Adam Cole said he hoped some performance scoring changes could be brought in for next season. And a survey has dropped into trader inboxes seeking input.
My bet is that they are trying to find some tweaks that have wide spread support and improve the game without wreaking total havoc. It’s just not in their interest to cause an upset just before a new season starts.
If anyone read my original article considering performance changes I said I’d hoped they would keep it really general to avoid people wildly speculating on the basis of multiple choice questions. They did. That’s good.
But, we should still speculate in my view. Or rather, a better term is try to make educated guesses. You can bet a lot of people will. And, if you try to just react after any announcement, well, you don’t have any better information than anyone at that point so why would you expect to have an edge?
That does not mean however that we should throw money at players expecting FI to do a certain thing. They might not. If we say for example “I believe FI will make dribbles more valuable” we can go out and hoover up lots of players who might benefit fairly easily. But, what if FI don’t put that in at all? Or, it may not be that straight forward, they could lose points for failed dribbles too.
Therefore, my approach will be to:
a) identify the changes I think are likely because they are non-controversial and generally popular;
b) find players who are good value even if nothing changed but may get even better if an anticipated change happens.
This way, we are less likely to be left trying to panic sell any duds if FI announce something we don’t expect.
What changes do I think most likely?
To be clear, these are my educated guesses and nothing more than that.
When writing the original public performance article, I gathered feedback from across social media in order to pick out the consistent issues that kept appearing.
Game Winning Goal
This is actually fairly contentious. I would like it reduced but basically, I am going to go ahead and assume this will not happen. The random element provided by GWG is very helpful for FI as it makes it more difficult for analysts like me to pick winners.
I can do it over a sequence of games but trying to pick out the winner on most big match days is a near total lottery, with GWG playing a huge part. And, some traders just like it that way. I’ll hope for this but not expect it.
There seems to be general agreement that an aggressive pass in the final third that connects is worth far more than dull tip tapping around at centre back or deep midfield. It’s a change that would make sense to most average football fans too. So, I think some form of this is quite likely.
I would not expect them to tamper with the existing pass system. But an addition of a Key Pass seems possible. A Key Pass is defined as:
The final pass or pass-cum-shot leading to the recipient of the ball having an attempt at goal without scoring.
So basically, it would reward any assist heavy players because they are no longer getting punished for the striker fluffing the chance they made.
Alternatively, a pass in the final third could count for more points, 1.5 or 2. This would really help forwards who currently get penalised heavily for pass accuracy in the 70%’s or so (because they are losing points for stray passes under pressure).
By contrast, a deep midfielder under far less pressure with 90% passing accuracy is rewarded much more. This would tip that balance to assist more risky attacking play. This would really help forwards currently let down by low passing accuracy which is quite a lot of big names.
This is another often called for change and makes sense. Seeing a player take on a defender is one of the most exciting things to watch in reality but on FI it counts for nothing. I can see this happening because again, it makes sense to your average Joe football fan.
I would like to see a risk reward element with points for a successful take on but minus points for failure. That would make it really exciting to watch, and reflect the importance of that bit of play in reality.
Dribbles/Take ons are defined as:
An attempt by a player to beat an opponent when they have possession of the ball. A successful dribble means the player beats the defender while retaining possession, unsuccessful ones are where the dribbler is tackled. Opta also collects attempted dribbles where the player overruns the ball with a heavy touch when trying to beat an opposition player.
So this is fairly straight forward. We are looking for players who complete SUCCESSFUL dribbles frequently. I don’t want a player who attempts 10 dribbles a game and fails 8 out of 10.
I am expecting a change for defenders. But here, I am much less comfortable speculating on what it may be. Defenders are stuck in a rut at the moment and it is really hard for the best ones to consistently differentiate themselves. Because FI focuses on goals, even the best defenders are often beaten by whichever defender happens to get the game winning goal on the day.
Things like aerial duels are the most common suggestion, and it’s a good one. But personally, I am not going to try to guess on defenders, because it requires a real deep think about how you fix the scoring for them and it’s very easy to guess wrong.
However, some defenders are involved in a lot of key passes/final third passes and may benefit that way.
Key Passes/Passes Final Third
Because either or both of these methods could be used, I am going to list some well known players who are already strong or promising performance players AND make a lot of key passes AND final third passes in general. They are very closely related anyway.
Based on last season stats, the following players are very likely to benefit from the addition of an key pass/final third pass scoring system. Those marked with a * are particularly strong.
If it were Key Passes only, not passes in the Final Third, I would also include:
This is fairly easy to look at. I am looking for well known performance suitable/potential players who make a lot of dribble/take on actions per game and do not fail too many of them. Most top players will want to be winning at least 65% of them, 75%+ is excellent.
The following players are very likely to benefit from the addition of an Dribble/Take Ons scoring system. Those marked with a * should be particularly strong.
So who would I pick?
I would advise not to stress too much about possible performance changes. For me, I have a plan as set out in Key Strategy and that stays my focus at all times. If I am looking at players through the Scouting section, and some of them happen to appear in the above list and may benefit if these changes are made, all the better.
But, I have to be happy with the reason I am buying the player beyond these potential changes because they may not happen, this is just speculation.
There are however names who appear on both the lists for Passing and Dribbles and if I liked those players anyway, that is going to give me a lot of confidence.
Whilst this is just a guess, it’s hard to imagine them making any worthwhile changes that do not involve at least one of these features.
So, picking out a player who a) you want anyway because they match selection criteria (see this weeks extensive Scouting) and b) ticks at least one or both the pass and dribbles boxes seems like a solid approach to me.
It is possible to find players who are weak now and may improve with these scoring changes. But, at this stage, when we don’t know what will happen, I prefer to stick to players that are part of the strategy anyway.
This way, we’ve got the potential performance change base as covered as we can, and we won’t be disappointed if our educated guesses aren’t right.
And, this scoring system tweak is unlikely to turn a poor player into a winner. I am expecting it to add 10-30 points to scores in some games.
I expect it to make good players better and average players good, not turn a no-hoper into a superstar.
I hope this has been helpful!
If there is any other performance change you want to see tested that you think is likely and has widespread support, let me know and I’ll take a look at it.