As always, the Talking Soccer Podcast will be out tonight or early tomorrow morning. Make sure to check that out on iTunes! We’ll go in depth on where we stand with EPL and talk about everything else that happened on the deadline day for the European transfer window. There was some madness…
Now you might be saying, where is the EPL Back of the Net article? First, thanks for being a loyal subscriber but, NO, there aren’t any EPL games this weekend. The boys are on an International Break and these Euro snobs are playing in some glorified scrimmages. Well, technically, not scrimmages. They are Euro Cup Qualifiers so I do expect strong sides. The top two from each group qualify and I’ll go through how they’ve done to date.
For reference, this is Round 5 of games and there are 10 Rounds. In theory, most teams have a chance, but….
To the desert!!
–Ireland +250 2.5 (+160o/-212u)
–Romania +600 2.5 (-125o/-105u)
–Finland +115 1.5 (-163o/+125u)
TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE TO DATE
SWISS – The Swiss have only played two games and beat Georgia (like they are supposed to) and played Denmark to a tie in a 3-3 thriller. The pts/game would have them second behind Ireland and, in truth, those are the three teams that will be vying for advancement. They employ a 4-3-3 and, at times, have run out a little 3-5-2 as well. They have quality throughout the side but will face a tough test on the road.
IRL – Ireland has played four games and sit in first on 10 points. They haven’t been overly impressive, however. 1-0 wins against Gibralter and Georgia got them off to a winning start before drawing Denmark 1-1. They beat Gibralter the second time around 2-0 but will face the Swiss for the first time. Playing at home will be a boost. This team struggles to score goals but are stout defensively. They have Premier League players throughout the squad. Switzerland will be a different test.
ESP – Spain are the class of the group and have shown through with four wins from four. The 11 goals scored looks great. The two goals conceded not so much considering one of those was to the Faroe Islands!!!! A big 3-0 statement win against second place Sweden was a step in the right direction. Looking deeper into the game, you’ll see that it was still 0-0 in the 63rd before Sergio Ramos converted a penalty to open the flood gates. Let’s not forget, former manager Luis Enrique lost his nine year old daughter to cancer. It’s a tragic story and we feel for the family involved. In saying that, if you dont think Spain will be playing for their guy you are crazy. I expect an ass whooping here. From a DFS perspective, this team is averaging (AVERAGING) about 22 shots per game…
ROU – Romania are right about where they belong, if not exceeding expectations. They have one man doing all the damage: Keseru. He has a goal or assist in each of their four games played. Against Sweden he came on at halftime and scored 13 minutes later. He’s a handful and plays either at forward or just in behind at the center attacking midfield. He’ll be one to watch if we are taking any pieces.
GRC – Tough to call any of these a group of death but, save for Liechtenstein, who are hilariously bad, this is a tough group! Greece has won only one of their four games and most recently lost to Armenia 3-2. Their one win was a 2-0 victory over the sorry Liechtenstein. There isn’t a ton to love here, but are Finland world beaters? Nah, mate. These teams are relatively level in skill but the one player that sets these teams apart plays for the Fins.
FIN – Just when you thought you couldn’t take any more Pukki, he’s back! Somehow Armenia kept him off the scoresheet but Lichtenstein (one goal) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (two goals) not so much. Armenia actually doubled Finland’s shot total the last game despite the 2-0 win for Finland. The total is low and the odds are tight for a reason. This will be a battle.
HOW I’M PLAYING THESE SLATES
This is something to get me to NFL Sunday and then relaxed and ready for EPL coming back next weekend. I’m not going to be playing much volume. Team news will be huge as always with these international fixtures. YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE after team news and before lock if you want to profit off these slates. I’ll be in the chat trying to help where I can.While these games should be competitive, these guys haven’t been training together. They are flying it, having a walkthrough and then playing games before flying home. Don’t go nuts.
PLAYERS I’M TARGETING AT THE MOMENT
- Pukki – FIN – $8.2k
OH, BABY. Seriously, though, I like his goal scoring odds. I like that they are at home. I like that he’s in good form. Spain forwards will be popular and for good reason. He’ll be different.
- Keseru – ROU – $5.9k
I mentioned his goal scoring exploits in the preview. He’s the man for Romania should they create and though I do think they will, Spain will win.
- Embolo – SUI – $6.9k
Seems to get subbed off, but I like the price and matchup. On the road is tough, but Ireland are beatable and Switzerland score goals.
- Moreno – ESP – $7.5k
If he starts I love this price. Just take the SPAIN F that gets the nod. Alcacer is certainly fine but expensive.
- Parejo – ESP – $8.1k
Great cash option.
- Suso/Sarabia/Ceballos – ESP
I like these three from Spain and in that order. Susa plays more wide and forward. Sarabia and Ceballos are more attacking midfielders and are unlikely to play together. Just take Spain mids.
- Lod – FIN – $5.2k
The assist maestro with one in each of his last three. Decent option to pair with Pukki in GPPs.
- Xhaka – SUI – $6.3k
Four crosses in back-to-back games. He’s an absolute donkey, but has a floor.
- McLean – IRL – $7k
Which McLean do we get? The nine crosses with some shots or the three crosses? Big difference. It really depends on who he’s playing with. Let’s wait for team news before spending this much on a player not from Spain.
- Hagi – ROU – $4.3k
IF HE STARTS, not an option I hate for cheap. Does well against bad teams and Spain are anything but..that’s the big worry.
- Spain FBs –
Whether it’s Navas/Alba/Gaya/Carvajal, Spain will have the ball for 65-70% of the game and they get forward a ton. One cash strategy would be to pair ESP FBs with Parejo and then grab pieces from elsewhere. That can be your only Spain. Again, let’s wait for team news.
- Rodriguez – SUI – $5.9k
Don’t love Spain? Take this set piece taker from the Swiss. Great player.
- Coleman – IRL – $4.8k
Yep, that Seamus Coleman from Everton. He puts in a shift every game. If you can’t afford those mentioned above he’s the best of the rest.