Monday, 31 January 2011

Week 21: Sunday review - Sporting hits

The story of the week will be this: Real's title challenge is over. It was more or less over a couple of weeks ago when they drew at Almeria, but this sealed the deal. Mourinho's men have been grasping and stumbling to stay on their feat in the title race but a 1-0 loss at Osasuna, while Barca cruised to another effortless win, 3-0 away win at Hercules hammered the points home. Barca are 7 clear.

So much of prescient sporting prediction is about assuring that the statistical probable truths stay firmly at the forefront of one's thinking: any whiff of hopes and dreams about what may occur must be kept securely under wraps. We must not confuse what is going to happen with what will. Thus, just because a team who's record breaking form is proving that they are one of, if not the, greatest teams in history had a blip against a minnow side at the start of the season, does not mean it is going to happen twice (or that you should cast off their most consistent scorers); nor does it mean that a top 10 side who have emphatically won two home games on the trot will repeat the feat against a side from the bottom half of the table.

Osasuna 1 - 0 Real Madrid... down and out in the autonomous community of Navarre
Javier Camunas - PES likeness

For the whites, once again, Ronaldo top scored in stats (11.5pts 2 SOTs and 5 Fws) but didn't score a goal, once again no other player evidenced any kind of attacking threat - of the rest Di Maria top scored with 4 pts.

For Osasuna, Ricardo - as in week 18 - was superb in goal, scoring handsomely with 15 pts (4 saves) and was joint top scorer for the reds alongside match winning midfielder Javier Camuñas. Defender S. Fernandez got a notable 10.5 and has scored 9+ in 3 of the past 6 weeks. Ex Birmingham City striker Walter Pandiani reminded us of his qualities with a -1.5.

Hercules 0 - 3 Barca... top banana

Messi got 2 goals and only his 2nd +20 score in 6 weeks with 33 points. His value is still 43. Pedro (who I inexplicably dropped) got another goal and 19.5 pts. Dani Alves returned to score 2 assists and 17.5 points. Quite pleasingly, Villa (worth 29) scored -0.5. Such a risky pick.

Mallorca 0 - 4 Sporting Gijon... A tale of two Castros

This has to be the shock scoreline from Saturday night's results. Mallorca may have lost their last two games - away to the Madrids - but they had been in good home form and put up a strong fight at the Bernabeau. They had won their last two home games 4-1 and 3-0. But, alas, the warning signs were there: only last week Sporting's "shock" defeat of Atletico was being praised on these pages.

Last night's results saw these two sides consentinaed together: Mallorca plummeting to 11th with Gijon leaping to 12th. Punting for Mallorca's keeper Dudu Aouate (-14) was a grievous error; hotly tipped defender Nunes folded (-2); striker Pierre Webo (brought in for Barca's Pedro) limped to 0.5; at least midfielder Gonzalo Castro put up some resistance with 9.

For Sporting, another Castro (Diego) was the hero with a brace from midfield and 18pts. Former Rangers striker Nacho Novo also got on the scoresheet and notched a worthy 10.

Real Sociedad 2 - 0 Almeria... this is Basque country

Real Madrid and Mallorca took account for 7 of my 11 and cumulatively left me a little queasy. Luckily RSO didn't "do a Mallorca" and Basque boys Tamudo and Xavi Prieto gave me a little more faith in myself. Tamudo got a goal and a delicious 20.5 pts (from value 6). Xavi got a respectable 8.

Espanyol 0 - 1 Villarreal... gunning for you

This was a huge win for The Yellow Submarine (s?) over the excellent Espanyol and will have Real Madrid looking over their shoulders: 3rd place villarreal are in form and 6 points behind. The match winner once again was Rossi (18 points) and Diego Lopez in goal found his gloves (now that I dropped him) with 17 pts!

I was happy to have Sergio Garcia for the Catalans. Valued 11, the striker got a respectable 9.

Deportivo 3 - 3 Seville 

Didier Zokora - gorgeous ball
An exciting match, unusually for the obdurate Deportivo. Julien Escude scored again for Seville and striker Alvaro Negrego got a brace and 20.5 points, his second scored "via a gorgeous ball from Didier Zokora". Inexplicably, I held on to Martin Caceres from last week and he got 3 pts.

Lassad Nouioui did the business for Depor with two himself and 20 pts. A quick look at Deportivo's team stats tells me that, yes, the legendary Juan Valeron does still play for them, but is sadly worth just 3.5, his highest score of the season being 2.5.

Other results:

Atlético Madrid 0 - 2 Athletic Bilbao

Lots of big points for Bilbao as they stretched the gap between themselves in 6th and Madrid in 7th to 5 points. Toquerro 2 goals and 26 points (the striker's first goals of the season). GK Gorka Iraizoz 24 points. Defender Iraola a majestic 17.

Pongolle - On call
Levante UD 2 - 0 Getafe CF

A goal and assist for Caicedo
Del Horno 13 pts

Málaga CF 1 - 2 Real Zaragoza

Duda got 21 points yet oddly his price plummeted from 21 to 16.
Sinama Pongolle was amongst the goals for Zaragoza.

Still to play: Racing Santander v Valencia

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Week 21 preview: Barca's achilles heal - Hercules

Hercules (12th) v Barca (1st) - sat

Xinhuanet reminds us this week that "FC Barcelona travels to Alicante to face the only side to defeat them this season in Spain' s matchday 21 on Saturday."

Dani Alves has been training and could be back so Adriano may disappear back to the underworld before he is called upon again. Pedro should continue for me in attack. It doesn't seem necessary or tempting to splash out on expensive wonders such as Villa or Messi. Hercules main worry is Royston Drenthe. The dutch flanker has been in great form but since the recent pay dispute he and and his side seem to be in freefall.

Tempting players: only Pedro, maybe.

Osasuna (17th) v Real Madrid (2nd) - sun

Ade checks in
Real's new signing Emmanual Adebayor may be a boon for Jose Mourinho but the arrival of the Togolese striker only adds more uncertainty to the Real Madrid forward line for fantasy pickers. He's rumoured to be a certain starter but will Benzema be ditched after his match winning performance last week? Much aspersions have been cast about the French no.9 Benzema, who, it turns out, isn't a no.9 at all.

Tempting players: after recent disappointments, none feel safe.

Mallorca (9th) v Sporting Gijon (15th) - sat

Pierre Webo
This fixture would seem to offer the most juicy returns with Mallorca surely set to get back to winning ways against the league minnows. Forwards Tereja, Nsue, Perreira and Webo (all valued around the 10 mark) all started at the Bernabeau and any of these will surely be a profitable selection.

I'm tempted by Webo, if only because he's their top scorer and I haven't given him a run out before. It seems prudent to give him a run out at the expense of Benzema. I've also drafted in Nunes in defence after his glowing recommendation by

Tempting players: anyone who's fit at Mallorca, especially defensive line (GK Aouate) and forwards.

A.Madrid (7th) v A.Bilbao (6th) - sun

The clash of the Atleticos is one of the ties of the round. Madrid are stumbling along but could welcome back Reyes and Aguero. Bilbao however are flying and should be well in the mood to score an upset.

Tempting players: A.Madrid bargain defenders A.Lopez (2.46) and Perea (2.62).

Espanyol (5th) v Villarreal (3rd) - sun

Another exciting and hard to predict tie. It seems worth hanging on to baby Ruben up front for Villarreal, especially as Espanyol have just sold one of their best defenders. It would be nice to draft in a couple of Espanyol forward players such as Sergio Garcia or Callejon, but Villarreal's defenders and keeper will have to go.

Tempting players: Espanyol forwards, Garcia (a bargain at 11), Callejon (18) and Luis Garcia (16)

Real Sociedad (11th) v Almeria (18th) - sat

Could be an apt time to draft in superstar Xavi Prieto from the Sociedad midfield. The young buck has dropped in value to 12.76 and is surely likely to do the business for a Sociedad side who seem to be finding some form.

Also, veteran striker Tamudo comes in up front in the place of injured Javier Llorente and represents a tempting replacement for Villarreal's Ruben at 6.64.

Other games to consider:

Sat, Jan 29 Malaga v Zaragoza: a first win for newly moneyed Malaga against struggling Z?
Sat, Jan 29 Deportivo v Seville: a turgid but likely win for Seville.
Sat, Jan 29 Levante v Getafe: A good opportunity for Getafe to get their season back on track
Mon, Jan 31 Racing Santander v Valencia: Surely a win for Los Chos.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Week 20: Barral of laughs

Gijon goal hero David Barral - on sea
Wins for the top 5 give the illusion of another predictable week in La Liga, but scratch beneath the surface and aberrations soon become apparent. For the second time in a row, neither Messi (19.5 pts) or Ronaldo (8.5pts!) would feature in the top starting 11 of the week; Atletico Madrid lost to relegation threatened Sporting "Hee-Haw" Gijon; and Benzema managed to score a goal!

Barcelona stretched their lead at the top briefly to 7 points on Saturday, yawning to a 3-0 defeat of Racing Santander at the Nou Camp. Iniesta (1goal, 14pts), Messi (1 pen, 1 assist, 19.5 pts) and Pedro (1 goal, 1 assist, 20.5 pts) were the heroes. Pedro has now scored 10+ points 9 weeks in a row! (Messi has managed this 3 weeks running). Adriano, in at full back, exceeded expectations and managed a handsome 9 pts and was 5th top scorer for Barca. Victor Valdes was joint top scoring keeper with 16 pts, suggesting Barca didn't have it all their way. Kennedy Bakircioglü managed 4pts (2 successful crosses and 4 intercepted passes) for the visitors.

Real Madrid strained to a 1-0 home win over Real Mallorca, courtesy of Benzema's 60th minute strike with the Frenchman scoring 15.5 overall. He got a Tackle Won too. Points were spare at the Bernabeau though: Kaka (2pts), who was subbed at half time for Ozil (1pt) and Di Maria (6pt) are proving to be the albatrosses around my fantasy neck: it may be time to shoot them down.

With these losers hogging my midfield, I rewarded my last midfield berth to last week's top scoring midfielder, Villarreal's Cani. Of course though, another prediction was to come to bare as Santi Cazorla (18pts) returned to assume responsibility for the best of the Yellow Submarine's attacking play, laying on two assists for Peppe Rossi as the 3rd placed side triumphed 2-1 over Real Sociedad.  Cani stepped aside, managed 1 measly SOT and a YC to get himself a tedious 3.5 (for an investment of 13). Of course, all in all, this also meant no goals for baby Ruben (4.5), and minimal returns for GK Diego Lopez (3) and Gaspar (3.5) in defence. Curses on Sociedad and their persistant ability to cause problems away from home.

Old (or no) money conquered over new as Valencia romped to a thrilling 4-3 victory over plucky Malaga. Still glad I stayed away from this one though. Goals were scored by Mata, Soldado, Adruiz (14pts) and wunderkind, Ever Banega (12pts) but only the latter two were able to return more points than their value (which leads me to wonder how often players ever do this anyway). Julio "the Beast" Baptista got his first for Malaga and other new signing Martin Demichelis was sent off!

Espanyol kept a grip on 5th place with a 3-1 win at Getafe. More goals from Callejon (again), Sergio Garcia, and Luis Garcia showing they are more than coping without leading scorer Peter Osvaldo.

Athletic Bilbao leapfrogged "the other" Athletic (Madrid) to take 6th spot as the Basques crushed Hercules 3-0. Of course, Llorente scored (but only managed 10 pts) and so did reliable midfield force, Javier Marquez, and the lesser known forward Iker Muniain. Signor Muniain scored for the second game running to take his season total to 2 (from 17 games).

Sevilla continued their surge up the league, bouncing into 8th place, thanks to a 4-1 drubbing of Levante who are now rooted to the bottom of the table. Fabiano's hattrick (putting him top of the weekly scorers chart with 31pts) and a rare goal from forgotten french defender Julien Escude put the league strugglers to the sword. Ivorian playmaker Romaric (valued 5.96 at the start of the week) scored a super 11.5: 1 Assist and 5 Successful crosses being his key stats. However, it must also be noted that Kanoute failed to start, and neither did either of my defensive picks: Caceres and Alexis.

Which, sporting miscellany and regrets brings me to the end of the games featuring my chosen 11.
Aranda, great brace

In other results, Almeria scored an invaluable 3 - 2 win over fellow strugglers Osasuna to get off the foot of the table and go 18th. This game included a couple of braces to produce two of the week's highest scorers in Ulloa (21 pts and 2 goals) for Almeria, and Aranda for Osasuna (22.5 pts, 2 goals)

Real Zaragoza also scored a valuable 1 - 0 over Deportivo. A goal from bargain of the week Boutahar (18pts valued 1.82!!!) keeping Sinama Pongolle's side 2 points clear of the relegation zone. team of the week:

Team of the week:

Luis Fabiano, Sevilla, Forward, 31.50
G. Rossi, Villarreal, Forward, 31.00
J. Rondón, Malaga, Forward, 27.00 

S. Cazorla, Villarreal, Midfielder, 18.00
S. Boutahar, Zaragoza, Midfielder, 18.00
Javier Martínez, Athl Bilbao, Midfielder, 15.00
Xisco Muñoz, LEV, Midfielder, 14.50 

J. Escudé, Sevilla, Defender, 15.00
Marcelo, Real Mad, Defender, 9.50
Adriano, Barcelona, Defender, 9.00 

G. Iraizoz, Athl Bilbao, Goalkeeper, 16.00

Total 204.5

Winning team:

La Moupedia

My team:

Dos Donuts: week20

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Week 20: Caicedo? Piatti? Adriano?

Barcelona (1st) v Racing Santander (14th)

Adriano, should start for Barca
Of course a home win for Barca over Kennedy Bakircioglu's Racing, who are now under new ownership. The question of course is how many and who will score. They have a full strength side apart from at right back where Dani Alves is out meaning Adriano fills in. The Brazilian has a relatively unremarkable record of 16.5 points in 7 appearances but has appeared in the last two weeks and did score 9.5 in week 18 during the 4-0 win at Depor. Could be worth a punt at 7.25.

Messi is 43.48, Villa 30.88: Pedro still feels like a bargain at 21.16. Xavi is 13.99 but only has scored +10 3 times this year, Iniesta is 15.67 and has scored in 3 of the past 5 weeks.

Real Mad (2nd) v Mallorca (9th)

So Real will look to get back to winning ways against Mallorca who were pumped 3-0 by "the other" Madrid last weekend. Mourinho will have the same selection issues up front with Benzema (11.69) and Kaka (10.21) vying for a starting spot. Strangely, Ronaldo not included, Real still have some of the best bargains around and it seems at once naive and prudent to persevere with having 4 of Real's possible starting 5 forwards in keeping hold of the above along with Ozil (5.45) (6.11) and Di Maria. It's in defence where changes need to be made where card prone Carvalho and Albiol need to be given a rest.

Villarreal (3rd) v Real Sociedad (11th)

Cazorla returns
Should be a straight forward win for Villarreal with no new injury worries. Lovely Ruben has to be kept, his value soaring to 9.56 from 6.55 (1 goal, 1 assist and 3 SOTs last week). It's a case of how many spots are left over from the Real bargains to squeeze in some Yellows. It's tempting to get in Cani and Cazorla and some defenders. Spanish international Cazorla returns and is Villarreal's 3rd highest scorer with 144.5 this season, but pricey at 15.59.

Valencia (4th) v Malaga (16th)

Valencia need to keep winning to keep Espanyol at bay and keep up the heat on 3rd placed Villarreal. Problem is, they're a tough squad to pick from, seeing as it seems to comprise entirely of midfielders. Vicente looks a bargain at 6.67 but the winger scored -1 last week. Rumour has it that top scorer Adruiz will return this week too and that could see Vicente bumped.

Getafe (8th) v Espanyol (5th)

Espanyol need to win over unpredictable Getafe. Espanyol players don't get a lot of points and their best players are pricey - Callejon (16.22) and Kameni (15.88). Could be as well to leave this fixture alone.

Sevilla (10th) v LEV (19th)

This looks like a good fixture to pick up some points. Seville are scoring in the league and the cup. Romaric (only 5.75) is tipped by to be the key man for Seville but there's a host of tempting attacking and defensive picks - Kanoute (15.91), Fabiano (18.21), Navas (15.03). Think I'll draft in Martin Caceres in defence. This Uruguayan chap is on loan from Barca having cost the champions 16.5million euros a couple of seasons back but has failed to establish himself at Barca, or at Juve (loan last year). He's only 5.75 and should get a clean sheet.

However, he will need to be sharp to marshal Levante's in form striker Felipe Caicedo (on loan from Man City).  The Ecuadorian, who cost City $7million from Basel and scored 8 goals under Mark Hughes in his first full season, has 7 goals in 13 appearances at Levante this term.

And the rest?

Almeria have a mysterious forward called Piatti (15.67) who is the 5th highest scoring player (165.5) who is not from Barca or Real. They're playing home to struggling Osasuna.

Also, lumbering Llorente, 4th top scorer in the league on 11, has a home game for Bilbao against Hercules.


Sporting Gijon v Athl Madrid
Real Zaragoza v Deportivo
Almería v Osasuna


Athl Bilbao v HER

My team:

Diego Lopez (Villa)

Gaspar (villa)
Alexis (sev)
Caceres (sev)

Ozil (Real)
Di Maria (Real)
Kaka (Real)
Cani (Villa)

Benzema (Real)
Ruben (Villa)
Pedro (Barca)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Week 19 review: Real disappointment

Ulloa (left) made Real sweat
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to 4 points as Real Madrid suffered a shock draw away at bottom of the league Almeria, dropping points for only the fourth time this season. Barca - who had put eight past Almeria in November for no reply - cruised to a 4-1 victory at home to Malaga.

Madrid handed a first start of the season to Kaka, shifting Ronaldo to centre forward at the expense of Karem Benzema but the return of the Brazilian playmaker could not inspire what should have been a walk in the park. The stats suggest a pretty uninspired approach with Ronaldo repeatedly - maybe excessively - kicking the ball at the goalie. The Portuguese managed to hog the points with 18.5 (including 5 SOTs), while Almeria's Valencia bound keeper Alves managed to be the second highest scoring keeper of the week with 16pts.. Of the rest of the front 5 (of which I had all 4), Di Maria managed a respectable 11, Kaka 2, Ozil -0.5, and Benzema replaced Kaka in the second half, to score 5.5, laying on the assist for another substitute, Granero (who totalled 10.)

Raul Albiol continued his dull form in defence with a 0.5 (booked) and was the first of two players to get booked and subbed for the Dos Donuts.

Like Ronaldo, Messi also only managed a modest score with 14.5 in Barca's victory. David Villa got 2 goals and 24 points, Pedro (1, 15 pts) and Iniesta (1, 14.5). Affellay didn't manage to trouble the scorers, appearing as he did for merely 8 minutes at the end. For Malaga, Duda showed what he's all about with a gem of a free kick to score a late consolation.

On to 3rd placed Villarreal, who, as predicted, triumphed over Osasuna. Ruben was on the scoresheet as was Spanish international Capdevilla, Rodriguez and Cani (with his astonishing halfway strike and highest score of all midfielders with 21.5). Ruben scored 18.5, and was only denied more by a booking. Roma loan signing Cicinho, also made his first appearance for the Spaniads as a late substitute. Ex-West Brom midfielder Bojan Valero scored a very tidy 15pts despite not getting on the score sheet. In goal, I took a punt on Diego Lopez who was let down by conceding 2 and only managed 2.5 points.

Jeremy Mathieu's Pro Evo likeness
Valencia, only 2 points behind Villarreal in 4th placed, kept up the pressure with a 2-0 win over Deportivo. French full back Jeremy Matthieu stunned everyone with a winning goal and a whopping 29 pts (his previous high score was 6). Midfielder Pablo got the second. Hedwigs Maduro let me down in defence, where despite a clean sheet, he managed to get himself booked and substitituted (-2). The lad did only cost me 3.09 though. Juan Mata only got 7.5.

Elsewhere, despite my reservations, Atletico Madrid brushed aside the in form Mallorca 3-0 with goals from Forlan, Reyes and defender Valera. I was chuffed to have Reyes who was second highest midfield scorer of the week with 21 points, costing 16.29, but not as chuffed as I would have been to have goalkeeper De Gea as well, who top scored the week with 32 points! In defence I also managed to have Dominguez Soto as an afterthought at 3.29, but the bargain basement defender failed to materialise.

Refreshingly, the top scoring team this week would not include Ronaldo or Messi, and would have looked like this:

De Gea, 32, Atletico v Mallorca

Mathieu, 29 Val v Depor
Valera, 20 Atletico v Mallorca
M. Gonzalez, 16 RSO @ Getafe
Capdevilla, 15.5 Villa v Osasuna

Cani, 21.5 Villa v Osasuna
Reyes, 21 Atletico v Mallorca
Xavi Prieto, 18.5 RSO @ Getafe

Villa, 24 Barca v Malaga
Callejon, 22 Espan @ Seville
Ruben, 18.5 Villa v Osasuna

Total: 238

11th placed Real Sociedad's 4-0 win at 8th placed Getafe has to be one of the shock results of the week. The Basque playmaker Xabi Prieto looks a bit special: he's got 9+ in the last four weeks and averages 8.76. Maybe a little pricey, now at 15.5 though. Sociedad's M. Gonzalez is not the same Chilean/ South African who once played for Liverpool but a young Real local.

Juanmi Callejon got both the goals as Espanyol punished Sevilla's wastefulness. The Southerner's dominated possession but couldn't take their chances and the Catalans took advantage (see Sid Lowe for more) in clinical fashion. Callejon has 4 from 19 games for the season now and is Espanyol's top fit goalscorer with leading marksman Osvaldo now out for two months.

In Kennedy "Mr Kennedy" Bakircioglü news, the Swedish forward managed 12.5 points even as his side Racing Santander lost at Athtletico Bilbao.

Other results:

Athletic Bilbao 2 - 1 Racing Santander
Real Zaragoza 1 - 0 Levante UD
Sporting Gijón 2 - 0 Hércules CF

League Table's team of the week
Week 19's winning team: Betancunia 2011
Team of the Week: Betancunia 2011

My team: Dos Donuts

Friday, 14 January 2011

Week 19: preview

Almería (19th) v Real Mad (2nd) (Sat)

Back in November, Barcelona put 8 past Almeria in a ruthless visit to La Liga' s minnows, and surely it will only be a matter of how many for Real. Mourinho has no new injury worries and it seems he will go with the same front 4 that beat Villarreal with Kaka likely to come off the bench again. It seems worth hanging on to the Brazilian (market 11.78, bought at 10.38) whose value is only going to go up, and the same should apply to Karim Benzema (m 12.81, b 11.69) with Mourinho, sort of backing the Frenchman this week.

Barcelona (1st) v Malaga (16th) (Sun)

And surely another routine win and a record for Barca against the recently moneyed Malaga. The Boquerones have added Julio Baptista, Ignacio Camacho, Sergio Asenjo, Enzo Maresca and Martin Demichelis, but this surely will not be enough to resist Messi et al. Unsurprisingly, in fantasy terms there are no great bargains to be had. Of the front three - Messi (45.83), David Villa (28.14), Rodriguez (21.14) - only the latter looks great value. Villa averages 13 but even when he scored last week, he only got 12.5. In midfield, it is tempting to take a punt on new signing Ibrahim Affellay (4.07), who was on the bench for the past two games and is surely due a first team opportunity soon.

Villarreal (3rd) v Osasuna (15th) (sat)

Surely a home win for the Submarine, who by many accounts gave Real a run for their money, despite losing 4-2 last week. With Ruben starting and scoring in that game in the place of the long term injured Nilmar, this unknown quantity looks set to continue up front with Rossi and looks a bargain at 6.55. In midfield, the attacking options of Cani (10.71), Carzola (15.26, averaging 8.03) or Valero (11.77) appeal. Also, Diego Lopez has to come into the fantasy goal, his price having sank to 11.26 thanks to his conceding 4 at Real. But the yellows can take nothing for granted; Osasuna's Ricardo was the top scoring goalkeeper last week at home to Getafe. Although, this may also say a lot about Osasuna's defensive short comings.
Ruben "Warpath" Villarreal, not to be confused with Ruben, Villarreal

Valencia 4th v Deportivo 13th (Sun)

Valencia have to be clear favourites, cruising into the game on a great run of form, while Deportivo will still be recovering from the 4-0 battering at home to Barca last week. Valencia's Juan Mata scored the only goal last week in their one nil win at Levante and, with the striker penning a new deal this week, looks a safe pick. Although, priced at 18.38, there may be some better bargains around (e.g. Ruben).

Sevilla 10th v Espanyol 5th (Sat)

This is the most closely matched tie of the round with both sides in fantastic form heading into this game. Sevilla have won 4 on the trot and in Kanoute and Fabiano have an in form, dangerous strike force. But, Espanyol have one of the best keepers in the league at the moment in Carles Kameni.

Athl Madrid 6th v Mallorca 8th (Mon)

This should be one of the games of the week but both teams are likely to cancel each other out. Forlan is tempting at 17 but the Uruguayan hasn't scored in La Liga for 6 weeks. Likewise, Aguero (20), is unlikey to have a great time against a decent Mallorca defence.

And the rest...


Getafe 7th v Real Sociedad 12th 
Zaragoza 20th v LEV 17th 
Sporting 18th v Hercules 11th 
Athl Bilbao 9th v Racing 14th

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Week 18: Kaka returns

Kaka came off the bench to score his first goal and points of this season, in only his second game since returning from the knee injury which has kept him out thus far. The Brazilian scored the 4th as Real Madrid extended the gap between themselves and third placed Villarreal to 11 points with a 4-2 victory at the Bernabeau.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and assisted Kaka to score 37pts and take his tally for the season to 376.5, and his value to 46.84. Like Ronaldo, Messi hogged the points in his side's victory, scoring 25 as Barca tonked Deportivo 4-0 at the Rizor. (Total 330, value 45.83, avg 22 from 14 games.)

Ronaldo and Messi aside, the other striking performance of note was Seville's Freddy Kanoute who booted a mighty 27 as the southerners continued their recovery with their 4th straight victory. The Mali man scored twice in a 3-2 victory at Real Sociedad and Seville now lie 10th.

I had focussed my attention this week exclusively on Real Madrid (v Villareal), Mallorca (v Almeria), and Santander (v Gijon). 5 of my 11 came from Real Madrid. Ozil (paid 5.45, now 11.51) and Di Maria (6.11, 11.15) joined Kaka in midfield, and managed a miserly 4 and 0.5 respectively. I handed Benzema a striker's berth and he coughed up a reasonable 7.5 for his 11.56 value. The Frenchman has scored 10+ only twice (1 goal) in 17 appearances. With Higuain out for another 4 months, it seems likely he'll get another crack at the cherry against Almeria away next week. In defence I replaced card prone Carvalho with bargain R.Albiol, who at 2.81 managed -1 point.

Real Mallorca were an excellent resource this week as strikers E. Nsue (14.5) and M Perreira (8.5) and defender Ivan Ramis (11) all netted for me as the islanders battered lowly Almeria 4-1 in Palma to go 8th.

In goal, Racing Santander's Tono scored me a decent 14.5, despite the home side only managing a 1-1 draw against bottom of the table Sporting Gijon. The lad has done well considering I have him at 8.8 (now worth 12.9). Racing defenders Torrejon and the expensive Henrique were less impressive, registering 0.5 each.

Overall, the pick of the keepers was Osasuna's Ricardo (now worth 14.38), the former Manchester United keeper top scoring with 21 as 15th placed Osasuna held 7th placed Getafe at home in a scoreless draw. Espanyol's Carles Kameni remains second most expensive keeper (15.9 behind Valdes 20.38), scoring 18 as the 5th placed catalans thumped Zaragoza 4-0.

In defence, the top players were:

Didac, Espanyol, 15.00
Jose Angel, Sporting, 13.5
Rafa, Getafe, 13.00
Miguel, Valencia, 11.5

None of these guys scored a goal, and Jose Angel didn't even keep a clean sheet.

Jose Reyes
In midfield, former Arsenal forward Jose Reyes top scored with 20 and got his first goal of the season even while his team, 6th placed Atletico Madrid, were hammered 4-1 by the unpredictable Hercules (now 11th). Malaga's Duda deserves a mention with the 4th highest midfield score of 12.5 as he has emerged as something of a mystery. The former Porto man is the highest price midfielder by far at 20.17 (4 more than the nearest contender, Reyes), but has yet to score a goal this season and averages a relaxed 7.7 from 7 games.

Jose Reyes, A.Mad, 20.00
J. De Guzman, Mallorca, 16.00
Javier Martinez, At. Bilbao 16.00
Duda, Malaga, 12.5

Ex Premier league Quincy Owusu Abeye also plays for Malaga and scored 2.5. The former Arsenal, Birmingham and Portsmouth striker has not scored more than 5 since week 6.

Best possible side this week (not including Messi or Ronaldo)?

Kanoute, Sev, 27.00
Luis Garcia, Espanyol, 20.00
Luis Fabiano, Seville, 16.5

Jose Reyes, A.Mad, 20.00
J. De Guzman, Mallorca, 16.00
Javier Martinez, At. Bilbao 16.00
Duda, Malaga, 12.5

Didac, Espanyol, 15.00
Jose Angel, Sporting, 13.5
Rafa, Getafe, 13.00

Ricardo, Osasuna, 21

Total = 174.5

Winning side:

LUNG - 133pts

Ronaldo, Real Mad, 37
Kanoute, Seville, 27
Trezeguet, Hercules, 13.5

Vicente, Valencia, 2.5
Ozil, Real Mad, 4
Alonso, Real Mad, 2.5
Khedeira, Real Mad 0

Ramis, Mallorca, 11
Pique, Barca, 10.5
Carvalho, Real Mad, 1

Ricardo, Osasuna, 21