The latest weekend of footballing action was a cracker, with fantasy points scored galore across Europe, and with the new season now officially underway in four of our five nations there is much to go over. We had an English club who is reportedly about to break the British transfer record stuttering on their travels, the French champions doing something similar and a strong start from the winners of last season’s Bundesliga.
Looking first at the French Ligue 1, Friday evening saw the commencement of the third round of games as title holders Paris Saint-Germain travelled to bottom club Evian Thonon Gaillard, and the outcome saw the hosts surprisingly claim their first point of the campaign with their first clean sheet of the season. Evian defender Daniel Wass had a corker and increased his points tally six-fold by going from five to 35, and the club now have seven players who have a positive points total – far better than the two we reported on in our preview. PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu has leapfrogged all the way to 70, pitting him as the club’s top performer thus far for our fantasy bosses.
Goalscoring in France wasn’t too much of a strong suit this weekend, with only Bordeaux managing to net more than two goals at Nice by emerging 3-1 victors. Despite the low scorelines, every game apart from the Evian v PSG and St. Etienne v Rennes matches saw at least one goal, so most people at those games will have had some sights to savour. Bordeaux’s win maintains their 100% start to the season, and they sit pretty at the top of Ligue 1 on nine points, two clear of second placed St. Etienne owing to that goalless draw against Rennes. Bordeaux’s top fantasy points scorer thus far is striker Diego Rolan, who has bagged two goals and provided an assist giving him a total of 45 points to date.
Ligue 1’s top players thus far are Lille pair Vincent Enyeama and Simon Kjaer, with 120 and 110 points respectively. They are followed by defenders Sébastien Corchia, Franck Beria and Marko Basa, who are all on 90 and also play for Lille.
Moving over to England, title hopefuls Chelsea welcomed Premier League newboys Leicester City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon and sent them hope without any points, with second half goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard settling the score. Costa takes his total up to 35 thanks to a goal in each competitive Chelsea appearance so far, with Hazard coming in just behind him on 30. On Sunday afternoon, former champions Man Utd travelled to Sunderland with expectations high, and the Red Devils made the trip back to Old Trafford with a share of the spoils following a 1-1 draw. Former Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata had put Louis van Gaal’s men ahead before Jack Rodwell opened his account for the Black Cats following his £10m move from champions Man City in the summer. Mata has now earned himself 20 points so far – a healthy return on his modest €7.00m fantasy valuation, while fellow goalscorer Rodwell matches that total at a much lower asking price of €3.00m.
In the Premier League, Tottenham defender Eric Dier is the top fantasy points earner on 100, with two goals and two clean sheets from two starts. Aston Villa stopper Brad Guzan is second on 80, while Dier’s Spurs team-mate Hugo Lloris shares the same total as his fellow custodian.
In Germany, much like France, the champions were in action on Friday night as Bayern Munich kicked off their title defense with the visit of Wolfsburg. Pep Guardiola’s men emerged triumphant with a 2-1 win, with World Cup stars Thomas Muller of Germany and Arjen Robben of the Netherlands scoring the goals to give their club a winning start. The game leaves Robben on 30 points and Muller on 20, with new team-mate Robert Lewandowski also starting off with a positive fantasy points score of 10. Wolfsburg striker Ivica Olic kicks off his own fantasy season on 20 thanks to scoring his own side’s goal after Adelino De Freitas provided the assist, giving the 28-year-old 10 points of his own.
In Spain, last season’s runners-up Barcelona secured the biggest winning margin of the weekend with a 3-0 win over travelling Elche, with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and forward Lionel Messi each coming up with 40 points for their fantasy bosses, with the clean sheet responsible for Bravo’s while Messi bagged a brace. Defenders Jordi Alba, Jeremy Mathieu, Dani Alves and Marc Bartra all have 30 each, again due to keeping Elche out.
In both the Bundesliga and La Liga, a whole host of players are tied on 40 points at the top, so expect that gap to start developing possibly from the next round of games onwards.