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.
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.
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.
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.
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.