I’ve revised my team slightly, Foden comes out and Eriksen comes in. I wanted a more certain starter and I prefer Eriksen’s opening fixture. I can then get two games out of Eriksen before swapping him for Foden for England’s easier games.
I also debated ditching Immobile and just starting with Kane. I don’t see Immobile doing an awful lot tonight and it seems like a waste of a transfer but I’m drawn in too easily to making a good start. As I’ve had Immobile from the start, if he went on to do something big tonight it would be bitterly disappointing.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the plan:
Donnarumma – pick and stick until Italy get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
Spinazzola – pick and stick until Italy get knocked out. If he doesn’t start switch him before kick off for whoever does (Emerson). 3 group fixtures for this position
Alba – recently made captain, pick and stick until Spain get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
Dumfries – pick and stick until Netherlands get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
F Torres – pick and stick until Spain get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
Wijnaldum – pick and stick until Netherlands get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
Eriksen – keep for first two games and then pick another midfielder who will get a further two games before the end of the group stage (maybe Foden). 4 group fixtures for this position
Barella – keep for first two games and then swap for De Bruyne. This has to be an Italian to get two fixtures before De Bruyne comes in. If Chiesa is benched so it’s Barella for me. 4 group fixtures for this position
Depay – pick and stick until Netherlands get knocked out. 3 group fixtures for this position
Immobile – keep for first fixture, then swap to Ronaldo, maybe with Kane inbetween, then swap back to Kane. 4/5 group fixtures for this position depending on if I can hold my bottle and not bring Kane in against Croatia
Lukaku – keep for first two games and swap for Mbappe for the Hungary and Portugal fixtures. 4 group fixtures for this position
This will get me 37 fixtures if I use 5 transfers
Or 38 fixtures and 6 transfers if I can’t resist leaving Kane out against Croatia
All of this planning can be found on my spreadsheet:
Initial team selection: getting closer to a starting 11
Having invested more time researching over the weekend, I’ve updated my team again. I’m much happier that it is closer to the team I’ll start the tournament with now. My strategy remains the same, getting the big guns in for games where they could score big and mixing this up by picking player who could go far in the tournament.
My plan will still use 6 transfers but will get an additional fixture in for one player, making 38 appearances.
I’ve decided to double up defensively with Italian’s. Spinazzola looks a bargain at 2.5m and if Emerson starts ahead of him, then we can swap them over without losing a transfer. I also want a keeper who is certain to start so I’m going with the premium option in Donnarumma from the off. Italy are known for being fairly strong defensively, but I’ve still got my doubts so two defensive assets are enough for me.
I’ve taken out my Belgian defenders. Meunier runs the risk of not starting and Vertoghen doesn’t offer much in attacking returns. I’ve also read that they ship the odd goal here and there. I also don’t like their fixture against Denmark. I’ve put Dumfries in as a bit of a punt, he could get forward (if he starts) and is good value at 3m. Holland also have decent fixtures. My final defender will be Alba, he’s not certain to start and I’ll keep my eye on any developments with the squad after their friendly was canceled but I do like Alba as an option if he plays.
Moving to 3-4-3 has created an additional space in midfield. Foden comes into this space. I think England would be mad to start without him and we saw what he was capable of with City last season. England also have fairly decent fixtures. I’ve also read that De Bruyne may miss the opening fixture for Belgium, as a result, I’m opting for an Italian midfielder. Due to how the fixtures fall, Italy are the only big team who we can get two fixtures from a player before putting De Bruyne back in. I’ve slotted Chiesa in for now, but it will be whoever starts in the most advanced role for Italy. De Bruyne will then come in as soon as he’s fit to start a game.
My front three remain the same as my previous draft. The plan is to rotate Immobile’s position between Kane, Ronaldo, and Mbappe to squeeze points out of the big guns.
What’s also important about how I’ve set my team up is that I’d always have enough, at any point during the group stage to bring in two 7m strikers alongside each other (if I wanted to). This will future proof the team as we move into the knockout stages as I’ll have the flexibility to move players around without needing to make more than 1 transfer.
Here’s my full plan for how the team will progress through the group stages and the 6 transfers that I plan. Obviously, this could all go out of the window after a couple of games but we will see how it pans out.
All of this planning can be found on my spreadsheet:
Initial team selection: game plan
Excitement is really starting to build for the Euros now and I’d imagine for most of us this will really kick in after the Champions League final at the weekend. I’ve spent the last couple of days working on a game plan for the group stage. I think it’s vital to get the explosive players in for the right fixtures, so most of my plans focus on a mixture of targetting teams with good fixtures and making sure timings are right on big name players who could do damage if I weren’t to own them.
So here is the grand plan to date.
Transfers planned: 6
Player appearances: 37 fixtures
I’ve explained my player choices in detail below, but I’ve made a couple of changes.
I’m torn between Krul and Cillessen and really don’t know which one will start. As a result, I’m avoiding them completely unless we are told who is going to start between the sticks. A decent alternative is Donnarumma who has a decent record for Italy.
I’ve also decide to go for De Ligt as I think he’s a fairly safe bet in terms of a starter for the Dutch. The last thing I want is to pick risky defensive assets who may not start games, as I won’t want to transfer them out early on.
I’ve doubled up with Belgian defenders, as they are one of the hot favourites for the tournament and have a half decent group.
The rest of my team is fairly similar to what I’ve explained below.
The crucial part of the planning process is what happens beyond this initial team. I’ve started to map this out (see images below).
Team 2 – my first change would be to get Harry Kane in. I don’t really want to make this change against Croatia as I think this is a tough game for England but I know he’s going to be a really popular choice and I don’t want to risk falling behind. A big game from Kane would do some serious damage.
Team 3 – for exactly the same reasons, I’d worry about Ronaldo against Hungary. As a result, I’d just bring him in for Kane, as a short term transfer.
Team 4 – Ronaldo has two tough fixtures after Portugal’s opening game so I’d be happy to bring Kane straight back in. With England facing Scotland and potentially wanting a good result after a tough opening fixture, I’d also want a midfielder in. This could potentially be Foden or Sterling, depending on who starts.
Team 5 and 6 – my next concern would be Mbappe playing against Hungary. So I’d swap him for Kane. I’d then bring Kane back in for England’s final group fixture.
This means I’d be sticking with a core of my players throughout the group stage but for me, it makes logical sense to keep the Belgian players – they’ve got a good group and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Before a ball is kicked I’m also happy with some strong coverage of Netherlands and Spain – given their fixtures.
I’m sure the plan will change again before the tournament gets underway but this is as far as I’ve got to date. It will change even more when the competition starts as I’m sure some of the early results will ruin my plans, as is the way with football.
All of this planning can be found on my spreadsheet:
Initial team selection update
As I was very early picking my initial team, squad announcements are obviously going to have an impact. As a result, I’ve made a couple of changes to my side already.
Ramos out, Gaya in – I’m not convinced Gaya will start but at least he’s in the squad, unlike Ramos. I’m still undecided about who to go with here but at this stage it’s simply likely to be a Spainish defender.
Emerson out, Bonucci in – I’m not sure Emerson is going to make the final squad either now. Again I’m not set on Bonucci either but it will be an Italian defender. Fortunately, with Italy we will be able to check their starting line up before they kick off and any changes won’t come out of our transfer allowance.
This is still very much a rough first draft, but I’ll start to map out my planned transfers over the coming weeks as we build up to the tournament kicking off.
As a reminder, make sure you check out my fixture planner as this will be essential for planning a start 11 and when the right time would be to make changes.
Initial team selection
Having studied the fixtures and decided how to approach the competition, I’ve finally got my first draft team together. I’ll come up with a better plan as we get closer to the competition and I’ll probably plan a series of changes throughout the group stage to optimise those 20 transfers. However, as a starting point, this is where I’ve got to.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that I’ve avoided England and Croatia players as they face each other in a tough opening game for both teams. Difficult decision as I worry about leaving someone like Kane out, even against a tough opposition he could score well but if all goes to plan, this shouldn’t matter too much. I’m also avoiding French and German players for the first round of fixtures as they play each other, in an even tougher opening game for both nations.
Secondly, at the moment, I’m not looking beyond Spain’s fixture against Sweden. You’ve got to work the fixtures in this game so I personally don’t see the point in starting with Portugal players despite their good opening fixture. I’d rather get a game out of someone like Immobile, then bring in Ronaldo for that fixture against Hungary. For me, that’s a good use of a transfer.
Anyway, here’s the logic behind each choice:
Krul (3m) – Netherlands play fairly early on, against one of the weaker teams in the competition. For me that ticks both boxes so we need a defensive asset. Krul is cheaper than all of the other keepers for the big teams so he’s an obvious choice. My only worry is if he isn’t first choice, this would be a massive pain if I went with him and he didn’t start.
Ramos (5m) – Spain have one of the easiest groups on paper and I’d hope they would go far in the competition in general. Unfortunately, we can’t rotate every position to suit fixtures so I will need to pick some longer term players from the off. Ramos is one of them, if he’s fit enough to play and is on penalty duties, he could pick up plenty of points. As a cheaper option, I’m going to keep my eye on the left back position, Jordi Alba is a player I like but he doesn’t appear to be listed on the game yet. Potentially he won’t make the Spain squad but I’ll keep an eye on this.
Meunier (3m) – Belgium get underway earlier than most in the tournament and have a good starting fixture. I like Meunier as an option and he feels like a steal at 3m. Again, as long as he starts.
Emerson (2.5m) – appears likely to start for Italy at left back. On that basis, he offers great value at 2.5m. The beauty of picking any Italian player is that we can check their line up before finalising our teams. If Emerson doesn’t start, I’ll just swap him for someone who is. I would add that Turkey might not be a complete pusher over for Italy so fingers crossed for a clean sheet.
Vertonghen (3m) – I couldn’t decide who else to go for, but thought Vertonghen represented good value. Belgium should go deep into the competition, start early, and have reasonable fixtures. The only downside is that I don’t like their second fixture against Denmark so I’ll ponder this position further.
Wijnaldum (3.5m) – appears to start often and loves a goal when playing for his country. As with Krul, Netherlands have a weak group and get underway early on. This makes loading up on a couple of their players a bit of a no brainer. Not sure I see him in my team for the duration but happy to start with him on the basis of fixtures.
F. Torres (3.5m) – plays very advanced for Spain so could well be that holy grail of a striker who is classed as a midfielder. Love Spain’s fixtures during the group stage so should qualify easily. Amazing value at 3.5m if he can get on the score sheet.
De Bruyne (6m) – as with the Belgian defenders, they get underway early and have a good opening fixture. We all know what De Bruyne is capable of and he could well be one of the players of the tournament.
Depay (4.5m) – again tapping into that good early opening fixture for the Netherlands. I wanted a striker from their team and Depay stands out as the main man who is likely to get on the scoresheet. My analysis of the last 9 games for the Dutch showed that he scored the most goals during those games and started 8 times.
Lukaku (6m) – tipped as one of the top goalscorers in the competition and has a good early opening fixture. My analysis of the last 9 games shows that Lukaku was the top scorer with no one else getting anywhere near his 7 goals during these fixtures.
Immobile (5m) – my least convincing choice for a striker as he’s not really been prolific for Italy. I’m mainly putting him in as a placeholder until I bring in Ronaldo for Portugal’s game against Hungary. It’s about as close as we get to a “free fixture” and I’m happy to use the transfer to move him on. If he were to do something big against Turkey it would make for a fantastic start for my team though. At the same time, I’m debating if this should just be Kane from the off, who could then be swapped for Ronaldo and put back in afterwards. I’ve got plenty of time to decide though.
So that’s where I’ve got to so far. My first set of transfers will be to bring in some Portugal players for their fixture against Hungary. However, as this is further down the schedule, I don’t want to start with any of them. I’ll be looking at the likes of Cancelo, Fernandes and Ronaldo after reviewing how my choices have done after one fixture.
As always, I’d be interested to hear how others are getting on with their choices in the comments below.