Monday, 9 May 2011

Guadiola's team selection: a headache for fantasy pickers

Pep Guardiola seems to like taking the rise with fantasy football managers. Barcelona, as you might expect, are the highest scoring team in Yahoo Fantasy football: over the season, the accumluated score of their squad makes 2928pts. Their closest rivals are natually Real Madrid with 2754.5 pts. One would imagine that shoehorning as many Barca players into your line-up would be a sensible tactic for any fantasy manager, but alas, the champions elect keep upsetting me. David Villa has 2 goals in 10 games, Xavi hardly ever breaks 10 pts, Messi's value is always 40+, and with the recent fixture congestion, its almost impossible to predict the damn lineup as Pep rotates his boys to ensure freshness.

With an 5 pt lead and a game in hand, (with 3 to play) before Sunday night's fixture against Espanyol, Barca had to all intents and purposes won La Liga. One might expect that going into last nights home derby, Pep might have given a rest to the stars that secured passage to the Champions League final on Tuesday. You'd be given further reason for believing this given that throughout April, the team was heavily rotated with the likes of Jeffren, Pinto, Milito, Keita, Thiago, Affellay, and Fontas featuring frequently in the Liga matches. Even more weight is thrown behind this theory when you consider that Espanyol are on a horrible run of form and never beat Barcelona. So surely, these fringe names would feature in the gimme home game on Sunday?

But no, apart from perhaps the inclusion of Fontas and the absence of Puyol, he goes and names 9 of his strongest line-up; that which we will surely see against Man Utd. You might say to me, Pep could not risk increasing the pressure on himself and his team with another blip after last week's shock loss to Sociedad. you might say, he needs to play his strongest 11 to keep them sharp for the CL final.

Having picked Pinto, Affellay and Jeffren for my side this weekend, I prefer to think he has it in for fantasy football managers. Maybe it has something to do with Jose Mourinho's professed enjoyment of the Fantasy Football game, maybe Pep doesn't have time for such frivolity, but for my money, he's clearly out to undermine my fantasy football selections. Only Affellay got any game time. He got me 1 point.

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