3 things to look out for in the Valencia v Barca game

One of the classic La Liga clashes takes place this weekend; Valencia v Barcelona.

Though not a derby as such, it’s not far off, and it’s a match that virtually guarantees goals and moments of the highest quality.

Under Albert Celades, Valencia are still trying to get back to somewhere approaching their best form under Marcelino. They’ve been hit and miss, but are always a dangerous opponent for the Blaugrana. Continue reading

A look ahead to the Spanish Super Cup

Although the new year has only just begun, the first silverware of the season is available in Spain.

Thanks to a decision by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), the Spanish Super Cup is no longer a two-legged pre-season affair.

It’s been replaced by a ‘final four’ type competition. Continue reading

Liverpool and Chelsea are shot down in Champions League openers

The Champions League is back and the premier competition in European football wasn’t without its surprises.

First Liverpool, and the current European champions were beaten 2-0 by Italians Napoli, signalling a poor start from Jurgen Klopp’s team in their title defence. The biggest worry for Klopp will be that his side always looked second best and credit to Napoli who played brillantly and made the unstoppable looking Reds side look very normal in this competition.

Still write Liverpool off at your peril, everyone knows how strong they are at Anfield and with the likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Genk in their group they should be more than fine. However notice needs to be given to Salzburg who smashed Genk 6-2. They had scored five of those goals in the first half. Also Napoli do not travel historically well and so this group is still obtainable for Liverpool.

The more disappointing result of the night for English teams would have been Chelsea, who at Stamford Bridge, lost 1-0 to Valencia. In years gone by this type of fixture would have been won a canter for the Blues, and problems still persist with the club with Frank Lampard in charge. They are playing some good football of course but not getting the results desired.

Chelsea could face an uphill struggle now with the likes of Ajax and Lille also in their group. Ajax who so impressed last season beat Lille 3-0 even though they have lost the core of what made them a great side, it is clear that their objectives will be to at least get to the knockout rounds.

Barcelona drew against Borussia Dortmund with the final score ending 0-0, but Barca will be more than happy with that at a very difficult ground. This is multiplied when we consider that ter Stegen saved a penalty from Dortmund and that Lionel Messi finally returned this season. The Argentine came off the bench in the 2nd half and Barcelona will be very happy about this development with La Liga looming at the weekend.

Inter Milan were very lucky to draw 1-1 with Slavia Prague. A last minute injury time goal by Nicolo Barella sealed a point at San Siro, a defeat would have been a big shock for the Italians.

Whilst it is just the first games of the competition there is a feeling that this edition could be wide open. Could a non big traditional team win it? The last one to do so was arguably Porto in 2004, still one has to remember that they one of the biggest teams in Portugal and had won the competition before in 1987. Another club that won it and shocked was Borussia Dortmund back in 1997. Maybe 2020 could see a change from the usual teams getting to the final and winning it?

It’s Valencia or West Ham for Maxi Gomez but surely the answer is simple

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Maxi Gomez who has had a solid 2 years at Celta Vigo scoring goals is wanted by two clubs in Europe, Valencia and West Ham. But which club will succeed in getting his services?

A few years ago this wouldn’t even be open for debate, Valencia would be the smart choice. A massive club who at one point in the last decade could challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance and had a very good team. Gomez could have joined and become a better player. But in 2019, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The best pull for Gomez to join Valencia is that the club will be playing Champions League football next season, and that is massive for any player who has never tasted playing at the highest level for club football. It’s a big ask for Gomez to turn that down when West Ham aren’t playing any European football next season.

Financially a move to West Ham would be better for Gomez too and the Hammers will be able to offer him much better wages. So where should the 22 year old go? The answer for some is an easy one and that is to play for West Ham in the Premier League.

The reason is due to two things. Firstly West Ham are clearly pointing in the right direction and having Manuel Pellegrini as boss is a great thing for the London side who have under achieved too much in recent years. The club have some genuine attacking quality and it is thought that they will be attack minded next season with the likes of Pablo Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko.

However does Gomez want to improve as a player and person? If so if you move to a foreign country and sample that experience and different culture. If he stays in La Liga he will be doing what most English players do and stay in their comfort zone. There isn’t much wrong with that but you usually become a much better player with a move to a different club and you learn more about the game. The move would be a massive plus for Gomez who could prove his qualities in a different league.

Who is the bigger club is the other question. True it is Valencia but they are not as big as they once were, and what happens if they exit the Champions League in the group stages and then struggle for top 10 status in the league it can happen and the club do have financial difficulties.

Going to West Ham would be a challenge for Gomez and it won’t be easy, but spreading his wings and giving the club a chance to see his qualities just seems like the right option to take. It will be interesting to see who Gomez picks over the coming days/weeks.

Valencia transfer window to build on continuity and growth

Valencia celebrate

Valencia have recorded two successive top four finishes under their impressive boss Marcelino Garcia Toral and the message for the coming season is simple – more of the same please! Los Che, in their centenary year, also added the Copa del Rey title in May and want to continue to build on the momentum they have now built up.

Their success has been built on continuity and consistency, keeping and improving the same core of players within the squad and adding astutely. The club have not sought to make waves in the transfer market but unlike in recent years, they have acted astutely and shrewdly – impressively building a squad capable of challenging Spain’s elite. Continue reading

Top LaLiga Midfielders in 2018/19 – Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

Despite something of a nightmare season for Barcelona’s Brazilian playmaker, Philippe Coutinho still managed to accumulate the third-highest fantasy football points total for a LaLiga midfielder in 2018/19.

Coutinho was expensive, however, costing 10.5 million for any fantasy LaLiga managers who wanted him in their teams.

He made 22 starts in the Spanish league and another 12 substitute appearances, meaning he played in 34 league games altogether for Barca during the campaign.

Coutinho contributed five goals and only two assists as he underwhelmed the Camp Nou crowd on a regular basis. Continue reading

Top LaLiga Midfielders in 2018/19 – Daniel Parejo

Daniel Parejo

It was only fitting that Valencia’s Dani Parejo finished the season with his first major honour in club football.

Parejo was part of Valencia’s starting lineup as they achieved a memorable 2-1 win over Barcelona on May 25th.

Up until then, Parejo’s only winners’ medals in football came from his Spanish exploits at the 2007 U-19 European Championship and the 2011 U-21 European Championship.

The 30-year-old Spanish playmaker joined Valencia from Getafe back in 2011 and now wears the team’s number 10 jersey. Continue reading

What next for Barcelona?

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With the debacle at Anfield still fresh in the memory of everyone connected with FC Barcelona, a win against Valencia in the Copa del Rey final was a chance for the Catalans to exorcise those demons.

Against a team who’d beaten them only three times in 11 years, and a coach who’d never triumphed over them in 20 years of trying, Barca realistically only had to turn up to add another trophy to their cabinet.

And yet, turning up is the one thing they failed to do. Continue reading

Week 38: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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La Liga has ended for another season. As we knew weeks ago Barcelona are champions and Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid made up  2nd and 3rd places respectively. Valencia grabbed the final Champions League spot from Getafe and Girona joined Huesca and Rayo Vallecano back to the Segunda division.

We take a look below at the final best team of the Spanish league season, who performed the best and were they in your team?

Formation 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Jaume- Valencia

A couple of shot stoppers got the required 7 points but we will give this to Juame since his efforts more than helped Valencia reach the Champions League position by finishing in 4th place. It was also Valencia’s 3rd win in a row.

Defender: Daniel Wass- Valencia

Keeping with Valencia, Wass was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet with a 2-0 win over Valladolid ensuring Champions League football. Wass made some very important interceptions.

Defender: Roberto Rosales-Espanyol

Roberto Rosales picked up a fantastic 9 points at the weekend as he scored Espanyol’s opening game and helped keep a clean sheet. The result gave Espanyol the final spot in the Europa League too.

Defender: Martin Mantovani- Huesca

Huesca are relegated but Martin Mantovani had a weekend to remember. Huesca beat Leganes 2-1 and Mantovani came off the bench to get 2 goals and win the game for his club, that’s no mean feat for a defender who hadn’t been in good form.

Defender: Marc Bartra- Real Betis

Real Betis stunned Real Madrid at the Bernabeu as they beat them 2-0 in the final game of the season. Bartra kept  a clean sheet which is rare away to Madrid and should be applauded and did fantastically well.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

Adri Embarba has made a few team of the weeks and that is good going for a player that plays for the bottom club. They drew 2-2 against Celta Vigo with Embarba getting the first goal and then assisting in the second.

Midfielder: Carlos Soler- Valencia

Carlos Soler earned 6 points as he scored the first goal as Valencia beat Valladolid 2-0 to finish in 4th place. Soler has 31 points overall from 27 games played and that was just his 2nd goal of the season.

Midfielder: Victor Sanchez- Espanyol

Espanyol made it to the final Europa League spot on the final day of the season and some of that success was down to Sanchez who assisted in both goals in their 2-0 victory, to earn 5 points.

Midfielder: Daniel Parejo-Valencia

Parejo has been one of the stalwarts and make up of Valencia’s team for some time and he was able to earn 4 points at the weekend and squeeze into the team of the weekend as Valencia beat off Getafe to finish in 4th place.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo

Iago Aspas is the 5th best striker in fantasy la liga and he scored both of Celta Vigo’s goals when they drew 2-2 with Vallecano. What was impressive is that they were 2-0 down with just ten minutes to play.

Striker: Lionel Messi- Barcelona

Of course it’s that man again, the one and only Lionel Messi who rounds off the best players of the weekend on the final day of the season. Messi scored another 2 goals as Barcelona drew their final game away to Eibar finishing 2-2. It was Messi’s 36th goal of the season.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best La Liga Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for the challenge then play www.liga-fantasy.com now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy La Liga picks for the final games of the season

La Liga

Girona will fight for LaLiga survival while Valencia, Getafe and Sevilla battle it out for that final Champions League spot in the last round of games in the LaLiga season.

As always, we’ve taken a look at the fixtures from a LaLiga fantasy football viewpoint to help you with your picks for the final weekend of the season.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Goalkeeper – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) – 11.0 million

Jan Oblak is the usual safe option in goals as Atletico Madrid still prove to be one of the strongest defensive options in LaLiga. Oblak has 119 points this season. Continue reading