Friday, 29 April 2011

La Liga: Predictions Week 34

Week 34 Predictions

This week's predictions. Invariably, Real Madrid and Barcelona are massive favourites in their games with the maths showing an almost certain victory for both sides. In both games, the most likely score is 2-0 and the second most likely score is 3-0. The only problem for fantasy football pickers is who to pick as both sides will be rotating their lineups. It seems prudent to refer to last week. For Barcelona, the likes of Affellay and Thiago represent good value and are likely to start. For Real, it is a case of trying to find the cash for Kaka, Benzema and Higuain. Or for a good bargain go for defender Garay.

Villarreal follow closely with a whopping 75% chance of a home win against struggling Getafe. Only problem is that the Submarines are stuttering. Rossi keeps scoring as does Cazorla (in fantasy terms). Nilmar is tempting because he is good value but hasn't scored for ages.

Espanyol, Levante and Sevilla all come in with a 50% chance of winning their games. I don't trust that prediction for Espanyol at home to Bilbao. Bilbao have been in good recent form while Espanyol haven't won for a while. But, both sides should get at least one goal. Likewise, Gijon have been in excellent form recently and it will be a difficult game for Levante. Caicedo is good for a goal though. Sevilla would be the best bet against the doomed Almeria. Rakitic and Negredo being the best attacking picks for the southerners.

Away from these games, no side is given more than a 50% chance of winning. Osasuna desperately need a win to get out of the relegation places and their excellent home record comes up against Valencia's excellent away record; stubborn 0-0 specialists Deportivo face free scoring Atletico; and Malaga, coming into form just in time, are in a crucial relegation 6 pointer with Hercules. Whatever the outcome, all these games should yield plenty of goals so there are lots of points up for grabs. From these games, I like Duda and Baptista (Malaga), Aguero and Diego Costa (Atleti).

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Premier League in La Liga

Playing Yahoo Fantasy Football and being exposed to the whole gamut of La Liga's playing staff leads to many surprise revelations about forgotten players. Every week, some player I hadn't thought about for years seems to loom into view and asks to be remembered. 

Baptista, Malaga and Arsenal

By my count there are 30 former EPL players currently in La Liga. Where are they now? Naturally we only tend to hear about the headline stars but I'm generally more excited to notice some obscure lurker, who loiters on the periphery untroubled by the burdens of superstardom. The likes of Julio Baptista, Noe Pamarot and Xisco. They barely registered in England. What are they doing in Spain?

And what do their Fantasy Football scores look like? As there's 30, this will need to be a staggered project over the coming weeks. I'll particularly want to focus on the forgotten men: those fly-by nighters who barely caressed our skin before vanishing from view leaving us wondering whether they were really ever there at all. Firstly, allow me to present the comprehensive list. In due course, I will undertake the in depth analysis into individuals' performances this season.

Pamarot celebrates with Hercules
Atletico Madrid
Fran Merida, Jose Reyes, (both Arsenal) Tiago (Chelsea), Diego Forlan (Man Utd)

Gerard Pique (Man Utd), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)

Xisco (loan - Newcastle)

Noe Pamarot (Portsmouth, Tottenham)

Asier Del Horno (Chelsea), Felipe Caicedo (Man City)

Julio Baptista (Arsenal), Quincy Owusu Abeye (Portsmouth, Arsenal)

Pandiani, Osasuna and Birmingham

Nico Medina (Sunderland), Ricardo (Man Utd), Pandiani (Birmingham)

Racing Santander
Dos Santos (loan Spurs)

Real Madrid
Xabi Alonso, Arbeloa, Dudek (all Liverpool) Ronaldo (Man Utd), Carvalho (Chelsea), Lass Diarra (Chelsea, Portsmouth, Arsenal), Adebayor (loan - Man City)

Kanoute, Zokora (both Spurs)

Altidore (Hull), Borja Valero (WBA), Rossi (Man Utd)

Florent Sinama Pongolle (Liverpool), Jiri Jarosik (Birmingham, Chelsea)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

La Liga Team of the Week 33

La Liga's star team of the weekend 33 from Yahoo Fantasy Football.

3-4-3 formation

Higuain (Real) 35
Spearheading Real's reserve side, bags a hattrick in 6-3 defeat of Valencia.

Aguero (Atleti) 22.5
Brace in 4-1 defeat over Levante makes it 8 goals in 6 for Atleti wunderkid.

Jonas (Val) 19.5
Valencia's Brazilian forward got a goal, an assist and 3 SOTs in just 31 minutes of play.

Kaka (Real) 29.5
2 goals, 2 assists: emphatic display

Elias (Atleti) 18
Another Brazilian, priced just 4.38!, filled his boots with superb free kick goal.

Tiago Gomes (Hercules) 16.5
Portugease, scored his first of the season, and a match winning goal to boot.

Cazorla (Villarreal) 15.5
His 4th highest score of the year, dominant display from the wing wizard without scoring a goal.

Nunes (Mallorca) 25
1st goal of season for Mallorca in islanders 2-0 defeat of Getafe

Jose Angel (Sporting Gijon) 14.5
Jose with another excellent display as Gijon scored another tight 1-0 win, this time over Espanyol.

A.Paz (Hercules) 12.5
Paz helps Hercules secure vital win but his side still lie 19th.

V.Valdes (Barca) 20
Keeper had to be at his best, making 5 saves to keep Osasuna at bay.

 Total = 228.5

Spiegelhalter had a better time of it this week with 8 correct results and 5 perfect scores. Coo. (Actual results in bold if different.)

Valencia CF 0 - 1 Real Madrid (3-6)
FC Barcelona 2-0 Osasuna
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Real Sociedad
Racing Santander 2-1 Málaga CF (1-2)
RCD Mallorca 1-0 Getafe CF (2-0)
Sporting Gijón 1-0 RCD Espanyol
Hércules CF 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Levante UD (4-1)
Sevilla FC 1-1 Villarreal CF (3-2)
Real Zaragoza 1-0 UD Almería

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Team of the Saturday night:33

Higuain - (Rea) - 35
Jonas - (Val) - 19
Benzema - (Real) - 19

Kaka (Real) 29.5
Alba (Val) 11
Banega (Val) 8.5
D. Lopez (Bil) 8

Dani Alves (Barca) 8.5
Maxwell (Barca) 7
Damia (Osasuna) 5

V.Valdes (Barca) 20

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Team of the Week 32

Griezmann strikes again

A. Griezmann, RSO, 28.00
P. Osvaldo, Espanyol, 23.00
Rubén Suárez, LEV, 20.50

Duda, Malaga, 20
Miguel de las Cuevas, Sporting, 15.50
Juanlu, LEV, 12.00

M. Stankevicius, Valencia, 18.00
M. Pablo, Deportivo, 13.50
M. Demichelis, Malaga, 13.5
J. Mathieu, Valencia, 13.00

D. Aranzubía
, Deportivo, 20.00

For the record, this was the team of week 32. This is the best team you could have had. With a 4-3-3 you could have got yourself 197 points. And not a Barca or Real player in sight.

I've been putting it off to wait for the Villarreal v Zaragoza results but it seems they will never show. Nice to see so many unusal players grabbing the headlines and some old stalwarts like Osvaldo hitting the heights once again. Duda does not cease to impress.

The distribution of points for the first 11 was thus:

Deportivo 33.5 17.0%
Espanyol 23 11.7%
LEV 32.5 16.5%
Malaga 33.5 17.0%
RSO 28 14.2%
Sporting 15.5 7.9%
Valencia 31 15.7%

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Week 33 predictions

Week 33 predictions using Spiegelhalter's model + players I like this week:

Valencia CF 0-1 Real Madrid

FC Barcelona 2-0 Osasuna**
(BAR) Affellay, Bojan, Keita

Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Real Sociedad*
(BIL) Muniain, Toquero, Amorebieta

Racing Santander 1-1 Málaga CF*
(RAC) Munitis, Dos Santos

RCD Mallorca 1-0 Getafe CF
(MAL) Aouate, Nsue, Ramis, De Guzman

Sporting Gijón 1-0 RCD Espanyol

Hércules CF 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña
(HER) Portillo, Trezeguet

Atlético Madrid 1-0 Levante UD*
(ATL) Aguero, Reyes, Diego Costa, De Gea

Sevilla FC 1-1 Villarreal CF
(SEV) Rakitic

Real Zaragoza 1-0 UD Almería*
(ZAR) Jarosik, Braulio, Ponzio, Bertolo

*Asteriksed wins are rated +50% likely. i.e. best results to back.

Last weeks predictions: (actual results in bold)

Sat, Apr 16 MGA 1-1 MAL 3-0
Sat, Apr 16 MAD 1-3 BAR 1-1
Sat, Apr 16 ALM 0-2 VAL 0-3
Sat, Apr 16 GET 2-2 SEV 1-0
Sun, Apr 17 OSA 1-1 BIL 1-2
Sun, Apr 17 RSO 1-0 SPO 2-1
Sun, Apr 17 DEP 0-0 RAC 2-0
Sun, Apr 17 LEV 1-0 HER 2-1
Sun, Apr 17 ESP 1-1 AMR 2-2
Mon, Apr 18 VIL 1-0 RZG 1-0

1 correct score
5 correct results (win,draw, or loss)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Antoine Griezmann: Real Sociedad's French star of the future

Griezmann Wagon Wheel: Click to Enlarge

In a weekend when the El Clasico bigshots squeezed out pitiful fantasy point, the door was left open for some of the league's lesser known stars to shine. And French starlet Antoine Griezmann siezed the day and registered the stand-out performance from Jornada 32. The 20 year old French forward scored twice for Real Sociedad in their vital 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon and top scored the round (pending delayed results from Villarreal 1-0 Zaragoza) with 28pts. This superb display deserves closer attention.

Griezmann's triumphant week caps a stellar season for the forward who has been one of the league' most consistent performers. He has 225 pts, averages 7.26 and is ranked 19th overall in the top scorers list (just ahead of Soldado (Valencia), Nilmar (Villarreal) and Ozil (Real)). His brace took his goals tally to 7 for the season but this is a forward whose efficacy is in his all round play in the final third. While he has just 1 assist, he has also registered 20 shots on target, delivered 64 Successful crosses, won 32 Corners and drawn 37 Fouls. It all adds up.

His 28 pts was his highest weekly total this season and was a welcome reprieve for Sociedad who have been struggling for goals and slipping dangerously close to the relegation zone. With Raul Tamudo seemingly having forgotten how to be a centre forward and main man Javier Llorente missing since Week 20, Griezmann has stepped up to the plate in his side's hour of need.

Real Sociedad may not be the first club people associate with nurturing the young stars of the future but in Griezmann and Xabi Prieto, the blue Basques have produced two of the outstanding young players of this Liga season and will struggle to hold onto the young bucks for 2011/12.

U-19 Champion
  • Griezmann also lined up for the French u-19 side that beat their Spanish counterparts in the European Championships in July 2010. However, the wing-wonder didn't quite have the impact he would have hoped for according to's ratings
  • Total Football Madness have provided a useful write up on the french man. According to them, Griezmann is "the next big thing to come out of France"
  • I enjoyed this fab clip where Griezmann invites his teammates to invade a car after scoring against Deportivo:

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

3 Argentines and a Portugeaser

Tired of waiting for my scores from Monday night's La Liga fixture to come through, I got distracted and started wondering how Liga players compare to EPL players. I made a graph. It started out being a comparison between the Argentinian forwards Tevez, Messi and Aguero, but I arbritrarily felt a need to add another EPL player for balance - so I added Nani. It felt right. The only surprise is that Messi doesn't win absolutely all catgories.

Graph shows goals, assists, shots, corners won, fouls won and overall yahoo fantasy football stats for Aguero, Tevez, Messi and Nani (as of 19th April 2011)


Monday, 18 April 2011

Real Madrid 1 - 1 Barcelona: clasico stat review

Barcelona players against Real Madrid players. By all accounts it sounded like Real Madrid were largely on the backfoot fighting to contain the irresistable Catalans. But in Fantasy Football terms, the Madristas were more successful. Overall, Mourinho's men scored 45 pts compared to Barca's 30. Both teams endured some heavy negatives with Raul "the liability" Albiol conceding a hefty -11.5 and the usually prolific Alves registering -7.5. Messi and Ronaldo were the inevitable goal scorers but both were largely supressed by the respective defences. Puyol, Pedro and Maxwell scored 0 for Barca, only Xavi Alonso got a 0 for Real. The average Barcelona player score was 1.07. For Real, it was 3.2.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Week 32 predictions

I dream of being able to mathematically predict the best fantasy football 11 going into the week on yahoo fantasy football. I've been working on a model to predict team scores first, then will move onto players. For now, I'm working on predictions for scores. Using Spiegelhalter's model I've got the following results predicted for next weekend's (16th April 2011) matches

Sat, Apr 16 MGA 1-1 MAL
Sat, Apr 16 MAD 1-3 BAR
Sat, Apr 16 ALM 0-2 VAL
Sat, Apr 16 GET 2-2 SEV
Sun, Apr 17 OSA 1-1 BIL
Sun, Apr 17 RSO 1-0 SPO
Sun, Apr 17 DEP 0-0 RAC
Sun, Apr 17 LEV 1-0 HER
Sun, Apr 17 ESP 1-1 AMR
Mon, Apr 18 VIL 1-0 RZG

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Team of the week 31

Soldado (Eurosport)

*Roberto Soldado (Valencia) 37 pts*

Hero of the week for second week running. Scored twice and got 37 pts as Valencia thrashed Villarreal 5-0. Gap between Valencia in 3rd and Villarreal in 4th is now 6 pts.

Lionel Messi (Barca) 27.5

Brace ensured Barca eased to victory 3-1 despite going a goal behind to struggling Almeria.

Juan Mata (Valencia) 23.5

The young spaniard registers a long over due big score in the Villarreal rout.


Banega (Valencia) 24

Argentinian wunderkid makes his mark with dominant display. Also represents value of the week being 5.24 going into the game.

Bertolo (Zaragoza) 20

Crucial match winning goal to help Zaragoza move 3 points clear of relegation zone.

Jose Reyes (Atletico Madrid) 16
Another heavily involved performance as Atletico hand a 3-0 drubbing to Sociedad, outscoring the Kun Aguero despite not getting on the score sheet.

De Guzman (Mallorca) 16
Scores for the second week in a row in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Sevilla.


Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid) 19
Scores his first of the season in Atleti win.

Jose Angel (Gijon) 12.5
Another impressive display from the Gijon wing back as they earn a crucial 1-0 home win against Osasuna. (David Barral with the goal)

Drenthe (Hercules) 12
Dutch master appears in top 11 for 2nd week in a row but can't bring Hercules a much needed home win against Espanyol.


Cesar (Val) 18/ De Gea (Atleti) 18
Big displays from the spanish custodians showing their respective sides' victories weren't all down to attacking prowess.

In other news:

Real Madrid made whole sale changes to their starting line up meaning Kaka started and scored 2 pens.

Full side

R. Soldado VAL forward 37
L. Messi BAR forward 27.5
Juan Mata VAL forward 23.5

�. Banega VAL midfielder 24
N. Bertolo RZG midfielder 20
J. Reyes AMR midfielder 16
Jonathan de Guzmán MAL midfielder 16

Filipe Luis AMR defender 19
José Ángel SPO defender 12.5
R. Drenthe HER defender 12

D. De Gea AMR goalkeeper 18
Cesar VAL goalkeeper 18

Football | La Liga | Real Zaragoza 2-1 Getafe |

Football La Liga Real Zaragoza 2-1 Getafe

Friday, 8 April 2011

Ivan Rakitic (sevilla): Who are you and why are you good?

This week, I'm thinking about Ivan Rakitic. He is 22, Croatian international midfielder and cost Sevilla $1.5m when he signed from Schalke in January 2011.

I like to think I'm fairly well up on the hot prospects around Europe but this youngster arrived out of the blue at Sevilla at the end of the winter transfer window to take La Liga by storm.

His value has rocketed and he is now worth 19.5m (in YFF terms). I have the Sevilla midfielder at 16.4 having brough him in last weekend for Sevilla's 3-1 home win against Zaragoza. He returned 16.5 without a goal. This weekend, 6th placed Sevilla are away to 10th placed Mallorca who have been in a bit of form themselves. But Sevilla won their last away game 1-0 at 3rd placed Valencia. Rakitic scored the winner.

He has played 9 Liga games in a row since an inconspicuous start to his career in a 0-0 home draw against Malaga at the start of February (Week 22). In the 9 games he's played, Sevilla have won 4, drawn 3, lost 2.

His vital stats are: 9 games, 3 goals, 2 Assists, 2 Match Winning Goals, 8 shots on target, 19 Successful crosses, 5 Corners won, 5 Fouls won

He has 85.5 pts at an average of 9.5.

So the dilemma is: Rakitic is awesome and his value grows and grows and Sevilla are on a great run of form. But, it is much harder to return his value away from home, talismanic Kanoute is missing, and Mallorca are in good shape too.

In the same ballpark I could have Reyes, 16.92, at home to Real Sociedad. Gio dos Santos, 14.31, at home to Levante. How good is Rakitic going to get?

He also scored goal of the season 06/07 when playing in the Swiss league:

Monday, 4 April 2011

Week 30 review: Soldado and the kings

A dark horse
A stunning weekend in La Liga as a host of dark horses stole in to grab the headlines while the more notorious show ponies were bumped to the sidelines.

The main story is obviously Mourinho's first loss at home in 10 years: the game which allowed Gijon's GK Juan Pablo (John Paul to you and me) to score a whopping 29 points! Naturally, the Mou wheeled out his "they parked the bus" complaints, but the fact that Pablo had to make 11 saves, rather suggests it was the Real forwards rather than Gijon's defence that was responsible for the defeat.

Juan Pablo holds Hernandez (reuters)
His charges were hopelessly shown up by the ruthless efficiency of Miguel del la Cuevas who snatched a rare opportunity and match winning goal to earn himself 14.5 pts, a place week's best XI and give Gijon the win. Real, without Benzema and Ronaldo, had to rely on Adebayor to lead the line, and the Man City loanee had a shocker missing a host of chances registering a meagre 5 pts. Half-fit Higuain was dragged off the bench in the 2nd half to save his side but the Argentinian could not save his Mou. Fortunately for Fantasy pickers, his tiny 4.5 will surely see his value drop below 20 and make him an appealling pick for next week. Di Maria with 12 and Ozil with 8 returned their value as expected but Arbeloa let me down with a measly 0.5.

Roberto Soldado was the ubermensch of the weekend, plundering 4 goals and 45 points as Valencia crushed Getafe 4-2 and jumped to 3rd. Soldado had 5 goals in 28 appearances before this but his uneering display ensured Valencia bounced back to winning ways after two defeats in a row going into the international break. The man tends to blitz. He got 29 pts in week 13 but has been quiet since.

Diego Costa hattrick Photo EFE
Diego Costa, (valued at just 5.8!) started ahead of Diego Forlan and scored a hattrick to help Atletico win a difficult tie 3-2 away at in form Osasuna. A bit of a shocker all round there. On a personal note, I was pretty chuffed with the prescience of my Kike Sola pick, as the centre forward scored for the home side (but only got 9.5). Was a bit disappointed in Camunas for OSA who only got 1.5.

Levante did the unthinkable and scored a load of goals without Caicedo featuring. Stuani took on the mantle and again at the astonishingly cheap rate of 6.31 scored twice and got 31 as Levante beat relegation rivals Malaga 3-1.

Rakitic had another superb week at the heart of Sevilla's midfield. Who is this guy? I was pleased I forked out on the 16.4 million man as he got 16.5 points without a goal as the southerners crushed Zaragoza 3-1. Former Chelsea man Jarosik had another fine game for the away side scoring a goal.

Another ex-prem reject, Giovani dos Santos was also amongst the goals as Kennedy Bakircoglu's Racing Santander snatched a surprise 2-1 win at Espanyol. Espanyol's season is going steadily down the pan after they looked so good earlier on. For my part, I was again pleased to have Osvaldo as the striker returned to the starting 11 to score a pen, but a bit miffed that he only got 11 pts.

Hercules delivered another blow to my week as they beat Sociedad 3-1 away thanks to the dutch Gareth Bale - Royston Drenthe (registered a defender, plays left wing, Hercules' best attacking threat). The cheaky scamp scored twice to ensure Sociedad's and my GK Bravo registered -1. I took some solice in defender Gonzalez (valued 3) scoring 4.5. 150% return! Hercules haven't done anything away from home since they beat Barca at the Nou Camp at the start of the season.

Barca in the mean time continued their tedious march to the title, and two of their defenders complete this week's top XI. Pique poked one in to score the only goal and Dani Alves must have done everything else as he got 15pts. Messi came off the bench to get 5. Awarded a rare start, Affellay scored more than 0.5 points for the first time since arriving with 5!

So here is this week's star 11. Of course, this could all change following tonight's match between Almeria and Athletico Bilbao.

player-team-(price) score

R. Soldado - VAL - (12.92) 45.00
Diego Costa - AMR - (5.80) 35.00
Stuani - LEV - (6.31) 31.00

Giovani dos Santos - RAC - (9.90) 17.00
I. Rakitic - SEV - (16.40) 16.50
J. Jarosik - RZG - (6.19) 15.00
Miguel de las Cuevas - SPO - (13.49) 14.50

Dani Alves - BAR - (18.13) 15.00
G. Piqué - BAR - (7.78) 14.50
R. Drenthe - HER - (14.17) 26.00

Juan Pablo - SPO - (8.39) 29.50