Week 32: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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It was a weekend that saw Atletico Madrid close the gap on league leaders Barcelona to 9 points after Barca rested most of their first team squad in order to prepare for their Champions League match against Manchester United in midweek. But Barca will surely still win the league. Real Madrid do not play until today but given that they are 8 points clear of 4th place their Champions League participation will be assured for next season.

Below in a formation of 4-4-2 we look at the best performers in La Liga over this past weekend and see if you had any of these top performing players in your line up.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Asenjo-Villarreal

Sergio Asenjo had an important job to do even if the goalkeepers of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona earned the same points. Villarreal are struggling with relegation and Asenjo was able to keep a clean sheet and make important saves as his team beat Girona 1-0 to move 2 points clear of the bottom three. It was the clubs first clean sheet in the last 5 games.

Defender: Xabier Etxeita- Huesca

Etxeita was the defender for Huesca that really stood out at the weekend to earn his 5pts. Huesca played league leaders Barcelona, and while Barca did rest the majority of their first teamers, Etxeita remained disciplined in defence and made sure his team got a famous point against the Catalan giants. He is valued at 3m.

Defender: Filipe Luis- Atletico Madrid

It was a typical solid performance from Filipe Luis as Atletico eased to a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo to move within 9 points of Barcelona and pull 5 points clear of Real Madrid. Luis has had an outstanding season and is valued at 6.5m.

Defender: Alvaro G. Soberon- Villarreal

Soberon won’t be on many of the team of the week lists but he shored up a Villarreal defence as the team who have struggled all season got a huge result at the weekend by beating Girona 1-0 away from home. He has earned just 7 points this season and 5 of them came at the weekend. He can be bought for 4.5m.

Defender: Jeison Murillo- Barcelona 

Murillo is seldom used at Barcelona but the 26 year old was drafted into the team as Ernesto Valverde opted to rest the majority of players. It is to Murillo’s credit that he stayed focused and made some good blocks as Barca kept a clean sheet, impressive given a wealth of this team were playing together for the first time.

Midfielder: Sarabia- Sevilla

Sarabia had a fantastic game as Sevilla took on their arch rivals not only did he assist in the first goal for the club but he then scored the 2nd and Sevilla won a thrilling game 3-2 for Sarabia to earn 6pts at the weekend. The player is currently the highest ranked in midfielders with 78pts and is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Real Betis

Keeping with the Sevilla derby on the other end was Lo Celso and Betis who put in a big performance before losing 3-2. Lo Celso did score though to make it 6 goals this season and was a threat in the match.

Midfielder: Franco Vasquez- Sevilla

Vasquez has stepped up his game in recent weeks as Sevilla look to finish 4th and claim a Champions League berth. He also scored what turned out to be Sevilla’s 3rd and winning goal in the derby against Betis and earned his 4pts this past weekend.

Midfielder: Pablo Fornals- Villarreal

Fornals has earned 25pts this season and was the best midfielder that Villarreal had at the weekend earning 3pts for helping his team keep a clean sheet and keeping his midfield together as they got a vital away win over Girona. Fornals can be brought into your side for 8m.

Striker: Santi Mina- Valencia

Santi Mina earned the most points of any striker this past weekend with 8. Mina scored 2 goals as his team beat Levante 3-1 to edge closer to a Champions League spot he has a total of just 14 pts but could have a strong finish to the season and is valued at 7m.

Striker: Inaki Williams- Athletic Bilbao

Inaki Williams really helped Bilbao out at the weekend by scoring a brace as his side won 3-2 in a game that included them missing a penalty. The win was huge and Bilbao have a chance for a Europa League finish. Williams has earned 49pts and is worth 7.5

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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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Real Betis defeated by another Messi masterclass

Lionel Messi

The final game of the La Liga weekend encapsulated the meaning of how some things can be worth waiting for.

With Barcelona featuring in the last game on Sunday evening, at Real Betis, we all knew we could be about to witness something special from the greatest player on the planet.

Lionel Messi did not disappoint.

The Barcelona number 10 brought his La Liga tally to 29 goals for the season with another sublime hat-trick as Barcelona won 4-1 at Real Betis.

Boss Quique Setien under pressure at Real Betis

Real Betis

Real Betis have endured a miserable start to 2019. It is only the start of March but they have already been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and Europa League while they have slipped to seventh in La Liga.

The Seville-based club have won just four of their last 18 matches in all competitions and they have triumphed just once in their last eight attempts. The concern goes beyond the results, with their style of play being criticised for its dogmatism and dryness. They are too easy to combat and lack variation. Continue reading

Three exciting European teams you should be keeping an eye on for the remainder of the season

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For sure, the current style of play within football has extremely transformed compared to what it used to be over five to ten years ago, where many teams would place the aim of winning a game and play attacking football at the same time. Being a passionate fan of the sport, you’d like to see your own beloved football club going out for the much needed three points rather than seeing them defend their own lines for majority of the game.

On the other hand, many football supporters of the beautiful game will argue that the narrow-minded coaches such as Diego Simeone and Max Allegri have changed the sport as a whole, as they have played an incredible role on those sides that go on to have a pragmatic approach ahead of the fixture by nullifying the opposition instead of playing to the squad’s strengths.

Here are the three European teams that have been a pleasure to watch during the 2018-19 campaign…

Bundesliga – RB Leipzig

RB Leipziga are still the most hated team within German football, due to the fact that the club went through a massive revolution by having energy drink company, Red Bull, as their new owners and have also gone against the tradition of the league by making a mockery to the cherished “50+1” rule. Meanwhile, in the new era of the club, they are starting to be known for their dominant and thrilling football on the pitch, especially with the current group of talented players that are available to new manager Ralf Rangnick.

With the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Marcel Sabitzer, Timo Werner and Yussef Poulsen regularly running the show, Leipzig have the chance to finish in the Champions League spots before the season comes to an end. The side carry out their work within an insane 4-2-2-2 setup, with their principles being; to complete gegenpressing from the first minute till the end and to play direct counterattacking football at the highest level.

La Liga – Real Betis

Without a shadow of doubt, the heart of La Liga will always be seen witon the familiar clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, the time has come where a mid-table side like Real Betis get the attention that they truly deserve, who are definitely one of the most exciting teams to watch in Spain this campaign. Whether they see themselves as a liability defensively due to their attacking approach or not, it has not stopped the boss, Quique Setien, from implementing a simple yet effective possession-based style of play.

The 60-year-old Spaniard is one of the few coaches left that lives for total football, one that looks after the young players and gives them first-team opportunities time after time as well as being a devoted manager that sticks to his philosophy no matter who is side comes up against. Despite conceding a lot of goals compared to the top teams, Real Betis have come up with vital wins at home to Atleticlo Madrid and away at Barcelona, which currently leaves them in seventh place and just three points away from the Champions League spots.

Serie A – Atalanta

The current focus in the top-tier of Italian football is on Juventus running away with the league title, with Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli sitting comfortably in second place whilst both Milan clubs are aiming to claim bragging rights by finishing in third place come the end of the season. Meanwhile, the main story the moment has been Gian Piero Gasperini working his magic on the touchline at Atalanta, who are the only club along with Juventus to have scored over 50 league goals so far this campaign and are also in the Coppa Italia semi-final.

In the first half of the 2018-19 season, I Nerazzurri struggled on both areas of the pitch due to the lack of rotation and ability to find game changers from the bench, preventing them from picking up many positive results in the first few months of the season. Now, with the summer signing in Duvan Zapata being in fine form and Gasperini showing his tactical flexibility, the side are producing dominant and energetic performances as they now have a balanced and fluid midfield, allowing them to actually play their best football in recent years.

Real Betis chasing Copa glory as Champions League bid falters

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Real Betis have a golden opportunity to end their 2018-19 La Liga season on a high, with a Copa del Rey semi final win against Valencia.

Quique Setien’s side had looked like an outside bet to qualify for the Champions League via fourth place in La Liga at the end of 2019, however their form has slipped and Getafe Sevilla and Alaves have move ahead.

They may still qualify for the Europa League, for the second successive season, but they do also have a realistic chance of silverware for the first time in over a decade.

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Real Betis to swoop for Tottenham outcast Vincent Janssen

Victor Janssen Tottenham

Real Betis are set to make a late bid for Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen, as the La Liga side look to bolster their attacking options before the transfer window closes.

Janssen has not played for the Premier League side so far this season, and he could make a loan move to the Andalusian club in the next 24 hours, with a purchase option available in the summer.

The Dutch international has endured a torrid time in North London following his move from AZ Alkmaar at the start of the 2017-18 season.

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Junior Firpo injury has hit Real Betis hard

Junior Firpo

It is hard to believe that Junior Firpo only made his first-team debut for Real Betis a year ago, with his rise to prominence so rapid that his absence has now been felt hard by the club. The Dominican-born wing-back has already racked up 32 first-team appearances, with his place in the starting line-up without question.

The 22-year-old has also become a key part of the Spain Under-21 side and there have been strong calls for him to be in contention for Luis Enrique’s senior squad at La Roja. He has a €50m release clause at the club and has been linked with moves to both Real Madrid and Manchester City. Continue reading

Pound for Pound are Real Betis the best team in La Liga this season?

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It’s been very routine for clubs such as Real Betis to have a few good games and then fade away, but this season the team from the south seem to have more staying power and have made a real impact on La Liga this season.

La Liga has been very exciting this season, mostly because Barcelona and Real Madrid have not had it all their own way. While Barcelona do lead the league they only do so by 3 points over Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid have had their own problems with the sacking of Julen Lopetegui after a nightmare start to the season. Santiago Solari was drafted in but the team don’t feel like classic, solid and reliable Madrid the team we have come to know over the past five years. That is because Zinedine Zidane left the club last summer and so did Cristiano Ronaldo. Real are in 4th place and there is a chance that they could miss out on automatic qualification for next seasons Champions League, that is unless they win the competition for an historic 4th time in a row.

But back to Betis who are in 6th place and just three points behind Madrid and while a title challenge is beyond them the club will be trying to reach a European place finish. Currently they are already there and set for Europa League football next season but if they could finish in the top 4 that would be good enough for Champions League football and they are just one win from achieving that. Of course there is a long time to go and we are not even at the halfway stage yet in Spain but this season Betis seem like a different beast from last.

Before the Christmas break Betis stunned Barcelona by becoming the first team to beat them in the league at the Nou Camp for 2 years and they are currently on a 4 game unbeaten streak with 3 of those matches being wins. To understand why Betis have changed for the better this season we must look at their coach Quique Setien.

Setien joined the club last season and has won 31 of his 65 games in charge so far to give him a 47.6% win rate. Whilst it is true that Setien has never won any managerial honours in his 17 years as a boss he has also never had the opportunities mostly coaching teams in La Liga 2.

One wonders how far he can take Betis, a European finish which is currently on and a deep run in the Copa del Rey would be a successful season for the club who usually fade away in the second half of the season, this is something that Setien will be determined to change in 2019.

Real Betis and Sevilla enjoying fantastic seasons

Real Betis v Sevilla

This has been a crazy, unpredictable La Liga season but as we head into Christmas the table is finally starting to take shape. Barcelona lead the way and both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are, as predicted, in the top four shake-up.

However, after 16 rounds of matches it is Sevilla who sit in second place while city rivals Real Betis have risen to fifth. Both clubs will be playing knockout European football this season. Indeed, of all the 80 teams across the Champions League and Europa League group stages, none scored as many as Sevilla (18) while none conceded fewer than Betis (2). Continue reading