca are just one point behind Madrid with 14 games left to play. From the top 6 teams only two won in Barcelona and Villarreal and that has also made Champions League finishing positions more open and interesting.

Let’s take a look below at who performed the best this past weekend.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Joel Robles- Real Betis 7pts

Only two goalkeepers in La Liga earned 7 points and it happened in the same match as Leganes took on Real Betis. The game ended 0-0 but Joel Robles deserves this one being the away goalkeeper and Levante had 11 goal attempts.

Defender: Oier Mate- Osasuna 8pts

It was a perfect match for Oier Mate who not only kept a clean sheet for his club but also scored the only goal and winner as Osasuna beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 away from home.

Defender: David Garcia- Osasuna 5pts

Garcia alongside his team mater Oier Mate helped to keep a clean sheet away from home and earned 5 points. That is his 7th of the season where he has helped his club.

Defender: Aissa Mandi- Real Betis 5pts

Aissa Mandi has been good at collecting yellow cards which has hampered his points total, but at the weekend he did a perfect job for Real Betis and he has helped the club keep 4 clean sheets this season.

Defender: Martin Valjent- Real Mallorca 

Real Mallorca beat Alaves 1-0 and Valjent was a big part of that success and earning 3 points in the heart of defence. He has helped to keep 4 clean sheets this season.

Midfielder: Suso- Sevilla 6pts

Suso rescued a point for Sevilla who were losing 2-1 at home to Espanyol but with just minutes left Suso was able to get a very important goal for the home side. It was only his 2nd goal of the season but such an important one.

Midfielder: Toni Kroos- Real Madrid 4pts

It was a disappointing result at the weekend for Real Madrid who could only draw 2-2 at home to Celta Vigo. But Toni Kroos put in a good shift at home and also scored a goal to put his team back in the game after they conceded first.

Midfielder: Moises Gomez- Villarreal 4pts

Moises Gomez got the winning goal as his side Villarreal beat Levante 2-1 in a very close game. He has been involved in 7 goals this season and that was his 3rd of the season.

Midfielder: Thomas Partey- Atletico Madrid 4pts

Thomas scored only his 2nd goal of the season to help Atletico draw 2-2 with Valencia in an entertaining draw. The league is over for the club but they need to maintain a Champions League berth.

Striker: Gerard Moreno- Villarreal 6pts

Gerard Moreno had a brilliant game for Villarreal as he opened the scoring and then set up the winner as his side won 2-1. Moreno has scored 10 goals this season and created 3 further goals.

Striker: Lucas Ocampos- Sevilla 6pts

Lucas Ocampos also earned 6 points and did the same job as Moreno scoring his teams first goal and then setting up the assist for the 2nd as Sevilla drew 2-2. It was Ocampos’ 7th goal of the season.

How well do you know European Football? Want to challenge the best Spanish Fantasy Managers? Play www.liga-fantasy.com now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inter are the last team to beat Lazio in Serie A – but they face a different beast on Sunday

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Regret was the overwhelming emotion the last time Lazio faced Inter.

Joaquin Correa was guilty of squandering a series of good chances during an excellent performance, but the game was decided by Danilo D’Ambrosio out-jumping Jony for the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory for the Nerazzurri.

Not even the most  mindlessly optimistic Lazio fan would’ve guessed back then, on 25 September 2019, that the Biancocelesti wouldn’t have lost another league game by the time they faced Antonio Conte’s side again.

Last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Parma set a new club record of 18 games unbeaten in Serie A , on a day that the gap between the top three clubs was squeezed to just one point. Continue reading

5 Youngsters ready to break into Juve’s first team

Recently, Juventus – commonly known as the ‘Old Lady’  – signed a number of new players. The defending Serie A champions are seen to have signed some of the best and brightest young talents in world football.

We aren’t talking about Ronaldo – but players who are yet to make their mark in professional football, definitely some great news for football fans today. Whether you love watching the game or betting on it on sites like Betway, seeing fresh talent does look great.

Here is a brief look at the five young players who are set to fight for a role with Juve’s first team beginning with the 2020/21 season:

Cristian Romero

The 21-year-old Genoa defender is considered as one of the players with the most potential in the team. Romero was part of the under-20 international Argentina team and has received high praise for his performances.

He has 2 goals and has given 1 assist in 27 appearances. He joined Juventus for just under €30m. Currently, he remains on loan with Genoa. Interestingly, Romero’s debut game was against Juventus where he directly competed against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. Romero’s consistent yet versatile defense will make him an invaluable addition to the team.

Dejan Kulusevski

This Swedish midfielder is all set to join Juventus this summer for a deal worth €35 possible rising to €44m. The 19-year-old has an impressive history of 4 goals and 17 assists from 16 matches. This formidable player was chosen as Serie A’s Player of the Month in December. Currently, the teenager is on loan with Parma from Atalanta and will soon move to Juventus till 2024. By all means, Kulusevski is one of the most exciting and promising additions to the Juventus squad. He is an all-rounder and will be a valuable asset to Juventus.

Luca Pellegrini

Pellegrini is one of the first summer signings made by Juventus this season. The 20-year-old Roman defender has reportedly signed for the club till 2023. The defender is well-known for his consistent performances. Pellegrini made his Champions League debut with the Giallorossi team and has played on loan with Cagliari. He completed the season as the youngest defender with an assist in Serie A.

Dany Mota Carvalho

The 21-year old forward from Luxembourg has signed a four-year contract with Juventus for €2m. Both Juventus and Napoli had expressed interest in this former Sassuolo striker. Carvalho was a part of the Union Titus Pétange club and the Serie B club Virtus Entella. Carvalho’s technique and skills are well-worth noting and he has scored seven times in 19 appearances this season.

Leonardo Loria

Standing tall at 195 cm, goalkeeper Loria has been a part of the Juve’s Primavera side since 2015. Wojciech Szczęsny, Juve’s current starting goalkeeper, can expect some good competition from this 20-year-old. Loria has also been part of the Italian national team at the Under-20 level.

Jadon Sancho: Best Young Player in 2020

Football is a popular sport across Europe, attracting millions of fans. The passion and love for the sport is not only in Europe but also across the world. Thanks to the new and raw emerging talent, more fans have a reason to watch football games.

All the upcoming and young wonder-kids with raw and exciting talent make the game fun to watch. As a fan, you probably have a favorite young player who you think has the potential to be a world-class star such as Ronaldo or Messi. However, you should know that other promising talents have the capacity to develop and be successful in other positions in the field.

So, who is the best young player in 2020?

The Young Player of the Year

The are several young players who are fit to be considered among the best in football. A favorite pick for many would be Jadon Sancho. He was the shining player in the 2018/19 season in Germany and has started the 2019/20 season with the same zeal. His consistency is the reason why he goes as a top pick for the young player of 2020.

Jadon Sancho statistics

Jadon has been one of the most exciting talents to watch in Europe last season and this one as well. I cannot recall the number of times I have heard friends had to seek help from essay help online free websites with their assignments to get time to watch him play. It is exciting to see him in the pitch when playing for Dortmund and the “Three Lions”.

At only 19 years of age, Sancho has managed to get more than 25 assists since the 2017/18 season at Borussia Dortmund. This season, he already has 9 goals and 9 assists under his name in 15 matches, with the season far from being over. Gauging from his performances last season, he seems to be getting better by the day.

Last season, he managed 14 assists and 12 goals in 34 matches. He is likely to do even better this season.

Jadon’s early life

As a student, there are many easy ways to succeed in school, among them free essay help platforms available online. These websites offer custom help with essays to students in high school. However, there are no shortcuts in football. Sancho had to put the much-needed effort to get to the level he is now at.

Born and raised in the Kennington suburb of London, Sancho had to decide to focus on football and not the vices that were around him. He had to play football on the street since it was his passion. He would spend his time after school playing football on the streets with his mates.

At the age of 7, young Sancho joined the Watford academy where his talent attracted big clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal. However, Sancho would eventually leave Watford at the age of 14 and join Manchester City. There, he was able to learn how to adapt to a professional style of playing that suited him the most.

Sancho’s professional career

In 2017, Jadon Sancho was faced with another major decision about his career. Due to lack of game time in Manchester City, he decided to leave England and try his luck in Dortmund; a decision he cherishes and does not regret till today. He was given the number 7 jersey which was worn by some of the best strikers and wingers in the history of the club.

To him, this was all the confidence boost he needed to step up to the big stage and conquer. He made his first senior debut for Dortmund in October 2017 as a substitute. Soon enough, he became a sensational player to watch for the team, cementing his place in the starting XI. He even made the German league’s team of the year in the 2018/19 season.

International career

The talented Sancho wouldn’t go unnoticed by England manager Gareth Southgate. He received his first senior call-up on October 4th, 2018 after an impressive start to his season. He made his international debut on October 12th, 2018.

His most memorable moment while playing for England was when he scored a brace on September 10th, 2019 against Kosovo.

Transfer speculation

For such a young and promising talent, there is a lot of interest from other clubs around Europe. For this reason, Dortmund have slapped a hefty price tag on him to try and put off interest from other clubs.

A number of top clubs have been linked with the player including Manchester United and Chelsea. Real Madrid and Manchester City are also said to be interested in signing the young star.

Honorable Mentions

Apart from the sensational Sancho, other youngsters have taken the football world by storm there are a number of worthy names to be considered.

Some top honorable mentions include names such as Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Erling Haaland (also Dortmund) and a few others.

Final Thoughts

It is hard not to recall the number of times some of my friends had to rely on essay help online platforms for school work and to give them more time to attend a football match. For many, football is more than just a sport. Therefore, it is not difficult to entrust an essay helper with paper assignments which can in turn create enough spare time to watch games.

A look back at the decade’s most memorable moments

The 2010s were both an exciting and turbulent period for football. With more than a handful of career-defining goals and several big scandals, nobody could say it was boring.

Although there are plenty of options to choose from, these are the moments that will ensure the past decade is remembered for a long time.

The FIFA Corruption Scandal

It was the summer of 2015 when things became more than a little uncomfortable for FIFA officials. In the summer of 2015, after a thorough investigation from the FBI, the US Department of Justice was forced to indict several top executives on charges of corruption.

While this came as a great shock to many, what happened in December that year would shake the world of football even harder. Two FIFA vice presidents were arrested in a hotel in Zurich, and then a further sixteen officials were charged with partaking in criminal schemes, including ones involved more than $200m in bribes related to the bidding process for two upcoming World Cup tournaments.

While the scandal saw the end of two very powerful men’s careers, it’s essential to see this not as a tragedy but as justice being served.

Iniesta Wins the World Cup for Spain

Back in 2010, we saw the first-ever World Cup to take place in Africa. The final match was an aggressive and sometimes nasty game, with the referee handing out a record-breaking 12 yellow cards. But it wasn’t the rough and aggressive style of play that was the most remarkable thing – it was Andres Iniesta’s final goal that will be remembered.

Late in the game, after Dutch defender John Heitinga was sent off, Iniesta scored a beautiful goal and celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a tribute to Dani Jarque, the former team defender, who tragically died far too young in 2009. This touching tribute and beautiful bit of football paved the way for years of dominance by the Spaniards, who also won the European cup in both 2008 and 2012.

Ronaldo Scores a Poker

If somebody mentions poker, you tend to think of the card game, but it has a meaning in football too. If a player scores four goals in a single game, then they’ve scored a poker. While there are quite a few football players who put their skills of quick thinking to good use both at the poker table and on mobile poker sites, there are far fewer who can boast a poker in their football career.

One player who we can confidently say he’s incredibly skilled, both at the table and on the pitch, is poker star and football hero, Cristiano Ronaldo. In a Euro 2020 qualifier, when Portugal beat Lithuania 5-1, Ronaldo scored 4 of them.

The Battle of Manchester

The Premier League final in 2012 indeed divided a city. The dramatic climax to the season saw Manchester City play Queens Park Rangers. To win the league title, they just needed to beat them.

The game was a hard-fought one, with City fans crossing their fingers for a goal and United fans praying for the end of the game to come. It looked like Queens Park Rangers had the game in the bag. With the clock ticking over into
injury time, City were losing 2-1. However, a 92nd minute equalizer gave Manchester City hope, before an absolute screamer of a goal from Sergio Aguero saw City win the game and thus the title for the first time in 44 years.

With Man City second, how will the Premier League season end?

The winter transfer window might be open, but no premier league team looks distracted. Liverpool looks unstoppable. Man City recently toppled Leicester to go second in the league and Watford seems determined to avoid relegation by all means. But how will the season finish?

For starters, this is not a premonition of how the ongoing season will finish. It’s a prediction. And like other football predictions, some teams may end up surprising everyone. Based on the Premier League standings after 22 matches, here’s how we can expect the table to stand come May 17th when the season winds up.

Premier League Winners: Liverpool

If anyone doubts Liverpool’s prospects of lifting the PL trophy this season, watch the team play. They look like men possessed no matter who they face. Defensively, the Reds haven’t been giving up many goals lately, at least not since they blew out Everton 5-2 mid-December.

The midfield plays seamlessly whether they are helping the team defend or create chances for the iconic front three of Mane, Salah and Firminho. Speaking of attack, Liverpool have one of the best attacking trios in Europe.

However, the team’s success comes down to their cohesiveness, hard work and determination as a whole. And thanks to all the factors mentioned above, the Reds could break at least nine Premier League records this season. Here are some of them:

 Most home wins— 20 games, held by Man City
 Most consecutive wins—18 games, held by Man City
 Unbeaten record—49 games, held by Arsenal
 Most wins in a season—32 games, held by Man City
 Most points in a season—100 points, owned by Man City

Top Four

Man City now sit second in the table after thrashing Aston Villa 6-1. Aguero scored a hat-trick to overtake Frenchman Thierry Henry’s tally of 175 goals. He’s now the highest overseas goal scorer in the history of the Premier League. His hat-trick also bagged him another record—the most Premier League hat-tricks at 12.

Aguero aside, Pep Guardiola’s men look to have regained their form after a few upsets along the way. They might not win every other match henceforth but with Leicester’s form on the decline, they are the favourites to finish second.

There are a few contenders for the third and fourth positions, though. If the Foxes continue slipping and lose regularly, they could finish outside of the top four. They are six points above Chelsea and eleven points above Man United.

However they only need to lose three to four games, and they could end up in a fight for the fifth position with Sheffield and Wolves. Don’t bet on it to happen yet. If there’s one team capable of turning things around and doing the impossible, it’s the Foxes.

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Mid-Table Fights

This season’s mid-table looks different with Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham all having woeful forms. Arsenal, for example, has won as many games as it has lost: six. Everton looks to be under resurgence with Carlo Ancelotti in charge.

Tottenham’s hopes of fighting for a top-four position with Jose Mourinho in charge appear to have diminished. Manchester aren’t better off at fifth position, but they are back to winning ways. Wolves look good when they play, but they have rarely shown a determination to rise above mid-table mediocrity.

Despite that, Premier League fantasy managers love them. Adama Traore, Ruben Neves, Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty are some of the most owned players in the football simulation game.

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Surprise Positions

Let’s face. Sheffield United have been over-performing this season. Who would have thought a team freshly promoted could be doing so well? Of course, Leicester holds the record for over-delivering after they won the PL to the shock of the world in 2016.

Southampton is another team capable of ranking tenth or better after overcoming their poor run of form last year. Crucially, the Saints didn’t let their record 9-0 defeat to Leicester last October shred their hopes of overcoming relegation woes.

Instead, they used the defeat as motivation to chase a better record. And considering they are only six points below fifth-placed Man United, they could finish tenth or better. Of course, all teams above them have what it takes to finish in the top ten. But Southampton shouldn’t be underrated.

Relegation Bound

A few weeks ago, most people believed Watford, Norwich and Aston Villa had sealed their fate and would head back to the championship next season. Things have since changed. Watford have now won four of their last five matches, slightly elevating them above relegation danger.

Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Norwich are presently seated in the relegation zone. Based on Watford’s next set of fixtures, Watford they should be hopeful. For clarity, the Hornets face Tottenham, Everton, Man United, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Leicester before April.

Unfortunately, neither Bournemouth nor Aston Villa have better fixtures, which should give Watford hopes of surviving relegation this season. On the other end, nothing seems to be working for Norwich City. They haven’t won a game since they defeated Man City in September. And based on their present forms, nothing will save them from relegation.

Are Manchester City Looking Good for the Champions League?

Manchester City have been the kings of English football for the last few seasons. They have gone from mediocrity to one of the most wealthy and successful clubs in the English Premier League in just a decade.

After returning to top flight football in 2002, following a few years in the lower echelons of English football, they were bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008 for £210 million. They quickly began to acquire top talent and won their first ever Premier League title in the 2011/12 season. This was then followed by titles in 2013/14, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Despite this success and becoming the first team to score 100 points (during the 2017/18 season), City’s owners are not content with just success in English football. They also want the team to become the “kings of European football”, meaning they are desperate to win the UEFA Champions League.

This persistent desire was confirmed by manager Pep Guardiola as he described success in England, but not in Europe, as “hitting a ceiling”. It’s easy to see why—four Premier League titles (one with 100 points) and a domestic treble are a pretty definitive demonstration that you have not only reached the top of English football but have also rewritten the history books with multiple records.

However, the story is completely different in Europe as City have not won European silverware since they won the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup way back in 1969/70. This is made worse by the fact the Blues have regularly qualified for the Champions League (in fact every year) for the last nine seasons but have not made it beyond the semi-final.

Looking Strong in 2019/20?

While the team has not officially confirmed it, City seem to have spent this year focusing on trying to win the Champions League. They sit third in the Premier League table, 14 points behind Liverpool, having lost 5 games already at the season’s halfway point.

Meanwhile, City have performed better in Europe. Of the 6 matches in Group C for the Champions League, City didn’t lose a single game, winning four and getting two draws against Shakhtar Donetsk and Atalanta. In doing so, they scored twice as many points as their second-place rivals.

Only 3 teams in the entire competition scored more points than City. After a strong performance in the group stages, they are through to the Round of 16, where they will face Real Madrid. The game will be quite evenly-matched, with oddsmakers giving similar odds, although SkyBet currently has Real Madrid slightly ahead at 7/4, as compared to City’s 6/4.

Format Going Against Them?

Although the title is not guaranteed, after several victories in late December, football pundits began to predict that Liverpool were going to win the Premier League this season. City are far behind. Unless Liverpool collapse, then the title will end up at Anfield while City are left to focus on the domestic cups and the Champions League.

However, in the Champions League, success rides on performance in just a handful of games. Victory in the round of 16 counts for nothing if you get knocked out in the quarter finals. Therefore, City’s chances of victory rely on both external (who the opponents are, referee decisions, eetc) and internal (their own performance) factors. In a league, a loss against a better side can be offset with several wins against other teams. In a knockout tournament, being drawn against a difficult side reduces yours odds of victory.

Therefore, the draw against Real Madrid could go against them and put their dreams of being the kings of Europe on hold for another year. If they’re able to overcome the odds and put in a stellar performance across both legs, then there is a chance that they could make it all the way.

If they do beat Real Madrid in March, then their opponents in the quarter-finals will also be decided by a draw, meaning it is not yet possible to predict whom they will be against or how far they will go in Europe. This means they could face teams like Tottenham or RB Leipzig—teams they would stand a greater chance of beating. However, it also means they could face Juventus, PSG, Liverpool, or Bayern Munich- a much tougher opposition.

Overall, Manchester City do still stand a good chance of being crowned kings of Europe in 2020, but a lot will be riding on the two games against Real Madrid. The pressure will be on for both matches, and Pep Guardiola will need to make sure his men don’t crack.

Euro Fantasy Team you’d buy if you won the lottery!

You are a passionate football fan. Imagine you have just won the lottery and you want to build your own fantasy team.

So the main question becomes which players would you buy if you won the lottery jackpot? To start with, have a 100m budget and that we must pick 14 players- 11 starters and three as bench players. For purposes of this

- Goalkeeper: Liverpool’s Alisson was probably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season, however, he missed many matches due to injury this season.

Considering Alisson’s injury and limited playing time, one solid option comes at a surprisingly low value of just 2m: Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. He has kept 6 clean sheets in 17 starts.

- Centre-backs: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool has to be in the Starting XI. The Dutch defender is valued at 8.5m. Burnley’s Ben Mee, valued at 5m, would be a decent partner for the Dutchman.

- Full-backs: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is the ideal full-back and is having a great season so far. He is valued at a bargain value of 7m. The other full-back is Leicester’s Ben Chilwell who is valued at 6m.

- Midfield: A must-pick option would be Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne who is valued at 12.5m and has already given 10 assists while also contributing with 7 goals.

Another Manchester City player Bernardo Silva would make the cut and he is valued at 8.5m and the two City players will be joined by Tottenham’s Dele Alli who is valued at 9.5m.

- Attack: Leicester’s Jamie Vardy- at 11.5m- should be rewarded for scoring 17 league goals already. He’s the top scorer in the Premier League. He is joined by Tottenham’s Harry Kane (14.5m) who is at 10 league goals but is beginning to performer better since Jose Mourinho took over. Finally, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joins the attacking duo to form a dangerous and high scoring trident. Aubameyang is at 12 goals and comes at a price tag of 9m.

This starting lineup will shape up in a 4-3-3 formation and comes at 94m. This leaves 6m to be distributed over three bench players: Enda Stevens (1m), Teemu Pukki (3m) and Ashley Westwood (1.5m). The team’s total budget would be 99.5m but with a very solid bench as Stevens, Pukki and Westwood are all having a very good season. If you won the lottery, who’d be in your Starting XI and which three players would you pick for the bench?

Fantasy Football Strategy Guide: Climb the Rankings

A quick guide covering the basics of fantasy football for beginners- including tips and tricks- so you don’t have to throw away your chances of reaching the top.

Improve your Odds by developing your ultimate Fantasy Football strategy

We’ll be covering the English Premier League while explaining fantasy football strategy, but obviously you can play other top leagues such as La Liga or Serie A. One of the great things about football is that it’s easy to understand quickly, and fantasy football is one way to put your passion and knowledge of the sport into a fun test.

First you assemble a team of players you think will perform well. If those players then take part in real world matches then you get points (or lose them) based on their performance. Obviously one key element to keep in mind is to understand well the specifics of how points are scored and as such you must check the Rules carefully.

A good performance means more points, and a bad performance means fewer (or even a negative score). If one of your players misses penalties then headbutts the referee, he isn’t going to be bringing home the bacon. If one of your players scores twice and has an assist, it’s another story entirely.

Obviously you must carefully factor for the budget of your team. There is a fixed budget total which must not be exceeded, with players having assigned values, but it applies to everyone competing in the fantasy league. You also have restrictions on how many players from a specific club- 3 to be exact- you can have (so you can’t just pick everyone playing for the club you support).

You can also transfer players to get rid of disappointing players. You might find that real life transfers have meant you’ve exceeded the players per club limit and so you must remove one of the additional players from the same club.

Pick the Best Team

Okay, that sounds about as insightful as ‘do it well’, but hear this out. Which club is the best team in the Premier League right now? Liverpool. At the time of writing they’ve won all but one of their matches, drawing that single occasion. But checking player stats over the season, Leicester have 5 players in the top 20, and Liverpool only have 3 at the moment. Chelsea (4th at the time of writing) have just 1. Crystal Palace are distinctly mid-table right now, but have 4 of the top 40 players. It is something to keep an eye on because if we expand to the top 40 players, then Liverpool have 6 players showing the club’s emphasis on team effort.

When it comes to fantasy football you’ve got to remember you’re assembling individuals whom you expect to do well or follow a specific trend (of good performances). And sometimes this can mean the smart thing is looking a little lower down the table, and trying to pick rising stars. Big names might do well, but they’ll also cost a lot, and that can mean you don’t have much budget left. And if your big name gets injured, well, he won’t be scoring many goals. So don’t focus on the club. Focus on the player.

Nostalgia Wins Nothing

Getting misty-eyed about the dim and distant past is fine if you’re reading classical history but if you’re trying to win fantasy football competitions then you need to get rid of nostalgia and its influence and focus on the present and future. There’s no better example of this than Manchester United.

Even people not into football couldn’t help but notice Manchester United’s predictable dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson. Premiership titles, FA Cups, and even the Champions League trophies, they won them all on multiple occasions. But Sir Alex isn’t there any more, and the old aura of invincibility has long since faded. From toppling giants, the Red Devils now struggle against fellow mid-table teams. Where sentiment can come into play is with team spirit. Winning and losing become habits, as Liverpool and Leicester City will confirm. An outstanding player in an average team is still worth having, but if you can get some good picks on clubs with self-belief, even if that’s just defiantly scrapping for draws rather than buckling, that can help out.

Tips and Tricks

Like a siren, central defensive midfielders can be tempting, but you may want to overlook them for various reasons. They might be cheap but you’ve got to remember how the scoring system works. Players get points for a variety of criteria, and you want to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Whether a midfielder is attacking or defensive, they get the same points for a clean sheet. But an attacking midfielder is far more likely to get assists or goals.

A goalkeeper can be a good pick. But note the singular. There’s not much point having two goalkeepers because one will always be on the bench earning you nothing. Yes, there’s always a chance your keeper gets injured, so you might want a cheap stand-in, but don’t blow your budget on two top keepers when only 50% of that purchase is going to be on the pitch at any given time.

Football fans can be pretty tribal, but you’ve got to set that aside and make decisions based on cold logic rather than heartfelt support. Pay attention to both the sport and any deadlines with the fantasy football rules you’re playing. News on injuries should be acted upon as soon as possible, otherwise you’re just losing points by having players that aren’t actually playing. So remember, don’t have supporter bias.

Fantasy football is popular with sports fans for obvious reasons. It’s exciting and tense, it adds even more drama to football and it feels good to pitch your wits against other football fans. Trying to beat the odds is also one of the reasons why online casinos are on the rise, as the excitement of betting online and finishing ahead is hard to beat. For more on the best UK casinos on the internet, check out this full post to find some crackers.

Real World Transfers

Having an eye on the real world transfer market is no bad idea. If one of your top players is going to go play in another league, or a great player might be joining your own league then that’s something you should be aware of. Don’t stress too much about this, as the transfer rumour mill can often be wrong, but just be aware of what’s going on and be ready to make changes to either take advantage of new signings or get rid of a player who isn’t going to score any more because he’s moved out of the English Premier League altogether.

Keep an Eye on Fixtures

It’s easy to fall into a trap. You might look at a club’s busy fixture list and assume that stocking up on players, such as Liverpool over the festive season, makes sense. However, it may end up being the opposite. As the comments in the link helpfully point out, if a club has a large number of fixtures close together, players are going to be rested or tired. This obviously means you won’t be earning enough points.

At the risk of putting you off this long but detailed article, this does lead in to another tip: you can get good advice on how to play fantasy football. Just don’t necessarily copy whatever anyone says without having a think about it. At times, you should trust your instincts too.