QF1: kaboose-Poet Gooner vs Andy-gers1 & JoshBCFC A simple balanced 343 that maximize our players quality. A back-3 anchored by VVD gives us a very solid defensive foundation. All 3 CBs are good with the ball at their feet, so there's no problem building out from the back. Two of the most productive wingbacks of last season provides the width. A CM pairing of an enforcer and a ball-carrier, both with the passing ability to get the ball to the front 3. An offense built around Messi. When he gets the ball, he has two players with pace up front with him, to take advantage of his playmaking. We know he combines very well with marauding wingbacks, which both Alba and Lala are. He's also going to be very well fed as the team is filled with players with high assist-ability. Spoiler: Players GK: Tomáš Vaclík - The only non-forward player to win a La Liga Player of the Month and Czech Footballer of the Year. CB: Virgil Van Dijk - To some, the best player in the world, this season. At worst, he's a comfortable 2nd best player of this season. One of our two permanent starters. The leader of our defense. CB: Fabian Schar - According to whoscored.com, the highest-rated Newcastle player this season, thanks partly to boasting the joint 2nd most amount of interceptions/game in the EPL this past season. He's going to feel right at home, since Benitez' Newcastle plays with a back-3 anyway. CB: Raphael Varane - A bit of an off-year for him, but due to his sheer quality, a lower-level Varane remains one of the top CBs in the world. There's a reason Zidane has issued a hands-off on him, amidst transfer rumours to make him the most expensive defender in the world. LB: Jordi Alba - The best LB in the world for most of last season, until he was overtaken by some random Scotsman. Still, with his unmatched offensive prowess, recording more assists than any defender in the La Liga, again, Alba is easily one of the top 2-3 LBs in the world last year. RB: Kenny Lala - By far the most productive defender in Ligue 1 last year with 5 goals and 9 assists (most assists among all defenders) and also more key passes than any defender. Not just an offensive weapon, whoscored.com rates his 'tackling' 'concentration' and 'defensive contribution' as STRONG. CM: Allan - The reason Napoli has not skipped a beat, and continues their title challenge, after losing Jorginho is because he was replaced by the even more well-rounded Allan. Not only does he operates as a deep playmaker but he also leads Napoli in tackling (joint 2nd highest in Serie A at 3.2) and is 3rd in interceptions. No surprises that whoscored.com rates both his passing and 'defensive contribution' as VERY STRONG. CM: Pablo Sarabia - The most productive central midfielder in La Liga last year with 12 goals and 13 assists (joint most with Messi). Whoscored.com rates him as the 2nd best player at Sevilla and 14th best in La Liga last year. LW: Angel Di Maria - With Neymar falling to injury, Angel Di Maria replaced him and had a season that would see him nominated for Ligue 1 Player of the Year. With 12 goals and 11 assists, whoscored.com rated him the 4th best player in Ligue 1 last season. Unsurprisingly, he was voted into Ligue 1 Team of the Season. RW: Lionel Messi - What is there to say? The best player in the world, by a country mile in my mind. One of our two permanent players. ST: Kevin Volland - According to whoscored.com, the best player for Leverkusen last year. His all-round arsenal saw him register both the 2nd most goals and 2nd most assists in his team.