It’s Friday. We are giddy at Pundit Arena HQ and we started arguing about the best league in the world. The top to bottom strength of the Premier League or the ferocious power of the top 3 in La Liga? There was only one way to settle it…. A fencing match to the death. Alan and Jose Manuel Enrique Alberta are still at it in the corridor though so for the mean time we’ve had to revert to Plan B: Fantasy elevens.
Let’s set some rules. First of all, this is fantasy. You know that thing that secretly makes you clench your fist under the table and whisper “get in” when Harry Kane scores even though you’re an Arsenal fan? Ya that’s the one.
So, only three players per team. A lot of people will look at the La Liga XI and start complaining about Ramos or Busquets. Well cry me a river. We couldn’t pick them all. There are rules and without them, well the whole world would just go crazy.
Sorry, got a little philosophical there. Where was I? Ah yes, I hate Piers Morgan. What an absolutely horrible, pompous… No. No that wasn’t it. Fantasy. That’s what it was.
Spain vs England: Let’s start with the Premier League 11.
We were torn between Courtois and De Gea but given the fact that United would most likely be scrapping with Crystal Palace for 13th without the flying Spaniard, we’ve gone with De Gea.
Honourable mention goes to Hugo Lloris also. He was considered. Briefly.
In defence we went with John “don’t leave him alone with your wife” Terry, Vincent “I played the lead in Mars Attacks” Kompany, and Emre “Yes I can” Can. Terry and Can have been selected on merit and form this season. The Belgian made the cut through reputation and a lack of a viable alternative. In truth, he has been poor this season.
Honourable mention goes to Jose Fonte and Nathaniel Clyne.
We were torn between Angel Di Maria and Raheem Sterling on the left. We went for the Liverpool man because in truth, the Argentinian has been mostly disappointing since his arrival on English shores. The other three are self explanatory. Matic is the best defensive midfielder in the league, Yaya Toure’s departure for the African Cup of Nations has revealed just how important he is to the reigning champions and Eden Hazard, well he makes us all a little weak at the knees.
Honourable mention: Cesc Fabregas. Cesc, baby, we’re sorry. We could only have three Chelsea players. Forgive us.
If anyone says we were wrong with our front three they can go and take a running…
Honourable mention: Diego Costa. We don’t love you as much Diego but same as Cescy Fabs we already had our Chelsea quota full.
La Liga 11:
This was a little harder:
Diego Alves of Valencia signed a new five year deal for the Spanish side last July keeping him at the club until 2019. In January, he saved his 15th penalty for the side taking his saving record to over 42% of all 12 spotters faced. That’s almost unheard of. We’ve almost never heard of that.
Miranda and Godin picked themselves. We wanted Juanfran too but the rule of 3 meant Griezmann was going to complete our Atletico allotment. Otamendi has been sublime for Valencia and so he got the call up.
Honourable Mentions: Sergio Ramos, Aymeric Laporte.
G. Bale, Toni Kroos, Iniesta, and Griezmann. Wowzers. Bale has been criticized of late due to a touch of greed but there is no doubt that he remains the most powerful runner in the league. Iniesta is still simply a glory to behold and Griezmann has done better than anyone could have expected since signing for Atletico in the summer. Kroos has not exactly set the world alight since signing for the Bernabeu side but having effectively proven himself to be the best central midfielder in the world last season, there was no leaving him out.
Honourable mentions: There were too many to list.
The two extraterrestrials were there when we opened up the lineup builder. Neymar is playing so well this season that one has to wonder if he will be up there as a contender with the two freaks for the Ballon d’Or within the next 12 months.
Honourable Mention: No one was really going to replace those three but we’ll give a gentlemanly nod to Karim, Carlos Bacca and Mario Mandzukic.
That’s all folks. Who would win? Hang on. Sorry… with Harry Kane up top that’s a silly question. This was a fruitless exercise.