Europa League GW29 Review: Groups I-L

So, the final round of the group stage has passed. Got to make this review a quick one.

Group I

Dortmund (Tommytour) defeats Cluj (Milanista) 55-51

Aiming for a historic sixth win from six, I don’t know what to blame more. Lukaku(c) for that 16 point penalty miss, Cisse for a last minute goals plus baps for Tommy or that home advantage rule. Tommy needed a win to guarantee progression  to the knockouts and Suarez, Cisse, Bale, Enrique and Turner helped him there despite Michu(c).

Everton (Beric) draw with Spartak Moscow (Arise Sir Giggsy) 45-45

Beric needed a win and Tommy to lose to have a chance of progressing. With neither event coming to pass Everton have ended in 3rd place, the 5 point gap between them and qualification does not show how tight it was. It took until the final GW, but Sir Giggsy finally got off the mark to avoid the shame of ending on 0 points. He’d have got a win if he didn’t talk a hit for Michu and, of all people, Hal Robson Kanu.

Group J

Olympiakos (Pratik) defeats Man City (AK) 49-48

A top of the table clash, Pratik qualifies as group winner after winning this one. Captain Bale, Suarez, Sissoko and Bunn produced the points for Olympiakos, City had Benteke(c), Suarez, Bale and Lukaku returning the goods. AK goes through in second.

Sporting (TorresMagic) defeats Granada (Green Windmill) 52-47

H2H record meant that Sporting’s win was not enough to progress despite matching City on 9 points. Suarez provided decisive in this one, Torres picked up 24 points from the little racist with the captains armband, Green Windmill is one of the long suffering non owners having not had Suarez all season.

Group K

Stoke (Wild Rover) defeats Shakhtar (Dynamic) 69-64

Two high scoring teams for this blank week, both had Suarez(c) and Bale providing significant returns. The unexpected 16 point haul of Andros Townsend got Wild Rover second spot in the group, completing an impressive comeback after starting with 3 defeats. Dynamic had already qualified as group winner with 4 wins.

Lille (In Like Flynn) defeats Malaga (Ajay) 53-48

Both teams started on 6 points and the winner had a chance of going through, depending on the outcome of the other game. Stoke’s win meant Lille’s triumph was in vain. Blank GWs cause desperation and Ajay was left transferring in Craig Gardner for a point. Admittedly, he used the cash raised to ditch that tosser Pogrebynak for Suarez. The valorous pick of Sissoko(c), along with returns from some of the usual suspects was enough to get ILF the win and leave Ajay with the group’s wooden spoon.

Group L

Getafe (Declan) defeats Wigan (Giggs Boson) 55-53

Needing a win to stand a chance of progression, Giggs will no doubt be struggling to find a gif that encapsulates the anguish of that Lukaku(c) penalty miss. Suarez(c) punished Wigan as Declan progressed with 5/6 wins.

Lyon (FC Borec) defeats Koln (Fray Bentos) 46-31

After starting with 4 wins and being the first team to suffer elimination, Borec has regained some credibility by winning the last two. Fray Bentos had a bit of a shocker after handing the armband to Sturridge over Suarez and taking a 12 point hit (58 transfers for the season now) to bring in a bunch of 0-3 pointers. Nevertheless, Koln take second spot after starting the campaign with 3 wins.

Europa League Review GW28: Groups I-L

Edit: ignore the permutations, I screwed them up.

Group I

Dortmund (Tommytour) defeats Spartak Moscow (Arise Sir Giggsy) 85-77

Playing away from home and taking a 4 point hit, Dortmund started with an 8 point deficit. The decision to sell Sagna and RVP for Enrique and Suarez(c) meant that decision paid off brilliantly. Fellaini, Davies and Walcott, along with Ramirez coming off the bench led to a 43k GW rank for Tommy. Spartak also own Suarez but captained Bale for less spectacular returns.  Fellani, Walcott and Davies also came in with the points for Giggsy though RVP to Lambert proved to be an unsuccessful transfer.

Cluj (Milanista) defeats Everton (Beric) 70-61

With Aguero ruled out through injury, Cluj ended up fielding an unconventional 4-5-1 formation but 26 points between GJ, Evans, Davies and Harte meant this worked out okay. Walcott, RVP and Bale(c) also helped the unstoppable Cluj to 5/5 wins in the competition, a record that no team in either the Champions or Europa League can much, not that I’m bragging much. Like Cluj, Everton saved a transfer and captained Bale. RVP, Walcott, Fellani and Zabaleta helped Beric to a decent score but poor returns from Anichebe and his other defenders meant it wasn’t enough.

Permutations: With Spartak stuck in last and the mighty Cluj having an insurmountable lead, the focus is on the battle for second.Tommy leads Beric by 3 points, a win for Beric against Giggsy will be enough to take him through on goal difference if Tommy loses. Giggsy has nothing but pride to play for and will be looking to cause an upset. With the full 11 available and home advantage, Tommy looks favourite to end the winning streak of Cluj and take second place in the group.

Group J

Olympiakos (Pratik) defeats Granada (Green Windmill) 59-57

Injuries to Sturridge and Aguero meant that Pratik was left with a 4-5-1 and a measly 2 points from Lambert, just signed in place of RVP. RVP to Lambert was a transfer mirrored by Granada. Both teams captained Bale and had identical midfields aside from different cheap 5th midfielders for 2 points. With the teams also sharing Begovic, Davies and a Liverpool defender it was always going to be a tight game. Pratik’s home advantage, along with having GJ over Enrique, clinched victory for Olympiakos.

Man City (AK) defeats Sporting (TorresMagic) 81-53

Sometimes, those at the top seem to get all the luck. Aguero(c), Suarez(vc) is a perfect example of that and exactly what AK got this week as he handed Torres a thrashing. AK saved a transfer in preparation for GW29 though was another to end up with 4-5-1.  Bale, Walcott, Fellaini and Evans helped wreak misery on Torres. A strikeforce of Sturridge, Lambert and Giroud was something of a disaster for Sporting, who had Bale(c) to thank for rescuing what could have been a dire week.

Permutations: On 9 points each, the winner of AK v Pratik will definitely qualify, both will qualify if the managers can indulge in a spot of match fixing and draw. Assuming there is a winner in the top of the table clash Green Windmill, currently on 6 points, will qualify on goal difference if he can overcome TorresMagic. Torres is also on 6 points but will need a significant swing in goal difference to progress so he’s basically screwed.

Group K

Shakhtar Donetsk (Dynamic) defeats Lille (In Like Flynn) 85-83

Big scores in this one, ILF’s attack of the Rat and Pig racked up 31 points and the differential pick of Pienaar came up with 12. Captain Bale, Azpilicueta and Enrique completed a good week for Lille. Transferring Suarez in for Giroud was a smart transfer, though the decision to get that donkey in the first place was somewhat foolish. Dynamic is another to captain Bale and own Suarez, Fellaini matched Pienaar’s score and Walcott finished off his attacking returns. 3/3 clean sheets for Shakhtar, along with home advantage, was enough to scrape past Lille who picked up 2 clean sheets. Laughably, it was Demel coming off Dynamic’s bench for Cameron that won it for him.

Stoke (Wild Rover) defeats Malaga (Ajay) 71-62

With everyone worried about GW29 blanks, Wild Rover actually ended up with just 10 players this week after Aguero(c), Sturridge, Rafael and Townsend didn’t feature. Nevertheless, Bale(vc), Fellaini, Walcott, Davies and the newly transferred in Suarez for RVP took Stoke to a good score. Malaga picked up decent returns from defence and midfield but was let down by an attack of RVP and Lambert(c). Ajay’s decision to sell Suarez for Lambert in GW27 is not looking too good right now.

Permutations: With 4/5 wins, Dynamic is through as group winner. The other three sides are all level on 6 points. After starting the campaign with 3 defeats, Wild Rover now leads the race for second on goal difference and has a home game against the group winners next. ILF hosts Ajay in the other game, though with a vastly inferior goal difference ILF will need to win and hope Wild Rover drops points in the other game to progress. Wins for Wild Rover and Ajay will make things very tight, as there is a goal difference of just 4 between them.

Group L

Getafe (Declan) defeats FC Koln (Fray Bentos) 85-62

Never shy of a transfer, Fray removed RVP and Dempsey for Aguero and Bale with mixed success. Having captained Aguero, he will no doubt be ruing the decision to hand the vice to Lampard over Suarez. 4/5 CS at the back from Hart, Evans, Williams and Davies helped the team to a decent score but some way off the mark required to beat Getafe. There were returns all over the pitch for Declan, who was another Bale captainer to sell RVP for Suarez. 2 CS and an assist from Harte at the back, along with Fellaini and Walcott gave Declan a comprehensive victory.

Lyon (FC Borec) defeats Wigan (Giggs Boson) 90-75

Borec was the first manager to suffer elimination from this season’s competition but he made sure not to be the last manager stuck on 0 points as he got off the mark with the biggest score in this review. Predictably, Suarez(c) was the biggest source of points. RVP, Bale, Fellaini, Walcott, Davies and Harte all chipped in. Giggs Boson wisely captained Rooney for a 28 point haul and despite 3 clean sheets at the back, was hurt by a lack of Fellaini.

Permutations: On 12 points and with a goal difference 70 higher than Fray Bentos on 9 points, Declan will almost certainly qualify as group winner. Borec has been eliminated as previously alluded to. Giggs Boson is on 6 points, a win at home to Declan combined with an away win for Borec against Fray will see Giggs steal second place.

Europa League GW 26-27 Review: Groups I-L

Slightly different this time in that there are two gameweeks to cover in this review. As everyone had the same opponent twice it gave immediate chances for the GW26 losers to get revenge or for the GW26 winners to rub salt into wounds.

Group I

GW26 Everton (Beric) defeat Dortmund (Tommytour) 104-96

GW27 Dortmund defeat Everton 41-38

GW26: The contrasting scores immediately show the difference between the successful DGW26 and the disastrous GW27. Both teams opted for 4 DGWers, the common Swansea pair of Davies and Michu and Sturridge while Beric also picked up GJ and Tommy went with Suarez. Beric stormed into the lead on the opening day thanks to Bale and Michu(c). Tommy did eventually claw back some of the deficit through Suarez(c) but it wasn’t enough.

GW27: Tommy responded to the blank GW conundrum by selling Michu and Suarez for Bale and Cisse, a hit that paid off in a big way though cancelled out Dortmund’s home advantage. Beric made just the one transfer, replacing GJ with Wilson and rolled out a 4-4-2 formation only for Anichebe to leave him a man down. Bale and RVP(c) aside, it was a disastrous GW for both teams with only a Zabaleta CS for Beric and Cisse goal for Tommy providing any relief. Dortmund scraped the win thanks to the odd point here and there.

Both teams are now on 6 points and, while it isn’t certain, appear to be in a straight fight for second place.

GW26 Cluj (Milanista) defeat Spartak Moscow (Arise Sir Giggsy) 82-81

GW27 Cluj defeat Spartak 41-36

GW26: Both teams did relatively poorly for different reasons. I suffered from limited investment in Liverpool whereas Giggsy suffered from having a slightly non-generic team and consequently missing out on the hauls of Bale and Michu. After Liverpool’s loss to West Brom it looked like the tie was over but it ended up being decided by baps after a strong performance from Spartak’s Sturridge and Suarez(c) and a less satisfactory haul from Cluj’s GJ(c) and err…. Henderson.

GW27: Giggsy wouldn’t have been pleased to see Cazorla bag a brace just after he sold him and captained Walcott. Monday night provided some consolation when the replacement midfielder matched the 15 point haul. With Cluj swiftly giving Henderson the boot, his replacement Sissoko made the difference in this H2H despite the frustrating acquisition of Jonny Evans. Sissoko’s double digit score meant that Giggsy needed 7 points from Demel to draw the game and that was never going to happen.

With 4 losses from 4, Giggsy needs to win both his remaining games and rely on me (which he can,obviously) to win both of mine to match Beric and Tommy on 6 points and potentially qualify. Cluj are not guaranteed a spot in the knockouts yet but it looks very likely.

Its worth pointing out, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with feeling smug, that I am the only manager in Europa to have recorded the maximum 12 points from the opening 4 games.

Group J

GW26 Granada (Green Windmill) defeat Man City (AK) 101-74

GW27 Granada defeat City 43-26

GW26: Despite a more successful captain choice in Suarez, City were comprehensively beaten as a result of Granada’s Bale, RVP and Enrique. A late cameo from Mata prevented Green Windmill getting Maloney off the bench but this was a small issue in such a high scoring week. Aside from the mega haul of Enrique, both teams performed dismally in defence, with AK’s defence of Baines, Samba and Davies returning a grand total of 1 point.

GW27: City’s 4 point home advantage was turned into a 4 point deficit after taking an 8 point hit. Evans and Pog were somewhat disastrous, the signing of Bale went much better. Granada also brought in Evans, but used their other free transfer to get Sissoko for a 10 point haul. Both teams captained Walcott and were left wishing they swapped it around with Bale(vc).

GW26 Sporting (TorresMagic) defeat Olympiakos (Pratik) 108-93

GW27 Olympiakos defeat Sporting 41-35

GW26: Double digit scores from Bale, Michu, RVP, Sturridge and Suarez(c) helped TorresMagic break the 100 point barrier along with smaller returns from Walcott and Martin. Pratik also scored highly, but no RVP, a 4 point hit and playing away from home meant that Sporting ran out as comfortable winners.

GW27: Both sides experienced a big drop from their GW26 hauls. Pratik brought in RVP and Sissoko while Torres has less success with Giroud and Debuchy. The signing of Sissoko, along with home advantage, made the difference for Olympiakos despite only managing to field 9 players.

After 4 games, all the teams in Group J are tied on 6 points meaning everything is still to play for.

Group K

GW26 Lille (In Like Flynn) defeat Stoke (Wild Rover) 107-88

GW27 Stoke defeat Lille 58-26

GW26: Two managers experiencing contrasting seasons, the less impressively ranked side racked up the points in this one thanks to Azpilicueta, Enrique, Michu, Sturridge and Suarez(c). Assists from Harte and Sissoko, acquired earlier than most, added to the margin of victory. It was a decent showing from Wild Rover, but the decision to captain Gerrard over Michu or Suarez proved to be unsuccessful.

GW27: After starting the Europa League with 3 defeats, Wild Rover finally got off the mark as Bale(c) and Rafael helped him to a relatively good week, despite an 8 point hit. The Liverpool/Swansea blanks meant that Wild Rover had to play Andros Townsend, which needless to say was not a name I was expecting to come across in anyone’s teams. ILF went one better with a 12 point hit. Bale aside, they were all disasters with Martin, Wilson and Rooney contributing 4 points between them.

GW26 Malaga (Ajay) defeat Shakhtar (Dynamic) 92-82

GW27 Shakhtar defeat Malaga 44-42

GW26: Both teams went into the DGW with Davies, Gerrard and Suarez(c). Dynamic also had Sturridge whereas Ajay had Michu and this made the difference as Ajay picked up the points. Both Ajay and Dynamic were no doubt left distraught by their decision to sell Bale to Gerrad, though fortunately they reversed the transfer in GW27, leading us on to…

GW27: Bale and Lambert in, now that’s what you call successful transfers and moves made by both managers. Dynamic also brought in Evans but still managed to get 11 players out despite his absence. Home advantage for Shakhtar made the difference in this tight game, unsurprising considering how the two managers seem to have been making almost identical decisions.

Dynamic leads the group on 9 points, ILF and Ajay are tied on 6 points while Wild Rover props them up on 3 points. All to play for in this one.

Group L

GW26 Koln (Fray Bentos) defeat Wigan (Giggs Boson) 86-83

GW27 Wigan defeat Koln 43-37

GW26: Fray’s decision to wildcard in GW25 and bring in6 DGWers while saving a FT in GW26 did not go down well with Giggs Boson, who was aghast at the prospect of losing both games as a consequence. As it turned out, Koln needed home advantage to win this one. No Bale hurt Fray, but his differentials Lampard and Dempsey both returned reasonable scores. Joe Hart makes a rare appearance in an FFS team, though Giggs’ Bunn outscored the premium keeper.

GW27: A familiar sight for GW27, that of Evans being transferred in for disappointment and a Newcastle player being brought in for a goal. In this case, it was Cisse and not Sissoko for Wigan. Fray made 4 transfers, bringing in Evans, Sissoko, Silva and RVP. It was the first time this season that Fray has owned RVP so we all know who to blame for the injury. Despite double digit scores from Hart, Silva and Sissoko, Fray started the GW with 10 players and watched Dempsey, Evans, Lampard and Clyne all return 0 points either due to not playing or having disasters. At least Lampard helped Hart to a big score. It looked like Wigan were heading for defeat then, in the final few minutes of the GW, Bale came up with the goods to stop Koln matching me with 4 wins out of 4.

GW26 Getafe (Declan) defeat Lyon (FC Borec) 87-84

GW27 Getafe defeat Lyon 48-24

GW26: Both teams got returns from the same players (GJ, Theo, Walcott, RVP and Suarez captain) in this one, the only difference of note being an additional clean sheet for Getafe courtesy of Martin. It was a deserved win for Declan, having been brave/foolish enough to bring in Henderson which unfortunately led to Lambert being benched.

GW27: With no player scoring over 4 points, Borec had a shocker in this one even by the low standards of GW27. While many went for Debauchery (as you do), Santon founds his way into Borec’s team and provided similar returns with an assist. The newly signed Bale along with Lambert being restored from the bench helped Declan double the score of his opponent.

Fray and Declan lead the way with 9 points, Giggs isn’t far behind on 6. Borec has the ignominy of being the first manager eliminated from the competition.

Europa League GW25 Review: Groups I-L

Group I

Milanista (Cluj) defeats Beric (Everton) 83-80

We start with the highest scoring game of the round. Despite Beric enjoying home advantage and a wildcard he could not overcome the might of Cluj. As the clock ticked down in the final game of the weekend, Beric looked safe with a 5 point advantage. However, a second goal conceded for his Zabaleta and a goal for Aguero meant the scores were tied pre bonus. Both teams found themselves smothered with baps, with me emerging victorious courtesy of 17 of the beauties.

TommyTour (Dortmund) defeats ArsieSirGiggsy (Spartak Moscow) 58-55

Another close Group I encounter, albeit a relatively low scoring one. Dortmund’s home advantage proved decisive in getting them off the mark in this season’s competition to leave Spartak as the only team in the group with no points. Giggsy benefitted from Harte coming off the bench for Demel but it was not enough despite Tommy leaving Turner on his bench. Dortmund now face 2 games against Everton which could go some way to deciding one of the qualifiers. Spartak will no doubt be dreading the upcoming double against high flying Cluj.

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Europa League GW24 Review: Groups I-L

Group I

 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.

Group J

 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.

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Europa League Preview – Groups I-L

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.

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Serie A GW18 Review

GW18 Review

Roma (Udit) defeats Milan (Milanista) 59-42

Roma’s victory leaves Udit in the chase for a UCL spot and me relegated. Damn you Udit.

This tie was decided after the Saturday as both had RVP(c) and Michu in action on Sunday, with Udit also having Mata to add insult to injury. Strong defensive returns were the key here, with Udit benefitting from Enrique and Cuellar, as well as getting Cameron in off the bench for Demel to ease the pain of his Foster/Begovic decision backfiring. Milan managed to get 3 subs with a grand total of 5 points off the bench while the unused sub was Begovic. Dempsey, Rafael and Kolarov (he would have played over Rekik dammit) all missing out through injury summed up Milan’s season as they were condemned to a 19th placed finish.

Udinese (Menly) defeats Atalanta (MJ) 52-40

League leaders for much of the season, Atalanta continued their poor form with another defeat. It was a case of points in defence again, with Begovic, Cole, Mertesacker and Enrique providing 31 points for Menly to compensate for Sessegnon being the only attacking player to score over 4 points and a disappointing Tevez(c). Atalanta also handed the armband to Tevez but only had Cuellar to be thankful for at the back, with double Stoke defence stuck on the bench.

Menly is stuck in mid table mediocrity after the win while MJ look unlikely to grab the title with four teams to overhaul. A win against league leaders Chievo will guarantee a Champions League place for Atalanta.

Parma (Little Wizard) defeats Bologna (Frazek) 65-51

A brave Zabaleta(c) was not enough for Frazek as Little Wizard picked up decent points all over the pitch to get the best score in Serie A this week. Parma are now free from relegation worries while Bologna are level on points with Lazio and Chievo at the top of the table.

Cagliari (Grounderz) defeats Juventus (Pratik) 60-58

With both teams starting and ending the week in 17th and 18th this was a key game in the relegation battle. As expected, it was a very tight game. Both teams scored well despite their lowly league positions and Pratik will be rueing his decision to bench Begovic which cost him the match.

Having both been beaten by Torino (the only team they can catch on points), one of these teams is guaranteed to be relegated and they start GW19 level on 21 points with Cagliari holding the H2H advantage. A win against title chasing Lazio will guarantee survival for Cagliari. Anything less and council member Pratik can escape if Juventus can overcome Sampdoria.

Inter (Isacki) defeats Genoa (Doctor X) 57-50

Captaining Suarez over RVP(vc) helped Inter to a win over Genoa, who did the opposite. Both teams suffered from benching Begovic and Genoa’s superior midfield was not enough to overcome Inter, who benefitted from defensive returns with Sagna and Johnson.

Isacki can climb from the lower end of mid table mediocrity to a more respectable position with a win in their final game, Doctor X is one of many managers fighting for a European spot.

Fiorentina (RCA) defeats Palermo (Mark) 57-50

The two top scoring teams of last week came head to head and Mark’s bold decision to sell Suarez for Dzeko for a hit cost Palermo the victory. RCA captained the racist and was no doubt ecstatic when Enrique assisted Suraez for a nice goal, assist and baps haul.

After a poor start, Fiorentina are 1 point behind the 3 league leaders  and 1-2 points ahead of a host of teams chasing that fourth Champions League spot. Victory against Pescara on the final day could clinch the title for Fiorentina, defeat will send them out of the Champions League places. A win for Palermo should be enough to get Mark a Europa spot, assuming that at least one of the five teams on 30-31 points slips up.

Lazio (Forca Inter) defeats Sampdoria (Megatron x) 49-47

With Pienaar on the bench and an unsuccessful 8 point hit that included Tevez(c) this was not the best of weeks for Sampdoria. Serie A’s resident Croatian captained his favourite player to put Lazio joint top heading into the final week. Depending on results elsewhere, a win could get Megatron a Europa spot.

Siena (Running Riot) defeats Napoli (Daniel) 64-59

Both teams performed above average this week, Daniel is another frustrated by the decision to bench Begovic over Jussi. Running Riot had the easier decision between Begovic and Federici. Siena are the only team in the league to own Hazard and his 13 points spelt bad luck for Napoli as they succumbed to defeat. Siena’s current 9th placed ranking puts them in the last Europa spot and probably needing points to secure it. However, seeing as they are up against Milan, Siena have basically no chance of getting that place in Europe. Napoli are stuck in mid table.

Torino (Bowstring) defeats Chievo (Reina Man) 48-43

It was a disappointing week for both teams though Bowstring will be relieved to go into GW19 without any relegation worries. Joint first in the league, Reina Man will be looking at Pienaar and Cameron on the bench and thinking about the opportunity that’s gotten away. There were no standout performers for either team and Chievo’s hit to sell Enrique and Giroud to Johnson and Defoe proved decisive.

Pescara (Goonerdhanesh) defeats Catania (Djerbil) 64-57

Catania just can’t catch a break. Relegated prior to this GW, they can’t even get a win when they do score above average. Snodgrass and Cuellar don’t look too good stuck on Pescara’s bench but Begovic, Nastasic, Enrique, Mata, Walcott and Silva(c)  combined to give the joint second highest score of the week in Serie A. Catania were the only team to get points from Pienaar, bravely playing him over Berbatov. The double Stoke defence on Catania’s bench doesn’t look so pretty, particularly with Hangeland’s nil pointer stinking up the team. Michu, Walcott, Cuellar and Enrique also contributed towards a decent score despite a disappointing Ba(c).

With just 9 points from 18 games Catania have nothing but pride to play for. Pescara are in the packed race for a Champions League spot.

Serie A: GW12 Review

Fiorentina (RCA) defeats Milan (Milanista) 61-42

 

RCA continued his recent strong form and leaving 10 point Ruddy on the bench did not get in the way of a convincing win. RCAs 2 free transfers of Foster and Boyce to Ruddy and Rafael yielded no immediate benefit but certainly caused no harm. My Cazorla, Lambert and McAuley to Fellaini, Berbatov and Wisdom for -4 was something of a disaster and gave Fiorentina an embarrassing margin of victory. Having gone from 650k in GW7 to 53k RCA will be hoping to cause an upset against league leaders Atalanta this week.

 

Atalanta (MJ) defeats Inter (Isacki) 52-31

 

It was 1st vs 3rd here and the league leaders came out as comfortable winners. Inter were another team suffering from transfer failings this week, Cazorla to Fellaini and Pienaar to Nolan for a hit did not go well. It was a mediocre week all round for Isacki, with only Bale and Lambert providing any joy and Sterling mocking him on the bench. Atalanta’s sale of Tevez to Berabtov was also a disaster, though 33 points from the midfield despite benching Sterling making up for disappointing returns elsewhere.

 

Cagliari (Grounderz) defeats Catania (Djerbil) 35-29

 

The lowest scoring tie of the round, it is perhaps not surprising that this was a relegation dogfight between the leagues bottom two teams. Both teams made 2 transfers and, while none of them worked out, the managers at least didn’t have to watch their discarded players run riot like so many fellow managers have this past week. Cagliari’s win lifts them to 18th. Catania remain in 20th, which is nice since it stops me from propping up the table.

 

Chievo (Reina Man) defeats Udinese (Menly) 48-47

 

In a tight game, Reina Man’s Flying Donkeys clinched victory thanks to 30 points from Tevez and Sterling rescuing the team from a string of 1-2 pointers. Both teams suffered from Mertesacker 3rd sub, while Chievo were left with Michu 1st sub and Udinese with Morrison in the same place. Yet more transfer misery in this, Menly will be glad he saved the transfer though Reina Man won’t be too happy with the acquisition of Mata in place of Cazorla.

 

Genoa (Ex) defeats Napoli (Daniel) 45-32

 

Has there ever been a week with so many transfer fails? Napoli spent 8 points ditching Baines, Lambert and Aguero for Gorkss, Berbatov and Captain Van Persie. For the sake of Daniel’s ‘sanity’ I’m not going to work out how many points that cost him. Napoli have now lost 4 in a row, a run that will inevitably extend to 5 with a game against the mighty Rossoneri up next. Michu was first sub for both teams in a disappointing week, though Genoa will be pleased to see Cuellar make it off the bench for an injured Jonny Evans. Ex also had Ba, Bale and Sterling produce the goods for a comfortable win, setting Genoa up nicely for this week’s local derby against Sampdoria.

 

Lazio (Forca Inter) defeats Roma (Udit) 50-41

Lazio were left grateful for Foster’s injury as Ruddy’s unexpected 10 point haul came off the bench to land them bragging rights in the Rome derby. There was little else between the 2 teams though Roma’s score wasn’t helped by a -3 from Hangeland. Forca joins the teams on 21 points fighting for a Champions League spot, Udit is not far behind on 18.

 

Palermo (Mark) draws with Sampdoria (Megatron) 57-57

 

As the only team to draw more than one game in the league, Palermo could start to get a reputation as draw specialists. Both teams can feel disappointed not to have taken the 3 points home given they both scored 10 above the leagues average. Hazard and Cazorla produced the goods for both sides. Megatron was helped by Ba and Tevez while Suarez and Michu helped Mark to the draw.

 

Siena (Running Riot) defeats Parma (Little_Wizard) 62–59

 

Parma will no doubt feel aggrieved to have been up against Siena as their score of 59 was enough to beat 16 other teams in the league. Running Riot was the only manager in the entire league not to captain RVP. His decision to hand the armband to Hazard made the difference in this high scoring clash.

 

Bologna (Frazek) defeats Torino (Bowstring) 65-45

 

No doubt aided by the decision to keep calm and save a free transfer, Bologna recorded the league’s biggest score of the week for a 20 point victory. While Cuellar was stuck at the back of the bench, Wisdom, Santi, Michu, Bale, Lambert and Kun all came up with returns for Bologna. Sterling and Suarez aside, it was a disappointing week for Torino

 

Pescara (Goonerdhanesh) defeats Juventus (Pratik) 55-42

 

Pescara picked up another win and now sit in second place, 3 points ahead of a number of teams on 21. Cuellar, Clyne, Bale, Santi and Ba did enough to get the victory over a Juventus side that had Sterling and Santi but little else to be thankful for. Pescara take on Siena this week as they aim to close the gap on league leaders Atalanta whereas Juve will be hoping to reverse their slide at home to Lazio.

Serie A GW8 Review

Atalanta (MJ6987) defeats Siena (Running Riot) 56-49

It was back to winning ways for Atalanta who now stand alone at the top of the table on 18 points. Siena had a chance to grab top spot but instead find themselves tied with 7 other teams on 15 points. Atalanta had some absentees and all three outfield subs were called into play. This has mixed results with Sterling producing the goods while MJ was no doubt relieved that Clyne didn’t return negative points from the bench. There was no subs needed for Siena who wisely played Sterling over Fletcher. Unfortunately for RR, his vice captain Pienaar saw red and, combined with Cazorla(c) against Atalanta’s Suarez(c), proved enough to hand Atalanta victory.

I have to make a special mention to Running Riot here, who for reasons unknown made Southampton’s Fonte vice captain in GW7 for his brace. While he didn’t get the double points, it still deserves credit for the flair.

 

Cagliari (Grounderz) defeats Bologna (Frazek) 43-36

RVP(c) proved to be the one big scorer for both teams in a low scoring affair. Frazek will no doubt be feeling aggrieved after taking a 12 point hit to sell Friedel, Terry, Noble, Hazard and Tevez for Jussi, Wisdom, Santi, Pienaar and Aguero. 32 points were accumulated by the players sold and the 5 replacements managed just 13 points between them. Pienaar’s red card in the last game of the week summed up the disastrous transfer dealings of Bologna. Bologna actually outscored Cagliari 48-47 but the extra 8 points spent on transfers swung the tie in Cagliari’s favour despite Grounderz also failing with a Hazard to Cazorla move.

 

Fiorentina (RCA) defeats Chievo (Reina Man) 67-63

With the joint 3rd highest score in the league this week Chievo could have expected to pick up 3 points. Unfortunately for the Flying Donkeys, they came up against the league’s top scorers for the week and went home with nothing. Strangely for a manager ranked in the top 15k, Reina Man still owns Petric but he seems to know what he’s doing. RCA put weeks of frustration behind him with an emphatic score courtesy of Suarez(c), RVP, Tevez, Nolan, Michu and, best of all, the great Emmerson Boyce.

 

Roma (Udit) defeats Genoa (Ex) 61-49

Both teams had RVP(c) to thank this week. Sterling and Michu aside, the rest of Genoa’s team disappointed while Udit had Nolan, Michu and Hangeland to boost the score and send Roma home with the 3 points. After a solid start Genoa have found the going tough in recent weeks with 3 straight defeats. Even with an 8 point headstart, Ex is no doubt bracing himself for a fourth consecutive defeat in GW9 when coming head to head with the mighty Rossoneri.

 

Inter (Isacki) defeats Catania (Djerbil) 62-51

After scraping a 1 point victory following a series of dodgy bonus point allocations last week it was a more comfortable win for Inter this week. This was another matchup where both managers captained RVP. Michu and Boyce made the difference for Inter who joined the cluster of teams on 15 points. Catania remain rooted to the bottom with 1 win from 8 and will be hoping for an improved performance next time out against Juventus.

 

Napoli (Daniel) defeats Juventus (Pratik) 63-29

Speaking of Juventus, it seems Catania have some cause for optimism after the team managed by council member Pratik scored a pathetic 29 points. When Aaron Hughes with 7 points is your top scorer you know it’s not been a good week. There aren’t even any hits involved in that 29 point score, it really was that bad. With 3 double digit point scorers and respectable shifts from Michu, Gallas and Glen Johnson this was a comfortable victory for Napoli, who recorded the biggest margin of victory this week.

 

Lazio (Forca Inter) defeats Milan (Milanista) 52-44

Somehow, I think it would have been very satisfying had I captained RVP and consequently beaten Forca with his Suarez(c) by 1 point. Alas, it wasn’t to be as Jelavic(c) failed with Forca taking victory thanks to a number of decent scores throughout his team. The efforts of Boyce were not enough for Milan who remain in the bottom 3 with just 6 points to date. Lazio move on to 15 points and an encounter against Fiorentina.

 

Palermo (Mark) defeats Torino (BowString) 53-52

In the tightest game of the round, Palermo scraped past Torino. RVP(c) was decisive for Mark who overcame a 4 point hit and benching Sterling to move on to 12 points while Palermo remained on 9. BowString’s transfer of Torres to Suarez proved to be a sound move, though BowString is no doubt wishing he hadn’t bestowed the armband upon Ratboy.

 

Parma (LittleWizard) defeats Sampdoria (Megatron x) 64-41

It was a decisive victory for Parma who racked up the second highest score of the week thanks to Michu, Sterling, Tevez and a certain armband wearing Dutchman. Much of the gap between the scores is explained by Sampdoria’s brave, but so far unsuccessful, decision to sell RVP to Suarez in GW7.

 

Pescara (Goonerdhanesh) defeats Udinese (Menly) 37-31

We end this week’s review with the lowest scoring tie of the round. Both teams did poorly and any team in the league bar Juventus would have been happy to face either of them this week. Neither side owns RVP which is part of the reason for their disappointing week. Despite having 10 flops in action, Pescara were the only team in Serie A to have Mata and those 18 points were crucial in getting the win and restoring some dignity to their GW score.

Serie A – GW5 Review

Roma (Udit) defeats Sampdoria (Megatron x) 72-59

 

Roma were the highest scoring team in Serie A this week, with the decision to hand the armband to Rickie Lambert providing a third of their points. Goals from RVP and Rafael along with assists for HBA, Cazorla and Kagawa completed the rout. Sampdoria scored above the average and can be considered unfortunate to have come up against Roma. Megatron’s HBA(c) was fairly successful, his decision to bench Cazorla less so.

 

Atalanta (MJ6987) defeats Catania (Djerbil) 66-52

 

Atalanta picked up a fourth victory to go top on goal difference and send Catania to the bottom of the league. With a defence of Cole, Baines and Ridgewell, Atalanta’s 3 defenders racked up 26 more points than the defence of Catania. It would have taken some effort from Catania’s attack to claw back the deficit and, with Atalanta having Ba(c), it simply wasn’t to be.

 

Inter (Isacki) defeats Chievo (Reina Man) 56-42

 

Foster, Berbatov and RVP captain made the difference here as Inter recorded their third win of the campaign to level with Chievo on 9 points. Inter welcome Fiorentina to the San Siro next while Chievo travel to Sicily for a clash with Palermo.

 

Milan (Milanista) defeats Cagliari (Grounderz) 62-40

 

Finally, I have my first win. IN YOUR FACE GROUNDERZ!

Ahem, Milan were winners here with Lambert, Cazorla and double WBA defence making the difference. Despite benching Rafael, it was a comfortable victory for the last team in Serie A to get points on the board. Cagliari suffered a frustrating week, with only Baines, RVP and Fletcher producing the goods. Both teams failed with their captain choice this week, Cagliari made the popular selection of Hazard while Milan’s choice of Morrison fared no better.

 

Juventus (Pratik) defeats Fiorentina (RoysCallerAnne) 67-45

 

Juventus recored the joint second highest margin of victory with Pratik’s use of the wildcard paying dividends. On first glance, Juve’s brave decision to bench Podolski does not appear to have backfired though the presence of Nathan Dyer and his minus two points in the starting XI reveals otherwise. It was a disappointing week for RCA, with the decision to give the armband to Suarez proving to be misguided.

 

Genoa (Ex) defeats Parma (Little_Wizard123) 59-57

 

In a very tight game, Ba(c) proved to be a key factor in Genoa scraping the win. It could all have been so different, with Rafael sitting on the Parma bench. Parma have proven to be specialists in tight games, last week the team were involved in the only draw so far in Serie A. Next week, this run of close games will no doubt come to an end for Little_Wizard when Milan rock up to the Stadio Ennio Tardini to give Parma a right walloping.

 

Napoli (Daniel) defeats Lazio (Forca Inter) 62-42

 

After 2 consecutive losses it was back to winning ways for Napoli as they comfortable beat Lazio to go 5th. The Lazio defence was awash with goals this week with Lescott and Cole providing 26 points and Clyne mocking his manager with another 9 points on the bench. It was a disappointing week for Lazio. Their manager’s succumbed to his admiration for Suarez, brought him in for a hit and captained him.

 

Siena (Running Riot) defeats Bologna (Frazek) 52-30

 

Siena continued their flying start to the season with a fourth successive victory. Critics are questioning whether Siena can keep up their form, pointing to their negative goal difference despite such a lofty ranking and fortune in twice facing the lowest scoring team of the round. Despite possessing a strong team on paper, it simply wasn’t Bologna’s week as no player returned more than 6 points. The manager has reacted by making 3 transfers this week.

 

Udinese (Menly) defeats Torino (BowString) 63-46

 

It has been a testing time for Torino. After following up a GW1 haul of 120 points with a second win it has now been three defeats on the trot. It was always going to be a tough tie for Torino as Udinese are renowned for not getting started until GW5. These are another two teams that scored well in defence, with Foster and Cole coming up with the goods for Udinese and Foster, Rafael and the differential pick of James Perch. The midfield and attack was a different story, it was just one goal from the front seven for Torino and no assists. While Udinese’s front seven failed to score, four assists and Captain Bulgaria resulted in a convincing win.

 

Pescara (Goonerdhanesh) defeats Palermo (Mark) 54-43

 

Unusually, these teams had just 3 players in common in their starting XI. Despite this it was a fairly tight match, with a combination of Pescara’s strong midfield and Palermo’s transfer addict tendencies making the difference. It was another disappointing week for FFS overlord Mark, who will perhaps look at starting some Moses-esque bandwagons to gain an advantage over managers who naively jump on board.