Fantasy Football Blog

Foreign view: Whizz kid Canales

Fantasy Football Blog

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The workshy French and German leagues will resume this weekend following their winter breaks, so The Fantasist takes a look at Spain and Italy.

SPAIN

Racing Santander's new prospect Sergio Canales (14.13) has been causing quite a stir, especially since he scored the brace that downed Sevilla at the weekend. Racing host struggling Valladolid on Sunday, giving the 18-year-old the perfect chance to enhance his already glowing reputation. Should he return from injury, Racing keeper Antonio Tono (8.95) may also prove a good bet.

With Gonzalo Higuain (27.40) out injured for a few weeks, Karim Benzema (17.38) will get the chance to impress from the start at Bilbao and at home to relegation-threatened Malaga.

Jose Fernando Marques (13.00) scored the winner for Espanyol against Getafe, on only his fourth appearance of the season. That performance could earn him just a second starting berth of the season against Osasuna. Or it may not.

Stop Press! Lionel Messi (41.51) is good! A hat-trick plus an assist has seen his already huge price rocket. Saturday's clash against Sevilla, who beat them at the Nou Camp in the Copa del Rey last week, may not be the best time to put all your eggs in that basket.

Goal-shy basement side Xerez finally lost patience with manager Jose Angel Ziganda this week following the 3-1 home defeat to Valencia. Their next match is at second-from-bottom Zaragoza, who have an even worse defensive record. If you anticipate a post-sacking bounce from Xerez, then perhaps Carlos Calvo (10.47) or Michel (8.47) could deliver a result.

And if it's budget picks you're looking for, you could do a lot worse than pick Valencia's David Albelda (1.00), who has still made 14 appearances this season despite his age and lowly price.

ITALY

Luca Toni (8.54) had his Roma league debut scuppered somewhat after the Giallorossi were reduced to 10 men after less than a quarter of an hour against Chievo. The striker went on to put in a good shift as Roma battled to a 1-0 win, and will get more chances to open his account against Genoa. Roma reserve keeper Bogdan Lobont (11.46) looked very unsteady when he came on, and is far too expensive a risk. However, with Francesco Totti missing, Daniele de Rossi (11.59) will again be Claudio Ranieri's key man.

David Beckham (7.96) has certainly played his part in Milan's last two wins, in which they've scored eight times. However, his fantasy figures don't reflect that, meaning he is still relatively cheap ahead of the home clash against bottom side Siena.

Siena were, to be fair, desperately unlucky not to leave Milan with anything last weekend when they lost 4-3 at Inter. Massimo Maccarone (25.14) scored two crackers in that match, but at that price is rendered almost unpickable. Wesley Sneijder (17.15), on the other hand, has proved himself to be indispensible to Inter boss Jose Mourinho, and his two stunning free-kicks and general pulling of strings in that match will give Bari plenty to worry about on Saturday.

The form of Napoli's Marek Hamsik (15.88) may have dipped a bit since the early part of the season, but he still averages around his price in points every week. Expect him to step up to the plate in the clash against fellow European hopefuls Palermo.

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