There’ll never be another Gerard Pique

He’s been making waves in the tennis world recently, and his acknowledgment that he only gets four hours sleep a night hasn’t gone down well with his employers, but Barcelona are lucky to have Gerard Pique.

The elegant Catalan has been a rock at the heart of the Barca defence for the last decade, and it’s fair to say that he’s the glue that has held the back four together over the last few years.

It wasn’t always like that mind. Continue reading

Long way back for Umtiti

It wasn’t that long ago that Samuel Umtiti was a fixture in Barcelona’s back four. An untouchable player and one of the first on the team sheet.

He’d taken to La Liga effortlessly and, considering how prices for players have sky-rocketed, at just €25m, he looked like an absolute bargain.

His skillset also complemented that of Gerard Pique perfectly, and there were never any question marks over his starting spot in the team.

In the space of a year, all that has changed. Continue reading

Attack still the best form of defence at Barcelona

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Here we are just a week away from the start of pre-season for FC Barcelona, and with the focus at the club very much on the front line.

Though a left-back is still sought to provide competition for Jordi Alba, the technical department seem hell bent on getting attacking signings in through the front door first.

Didn’t anyone tell the club that any title-winning team worth its salt is built on a solid defence?

Barca did ok for the most part in that respect in 2018/19, but when the going got tough… Continue reading

Top LaLiga Defenders in 2018/19 – Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique was this season’s second-highest scoring defender in fantasy LaLiga, coming in just one point behind his Barcelona and Spain teammate, Jordi Alba.

Pique finished the season with a total of 83 fantasy football points which was a good return for a defender costing a relatively cheap 7.5 million.

The former Manchester United player started at centre-back for Barcelona in 35 of their 38 league games in 2018/19. He received six yellow cards and zero red cards throughout the season.

From an attacking point of view, Pique contributed four league goals and two assists as Barcelona strolled to an 11-point LaLiga title victory. Continue reading

Is it the end for Samuel Umtiti at Barcelona?

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There was a time, not so long ago, when Samuel Umtiti was considered untouchable at Barcelona.

One of a select band of players that, come hell or high water, were not going anywhere.

Part of the furniture might be an apt description for the Frenchman at that point.

But how quickly things can change… Continue reading

Week 37: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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Just one team- Barcelona won from the top 3 as they increased their lead at the top to 11 points over Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid lost again as they just want the season to end but they will finish in 3rd anyway and be ready for the Champions League.

But the excitement is all about who will get that 4th and final Champions League spot. Currently Valencia have 58 points and lead on goal difference from Getafe who also have 58 points and there is also Sevilla in the mix with 56.

Below we take a look at the best performers of this past weekend in La Liga- did you have them in your team?

Formation 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Diego Lopez- Espanyol

Diego Lopez has kept his 2nd clean sheet in a row after Espanyol beat Leganes 2-0 to go into 9th place. Lopez gained 7 points at the weekend and now is valued at 4m.

Defender: Jordi Alba- Barcelona

Yet another clean sheet for Jordi Alba and that is why he is rated as the best defender in La Liga Fantasy rankings. 5 points earned as Barcelona eased to a  2-0 win over Getafe.

Defender: Gerard Pique-Barcelona

People talk about Lionel Messi and the main reason that Barcelona have retained their league title. But the pairing of Alba and Pique at the back for the club has been instrumental, and their chemistry is unique. Pique made some great tackles and earned 5 points and his value is 7.5m.

Defender: Roberto Rosales- Espanyol

Roberto Rosales seemed like he was at the heart of everything happening for Espanyol as he helped to keep another clean sheet for the team who are now inside the top 10. Espanyol beat Leganes 2-0 and Rosales is valued at 5.5m.

Defender: Jaume Costa- Villarreal

Jaume Costa starred in Villarreal’s vital 1-0 win over Eibar which now guarantees the club safety for next season. Costa has 22 points for the season and is valued at 6.5m.

Midfielder: Raul Garcia- Athletic Bilbao 

Raul Garcia earned 8 points for Bilbao as they beat Celta Vigo 3-1 to shoot up into a Europa League spot. Garcia had the weekend of his season though as he scored the opening 2 goals of the game for his club including a penalty. Garcia is valued at 8m and has acquired 41 points.

Midfielder: Joaquin Sanchez- Real Betis

Sanchez was influential as the midfielder earned 7 points at the weekend to take his total tally to 37. He scored both of Real Betis’ goals including getting a last minute winner in a memorable weekend for the player.

Midfielder: Arturo Vidal- Barcelona

Vidal earned 5 points to make this team for league leaders Barcelona who brushed aside Getafe 2-0. Vidal got the opening goal and that was his 3rd of the season for the Catalan giants.

Midfielder: Sarabia- Sevilla

Sarabia continues to be an outstanding player for Sevilla and earned 4 points at the weekend. The player is ranked as the best midfielder in La Liga Fantasy rankings with 87 points and is valued at 7m. Sevilla just remain outside of a Champions League place and drew against Atletico Madrid 1-1 at the weekend.

Striker: Borja Iglesias- Espanyol

Borja Iglesias earned a brilliant 8 points as Espanyol beat Leganes 2-0 and the striker scored both goals including a nervous penalty which sealed all the three points. He has 69 points for the season and has scored a terrific 17 goals, claiming to be one of the best forwards in Spain right now.

Striker: Enes Unal- Real Valladolid

Enes Unal wouldn’t see his name on a player of the weekend too much but the Rayo Valladolid player opened the scoring against Vallecano and then assisted in his team’s 2-1 win over the club. Unal has 23 points and is rated at 5.5m.

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Fantasy La Liga picks for this weekend’s games

La Liga

This weekend sees another full schedule of LaLiga fixtures so it’s time to be getting your fantasy LaLiga selections ready!

Starting Friday night with Alaves against Real Valladolid, all 20 teams are in action with the last fixture between Real Betis and Valencia on Sunday night.

As always, we’ve taken a look at the fixtures from a LaLiga fantasy football viewpoint to help you with your picks for the weekend.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend. Continue reading

How Barcelona will beat Man Utd

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They might be favourites to win the tie over two legs, but there’s no way that Barcelona will be taking Manchester United lightly, particularly at Old Trafford.

Playing at the Camp Nou for the second leg may seem to afford the Catalans an advantage of sorts, but Ernesto Valverde and his team will want to make that a formality.

In order to do so, they’ll need to take the game to the Red Devils and quieten the expected 75,000 crowd.

But just how are they going to manage it?

Continue reading

Barcelona aiming to have La Liga title secure by April

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Barcelona will look to have successfully retained their La Liga title before the end of April, in time for a potential Champions League semi final.

As it stands, Ernesto Valverde’s side a huge favourites to win back to back domestic titles, with a ten point lead over second place Atletico Madrid, with nine games to go in the 2018-19 campaign.

If Barcelona win all of their forthcoming games, they will be Spanish champions again with three games to spare – winning the league at home to Levante at the Nou Camp on April 27th.

Continue reading

Do Barcelona really need Matthijs de Ligt this summer?

Just when it looked like Barcelona were going to go through the January transfer window without making much of an impression, they dropped a rather significant announcement, confirming a move for Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

The Dutch youngster won’t pitch up at Camp Nou until this summer, with Ajax still in the Champions League, making the competition’s quarter final after thumping Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, but nonetheless, it was a statement of intent from the Catalans. De Jong is a Barcelona sort of player and will be their next great central midfielder.

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Speculation continues to swirl, however, that Barca will swoop for another Ajax youngster this summer. Matthijs de Ligt has been hyped, along with de Jong, as a future Dutch superstar, becoming a key figure for both his club and for the Netherlands national team over the past 18 months or so.

De Ligt is, indeed, quite the talent. At just 19 years old, he is the best young defender in the European game right now and so it’s therefore unsurprising that the elite, including Barcelona, are circling. Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have also been linked, but it’s the Catalans who seem to be leading the pursuit.

Do Barcelona really need de Ligt, though? There can be no denying the teenager’s quality. He will be the sport’s next great centre back, but Barca already have a defender willing and capable of bringing the ball out from the back in Gerard Pique. A backline with both de Ligt and Pique might be a little too adventurous.

What’s more, Barca have spent big on defenders in recent years. They have Samuel Umtiti, a much more natural partner for Pique, and Clement Lenglet, the French defender signed from Sevilla just last summer who has proven himself to be an adequate option for the Catalans. Do they really need de Ligt at this point?

The plan might be for the Ajax centre back to be the long term successor to Pique. That would at least make some sense, but Pique is arguably in the midst of his best ever season for Barcelona. At 32, he might be entering the twilight of his career, but Pique remains, arguably, the best in Europe in his position. If de Ligt is to one day replace him, he might be waiting a while.

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