Here’s our Euro Fantasy 2020 article where FFGeek Contributor Sergio Torija previews Group E which consists of Spain, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia.
Euro Fantasy 2020 – Sergio Torija Previews Group E
We’ll be doing a load of articles for the Euro 2020 fantasy here. Here’s the link to the site
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Also see my article on the rules
GROUP E PREVIEW
Group E in Euro 2020 is composed of Poland (21), Slovakia(36), Spain (6) and Sweden (18), in brackets is the latest FIFA world ranking for each nation. So in paper, a clear favourite in Spain to finish first, with Poland and Sweden battling it out for the other 1 or 2 qualification spots. Let’s look at each team. There are a few fantasy formats going on for the Euros so I won’t focus on any particular one. And I will say it in advance the article is very Spain heavy.
Squad (24), yeah only 24 weird to give up on two spots
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Robert Sanchez, Unai Simon
Defenders: Aymeric Laporte, Jose Gaya, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Llorente*
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri, Thiago, Koke, Fabian
Forwards: Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Pablo Sarabia
Given I am Spanish I should know the team inside out right? Well that would be the case a decade ago when the team was at its best and there was a settled eleven, but this is far from the case now. So I won’t pretend I definitely know what’s happening because I don’t, and I doubt anyone other than the manager Luis Enrique knows.
We have a younger team now, with plenty of talent, but we haven’t got much punch upfront. There are questions over a number of positions and there isn’t much clarity on what is our best eleven. At least the system seems clear with a starting 4-3-3 formation.
In defence, we will be missing our captain Ramos due to injury. Simon will start in goal since he is the manager’s pick, although he’s not been in great shape lately so it could be a bumpy ride. My guess at the first choice defence is Pau Torres and Laporte at center halves (Eric Garcia will get minutes), Alba at left back (wouldn’t be surprised though to see Gaya get a game) and finally Marcos Llorente at right back! Yes, the Llorente of Atletico Madrid that was playing almost as a number 10 in some games this season. You can say the manager is being imaginative given that the preferred three players at the position are out due to injury or bad form (Carvajal, Roberto and Navas).
In midfield, we have a group of 6 solid players for 3. Although we have lost the magic of the past with Xavi or Iniesta, there is hope that Pedri (he is only 18) will get to this level in the future. It is difficult to predict which three are preferred by the manager, and most likely we will see changes game to game. If I had to put a bet on it, I would say we start game 1 with Busquets, Pedri and Fabian.
In attack, we have plenty of options although none of them with a huge international pedigree. There seemed to be a fairly settled front three during the qualifiers of Dani Olmo, Morata and Ferran Torres. However Gerard Moreno is in fantastic form and it feels we must take advantage of that. He can operate either centrally or starting from the right, so there are options there. The rest of the attackers are probably backups and might get their minutes as impact subs.
Summary: there is hope we can do a decent tournament and Luis Enrique is a good motivator. However I can’t personally see us getting past the semi-finals at best, and depending on the elimination games opposition we could be home earlier.
For fantasy, I don’t think we are that great. There is more promise in defence I feel, since our games are historically low scoring due to our possession based game and how deep teams defend against us. Add to that that this squad struggles for goals, so it doesn’t look great in attack. If I had to make a pick it would be Gerard Moreno who should have the added benefit of pens. Alternatives could be Ferran Torres or Dani Olmo if they are priced nicely.
Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Skorupski
Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Pawel Dawidowicz, Kamil Glik, Michal Helik, Tomasz Kedziora, Kamil Piatkowski, Tymoteusz Puchacz, Maciej Rybus
Midfielders: Przemysław Frankowski, Kamil Jozwiak, Mateusz Klich, Kacper Kozlowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Karol Linetty, Jakub Moder, Przemyslaw Placheta, Piotr Zielinski
Forwards: Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Karol Swiderski, Jakub Swierczok
Poland swapped managers to Paulo Sousa at the starting of the year so there isn’t much past data to go with, alghouth the lineups were fairly similar to the earlier ones. In past years Poland have been good in qualifying but disappointed in the tournament stage, Euro 2016 quarters was their best achievement, although it was followed by a very poor WoldCup 2018. It seems they will start with a 3-5-2 system.
In defence, they have an elite goalkeeper in Szczesny (Juventus), and have kept a decent amount of cleansheets in the last couple of years. Whether that can be continued in the Euros is a bigger ask. Given the system, the two wing backs offer the best promise, with Rybus having some set-piece involvement.
In attack, it is difficult to see past Lewandowski. The guy is a beast, and not just for Bayern where they are usually stronger to the opposition, his national team record is 66 goals in 118 appearances. Both Milik and Piatek have shown they can score in the past, but they play second part roles here so I wouldn’t go there.
Summary: Poland should be able to get out of the group stage and can’t be taken for granted in elimination games. It must be now or never for Lewandowski to take his nation into the later stages of a big tournament, so he is a pick I would seriously consider for Fantasy. Other than him, I like the look of Rybus.
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Robin Olsen
Defenders: Emil Krafth, Victor Lindelof, Marcus Danielson, Martin Olsson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Pontus Jansson, Filip Helander, Mikael Lustig, Andreas Granqvist
Midfielders: Emil Forsberg, Ken Sema, Viktor Claesson, Dejan Kulusevski, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Kristoffer Olsson, Jens-Lys Cajuste, Mattias Svanberg, Gustav Svensson
Forwards: Marcus Berg, Alexander Isak, Robin Quaison, Jordan Larsson
Sweden surprised us with a very strong WorldCup 2018, despite not having any superstar in their roster. Well, they do have a really big one, Zlatan, who would have been back for the Euros had it not been for a late injury, a real shame.
In defence, the goalkeeper is Olsen who played on loan at Everton this year, while the leader in defence is Victor Lindelof. Swedish captain Andreas Granqvist was popular for fantasy in the last WorldCup but he is not expected to start in the Euros. However I wouldn’t expect many cleansheets to come.
In attack, the main man might be Emil Forsberg, although he isn’t necessarily one from whom we expect many attacking returns. Young Alexander Isaak should start as number 9, he is a streaky player who could go missing for a few games or come with a treble on a good day. Another young talent is Dejan Kulusevski. Finally, Sebastian Larsson could be a cheap enabler who is expected to be the team’s penalty taker.
Summary: Sweden will need to fight it hard to get out of the group, and it will be an even harder ask to move forward in the elimination stages. Personally, I am not too interested in their fantasy stock, at a push maybe Sebastian Larsson as a cheap enabler on pens.
Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka, Marek Rodak, Dusan Kuciak
Defenders: Peter Pekarik , Lubomir Satka, Denis Vavro, Milan Skriniar, Tomas Hubocan, Jakub Holubek
Midfielders: Marek Hamsik, Stanislav Lobotka, Patrik Hrosovsky, Juraj Kucka, Ondrej Duda, Robert Mak, Vladimir Weiss, Laszlo Benes, Lukas Haraslin, Tomas Suslov, Matus Bero, Erik Jirka
Forwards: Michal Duris, Robert Bozenik, David Strelec
Slovakia are the weakest team in the group and even one of the weakest in the whole competition. They qualified for the tournament via the playoffs after finishing third in a group that wasn’t the strongest. Followed that up with poor showings in the Nations League and World Cup Qualifiers against the likes of Israel, Scotland or Cyprus, so I wouldn’t have much hopes on them.
In defence, the goalkeeper is Dubravka who we know from Newcastle and is solid. The leader in defence is Martin Skriniar from Inter, but the team hasn’t kept many cleansheets against weaker sides, so I wouldn’t expect any in the Euros.
In attack, the team talisman is Marek Hamsik, however his best years back at Napoli are now well passed. There isn’t much more in attack to support him, perhaps the second best is Duda, who was on loan at Norwich last season.
Summary: It is difficult to see Slovakia progress through the group stage, I don’t think they are terrible so could give difficult games to the opposition, but getting even a draw sounds difficult. As a result, I have no fantasy interest in them.
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