Group I – Tommytour, Arsie Sir Giggsy, Beric and Milanista
This group contains a mixture of ranks, with Tommy and Beric both residing in the top 2.5k whereas Giggsy has an underwhelming 46k rank and I’m stinking things up at 91k.
Me and Tommy will renew Euro 2012 rivalries. Tommy will be looking to avenge that controversial final defeat but frankly, he has no chance. Beric has not been seen so frequently on the FFS boards this season but this appears to be helping as he sits at 2,426 in the world, a vast improvement on last year’s 156k finish. Three of the managers did well in their first UEFA Council League season, with 5th, 6th and 8th placed finishes for Tommy, Giggsy and Beric respectively. On the other hand, I was relegated with a measly points total of 968.
Predictions: Unfortunately for the rest of the group, everyone’s favourite European underdogs CFR Cluj are going to boss the second half of the season and beat them all. With the current highest rank and the most impressive history, Tommy looks a strong candidate for second with Beric and Giggsy fighting it out to avoid the shame of last place.
1st CFR Cluj – Milanista
2nd Borussia Dortmund – Tommytour
3rd Everton – Beric
4th Spartak Moscow – Arsie Sir Giggsy
Group J – AK, TorresMagic, Green Windmill and Pratik
With Newman’s old grav, we can expect fireworks in AK’s press conferences. Given his top 500 ranking, the City manager can afford to let off a few celebratory fireworks. TorresMagic and Pratik have both endured frustrating seasons so far but have shown massive improvement in recent weeks. Pratik plummeted as low as 690k in GW15 though a string of high scores since then has taken him to 20k. TorresMagic had an even bigger mountain to climb and now finds himself just outside the top 100k. Its been more of an up and down season for Green Windmill, who keeps going between red and green arrows around the 10k-50k rankings.
Predictions: A tough group to call, AK’s rank stands out but TorresMagic and Pratik are in excellent form. However, with Serie A relegation and a group exit in the Euros to his name, Pratik is known to suck at UEFA Council competitions. Green Windmill has been in relatively poor form but that could change anytime as he aims to emulate last season’s top 1k finish.
1st Manchester City – AK
2nd Sporting CP – TorresMagic
3rd Granada – Green Windmill
4th Olympiakos – Pratik
Group K – Wild Rover, Ajay, In Like Flynn and Dynamic
With 3 sides in the top 20k this is looking like a tough group. With a rank of 229k, In Like Flynn seems to be suffering from playing too many fantasy games (not those sorts) and looks to be the rank outsider.
With almost 300 points accumulated in the last 3 GWs, Wild Rover has the form to mount a strong Europa challenge to add to his Paddy Power Cup victory. ILF will be hoping his active wildcard can turn around what has been a disappointing season so far. Dynamic saw a run of 7 green arrows ended last week and will aim to get back on form with this prestigious cup starting. Ajay is the group’s only Power 5 convert and it will be interesting to see how this squares up to the more conventional 3-4-3 formations.
Predictions: Ranked 157th in the world, Wild Rover is the clear favourite though he may have used all his H2H luck en route to the Paddy Power Cup. While Ajay and Dynamic appear to be battling out for the 2nd qualifying spot, ILF is the dark horse of the group and could spring an upset.
1st Stoke City – Wild Rover
2nd Lille – In Like Flynn
3rd Shakhtar Donetsk – Dynamic
4th Malaga – Ajay
Group L – FC Borecelona, The Giggs Boson, Declan McCarthy and Fray Bentos
With FC Borecelona and Giggs Boson, we can expect the battles in this group to be full of gifs. Giggs Boson took over as the gif king some time ago but Borec will no doubt take comfort in being the group’s highest ranked manager. Declan had a disappointing La Liga season, finishing in 17th place, just above the drop zone. The other 3 managers took their clubs into Europa on league position, with Giggs achieving the dream of taking Wigan into Europe. It is something of a mystery as to how Fray Bentos managed an 8th place finish in the Bundesliga with just 892 points. It was the second lowest score in the league, better only than a monkey that captained Kolarov far too often. This just goes to show how H2Hs can throw up unexpected outcomes.
Predictions: Based on ranks, Borec and Giggs are clear favourites to progress, with Giggs the group favourite on account of a sexy grav. Declan has been struggling but has picked up form in recent weeks and is seeing what was a disastrous rank quickly rise. With his last 4 seasons all finishing in the top 20k, it is uncharacteristic of Fray Bentos to be rotting at 650k in the world. A quick look at his team reveals no RVP all season and an eye watering 45 transfers, factors that go some way to explaining his struggles.
1st Wigan – The Giggs Boson
2nd Lyon – FC Borecelona
3rd Getafe – Declan McCarthy
4th FC Koln – Fray Bentos