Monday, 31 October 2011

Jornada 11: Saturday, Sunday

Barcelona 5-0 Mallorca

(Messi 38.5, Dani Alves 21, Adriano 19.5)
Predicted: 5-0

Exactly as was predicted, Barcelona eased up to 2nd. The tinkering Pep was the scourge of my team this week though as Iniesta and Fabregas never got on the pitch. Should have known with CL coming up this week. Messi and Adriano always play, whatever the situation. Goal scoring Cuenca needs adding to the game.

Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid
(Higuain, 13)
Predicted: 0-3

Underwhelming display from Real. Those who stumped up the 25 pts for Higuain will have been a bit disappointed with his 13 pt return. Ronaldo only got 7. Only Fabio Coentrao did anything exceptional with 13pt score from 3.54 value.

Top performance: Cassilas: 22, Coentrao: 13.5 (bv), Higuain: 13

Valencia 3-1 Getafe
(Feghouli 19 pts, Arduriz 14.5 - Castro 9pts)
Predicted: 2-0

As predicted, a straight forward home win for Valencia. Not much to get excited about in this game apart from the surprise brace from Sofiane Feghouli from a value of 3.35.

Villarreal 2-0 Rayo Vallecano

(Valero 18.5, Zapata, 11pts, Bruno 10pts)
Predicted: 0-1

A much needed win for Villarreal, midfielders Valero and Bruno making up for the striker deficit.

Osasuna 2-0 Levante

(Alvaro Cejudo 15.5pts, Nino 15pts, Andres 12 pts)
Predicted: 0-1

Surprise result of the weekend, Levante finally giving up first place in the table. The awesome Alvaro Cejudo with a bizarre game winning performance which somehow included a sending off.

Malaga 2-1 Espanyol

(Rondon 20pts, Duda 9.5 pts, Apono 7pts - Alvaro 10.5pts)
Predicted: 1-1

Malaga knicked 6th spot away from Espanyol, largely thanks to a strong show from Rondon, scoring his first goal of the season. Solid all round from Malga without being too exciting. Lots of 9 pt performances.

Sporting Gijon 1-1 Atletico Bilbao
Bilic 11.5pts, Barral 10.5pts - Susaeta 7.5pts)

Atletico 3-1 Zaragoza
(Adrian 20.5 pts, Dominguez 13.5 pts - Postiga 16pts)
Predicted: 2-0

Diego is starting to create. Postiga got a notable 16.

Racing Santander 1-0 Real Betis

(Tono 20pts, Cisma 10.5 pts - Pereira 10.5, Benat 10)

Predicted: 0-0

The Sevillians are crashing and burning. Santander; an invaluable win, largely down to magical Tono in between the sticks. Betis' midfielder Benat still keeps turning in excellent point scoring performances.

team of the week:

Messi 38.5
Rondon 20.5
Adrian 20.5

Feghouli 19
Valero 18.5
Cejudo 15.5

Alves 21
Adriano 19.5
Coentrao 13.5
Dominguez 13.5

Tono 20

Friday, 28 October 2011

Jornada 11 preview and predictions

Some figures to mull over:

Barcelona v Mallorca

Barcelona will be looking to regain some fluency this weekend at home to struggling Mallorca. After 28 goals in their first seven games, the champions have only managed one in their past two outings and currently lie 3rd in La Liga. However, Pep Guardiola’s side have only dropped points once at home this season, and that was down to an astonishing goalkeeping performance from Sevilla’s Javi Varas in their last game at the Nou Camp.

The Catalans welcomed back international defensive duo Puyol and Pique back to training this week and both should feature. Summer signing Alexis Sanchez also returned after a 6 week absence and could be in line for a starting place with Pedro injured.

It is not easy to see how Mallorca can hope to get anything from the game despite having escaped with a 1-1 draw in the same fixture last season. They come into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at home to Sporting Gijon and lie 13th. Some magic from midfield talisman Gonzalo Castro will be their best hope of upsetting the odds.

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid

Real Madrid are in a rich vein of form having scored three or more in their last 5 Liga games and kept four clean sheets. That run has included two 4-0 away wins in a row and the signs are ominous for Real Sociedad who have lost four of their last five and are currently 15th. Jose Mourinho has no new injury concerns and a near full squad to call on.

The Portuguese manager is likely to rotate on the back of the midweek victory over Villarreal. Gonzalo Higuain was rested for Benzema against the Yellow Submarine but should be back to lead the line. The Argentine has 8 goals from his last four appearances and can well be expected to add to his tally of 9 for the season in this game. Kaka could well be rested for Ozil who was benched midweek. Summer signing Nuri Sahin is tipped to make his first appearance while fellow new boys Rafael Varane and Fabio Coentrao could also be in line to start.

Sociedad’s will be hoping that Xabi Prieto can dominate his midfield battle against his Basque counterpart, Xabi Alonso, and on-loan Carlos Vela can probe and find space against a formidable Madrid defence.

Valencia v Getafe

Valencia are heavy favourites to beat Getafe at the Mestalla and need the points to keep within touching distance of 3rd placed Real Madrid. Valencia are in good if unspectacular form, and haven’t managed more than 1 goal in a game since their 2-2 draw against Barcelona last month. The promising Sergio Canales is now out for several months with knee ligaments.

Apart from Canales, the Andalucians have a near full strength squad but could rotate following the midweek victory at Zaragoza. Tino, Jonas, Mathieu and Aduriz could all be promoted to the starting line up.
Getafe have only taken 1 point away all season, and despite ex-Spain international Daniel Guiza getting his first goals of the season in midweek, the Azulones will be lucky to get anything from the game.

Villarreal vs Rayo Vallecano

Villarreal’s season is going from bad to worse with the news this week that star striker Guiseppe Rossi has been ruled out for 6 months with a knee injury. With Nilmar still recovering from surgery, this leaves Juan Carlos Garrido’s side with just one fit striker in the form of rookie Ruben. The Submarines are going through one of their worst starts to a Liga campaign with just one win and currently lie in the relegation zone. They will need a big performance from their attacking midfielders Cani, De Guzman and even Camunas if they are not to go down to yet another disappointing defeat.

Liga new boys Rayo Vallecano have made an excellent start to their first season in the top league for 8 years and currently lie 9th. They will be buoyant after an impressive midweek win at home against Malaga and the likes of Raul Tamudo and Michu will relish the opportunity to get at a shaky Villarreal defence.


Osasuna v Levante

Top of the table Levante will be looking to maintain their lead with a win at Osasuna. Osasuna are strong at home with the likes of Cejudo and prodigal son Raul Garcia pulling the strings in midfield. However, it would be foolish to bet against Levante who keep upsetting the odds. Levante’s superb goalkeeper Munua will need another excellent game to hold off the home side.

Atletico Madrid vs Real Zaragoza

While Atletico’s away form has been as dreadful as ever, they remain a good bet at home and should cruise past a patchy Zaragoza. Everyone is waiting for the tantalising forward line of Reyes, Falcao and Diego to click and Zaragoza should allow plenty of opportunity for them to do so.

Malaga vs Espanyol

Despite an excellent start, the multi-millionaires of Malaga have slipped away from the running, while Espanyol have been quietly resurgent; climbing to 6th in the table based on a miserly defence and some excellent goalkeeper performances from Alvarez. For Malaga, Santi Cazorla and co will be desperate to recover their form following the midweek defeat at Rayo Vallecano.

Sporting Gijon vs Atletico Bilbao

Two sides who have been quietly finding some form; perennial strugglers Gijon have been nicking points here and there, while Bilbao are starting to purr under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa. The former Argentina and Chile manager has three wins in his last four and star strikers Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain will be looking to continue their scintillating form against the Liga minnows.

Racing Santander v Real Betis

Real Betis have now lost 5 in a row after their bright start which saw them briefly sitting top of La Liga. Racing Santander are on a rotten run themselves, without a win yet this season. The Cantabrians almost pulled off a surprise win at Sevilla in midweek and will be buoyed by the performance. Both sides are in desperate need of a win.


Sevilla vs Granada

Sevilla have the form in this tie and should triumph over bottom of the table Granada. Manu del Moral has been a revelation up front but star striker Alfredo Negredo could return to the starting line up after coming off the bench midweek. In midfield, Ivan Rakitic is pushing for a start with some eye-catching displays as a sub, while Piotr Trochowski is also starting to look a real force.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Wednesday night football: Levante, Real good

Real Madrid 3-0 Villarreal
Benzema (19 pts), Kaka (8.5 pts), Di Maria (19.5 pts)

Real cruised to an expected victory at home to Villarreal. Higuain rested, Ronaldo scoring 4.5 and Kaka getting 8.5 even while scoring a goal would have left many FF managers frustrated. Villarreal need a result soon. Ozil's stock continues to fall.

Predicted score: 6-0 Real
Levante 3-2 Real Sociedad

Nano (12 pts), Valdo (11.5 pts), Suarez Ruben (10pts) - Daniel Estrada (12 pts), Martinez (11 pts)

Suarez Ruben blasted home an injury time free kick winner to ensure Levante maintained their vice-like grip on the top of La Liga. Struggling Sociedad had given the Andalucians a scare with goals from Estrada and Martinez but the leaders squeezed out the victory.

Juan Ignacio Martínez's charges continue to stun the football world while leaving FF managers non-plussed with the paucity of FF points. This time, even regular hero Munua in goal could only stump up 1 pt.

Sociedad's surprise performance lead to a few noteworthy performances. Daniel Estrada is excellent value in midfield, scoring his 12 from a value of 5.6, and Inigo Martinez - when he's not getting sent off or booked - proved again he is an excellent source of goals when he wants to be. One to watch would be Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela. The tiny mexican got 10.5 by making himself busy with sots, crosses and cws

The predictions were correct in so far as Levante were 85% on to to win the game, and most likely to score 2 goals. Sociedad's 2 away goals were a big upset to the odds though, being predicted aat 81% to score 0.

Predicted score: Levante 2-0

Real Zaragoza 0-1 Valencia
Alba (82)

Wide man Alba keeps Valencia's hand in the hunting pack at the top of the table. Not much else to talk about from this game apart from defender Bruno's 11pts. Parejo got some more minutes.

Predicted score: Valencia 1-0

Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Malaga
Bothelo (21 pts), Tamudo (17.5 pts)

Botelho with a crushing performance, scoring 21 pts from defence and a value of 3.6. All Rayo's strikers got 10+ suggesting they gave Malaga a real going over. What has happened to Pellegrini's chaps?

Predicted score: 1-1
Getafe 2-2 Osasuna
Guiza (2 goals, 21 pts) - Ibrahima Balde (2 goals, 20.5 pts)

Two braces from two strikers scoring for the first time this season meant a deadlock at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. Getafe's ex-Spain international, Guiza, broke his duck to score for the first time in nine games. Ibrahima's double reply was his first score in six.

Guiza's strikes, from a value of just 7, gave him a healthy 21pts taking him to 38.5 for the season. From a value of just 8.04, Ibrahima built on a solid 12.5 performance at the weekend to score 20.5, taking him to 30.5.

The only other performance of note from this game was another excellent display from midfielder Raul Garcia who scored 12.5 with 2 assists and various sundries from a value of 9.7.

The surprise strikes upset the predictions which had given Getafe a 52% chance of a win. A draw came in at 29%. Getafe were expected to win by 1-0; if not, 2-0. A 2-2 draw was the 8th most likely result

Predicted score: 1-0
Mallorca 1-2 Sporting Gijon
Castro (23 pts) - Bilic (9 pts), Joao Victor (og -2.5 pts)

Castro with an imperious 23 pts but nothing else for the islanders to be proud of. No player from Gijon scored 10+ despite the win. GK Juan Pablo was their top scorer with 9.5.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tuesday night action: Granada 0 - 1 Barcelona, Sevilla 2-2 Racing

Key points:

  • 1 goal from Xavi.
  • Lots of bookings and cards all round
  • Good points for Barca defenders. Notably Maxwell.
  • Barca youth striker Cuenca played 90 mins but not available for FF selection yet.
  • Fabregas back from injury. Played 71 mins.
  • Out of form Pedro now injured.
  • Granada seem pretty handy at keeping the scores down.

Teams and FF points scores:

Barca team and individual FF scores v GRN

Granada team and individual FF scores v Barca

Predicted number of goals:

Barcelona to score 1 and Granada to score 0 was the most likely outcome.

Sevilla 2-2 Santander


Sevilla were expected to score 2 goals or 1, with an 81% chance of winning the tie. Santander were heavily favoured to score nothing so upset the odds with their 2 away goals. Essentially, for FF pickers, the sensible money would have been on goals and points for the home side players, which came through in the shape of Rakitic, Manu. Trochowski was the value pick, the former Hamburger Pole scoring 12 pts from a value of 4.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Day 10 preview

Barely time to pause and reflect on the weekend's action. Especially if you've been off-line in Tallinn all weekend. The predictor has put in a sound performance though. The major shock only really being Varas' astonishing GK performance for Sevilla (although, Kaka's ability to score 0pts as Real routed Malaga 4-0 caused some consternation. The Real Betis bubble seems well and truly burst with their dour home defeat to Vallecano. Raul Garcia is quickly becoming an undroppable demi-god for Osasuna. I need him

Key points for Matchday 10.

  • The huge favourites are Real Madrid, Sevilla and Levante 
  • Where do I trust the goals be: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Seville, Mallorca.
  • I haven't had time to change my team this week, but if I had, I would have liked any from:
  • Barcelona: Iniesta, Villa, Messi, Fabregas
  • Sevilla:Rakitic, Manu, Navas
  • Real Madrid: Ronaldo, Ozil, Higuain, Kaka
  • Levante: Kone, Juanlu, Valdo
  • Mallorca:Hemad, Castro, Nsue

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Week 9: predictions

  • Most likely wins: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis
  • Where do I trust the goals be: Barcelona, Malaga, Real Madrid, Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis.
  • Barcelona: Alves, Iniesta, Villa, Messi, Pedro
  • Malaga: Cazorla, Van Nistelrooy,
  • Real Madrid: Ronaldo, Ozil, Higuain, Kaka
  • Sociedad:I. Agirretxe, D. Zurutuza, A. Griezmann,
  • Atletico Madrid: Falcao, Diego, Reyes
  • Real Betis: Benat, Sevilla, Santa Cruz

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Week 8 review: Postiga!

The results are in. Higuain has broken my heart, but there is little else to complain about. Forgetting my own lack lustre performance, there's plenty to enjoy about jornada 8's action.

The spreadsheet predicted a 4-1 demolition for Real Madrid over Betis and the Madridistas duly delivered. Higuain lashed 40pts and rendered Ronaldo a bystander with the portuguese notching a paltry 10.5pts. The Argentine was great value at 26.  

Kaka got the fourth and was good enough to prove me right in one sense, continuing his good form and getting me a goal, meeting his 16 pt value with 16 pts. The Brazilian has-been was also top scoring mid of the week.

Messi gave a tidy return of 31.5 for his 45.2 value. Barca cruised to a 3-0 win, not doing quite as well as the 7-0 drubbing predicted and not doing much to get excited about. I had Thiago and Pedro who got paltry scores of 1.5 and 7 respectively.

For me, the most exciting attacking display of the weekend came in one of the most uninspiring fixtures as ex-spurs man, Helder Postiga banged a brace and 24 pts from a value of 9 as Zaragoza overturned Real Sociedad 2-1. Dreamy. If only I could have been brave enough.

It is nice to see Reyes back doing what he does best and scoring loads of points without getting a goal. The ex-Arsenal forward got 15.5 pts and 4 sots as Atletico and Granada bored everyone to tears in their 0-0 draw. Reyes and his buddies were good enough to see that Granada's GK Roberto was the highest scoring keeper of the round giving him 8 saves and 24 pts.

Roberto is now tied with Roberto of Real Zaragoza for the most number of saves made in the league this season with 36. Spooky

Check out this hugely stimulating footage of failed goal attempts from both sides:

Romaric is starting to shine at Espanyol and is the third highest scoring midfielder of the week. Having done nothing all season, the former Sevilla schemer put in a match winning performance as the Catalans upset Vallecano 1-0. Romaric got the only goal and 14.5 pts. See how calmly he slots it in:

Espanyol got their first away win in 9 month. In goal for the Catalans, the bargain Alvarez got a delightful 12.5 from a 1pt value.

The final midfield magus was Bilbao's Gabilondo who pumped in his second of the season and scored 14.5 pts as Bilbao impressively eased past Osasuna 3-1.

In defence, Valencia's Rami invites us to marvel at his mastery in defence with a goal to give his side a 1-1 drawer at Mallorca.

Sevilla's Caceres got the match winner and 15 points as the Orange eaters beat Gijon 2-1 to keep the southern side sniffing around the top spots.

Getafe's Cata Diaz is the final defender in the line up scoring 12 points without a goal. Always a nice touch. Getafe held Villarreal 0-0 at home.

Levante's stunning 3-0 crushing of Malaga is the actual story of the week but didn't throw up a lot of points to get excited about.

Team of the week:

Higuain, 40
Messi, 31.5
Postiga, 24

Kaka, 16
Reyes, 15.5
Romaric, 14.5
Gabilondo, 14.5

Rami, 15
Caceres, 15
Cata Diaz, 12

Roberto, 24

Monday, 17 October 2011

Higuain Pain

Ah, Higuain, why did I doubt you. Gutted that I went for Kaka and Pedro instead of the Argentine.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

La Liga Week 8 Predictions

Obvious winners the top two. Of the rest, I like the look of Vallecano v Espanyol and fancy midfielder Michu to do well. I also expect Getafe to do one over Villarreal - or at least score a couple. The home side have been high scoring unlucky losers in recent weeks. Miku is solid up front, Pedro Leon is good value in midfield and striker Guiza is surely due a goal. Sevilla should cruise past Gijon but their forward line is unpredictable with form man Negredo injured. I like Sevilla defenders, like Coke. Although the maths says Levante Malaga will be 0-0 these sides are both unpredictably good at the moment. I like the look of Aruna Kone for Levante, a bargain striker whose already done for Real Madrid this season. Are Bilbao now going to hit a bit of form after two wins on the bounce? Muniain and Llorente should do well in this one.

From Barca, sure go for Messi and Villa. Pedro is a bargain. Pique is back. Fabregas is out, but Thiago might do something.

For Real, Benzema is injured. Not sure if Higuain will be tired. Kaka and Ozil are nice midfield options.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Betis slip. Barca grind. Levante march on. Week 7 review

Barca have reclaimed their spot at the top of the pile snatching the lead away from the precocious Real Betis scraping 1-0 win at Gijon, thanks to a goal from full back Adriano. The fixture was generally a pain for fantasy pickers as returns from the champions were slim. Only Valdes, Messi and Adriano broke 10 points. Bargain bin Fabregas also broke down and will be out for the next 3 weeks. 2 of those will be internationals, leaving managers fretting over whether to stick or twist on his return to domestic action. Barca will surely dish out a multi-goal meat beating at home to Racing in week 8.

Juanlu mobbed by his mates (
Real Betis went down at home 1-0 in the top of the table clash with Levante. Yes, Levante, who are now joint top, have picked up where they left off last season and are motoring along. Even though they have lost last season's top scorer, Caicedo, they continue to go from strength to strength. Munua contines to be one of the best keepers in the league, and midfielder Juanlu made it into the team of the week with his match winning goal. Defence is tight under the super Ballesteros and returning ex-Chelsea man Del Horno. Bargain striker Aruna Kone has to be a tempting pick against high fliers Malaga when the season resumes after the break.

Bargain man Alvarez (fourfourtwo)
Real Madrid, Malaga and Valencia are now all tied in third after victories. Real heaped misery on the many managers who have Espanyols 1million gk Alvarez with a hattrick from Higuain - if only we knew he was going to start. Will Madrid continue to deliver the beatings when Betis come to town next?

Malaga laboured to their 3-2 win over Getafe. Getafe always seem to score. Van Nistelrooy finally got his first goal (hooray for my team) but the Beast Baptista stole his thunder with a 19.5 point mwg performance. Could be a watershed moment for the AMC. Sadly, the uncanny conceding of 2 goals left many disappointed fantasy managers as Mathijsen and Demichelis had been solid so far this season.

Canales Mobbed
Valencia slithered to a 1-0 victory against struggling Granada thanks to the hotly tipped bargain that is the marvellous Canales - the only player who seemed to benefit from playing two games this week. Guaita - perhaps motivated by Diego Alves' midweek heroics - reminded everyone that he is also an awesome keeper by being the top scoring stopper of the week with 20 pts, making 5 saves. Hedwigs Maduro made a noteworthy 10.

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla cancelled each other out in a tedious 0-0 draw which didn't benefit anyone. Reyes gave a characteristically solid 9.5, while Turan continued his solid form with a 6. Diego remains tantalisingly cheap at 4.42.

Real Sociedad stumbled in the Basque derby, and Fernando Llorente capitalised with a heroic match winning brace to give Bilbao their first win of the season, and book himself a place in the team of the week.

The other Cejudo
Mid table maniacs Real Mallorca and Osasuna battled it out for an exciting 2-2 draw. Osasuna dominated, with the prodigal son Raul Garcia scoring his second in two games and the mecurial Cejudo notching his first of the season. Cejudo continues to fascinated and delight. He has 12 successful crosses, 11 tackles won and 5 shots on target already this year. He is everywhere. No Mallorcans scored over 7.5 which is odd considering they got 2 goals.

Villarreal continue to wade through treacle, flopping to a 2-2 draw at home to Zaragoza. Rossi managed a manly 20 pt performance which will be some solace to fantasy managers. De Guzman got an encouraging 10 from midfield without doing anything. And, who is Hernan Perez? A Paraguayan midfield maestro who scored with his first performance of the season on his debut. Most of the yellow lads did alright.

Santander and Vallecano delivered the most forgettable result of the week with a 1-1 draw. It is worth noting that Rayo's Michu again did well with 11.5 points without a goal and Tamudo was again amongst the goals.

Team of the week 7

Higuain. 33.5 (espanyol 0-4 REAL MADRID)
Llorente. 27 (real sociedad 1-2 ATLETICO BILBAO)
Rossi. 20 (VILLARREAL v real zaragoza)

Raul Garcia. 25. (OSASUNA v mallorca)
Canales. 22.5 (VALENCIA v granada)
Juanlu. 15 (betis v LEVANTE)
Cejudo. 14.5 (OSASUNA v mallorca)

Adriano. 21.5 (gijon 0-1 BARCA)
Inigo Martinez. 15. (REAL SOCIEDAD 1-2 bilbao)
Arbeloa. 11.5. (espanyol v REAL MADRID)

Guaita. 20 (VALENCIA v granada)