Should Chelsea bin Morata?

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It took an absolute age to arrive, but Alvaro Morata’s goal against Vidi in Chelsea’s midweek Europa League game will be welcomed by player and club alike.

The pressure that had been on the Spaniard’s shoulders was evident as the tears flowed, the monkey finally off of his back.

Maurizio Sarri was more than happy with such emotion, suggesting he’d like to see more of it if it meant the centre-forward was amongst the goals more often. Continue reading

Has an unlikely hero emerged for the Spanish national team?


Despite topping their group following a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco last night, even the most ardent of Spanish football fans will feel that their World Cup campaign has yet to reach the high expectations that are set for the national team.

With the slow erosion of the national team’s tiki-taka prime since the retirement of the iconic duo of Xabi and Puyol, coupled with Iniesta’s waning influence on proceedings and the omission of Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, Spanish football is facing an identity crisis shaped by an uncertainty as to the sort of team that they now are.

This loss of a strategic approach to their last two international tournaments, Continue reading

World Cup Weekly Preview


Two contenders will take the field on Sunday: Germany will square off against Mexico, while the Neymar-led Brazil will take on Switzerland, both looking to get off on the right foot, but their opponents are no pushovers. Today’s first game will be between Costa Rica and Serbia.

Two other top national teams will make their debut in Russia on Monday: Belgium will face Panama and England will challenge Tunisia. They will try to take advantage of favourable match-ups on paper. The slate will be opened by Sweden versus South Korea. Two intriguing teams in the second tier, Colombia and Poland, will day view on Tuesday, respectively against Japan and Senegal.  Continue reading

La Liga’s Top Midfielders – Angel Correa

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Our series of spotlight pieces on the top performing midfielders from the 2017/18 La Liga season sees us take an in depth look at Angel Correa – the second highest point scoring midfielder, whose exploits saw him hit 81 points as he excelled for los Rojiblancos.

Capable of playing on the right of the midfield or in a more advanced position, Correa has often drawn comparison to his countryman Carlos Tevez due to his bullish approach to the game that is accompanied with his good technical ability, low centre of gravity and Continue reading

Iago Aspas must start for Spain against Portugal

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Not long now until Spain take on Portugal in what’s expected to be one of the games of World Cup 2018.

Though Julen Lopetegui still remains unbeaten as Spain coach since taking the job from Vicente del Bosque, there’ve been a few worrying signs in their last two friendlies against Switzerland and Tunisia.

Neither side pose the same threat as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., and yet they made life difficult for La Roja in their warm-up games for the tournament.

Continue reading

Premier League – Bargain basement performers

This is the second in this series of looking at some “bargain basement” players, and it is the time for the Premier League to move into the spotlight. The top performer in the league – and indeed one of the top players in the world for fantasy football managers – is new Chelsea striker Diego Da Silva Costa, who has 140 points for a decent value of €8.50m. It should be noted at this stage that it seems crazy for any manager out there not to have the Spaniard in their side, though “only” 25% have done so at the time of writing. Despite his good value, however, there are alternatives for those managers who simply cannot find the funds or space for him in their side. We will look at those just a bit later on.

We begin our search for cheaper alternatives in earnest between the sticks, and the top goalkeeper in the Premier League so far is actually, already, what one could be forgiven for considering cheap. Aston Villa’s great start to the season has allowed stopper Brad Guzan to take the spot at the top of the points scorers so far, with 115 points for only a €2.50m hit from your budget. This is a great deal to be fair, and one must look down the list of Premier League custodians to find another low-cost option in the form of Swansea’s former Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski, whose 50 points have come through only conceding two goals in his four appearances. He would set you back only €1.50m – he’s one of the cheapest in the league, as well as officially the fifth best at this point.

Defensively, Aston Villa pretty much top the charts again, with four players from the top five turning out for the midlanders. Aly Cissokho sits atop the pile with 90 points, but he costs €5.00m, so if you’d like a cheaper alternative then look slightly to his right, for a player named Ashley Westwood. He is only five points behind on 85, but is a snip at just €1.50m. Nathan Baker, again of Aston Villa, costs slightly more at €2.00m and has 60 points, but they all came from one start and one sub appearance, so that can be read one of two ways. Perhaps first team opportunities will be somewhat limited, and therefore his points tally may stay lower than it otherwise could have, but he clearly is capable of getting himself plenty of points when he does play – so there are two lower cost alternatives from the very same club.

In midfield, the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have been long-standing favourites for fantasy managers, but the tide seems to be turning with a new generation, as Nathan Dyer of Swansea City sits top of the pile on 75, tied with Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin – who will set you back only €3.50m. Midfield is one area of the Premier League where the slightly more expensive players do seem to be doing the job, though, with the likes of Kieran Richardson (Aston Villa, 40 points, €3.50m) sitting in and around some of the top players, but you will have to take a bit of a points hit to find a real gem among the middle of park for the fantasy game – Man Utd midfielder Ander Herrera and Schneiderlin’s fellow Saints star James Ward-Prowse could also fit the bill, with 40 points each while both cost an attractive €2.00m apiece.

Up front, we have the aforementioned Costa at the top, and due to the sheer margin by which he leads it seems difficult to offer up a great suggestion on an alternative – second placed striker Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester is some way behind on 60 points, and even he would cost €5.50m. The highest rated of the lower cost players could be Steven Naismith of Everton, whose 55 points would have come from an outlay of €3.50m, or Aston Villa forward Andreas Weimann, who has 45 and would cost only €2.50m.

As you can see, bargain basements mean little if the player is unable to deliver some valuable points to the managers who select him, and as a result things get increasingly difficult in the Premier League to find cheaper big hitters the further towards the attacking line you look. Will it be the same for the German Bundesliga, which will be the next league we look at? Time will tell.