Best 11 players in La Liga week 19

We are officially at the halfway point of the Spanish league season and the favourites to win the league, Barcelona and Real Madrid are both locked on 40 points with Barca on top due to goal difference.

We take a look at the players who performed this past weekend in La Liga, who made the cut for the best 11 and who didn’t?

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois- Real Madrid 7pts

The spotlight has been on Courtois since his move to Madrid but this season he is amongst the very best goal keepers. Along with four others he was able to earn 7 points for his clean sheet. But he gets the nod as Madrid played a local derby in beating Getafe as the club won 3-0.

Defender: Raphael Varane- Real Madrid 9pts

What a weekend it was for Raphael Varane who kept a clean sheet in the Madrid derby as his team won 3-0. But what nobody was expecting was that he scored 2 goals in the game and was the main reason his side won and strolled in the end to victory. Varane is currently 4th in the fantasy rankings and can be bought for just 8.5m.

Defender: Daniel Wass- Valencia 6pts

Daniel Wass was at the heart of everything and had a very good game as Valencia beat Eibar 1-0 and are now in the top six. He would have picked up more points but he got booked in the game.

Defender: Daniel Carvajal- Real Madrid 5pts

This was another solid game for Carvajal in defence as he was able to help his side to a clean sheet with a 3-0 win at Getafe. The defender is currently the best in La Liga fantasy rankings and has 50 points so far and is just 7m to buy.

Defender: Domingas Duarte- Granada 5pts

Domingas Duarte has proved to be one of the surprise defenders this season and is doing well week in and week out. He helped his team secure a 1-0 win over Mallorca and kept a clean sheet in doing so as the club propped up the table.

Midfielder: Luka Modric- Real Madrid 6pts

The world player of the year in 2018 was dominant in midfield as Real Madrid beat Getafe and to top it off after the club were 2-0 up he put the win beyond doubt by scoring a 3rd goal, which was ironically his 3rd of the season.

Midfielder: Manuel Trigueros- Villarreal 4pts

Trigueros has only scored 10 points all season and 40% of those came in this match as Villarreal beat Real Sociedad 2-1 away from home. The midfielder opened the scoring for his side after converting a penalty.

Midfielder: Santiago Cazorla- Villarreal 4pts

Sticking with Villarreal is Santiago Cazorla who came on as a substitute on the hour mark and then won the game for his side with a goal as the club ran out 2-1 winners.

Midfielder: Angel Correa- Atletico Madrid 4pts

Midfielders did not have a great weekend in La Liga with the average best scores of just 4 points. Correa gained his after his side beat Levante 2-1 and he opened the scoring which set the game up for his side.The player has earned 29 points so far this season.

Striker: Luis Suarez- Barcelona 6pts

Luis Suarez is still scoring goals as his team Barcelona drew 2-2 with Espanyol in the derby game. Suarez scored the equaliser for Barca and the teams first goal which ended up setting them up with a point at least to go home with. Suarez is the 3rd best striker in the league so far and has scored 11 goals.

Striker: Enes Unal- Real Valladolid 7pts

But the best striker this past weekend goes to Enes Unal who bagged 7 points as his side drew 2-2 with Leganes. Both times Valladolid were a goal down and both times Unal scored to get them back in the game. He is valued at 5.5m and has scored 3 goals so far this season.

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Lionel Messi’s injuries are hampering season for him and Barcelona already

It’s normally the case that by the end of September Lionel Messi has yet to score a goal this season but the 2019/20 season has started out in a frustrating manner for the Barcelona legend.

Messi has been injured for the majority of Barcelona’s games and has only played twice in the league and once in the Champions League when Barcelona drew 0-0 away to Borussia Dortmund. So 3 games in and no goals and niggling injuries has certainly hampered Messi’s start and of course his team have suffered too.

Barca are in 4th place after seven games and have already lost two games, the good news perhaps is that despite a stop/start beginning to their season and the fact that their away form has been questionable they are only 2 points behind league leaders and eternal nemesis Real Madrid.

It just shows to go how important a player like Messi is, as Barcelona have simply not been the same without him. True at times Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez have taken games by the scruff of their neck but in general not even these two great players can add the missing touch to a team who are so dependent on the Argentine play maker.

Messi now has another injury after coming back from one and coach Ernesto Valverde who first thought it would be nothing serious is sweating over Messi’s fitness. Alas whilst Messi will miss the next league game and Champions League one, the blessing in disguise for the club is that Messi most probably will not be available during the international break for Argentina. Keeping him fresh for a possible return before the end of October. Well that is the plan anyway.

Valverde himself is under his own pressure and was lucky to keep his job last season after the team failed so miserably against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final. But the board have stuck by him, after all he has won a few La Liga titles and done so in style.

Of course it has not all been bad for Messi who actually picked up the FIFA The Best award based on last season where yet again he scored over 50 goals on the way to helping Barca win the league title. A title this season would be even more remarkable given that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid seem up for the challenge this season.

What is sure is that Barca need Messi back as soon as possible because if his injury problems continue it could well derail the club’s season and Messi could end up have quite a forgettable one.

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How will Barcelona use all its attacking talent this season?

Antoine Griezmann

Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho.

Not a bad selection, is it?

They are the attacking players available within Barcelona’s first-team squad at the moment.

If the club had the necessary funds this summer, you could have added Neymar‘s name to that list.

Antoine Griezmann’s signing from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid freshens up the frontline with the Frenchman expected to make it into the starting eleven right from the off. Continue reading

Decision-time for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona’s young French star Ousmane Dembele faces a potentially make-or-break season in 2019/20.

The former Rennes and Borussia Dortmund winger has found himself playing second fiddle to stars such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez since his arrival at the Catalan club in August 2017.

In his first LaLiga season (2017/18), Dembele scored three goals and provided six assists from 17 appearances (12 starts).

Last season, the French international was hampered by injury for parts of the campaign. He played 29 times for Barcelona, making 20 starts in 2018/19, scoring eight goals and laying on five assists. Continue reading

Could Barcelona’s ‘decision’ on Neymar leave Griezmann in limbo?

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This summer’s transfer window is shaping up to be one of the most explosive in history, and in more ways than one.

We’re still over a week from the window officially opening yet deals have already been agreed across Europe, and clubs are just waiting for July 1 to have them rubber stamped.

One player who is definitely on the move is Antoine Griezmann, but his treatment of Barcelona last summer looks like it could come back to haunt him. Continue reading

Top La Liga Strikers in 2018/19: Wissam Ben Yedder

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Wissam Ben Yedder has just finished his 3rd season with Sevilla and it was his personal best yet as he helped the team to finish in the top six and qualify for the Europa League next season.

There were improvements in all of Ben Yedder’s game this past season and at 28 his best years could still be ahead of him.

Before this season Ben Yedder had never scored more than 11 goals in La Liga but he managed 18 and on top of that he assisted in another 9 goals, meaning that he contributed to 27 of Sevilla’s league goals. Overall Ben Yedder earned 91 points finishing just 2 points behind Barcelona’s Luis Suarez.

Ben Yedder started the season very slowly earning zero points from his first two games. And then against Levante where Sevilla were away from home, everything changed. The match finished 6-2 to Sevilla and Ben Yedder was the man of the match as he scored a hat-trick and assisted in another goal, with bonus points he earned 16 points in one game.

Another match that should be highlighted came in March when Sevilla now at home beat Real Sociedad 5-2. It was another hat-trick that earned Ben Yedder 14 points and so in those two games alone, even though they were months apart he was able to acquire 30 points.

Ben Yedder’s most consistent period during the season was in December and over the Christmas and New Year period where the striker scored points in five consecutive games totalling 15 points. And his worse single game of the season came against both Celta Vigo and Real Valladolid where he earned -1 point as he was booked in both games. Indeed while some players worst points is -3 or -5 points or more, to have the lowest points at -1 is actually decent and it only happened twice during the season when his points dipped into the minus category. This is due in part to the fact that he wasn’t sent off this season and was booked only 3 times.

In the last 4 games of the season, 3 of them ended with zero points which was disappointing. But the forward made up for it a little in Sevilla’s last game of the season which ended in a 2-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao and Ben Yedder scored and made an assist in that game.

This season Ben Yedder would have cost you 7m to have in your team but he has just had his best season for Sevilla. In his debut one he earned 54 points, last season that was just 39 and now a massive 91 points, so his fee may rise for next term.

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Top La Liga Strikers in 2018/19: Luis Suarez

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Remembered for his time with Ajax and Liverpool, Luis Suarez is now known as a veteran of Barcelona after completing his 5th season with the club and as a result he was one of the finest strikers in La Liga this past season.

In winning the league title Suarez has picked up his 13th major title with Barcelona and his switch from Liverpool was certainly a good one for the Uruguayan. He instantly found a chemistry with both Neymar and Lionel Messi and continued that this year with Messi even if at times Suarez has not had his strongest season.

But at the end of the day Suarez still managed 21 goals in La Liga coming joint 2nd with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and only beaten by Messi. Yet because of picking up 5 yellow cards Suarez dropped a few points and as a result finished 3rd in European Fantasy League rankings for La Liga strikers.

Along with his goals Suarez also assisted in 6 further goals and finished on a total of 93 points for the season. His value this season was 15m.

Suarez’s highlight of the 2018/19 season came in the biggest game in Spain if not world football when Barcelona at home played Real Madrid in El Clasico. The game ended up being one sided in which Barca ran out 5-1 winners with Suarez scoring a magical hat trick, he finished with 13 points, which could have been more but he picked up a yellow card in the game.

The beginning of the La Liga campaign was in fact a slow one for the striker and apart from picking up 10 points when he scored 2 goals and made an assist in Barcelona’s emphatic 8-2 victory over Huesca Suarez was really struggling to pick up the points. Take out the Huesca game and in his first 7 games of the season the 32 year old player picked up seven points. It was all tit for tat and there was no consistency to his game. This form inevitably brought on pressure from the media and the fans who thought that Suarez was finished as a Barcelona player. But as the season went on he had points to prove and prove he did.

His goal and assist in a tricky match against Sevilla which ended up in a 4-2 victory for Barcelona was vital. There was also his dominance in the Eibar victory which ended 3-0 with Suarez grabbing 2 goals and setting up the third to earn 9 points.

Towards the end of the season only Atletico Madrid had any chance of catching Barcelona for the league after Real Madrid’s chaotic season and Barcelona beat them 2-0 which effectively ended the league title that day- again Suarez was on hand to get one of the goals.

In all Suarez had a very good season, perhaps not his best but still good enough to star in a team that won the league with what seemed like ease. The one minus against him will be the 15 games where he failed to score and he also had a very quiet time at the turn of the year. But Suarez remained with enough quality to at least convince Barcelona to retain him for a 6th season.

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What next for Barcelona’s Todibo, Murillo and Boateng?

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As we hurtle towards the end of another gruelling La Liga campaign, Barcelona will already be looking towards a successful 2019/20 season, and to that end Eric Abidal will need to do some wheeler-dealing in the transfer market.

With Matthijs De Ligt just one name being mentioned as a possible new signing, it’s clear that the Catalans will have plenty to do across the summer.

The futures of most of their players remain crystal clear, but there are question marks too. Continue reading

How Barcelona can beat Liverpool

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The time has come. Barcelona’s biggest, and potentially most difficult game of the season is upon us.

For the second season in a row, Liverpool have reached the Champions League semifinals, and they are at least Barca’s equal in this two-legged affair.

The Reds have history on their side too, as the Catalans have never beaten them over two legs in European competition. Continue reading

Barcelona seal LaLiga title with home win over Levante

Barcelona

It was only just and proper that Lionel Messi was the man to score the winning goal which gave Barcelona their second LaLiga title in a row on Saturday.

Levante were the visitors to Camp Nou as they continue to fight for their status in Spanish football’s top division.

Messi actually started on the bench for the home side with Ernesto Valverde clearly having one eye on his side’s upcoming Champions League semi-final clash with Liverpool.

Luis Suarez brought a good save out of Aitor with Barcelona’s first real chance of the game. Then Philippe Coutinho rattled the crossbar with an excellent effort from a free-kick. Continue reading