Week 35: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

JOSE(1)

Barcelona are champions! It is the teams 26th La Liga win and incidentally it is Lionel Messi’s 10th championship in a quite remarkable career. Barcelona beat Levante to claim the title with 3 games left to play.

Four of the six teams lost including Real Madrid’s shock defeat against Rayo Vallecano. With that said let’s see which players were the top performing this past weekend.

Formation 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Bono – Girona

A few goalkeepers earned 7 points but we have given the nod to Girona’s Bono on the basis that he kept a clean sheet and his team won 1-0 against the mighty Sevilla. Girona moved out of the relegation zone with this massive win and Bono made some important saves. He is valued at 6.5m

Defender: Paulo Oliveira- Eibar

Paulo Oliveira had to be at his best for Eibar who pulled off a terrific result at the weekend to beat Valencia away from home 1-0. He has played 22 times for his club this season and is great value at just 5m.

Defender: Kenneth Omeruo- Leganes

Kenneth Omeruo put in a strong performance to earn 5 points at the weekend as Leganes kept a clean sheet against Celta Vigo in a match that ended 0-0. Omeruo has been personally consistent this season which has been a difficult one for his club. His value is 5.5m.

Defender: Clement Lenglet- Barcelona

The Barcelona defender has risen to the occasion once again when he has been given the chance by Barca. He has started 21 times and helped to keep a clean sheet against Levante, as Barcelona won the Spanish league title at home. He can be brought into your team for 6.5m.

Defender: Stefan Savic- Atletico Madrid

A lot of Atletico players could have made this list as they all got 5 points required. But Savic was a delight to watch in the back four and was full of confidence as Atletico went on to to beat Valladolid 1-0 and he kept another clean sheet in the process.

Midfielder: Portu- Girona

Portu earned 6 points at the weekend as his goal was enough for his club Girona to beat Sevilla 1-0. Portu has been hailed as a hero by local press, and it could be a result that eventually saves his team from relegation. He is 8.5m to buy and has got 46 points overall.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

Embarba also earned 6 points at the weekend and makes our selections of best midfielders. He played maturely in midfield and will remember beating Real Madrid the whole of his career. It was a penalty in the end and he scored it and his team won a very famous 1-0 victory over Zidane’s team.

Midfielder: Pere Pons- Girona

Pere Pons was part of the Girona side that beat Sevilla 1-0 and he was a key player. Pons assisted for the goal which ended up being the only one and winning one. It was his first assist all season and such an important one.

Midfielder: Arturo Vidal- Barcelona

Vidal doesn’t get much games or as much as he would like with Barca, but he was played at the weekend when they sealed the deal and won the league. And he contributed the winning goal setting up none other than Lionel Messi for it, to cap off a terrific day and another 4 points earned in Fantasy La Liga.

Striker: William Jose- Real Sociedad

William Jose picked up the most points as strikers were concerned with 6. Jose helped his side beat Getafe, first by opening the scoring and then assisting for the teams winning goal, in a memorable weekend for the forward. It was his 11th goal of the season and he is valued at 8m.

Striker: Lionel Messi- Barcelona

To be fair it was a poor weekend as strikers and goals were concerned in La Liga. Messi made this cut earning just 4 points. Messi is here not just on name but because he came off the bench to get the winning goal over Levante which sealed Barcelona’s 26th La Liga title, it is just another example of how brilliant the player is. He now has an incredible 164 points for this season and that was his 47th goal/assist combined so far.

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Barcelona’s four unsung heroes of 2018/19

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Barcelona stand on the cusp of another La Liga title. Their dominance in 2018/19 domestically mirrors that of the previous season, with Ernesto Valverde having lost only three league games to date as coach.

As ever during the summer months, each club is looking to improve their squad, so when Barca added Arturo Vidal, Clement Lenglet, Arthur and, at the 11th hour, Malcom, supporters were a little underwhelmed.

They’d heard a lot about Arthur but he wasn’t tested in Europe, Vidal wasn’t a ‘Barca type player,’ Lenglet had been part of the Sevilla side that had just lost 5-0 to the Catalans in the Copa Del Rey final and Malcom was an unknown quantity at the top level. Continue reading

Why Arturo Vidal is so important for Barcelona

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In a team that relies on the highest levels of technical ability, the sight of Arturo Vidal at FC Barcelona is a surprising one.

A real warrior, the Chilean’s roughhouse style shouldn’t feel at home in the Catalans’ midfield but… well, it just works.

Vidal has gone above and beyond in his debut season with the Blaugrana and, after an inauspicious start when a social media rant could’ve derailed his career there before it had started, he’s become a valued member of the squad. Continue reading

Crucial Summer Ahead for Juventus

After wrapping up their eighth consecutive Scudetto following their 2-1 win over Fiorentina, Juventus will now focus their efforts on addressing the issues plaguing their roster. While the bianconeri added two trophies to their haul this season, they failed in Europe losing to a superior Ajax side over the two ties, and were sent packing in the Coppa Italia against Atalanta. Both defeats spoke volumes of this Juventus side and demonstrated just how fragile the Italian champions are when pressed. Here are three fundamental questions they must answer come summertime if they are to achieve European glory.

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1) Massimiliano Allegri: In or out? 

Since their collapse in Cardiff, Juventus have not been the same, and look a side devoid of an identity. This season much of the same problems persisted. The bianconeri strolled to the Scudetto, barely challenging themselves in the process as their competitors consistently shot themselves in the foot. Frankly, most Serie A tacticians would have won the title with this roster.

What’s more frustrating for Juve is that Allegri has completely failed at instilling a consistent style of play, and largely depends on individual brilliance to see him through. And when all else fails, the Italian champions typically bombard the box with crosses, and hope for Mandzukic or Ronaldo to come through. When opposing sides pressed the bianconeri high, and played without fear, by contrast, Juventus struggled to put three passes together.

When the board meets with Allegri to discuss the past season, they should replay the Ajax and Atalanta games. In both instances, Juventus cowered deep in fear, while the bolder team was rewarded for their self-confidence. If Juve are to win the Champions League, they need a fearless leader, and one thing’s for certain: Allegri is not that. It’s the end of the Allegri era, as we know it.

rugani

2) Project Fix The Defence. 

Since Antonio Conte brought back Juve from consecutive seventh place finishes, the bianconeri’s defence was always their foundation and backbone for success. With Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini, Juventus possessed arguably the strongest backline in the world, and kept opponents at bay with ease.

However, with Barzagli nearing retirement and Bonucci looking like a shadow of his former self since his controversial return, Juventus’ defence has been a weak point for the side and has held the team back. Factor in Alex Sandro’s continued struggles, and it’s clear to see: Without Chiellini, Juventus are a mess at the back.

Considering Daniele Rugani’s stagnation, and Bonucci’s regular lapses in concentration, it’s time Juventus revamp their defence. First of all, they shouldn’t hesitate to sell Rugani and Alex Sandro as soon as a good offer arrives. The former has been a disaster when called upon, and shirks at the first sight of a physical battle. Alex Sandro, by contrast, has lost most of his pace, and offers close to nothing in the final third.

With Cristian Romero already on his way from Genoa, and Leonardo Spinazzola improving with every week, the state of Juventus’ defence remains decent. However, they will need at least two reinforcements: a centre-back and a left back.

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3) Project Fix the Midfield.

Much like the defence, Juventus’ midfield is in complete disarray, and lacks a true leader. Since dismantling their midfield in 2015 by selling Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, the bianconeri are yet to bolster the midfield sufficiently. At the moment, only Miralem Pjanic and potentially Emre Can are worthy starters, while the others are solid bench options at best.

Even Pjanic and Can, who on their day are world beaters, struggle to impose themselves, and aren’t meant to lead the midfield as seen through the Ajax clashes. Despite Aaron Ramsey’s arrival, Juventus are still lacking one profile in their midfield. A ball-winner capable of maintaining possession. What they would do for a prime Claudio Marchisio again? But Juventus could settle for Lyon’s Tanguy N’Dombele.

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Vidal will get his chance for revenge

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After not being able to overcome eternal rivals, Real Madrid, in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, Barcelona were dealt a further blow with the news that Arthur Melo has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks.

The Brazilian has been an incredible success story since his arrival from Gremio, to the extent that there are now genuine concerns as to how successful Barca will be in his absence.

He has given the Catalans an extra layer of security thanks to his ball retention and willingness to set the tempo and rhythm of a game, and they’ll certainly miss his input. Continue reading

Barcelona perform U-Turn on Denis Suarez to Arsenal

Denis Suarez

La Liga leaders Barcelona have reopened the door on Denis Suarez’s loan move to move to Arsenal, after the transfer had looked to be dead in the water just last week.

Rumours of disagreements over the specific terms of the deal, primarily Arsenal’s unwillingness to agree on a compulsory purchase clause on the midfielder at the end of the season, had looked to have killed off the move.

However the Catalan side have now given Suarez the green light to make the move to the Premier League.

Continue reading

Barcelona keen on PSG star Adrien Rabiot

Rabiot

La Liga leaders Barcelona have confirmed their interest in signing French international Adrien Rabiot from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain.

The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season, and he is free to confirm terms with non French teams during the January transfer window, with a view to sealing a move in the summer.

His situation has become increasingly tense with the French giants, with widespread reports that he has been banned from the club’s dressing room on match days by the club’s hierarchy.

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Barcelona looking for Coutinho improvement in 2019

Barcelona head into 2019 as La Liga leaders, with Ernesto Valverde chasing a second successive league title since taking over.

They lead rivals Atletico Madrid by three points, but the former Athletic Bilbao boss knows his players will have to go up a gear if they are to compete domestically and in Europe in the second half of the season.

Many of the squad are having solid, but unspectacular seasons, with the individual brilliance of Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele often making the key differences in recent weeks.

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La Liga Best XI – Week 12

williamsWith the latest round of La Liga taking place this past weekend, it is now time to cast our minds back and see which players performed their roles the best for their clubs. There were, as always, some quality games on display – Barcelona losing for only the second time this season at home to Real Betis was something of a shock, while Real Madrid made it two wins on the bounce with their 4-2 win at Celta Vigo. We will be adopting a 4-3-3 this week, so let’s get to it.

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Serie A must continue purchase of World Class players to enhance image

Seven years ago, one French Club, Paris Saint Germain invaded Serie A and plundered the league’s top stars from its top teams. Jérémy Ménez, Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marco Verratti, Thiago Sliva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Later, Marquinhos and Edison Cavani joined the fray. PSG’s incursion was propelled by current owners, Qatar Sports Investments, spearheaded by Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

It wasn’t just the ability of the oil rich investors to price away the best talents from other clubs as was the case with Neymar last season, but it exposed how vulnerable and financially weak clubs in Italy were at that particular period. Let’s look at it from this perspective, the strength of a league is predicated on the strength of its clubs. Thus, Serie A became weak in the eyes of its opposing leagues.

It’s worth to note that, during those trial moments, Juventus were putting in place the right structures, both administratively and infrastructure (The Allianz Stadium). They managed to sign the likes of Carlos Tevez from Manchester City, Arturo Vidal from Bayer Leverkusen, got Andrea Pirlo on a Bossman and a world class potential in Paul Pobga. The results are six scudetti on the bounce and two Champions League finals in the last five years. They continue to attract some of the best talents in Douglas Costa, Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can.

This season,the backdrop to Juventus campaign is the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. Portuguese Captain is a symbol of perseverance, whiles his great achievements and showy personality drags the media to his orbit. A report this year from D’Marie Analytics, a social media research firm estimates that a post by Ronaldo across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is worth a cumulative $728,973.35, making him both the most valuable soccer player and athlete overall.

And of course, commercially, there are all sorts of financial spin offs when you sign Cristiano Ronaldo, from merchandise to image rights.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ronaldo’s debut match against Chievo attracted 2,330,234 unique viewers, with an audience share of 11.9 percent. That’s a 68 percent increase in viewers on Juve’s first match of last season, when they faced Cagliari at home. It is also the fourth-highest total since the Italian branch of Sky launched, surpassed only by the Derby d’Italia in 2013 and 2016, and Roma-Juventus in August 2015. Another Broadcast giant ESPN signed a multi-year deal to broadcast Serie A in the United States It’s difficult to quantify how much of this attention is contributed by the competitiveness of the league after Napoli gave Juventus a hard fought for the scudetto last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s entrance has brought the sheen that Serie A needs.

It is however important for the other top teams Inter Milan, Napoli, AC Milan and AS Roma to leverage on the current attraction to lure elite players to their abode.

The two San Siro outfits, AC Milan and Inter are beginning to recover their financial muscle after the change of ownerships from Italian families to foreign Investors, as well as Roma. Things are beginning to look up for AC Milan under the current owners Elliot Hudge Fund Management who have brought back Leonardo in the position of Sporting director, alongside Paolo Maldini as sporting strategy and development director.

AC Milan’s transfer activities have not triggered the kind of excitement that greeted the appointment of their former heroes. Paolo Maldini’s name seems to have overshadowed their purchases in the summer and rightly so because names likes, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Alen Halilovic, Samu Castillejo and Diego Laxalt do not generate euphoria. But the Rossoneri take consolation in the signature of Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara.

Inter Milan managed to sign Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma and Kwadwo Asamoah from Inter whiles keeping Ivan Peresic and their priciest asset, Captain Maruo Icardi. The reports about Luka Modric wanting to join the Nerazzurri drew a lot of enthusiasm around the club and showed further proof of the kind of players that Serie A are missing. Though the player decided otherwise, it was a sign of ambition on the part of the Nerazzurri.

Despite the acquisition of Javier Pastori and Steven Nzonzi by AS Roma this summer, the Giallorossi have lost world class goalkeeper Alison Becker to Liverpool and Kevin Strootman to Marseille. Whiles Mauricio Sarri and Jorginho have joined Chelsea from Napoli. Last year, three players from Serie A mounted the FIFPro World XI podium. Two of them, Dani Alves and Gialuigi Buffon are currently PSG players. Cristiano Ronaldo may be on the podium in the next FIFA Mens Best Player Award Event but it will be based on his performance at Real Madrid.

Serie A need a continue purchase of world class players to continue enjoying the attention it’s currently attracting.

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