Ter Stegen: Barcelona’s €12m bargain

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The term ‘safe hands’ is often coined for goalkeepers, but rarely has it been so justified than in Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s case.

The German, who firmly established himself as Barcelona’s No.1 after seeing off competition from Claudio Bravo, has proved to be one of the Catalans most astute signings of the last few seasons.

That’s because there isn’t a week that goes by without the custodian playing the fullest part in Barcelona’s victories. 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?

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Week 31: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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Barcelona look like they will win the league after their season defining match up against 2nd placed Atletico Madrid ended in a 2-0 win for the Catalan giants, courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. The win took Barcelona a huge 11 points clear with just 21 left on the board. Below we take a look at the best performing players this past weekend in La Liga for your fantasy team.

Formation: 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Marc ter Stegen- Barcelona

Several goalkeeprs achieved 7pts this weekend but we will give the nod to Barcelona’s Marc ter Stegen based on the fact that Barca kept out the 2nd best team in Spain Atletico Madrid and ter Stegen kept a clean sheet against a team who had scored 45 times this season. ter Stegen is 2nd in the rankings and can be bought for 10m.

Defender: Jordi Alba- Barcelona

A colossal performance from Jordi Alba at the back for Barca who isn’t afraid to also attack and cause problems for the opposition. With just five minutes left v Atletico Madrid the match was 0-0 and he assisted in Luis Suarez’s goal, a famous performance and Alba is 3rd in the fantasy rankings and can be bought for 9m.

Defender: Djene- Getafe

Getafe have been brilliant this season and could qualify for the Champions League- they are currently in 4th place and Djene put in a terrific performance in defence, keeping a clean sheet as his team beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0. Djene ‘s value is 5.5m.

Defender: Sergi Gomez- Sevilla

Sergi Gomez was part of the Sevilla side who beat Valladolid 2-0 away from home in a tricky match on paper. It took Sevilla to 5th place and just 1 point behind Getafe. Gomez earned 5pts for his troubles and he is valued at just 6.5m which looks like a bargain.

Defender: Abdoulaye Ba- Rayo Vallecano

Abdoulaye Ba has started 20 games for Vallecano and has been part of a team that has conceded a massive 54 goals this season. That is why he deserves to be included in this team of the week for performers as he kept a rare clean sheet as Vallecano beat the mighty Valencia 2-0. It was a fantastic result for the club and Ba would cost 4m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Real Betis

The ex Barcelona player Lo Celso earned a huge 8pts at the weekend as Real Betis beat Villarreal 2-1. But it was an even more memorable weekend for Lo Celso who grabbed both of Betis’ goals. Lo Celso can be snapped up for 6m.

Midfielder: Sergi Darder- Espanyol

Sergi Darder is 10th in the midfielder rankings for fantasy la liga and he secured 8pts at the weekend as he opened up the scoring for Espanyol who went onto win their game 2-1. Darder is valued at 6.5m and has played 25 times this season.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

This was a massive game for Embarba who assisted in both of Rayo Vallecano’s goals as they beat Valencia 2-0 given the team a massive boost of staying up. Embarba will need a few repeat performances if his side are to stay in La Liga and would cost just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Roque- Sevilla

Roque has struggled this season and started just 15 times being used as a substitute on a few occasions. However he earned 6pts as Sevilla kept a clean sheet in a highly intense game. Roque is valued at 3m.

Striker: Karim Benzema- Real Madrid

With most of the goals being scored by midfielders and defenders in La Liga this past weekend Karim Benzema was far and away the best performing striker in La Liga. The Real Madrid forward earned 8pts as he scored both of his sides goals in their 2-1 win over Eibar. Benzema would cost 10m.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo

Aspas has been here before as one of the best performers in La Liga and has done it again. He earned 7pts as Celta Vigo won 3-1 and he scored 2 of the goals to give his side a much needed 3pts. Aspas can be bought for 8.5m.

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Barcelona eye Onana as Cillessen replacement

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Defending La Liga champions Barcelona are preparing a summer bid for Ajax goal keeper Andre Onana, according to reports in Spain.

The story, via respected radio station Radio Catalunya, statess that Ernesto Valverde is keen on bringing the Cameroonian international back to the club where he played as a youngster.

Onana, 22, signed for the Dutch side in 2015 – after five years as a youth team player at the Nou Camp – and he has impressed in over 100 senior appearances for them.

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Messi on fire as Barcelona win at Sevilla

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There was no looking past the world’s best player on Saturday afternoon as Lionel Messi put on another masterclass to help Barcelona win 4-2 at Sevilla.

The home side actually went ahead through a well-taken finish from Jesus Navas but Messi equalised with a sublime left-footed volley just minutes later.

Sevilla were in the lead again at half-time, however, after Gabriel Mercado scored three minutes before the break. Pablo Machin’s side were good value for their 2-1 lead at that stage.

Machin’s half-time team-talk probably consisted of something like “keep Messi quiet and we can win this”.

What’s gone wrong with ter Stegen?

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When Victor Valdes left Barcelona, there was genuine concern that the Catalans were never going to find anyone as good as he, and for a season or so it looked like those concerns were justified with Claudio Bravo never really winning the critics over.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen had appeared sporadically in the cup competitions but hadn’t convinced either.

Eventually, after a stuttering start and a few harsh lessons learned, the German began to come into his own. Continue reading

La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 5

garcia3Last weekend’s La Liga action saw Girona recording a 3-2 home win against Celta Vigo in arguably the best of the action throughout the Spanish top flight, while Getafe did themselves plenty of credit with their 2-0 win at Sevilla. Real Madrid were held 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao, and Barcelona managed to scrape a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad despite performing far from their best. This coming weekend sees Barcelona welcoming Girona to the Nou Camp, while Real Madrid host Espanyol. Atletico Madrid have a trip to Getafe, while Eibar and Leganes do battle in a match surely worth keeping an eye on. With all that in mind, let’s take a look ahead and see which 11 players to monitor in the next round of matches.

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La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 3

rakiticA great card of matches this past weekend saw the La Liga table almost seem to take shape and hit the status quo fairly early in the campaign. Real Madrid’s 4-1 win at Girona was a great team performance, while a four goal thriller saw Athletic Bilbao draw 2-2 at home to Huesca. After another exciting weekend of action in La Liga, let us now cast our minds ahead and see which players will be getting special attention in the Spanish top flight in the third round of matches. It will be a 4-3-3 this week.

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Could Simon Mignolet make a shock move to Barcelona?

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Reports have emerged that Simon Mignolet is a surprise transfer target for Spanish giants Barcelona. The Liverpool stopper, 30, has been linked with a move away from Anfield after dropping down the pecking order on the red half of Merseyside. Liverpool broke the world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Alisson from Roma – ironically despite also being linked with Barcelona – meaning the Belgian finds himself third choice. Loris Karius took the first choice jersey from Mignolet last season, and despite making some high profile errors he remained the custodian of choice right up until Alisson’s arrival. From the player’s perspective, if you are seeking a move away from Liverpool then where better than somewhere like Barcelona?

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Top La Liga Goalkeepers in 2017/18 – Marc ter Stegen (Barcelona)

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In what has been a relatively strange domestic season across Europe, there have notably been several parallels between La Liga and the Premier League to mention. Firstly, the champions won their respective titles fairly comfortably, and with quite some time to spare. Secondly, some of the finest players in the world played their part of course, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah doing so in England while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continued to do what they do best in Spain. Thirdly, each respective league’s second best goalkeeper played for the eventual champions. In England, Ederson won the title with Man City while finishing behind David De Gea at Man Utd, and it was a similar story in Spain.

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