Article by David L Rogers
Fantasy soccer is not a mainstream fantasy sport in America just like soccer is not a mainstream sport. However, if you are someone who follows the game abroad, then here is a look at how some of the big names have performed for your fantasy team this season and what may lie ahead in next year’s campaign.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd): The off season found him at the heart of the rumor mill with the ongoing debate of whether the Man United player would switch over to the Spanish league and play for Real Madrid. Speculation arose and was shot down time after time until finally the window shut and the season got underway. Ronaldo missed a few of the opening games which if you were paying attention, managers in salary cap leagues waited to purchase Ronaldo until a couple weeks into the season, when his price had dropped several dollars. Ronaldo returned and brought his goal scoring touch with him. With a handful of games remaining in the 2008/2009 campaign, Ronaldo once again finds himself at the head of the goal scorers list, yet with a significantly lower total this year with 17 netted. He is chased closely by Nicolas Anelka of Chelsea who has 15 and then a three split between Robinho of Manchester City, and Gerrard and Torres of Liverpool whom have 13 each. However, Ronaldo has once again been a huge fantasy producer and is a consistent source of points week in and week out, though not to the extent of last season. Looking ahead, the speculation is sure to start right up about a transfer but this time I think he will indeed make a switch, likely leaving behind the EPL.Robinho (Manchester City): As previously mentioned, Robinho has slotted 13 goals so far this season in his first year in the EPL. Expectations remain high as Robinho can be truly brilliant from moment to moment, yet he seems to have not found his full stride as his year has been marked with inconsistency on the score sheet. When all is said and done, I would label his first year as a positive one and a stride forward with hopes of bigger things to come. Looking ahead, a lot of Robinho’s value will be determined by what transfers Manchester City make in the off season. They have declared their desire to bring in the world’s best to Man City, which a flourish of talented supporting players could increase Robinho’s value higher than it is at present.Frank Lampard (Chelsea): Lampard has put together a very solid season for himself, notching 12 goals and 10 assists in his campaign. He has been a consistent contributor to the Blues offense during a season where seemingly more questions than answers have been raised about their core group of athletes. Drogba, Ballack and Deco have been a few that have under performed with their efforts in the ’08/’09 season and have not produced as the Chelsea faithful would have hoped they would. Lampard meanwhile has been the key to the puzzle and the main driving force in Chelsea’s late season push towards Manchester United in hopes they may be able to win the EPL in a last second flurry.Liverpool / Arsenal: It is hardly fair to lump these two teams together when both have a plethora of dynamic players, but the stories underlining their seasons have run similar. Both made impressive runs in the Champions League and both remain in the elite four atop the EPL standings. Injuries have marred Arsenal’s year with Cesc Fabregas, Van Persie and Gallas (arguably their two most pivotal players) missing chunks of time during the year. Liverpool have been well… Liverpool. The never say die mentality has been ever present once again but they too have been bit by injuries to their key players including Fernando Torres and Gerrard. Liverpool is still well within striking distance of winning the EPL away from Man United, while Arsenal is looking to finish out the year strong, finish in the top four and try again next campaign.The Rest: Ok, admittedly it is not fair to lump all the other players, teams and stories into one section but the EPL is typically segregated between the top four of Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, and then the rest. Another year will come and go and another year will find the top four unchanged as the rest of the EPL stares upwards. There have been some clutch performers on these bottom sixteen teams such as Crouch, Bent, Davies and Zaki who all put forth solid scoring seasons.It is tough to admit but when it comes to fantasy soccer the season is won and lost by who has more big name players come years end. Unfortunately, in the EPL the most influential fantasy stars are found on the big four teams which cause the remaining teams and performers to be shrouded by the stats the bigger names put forth.Looking ahead to next season, once again the most influential players that will make up the core of nearly every successful fantasy soccer team will be created from big four teams. It is a sad, harsh reality, but one that must be followed to win a championship.Find your fantasy football draft, fantasy football rankings, and fantasy baseball leagues at Fanball.
About the Author
David L Rogers is a sport guru and fanatic and enjoys sharing his views on baseball and soccer.