Welcome back boys and girls to this week’s installment of UCL on Mondogoal. Hopefully you played along with us last week and used Smokey’s astute advice to good use. I mean come on the man is the Lionel Messi of daily fantasy soccer. Which means he’s just like Lionel Messi if Messi spent numerous hours crunching data and analyzing matchups and not perfecting the art of dribbling, passing, and shooting. If you are yet to play with us on Mondogoal then you should click here and join the festivities. I mean where else are you going to compete against yours truly in all the big leagues and European competitions? Speaking of Lionel Messi he’s a hefty $27.5m this week, good luck getting him into your lineup. If you do I’m going to assume you punted almost every spot on the field and went with a 4-5-1 with Messi up top. That’s one of the great things about Mondogoal by the by, the many different formations you can feature from lineup to lineup. With the hefty price tags you see in UCL competitions it’s important to look for the position with the greatest values and match your tactics accordingly. Let’s discuss formations and starts below.

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Ahhhh, week veintiseis you are a tough one to judge mis amigo.  Lots of tough fixtures this week that pit good teams facing stout opponents at home.  It’s also a fast turn around for the table leaders of Chelsea as the Champions league starts up again today.  So keep that in mind for some last minute changes to your roster because there will be a lot of roster jostling, which if I am reading this right is the first cousin of shaken baby syndrome.   Be heady, yet patient and my best advice for this week is wait as long as possible on your transfer(s) to try and feel some of the managers and gauge fitness of some chaps before Saturday kickoffs.  As always good luck and cheers, it’s Transfer Tuesday!

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So, as we do every match day, we’re giving you our loves and hates for this week in a segment called Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em.  You should know the drill but if you don’t, we each pick one option from each position, and then, for a bonus, we show you our genius line-ups for the week.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Last week only hours after these very midfielder rankings posted, we learned of Alexis Sanchez’s hamstring injury. In many ways it sent the rankings into flux as we bumped everyone up a spot or two and added in Mesut Özil. I have to say looking back it worked out. Özil was good, Cazorla was better, and Ángel Di María grabbed an assist and a 5 point total. When you add in Sterling, Silva, and Eriksen you can see in retrospect that Week 23 was a good one for the top middies. That brings us to the big 2 – 4, what will we get this week? With Alexis riled out who’s number one? Well sit down, listen, and learn. It goes a little some thing like this…HIT IT!!! Midfielder Rankings, Week 24 y’all!

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Well, I hope you all heeded the advice of us here at Razzball and waited to use your wildcard until this week.  I would assume you did, because we are all of the intelligent variety and from I hear it is spreading.  Actually I think that may be craziness, but crazy people are somewhat intelligent in their own way.  Randomly wearing helmet guy, you get what I am saying.  So with the FA Cup finished over the weekend, it gives you a set-up of what will be for the next few weeks in the FPL.  Unfortunately, with some injuries and some suspensions, it has altered the state of some fantasy stalwarts.   This post has been in the brewing for weeks now, and I have scoured the internet viewing everyone else’s theories on this wildcard business.  Some good one’s out there so props to ya, but I think I have a better idea or one that is a variation of others that seems to be not fool proof by any means, but in my head, they are very feasible for a better run at the trophy.  So sit back, relax, this is going to be a long post with lots of different directions but one common path for you to have the best club with your gift of the wildcard…

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Well, for a player of value on a mid-level club to go to a top-tiered team that has players that are, for all intents in purpose, just as good… what does this mean for his value going forward?  Wilfried Bony has been transferred to the financial juggernaut of Manchester City upon his return from ACoN.  The curiosity side of me is wondering what this will do to his fairly moderate value (£8.3 currently), and how much run on the pitch he will actually get to retain that value once Sergio Aguero returns completely.  Format wise, it’s not a lose-lose situation for Bony, and I think he goes into the same role he was playing at Swansea and Aguero, to that off-set striker position, which isn’t awful for his skill set, because Bony is more of that “power forward” at posting up and better in the air.

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So every week, I review all the games… yeah, I do it running on high test caffeinated drinks, squeezing as much of the game info as I can, and then form a sort of “dream team” of my very own.  I do it differently, and I use the best players, but at a shrunken budget, because we all can’t be high rollers.  Why the shrunken budget you may ask? Because it’s more fun and challenging for me, and I can’t just look at the top scorers and do fifty-two card pick up.  So with Week 20 now officially closed, lets take a look at my formidable Starting XI.  Keep in mind that I limit myself to a £70.0m budget, and I will conform to the standard 4-4-2 form.  Enjoy! Comments, quips or the occasional curse word are always welcomed here at Razzbol FC… (Points scored for the week are in parenthesis.)

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Two minutes, that’s how long it took Sergio Agüero to injure his knee and exit the game. Depending upon the severity of the injury it might be 2 minutes that drastically changes the look of hundreds of thousands of FPL lineups. The early reports are that it’s a sprain of his left knee and that he’s anticipated to be out for up to 7 weeks. This obviously leaves the Citizens, as well as Kun’s fantasy owners, scrambling for a replacement. Lucky for you there’s options and lots of’em. We’ll focus on a few of those in a moment, but first let’s discuss City’s attack.

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The back-enders are the key to every fantasy team.  The only problem is they are so tied to the clean sheet, that it makes it hard to commit to guys on a week-in and week-out basis.  Best strategy I have learned for this is that you should really pay for four starters and hope three have great match-ups and use the other as your first sub.  It’s not concrete, but gives you the insurance that you need when you can only transfer once a week.  Especially this week, when fantasy defensive stalwarts like Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne face a rough patch in their schedule.  So stay ahead of the game, add one now and make sure you have the one in reserve.  This is breought to you by the learning is half the battle campaign, sponsored by Kung Fu grip.   Enjoy this week’s defender ranking, questions, comments and curse words are always welcomed.

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Over the last five years I’ve been playing in a very competitive league with 20 friends, family, and acquaintances. Over that time I’ve won the league twice, once in 11-12, and again in 12-13. Each year I used my first wild card before the January window. I felt as though buying players at their lowest value after a few weeks/months of evaluation, allowed me to construct a team of cost effective options, while also staying ahead of the curb when it came to price increases. Well after falling short in the past two years with consecutive third place finishes I decided to change my wild card strategy. This year I’m determined to be patient and wait until March. I figure A. I just have to make it to the January window B. Any buys right now could turn into long terms losses if injuries and dips in form happen to 3 or 4 players in my lineup. Because that’s what happened last year. After 4 months of reigning a top my league and within the top 2,000 on the Premier League site, I sunk like a stone from January to May. The big problem was A. By January everyone owned Luis Suarez B. I refused to transfer in Daniel Sturridge C. Mesut Özil and several others had significant dips in form. It was a turd tornado of epic proportions, and it’s left me a changed man here in 14-15. So here I am waiting and it’s killing me. Seriously Smokey used his this week and scored 83 points. With so many good low cost options in abundance my ultimate goal of pairing Sergio Agüero with Diego Costa is easily attainable. But no, instead I’m here staying strong. As a fun exercise I’ve played around with my lineup a bit to look at some different combos I could have, if by chance I used my wild card over the international break. See below…

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