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Fantasy La Liga – Missing Messi?

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The La Liga title race is effectively over following Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last weekend. Barca now have an 11-point lead over Atletico — and a 13-point lead over Real Madrid — with just seven weeks of the season remaining. However, it’s Atletico Madrid who are the biggest favorites this weekend, at home against 16th-place Celta Vigo.

You might have expected Barcelona to be even bigger favorites, since they’re up against last-place Huesca. But, Huesca is at home, and the team hasn’t been nearly as bad as its position in the table might suggest. Huseca’s goal difference (minus-20) ties them with 19th-place Rayo Vallecano for the worst mark in the league. However, in terms of xG (expected goals), a full five teams have a worse goal difference than Huesca’s minus-8.8.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Another complicating factor is that Barcelona played a Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Manchester United on Wednesday (winning 1-0), and the second leg is next Tuesday — which could lead to rotation against Huesca. If Lionel Messi were to start against Huesca, he would be my Tier 1 forward and captain.5

After his latest stellar performance against Atletico Madrid (one goal, eight shots, five on target), Messi is up to 33 goals (12 assists) in 29 La Liga appearances. It’s also worth recalling that Barcelona demolished Huesca, 8-2, in their first meeting this season. Messi had two goals, two assists and eight chances created, finishing with 54.1 fantasy points — his second-biggest haul of the season.

If Messi doesn’t start — which is now likely to be the case, after he took a shot to the face on Wednesday — you’ll have to look beyond Barcelona, because teammate Luis Suarez is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. Iago Aspas is also suspended (for the same reason), and Antoine Griezmann has scored just one goal in his past nine games (including Champions League fixtures).cheap nfl jerseys nike china

My next choice for Tier 1 forward and captain, after Messi, would be Karim Benzema. He’s up to 17 goals on the season, good for fourth in the league, following his brace against Eibar last weekend. Benzema has scored at least once in four of his past five games (six goals in total). He also scored twice in Real Madrid’s first match against Leganes, a 4-1 victory.

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