Who have been the best pound for pound teams in European football so far?

zzzzzz (5)

We are two months into the domestic league seasons and each league is starting to take shape around Europe. The usual suspects are either sitting on top of the league or ominously close to that. But who have been the best pound for pound teams so far in Europe? The teams that clearly do not have the same budget as the Manchester City’s and PSG’s. And perhaps the following teams will be able to keep up their good starts to the season and cause some surprises. Whilst they may not be crowned new champions of their respective leagues they will all have the ability to try and qualify for European football and possibly have deep runs in their respective cup competitions.

Premier League- Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves as they are commonly known were not supposed to cause much of a fuss in England this season and many expected them to finish in the bottom half of the table. However currently they are in 7th place and have 15 points from a possible 24. Coach Nuno Espirito Santo has been a revelation and has struck a fine balance between attack and defence. Wolves are the only club to take points from champions Manchester City so far and have also come away with a 1-1 draw at their rivals Manchester United. They have lost just 1 game all season so far and are only 5 points from the top of the league.

Ligue 1 – Lille

Lille have struggled in recent seasons so this is a real surprise to see the team in 2nd place and 3 points clear of Marseille in third position. Whilst they won’t be catching league leaders PSG anytime soon as they are 8 points adrift of them their aim will be Champions League qualification for next season. Lille have been superb and have recorded such results as beating Marseille 3-0. They have won 6 of their 9 games so far and are scoring goals too, they currently have 17 which is the 3rd highest in the league.

Serie A- Sampdoria

Sampdoria got off to a slow start in Serie A but their form has been constantly improving week by week. So much so that they find themselves in 5th place behind the more traditional teams who we are expected to see in the top four. Form is good where they have lost just 1 game in their past five matches and have only been defeated 2 times this season. But it has been the clubs away form that has impressed where they have the 3rd best record in the league.

La Liga- Sevilla

This choice is easy, Sevilla, because they have taken the Spanish league by storm and currently sit in 1st place above both Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have already comprehensively beaten Madrid in the league and have won 5 of their 8 games so far. They have won their last 4 games in the league and have scored 14 goals alone in those games. Indeed only Barcelona have scored more goals. It remains to be seen in such a difficult league if Sevilla can keep up their form but they are definitely added to the mix which is sure to make La Liga experience one of the most exciting seasons in years.


Why has Ronaldo still not scored for Juventus?


For any other player in world football barring Lionel Messi we would never have to pose the question of why they haven’t managed to score a goal in their opening 3 games for their new club? However alongside Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is a different level player, one that scores goals whether he is playing for Manchester United or Real Madrid, and like Messi his rate of goals has been incredible. But Ronaldo and Juventus are waiting for the first one.

It’s not that Ronaldo isn’t trying or that age has caught up with him. He has had 23 shots on goal and been genuinely unlucky in some of the games, but still for a player that has scored 573 goals so far in his club career including 450 for Real Madrid it is odd and for some a little unsettling that he has drawn blanks.

Take Ronaldo’s most successful moments so far which have come with Real Madrid. In 9 seasons the least amount of goals Ronaldo scored was 33 which incredibly came in his debut season with the club and not as one would predict his last. He hasn’t petered out and that’s why Juventus were willing to pay so much money for him even at 33 years of age. Keeping with goals scored the most Ronaldo has converted in a season was in 2014-2015 where he netted an incredible 61 times in all competitions.

But why has Ronaldo got off to such a slow start given that he rarely has had blips in his career? Juventus’ manager Max Allegri gave his opinion after Ronaldo failed to score in Juventus’ 2-1 win away to Parma. “Serie A is a league where the teams defend carefully. I don’t want to say that it’s better than other leagues in Europe or not. Let’s just say that the teams are very strong in defence and the coaches are very good.”

It is clear that Allegri was being diplomatic in what he said, but he did touch on something about Italy and the rule of defence, which has always been the first rule. Even Diego Maradona only scored 15 goals one season at Napoli which was enough for him to be top goal scorer.

The good news at least, is that the Old Lady are not relying on their £88m man to convert the goals. They have won all three opening games and are in 1st place. Just how much better will they be when Ronaldo does start firing on all cylinders? The international break will be beneficial for him too as he will have time off international duty and should be refreshed from mid September when the league games resume alongside the Champions League. So yes it is odd that a player of Ronaldo’s calibre still hasn’t scored, but only a fool would write him off in Italy just yet.

Best & Worst Case Scenarios in Serie A



While Juventus’ acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo almost certainly widens the gap with the rest of the league, we could see a shift in the balance of power right below the bianconeri- Roma is clearly trying to go younger after moving on from Francesco Totti and Radja Nainggolan in back to back years, and Sarri’s cycle at Napoli has also come to an end. On the flip side we could see Inter replace the partenopei as Juventus’ biggest challenger, and there are also reasons to be very optimistic at Milan.

While the transfer window could still bring some eleventh hour surprises, with a week to go before the Serie A season begins we can take a leap of faith and try to predict the best and worst case scenarios for the top Italian teams




Mercato Uncertainty: while it’s very unlikely they would accept an offer this late in the window, we could see Paris St Germain make a concrete offer for Alex Sandro and Real Madrid for Miralem Pjanic.

Best Case Scenario: Can brings the muscle and dynamism Juventus has lacked in the midfield since Vidal left, Bonucci’s passing ability helps make up for lack of creativity, Douglas Costa, Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo form Juventus’ best attack ever, Cancelo matches Dani Alves’ contributions in Turin.

Worst Case Scenario: the competition from Perin causes Szczesny to revert to his Arsenal form, Bonucci’s return causes more drama than a season of 90210 and ignites a fight in the locker room that at least lands Mandzukic the lead role in the new Taken sequel, Ronaldo’s star power is a marketing boom but causes Dybala and Douglas Costa to take a step back, Can struggles so much to adapt to Serie A that fans often confuse him with Khedira on the pitch.




Mercato Uncertainty: the partenopi are still looking for a veteran keeper to start until Meret returns from his injury. President De Laurentiis could try to make a last second big name addition in response to all the difficulties in the pre season.

Best Case Scenario: once he returns from injury Meret looks like version of Donnarumma we saw in Gigio’s first season in Serie A, Fabian Ruiz proves to be a brilliant replacement for Jorginho and a better fit for Ancelotti’s system, Zielinski starts living up to the De Bruyne comparisons, Verdi proves to be an excel wild card and brings depth to all the positions up front, Milik stays healthy and maintains his very impressive scoring average over the course of a season.

Worst Case Scenario: the goalkeeper situation is so dire Napoli tries to bring back Pepe Reina in January, Albiol’s age starts catching up to him, Ghoulam struggles to come back from his second knee injury, Hamsik’s decline progresses but continuous to start over Zielinski because of his iconic image, Sarri lasts longer at Chelsea than Ancelotti under the Vesuvius and proves to have been right when he assessed the cycle to be over.



Mercato Uncertainty: Monchi has still to reinvest some of the proceeds from the Alisson sale, the giallorossi have been linked to numerous midfielders as well as Suso.

Best Case Scenario: Olsen follows the Roma tradition from the previous two years and surprisingly establishes himself as an elite Serie A keeper, Karsdorp proves himself after staying healthy and allows Di Francesco to use Florenzi further up the pitch, Pastore strives in the mezzala role, Zaniolo becomes the headline player in the Nainggolan deal, one year later Schick lives up his price tag, Under and Kluivert compete to become the next Salah.

Worst Case Scenario: Olsen is a massive downgrade from Alisson, Fazio reverts to his Premier League form, Cristante proves to be Gasperini fools gold, Dzeko, Kolarov and De Rossi show their age so much that Di Francesco is on the hot seat by Christmas.





Mercato Uncertainty: while the nerazzurri haven’t given up on the Modric dream, they are expected to announce the deal for Keita Balde on Monday

Best Case Scenario: De Vrij, Miranda and Skriniar form the best defense in Serie A, Vrsaljko establishes himself as the best right back in Serie A, Dalbert improves so much in his second season in Serie A that Asamoah moves permanently to the midfield, Nainggolan is rejuvenated playing once again for Spalletti, Keita Balde and Perisic are so devastating that Icardi surprisingly outscores Ronaldo while Lautaro Martinez is to Gabigol what Bruce Willis was to Samuel L Jackson in “Unbrekable”.

Worst Case Scenario: De Vrij struggles with injuries and feels so guilty because of his last match for Lazio he turns into the Dutch Ranocchia, Brozovic and Nainggolan highlights of the season take place on Instagram.



Mercato Uncertainty: with the transfer window in Spain and France open for another few weeks, there’s still a chance Real Madrid or PSG make a big offer for Milinkovic Savic.

Best Case Scenario: Durmisi turns into this season’s version of Marusic and takes over for Lulic on the left wing, Badelj has same impact as Lucas Leiva last season, Correa strives playing under the Roman sun and both Immobile and Luis Alberto’s performances are consistently on last season’s level.

Worst Case Scenario: Acerbi proves to be a significant downgrade from De Vrij, Caceres can’t stay healthy, Parolo and Lucas Leiva lose their battle against father time, Immobile’s goal total decreases so much Lotito regrets not selling him.




Mercato Uncertainty: Leonardo is looking for an offensive winger with Castillejo at the top of his wish list, but is he a potential replacement for Suso?

Best Case Scenario: Donnarumma establishes himself as Buffon’s replacement on Azzurri, Conti and Caldara live up to their hype, Gattuso transmits his grinta to Bakayoko who returns to his Monaco form, Calhanoglu builds on his excellent second half, Higuain outscores in one season all of Milan’s recent number nines (Pato, Matri, Torres, Destro, Luiz Adriano, Lapadula, Andre Silva).

Worst Case Scenario: Gattuso fails to get the most out of his improved squad and the Conte rumors start by mid October, Caldara struggles to adapt to a 4 man defense after playing in Gasperini’s system, Biglia struggles so much that Leonardo gets torched on Twitter for selling Locatelli.

Juventus should be considered Champions League favorites

RonaldoIt is early August in Turin, and Juventus have enjoyed a successful transfer campaign. Perhaps, the most successful in their history as they landed Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player in the world. At the very least, he is considered top two.

The Serie A season is right around the corner, but Juventus are not concerned with that. They know that they would have been the favorites to win Serie A for the eighth consecutive year with or without Ronaldo. That was not the purpose of the move.  Continue reading

Euro Fantasy League Podcast – #17 – Should Jack Wilshere go to the World Cup? Arsene Wenger’s Departure, and Juventus Wrap Up Serie A Title


The lads go through the latest goings on in the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga as Juventus wrap up the Serie A title, Swansea are relegated from the Premier League and Barcelona lose in the league for the first time this season.

Continue reading

Relegation gods favour Chievo during Serie A run in


The Serie A title looks to be wrapped up for a seventh time by Max Allegri’s Juventus, and there is still the matter of European qualification spots to be determined before the end of the campaign.

However the battle to avoid the drop into Serie B, looks set to continue into the final fortnight of the season.

Benevento have already been relegated, alongside Verona, leaving just one more place to be decided.

There are five teams all involved in the scrap to avoid the drop, from 14th to 18th – with SPAL, Udinese, Crotone, Chievo and Cagliari all heading for a nervous two weeks.

Continue reading

Barcelona boast title-winning form ahead of El Clasico

Nicholas Carroll returns to cover the latest fantasy considerations across the Premier LeagueLa Liga and Serie A in this week’s video preview.

In the past two weeks, Barcelona has secured both the La Liga and Copa Del Rey titles with Lionel Messi fresh from a hat-trick ahead of the last El Clasico of the season.

In England, Chelsea will launch one final bid for a top four position when they host Liverpool while Roma can now put all their focus into finishing Serie A strongly following their Champions League exit. Continue reading

Euro Fantasy League Podcast – #16 – Bacca, Simeone and Messi Hat-Trick Heroes, Barcelona Bag La Liga Title


In the latest episode of the Euro Fantasy League Podcast, Dave shows his sensitivity relating to marriage and Jamie displays a lack of football knowledge.

Hat-Trick heroes Carlos Bacca, Giovanni Simeone and Lionel Messi are praised. Darren Moore comes in for some props as well, while the lads worry for Huddersfield.

Continue reading

VIDEO PREVIEW: Benched Manchester City Stars and the immovable Immobile

Nicholas Carroll is back with another video preview for some of this weekend’s biggest fixtures across the Premier LeagueLa Liga and Serie A.

Tottenham will look to keep their 2018 unbeaten record intact at home to league leaders Manchester City, the Roman derby headlines Italy’s fixture list while Sevilla and Villarreal fight it out for sixth position in Spain’s top flight. Continue reading

Euro Fantasy League Podcast – Episode 13 – Salah, Mauro Icardi & Cristiano Ronaldo Dominate the Goals & Dave’s Sunderland Song


Welcome back to the Euro Fantasy League Podcast! In the latest instalment, the lads discuss the goals galore from the likes of Mo Salah, Mauro Icardi & Cristiano Ronaldo, look ahead to the international break and talk about the song Dave has written about Sunderland, which went viral and featured on lots of local press a few days ago.

The EuroFantasyLeague Podcast is available on the following platforms:

Apple Podcasts │ Acast │ Google Play Music │ Spotify │ Stitcher │ TuneIn │ YouTube

Follow Euro Fantasy League on Twitter: @EuroFantasyGame
Follow the podcast on Twitter: @eurofantasypod
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JAMcLean1984
Follow Dave on Twitter: @daveyfenwick

E-Mail Us: eurofantasypod@gmail.com
Play the game at: http://eurofantasyleague.com