Cluj (Milanista) defeats Borussia Dortmund (Tommytour) 67-49
The opening match in Group I pitted the group’s highest ranked manager against the lowest. However, that was no indicator going into the match as lowly Cluj romped to victory, thanks in no small part to Baines. Away from home, it was always going to be difficult for Dortmund with their key differentials in Suarez and double Arsenal defence playing each other. Other than that the teams were fairly similar with Bale sweetening the victory for me.
Everton (Beric) defeats Spartak Moscow (Arsie Sirs Giggsy) 66-50
Another decisive win in Group I, Spartak’s home advantage counted for little as Baines racked up the points for Everton. Davies, Walcott, Mata and Berbatov also helped Beric to 66 points, while Giggsy had Davies, Walcott, Mata and Suarez to thank for saving his week. Spartak travel to Dortmund next, as the opening days two losers hope to get off the mark. Meanwhile, Everton’s home advantage and active wildcard is not enough to stop Beric trembling at the prospect of Cluj rocking up.
Man City (AK) defeats Olympiakos (Pratik) 65-61
Despite Olympiakos starting with an 8 point lead thanks to home advantage and AK taking a hit this was another tie settled by Baines. Pratik’s uber theory defence worked fairly well with clean sheets for Davies and Fabio but it simply couldn’t compete with the crown jewel of any FPL defence. Things were very similar across the teams front sevens, Mignolet keeping a clean sheet and Begovic failing to do so was another decisive factor in the match.
Sporting CP (TorresMagic) defeats Granada (Green Windmill) 60-49
With identical midfields and just the one difference upfront, it was left to the defenders to settle this one. Mediocre scores from Granada’s double Stoke, Sagna and the valorous pick of Bertrand let Green Windmill down. The 0-0 between Sunderland and Swansea gave Sporting clean sheets for Davies and Mignolet. Along with home advantage, this meant that TorresMagic ended up winning comfortably. Sporting and City now play each other in a top of the table clash at the Etihad.
Shakhtar Donetsk (Dynamic) defeats Stoke City (Wild Rover) 53-40
Young upstart Dynamic caused a surprise by defeating the old, experienced head of the Paddy Power Cup winner. The first and only game in this review to see Baines on the losing side, Stoke were stung by 1 point between Rafael and Gibbs. Meanwhile, Shakhtar benefitted from Bale and Mata to put them top of Group K after day 1.
Lille (In Like Flynn) defeats Malaga (Ajay) 61-55
In Like Flynn’s team is a little different to most on here and a lack of Bale and Mata almost allowed Malaga to grab the win. However, Baines and *vomits everywhere* Giroud returned 28 points between them to give Lille the victory. Meanwhile, Ajay is left to rue that Zabaleta shot which hit the crossbar. Ajay now takes Malaga to the Britannia while ILF welcomes Shakhtar.
Getafe (Declan McCarthy) defeats Wigan (Giggs Boson) 53-50
Wigan’s long awaited debut in Europa ended in a narrow defeat. Giggs Boson made the outrageous but unsuccessful decision to punt on Shechter and will no doubt now be removing him on the wildcard. His other notable picks of Evra and Cisse produced the goods but it was not enough to overturn Getafe’s 8 point headstart. Declan was bound to have enjoyed Rafael’s late 0 point appearance to keep Davies rooted to the Wigan bench and clinch victory.
FC Koln (Fray Bentos) defeats Lyon (FC Borecelona) 57-54
15/16 of the teams in this review captained RVP. It has taken to the last fixture to see a team that hasn’t. Koln do not have RVP on the books and manager Fray Bentos turned to Mata for a 28 point haul, rescuing what could have been a disappointing GW for the German club. In what was a very tight game, FC Borec could only look on in disgust at Davies stayed rooted to his bench while simultaneously roaring off the bench of Koln in another tight Group L encounter. Just like every other group in this review, the top two and bottom two square off in GW25.