So after much anticipation and speculation, we know what the new scoring matrix looks like.
I’m happy with it from both a short term “have I picked the right players?” perspective and a long term future of FI perspective.
In the short term, I think if you followed an approach similar to mine and stuck to strong performance players who might get better, taking notes on who is good for key passes and dribbles you are probably pretty happy with how things have gone in recent days as people switched focus to this (please tell me if you aren’t!). Aerial duels will count too although my initial impression is they haven’t had quite the same bump up.
Creative players on first look to me seem to have had the biggest benefit and I’ll be looking at that. And, goalkeepers, who I did not punt on before the announcement, will certainly get an initial bump as they are brought more into the game in FI’s words.
I did not bet on this simply because if it did not happen I would not want to be left with a portfolio full of unwanted keepers. We’ll have to analyse this further before seeing whether it will actually bring any of them into regular contention though.
And long term, I think these are a series of changes that should reward better players and it’s good for FI. The more an average football fan understands why a player is topping the scoring the better and I think every change on here contributes to that. Although it still won’t be perfect and it never will be.
I’ll now run through each change then try to give an initial view on how it might impact things going forward. Might take a while so I am going to make some coffee.
Lots to chew on here. Let’s go in table order.
-10 for a missed big chance. As referenced in the live blog, this is going to have a significant negative impact on strikers who get lots of big chances and miss. Previously, if you got 4 big chances and scored only 1 you could be rewarded quite nicely provided they were on target. Not anymore.
Penalties, always a big chance, are particularly savage now with -30 for a miss.
1-2 big chances per game are most common for a good attacker. If you miss, you probably aren’t winning anyway. And, because you now get 5 points more when you do score, the average impact will be blunted a bit.
Still, we must now take this seriously and pay attention to players who squander too many chances. But goalscoring is so important and with IPDs in play as well, it might be a forgivable sin if they score enough.
This is will be a factor I’ll start paying more attention but it’s not something I’ll be rebuilding my portfolio around.
Dribbles. We have lots of good analysis on this from the previous articles. The suprising twist (for me) here is that any attempted dribble is rewarded with a +1. In my view, a failed dribble should have been punished!
They have however balanced this by not giving much for a success (just 2). This could have been more. You may be talking 10-25 points extra on average for players who excel in this stat.
So, now we know dribbles in total count, not just the success chance, I’d give the following as examples of players who will benefit from this, which is very similar to my pre announcement lists anyway.
Game winning goal reduced. I mentioned this in my opening analysis article and filed it under “I hope it happens but it probably won’t”. Very glad to be wrong on this point. This is a small change but this random element being reduced slightly increases my chances of picking winners. Taken together with the the points for a goal being increased this is quite a significant change.
A player who scores a brace is now rewarded slightly more than the single goal scoring match winner.
And we must remember that goals are still going to be, by a long long way, the single biggest determining factor of success. Assists or key passes dominating may get a lot of talk in the coming week (rightly) but we can’t forget this. Heavy assist players are still going to need goal threat.
Whilst lots of creative stats might catch up a bit, goals are now worth more too and that blunts the impact of the increase in other stats somewhat.
Aerial duels were covered in my original analysis and I was concerned that FI asked whether they should be worth more than a tackle in the survey. They are a frequent action so 5 points or more would have been crazy. 2 points for a successful aerial duel (note they aren’t rewarded for just making the attempt like a dribble now is) means this may add 5-20 points to a players score in most games.
Most useful for good defenders in my opinion. My initial analysis did not throw up many strong aerial duel forwards who had enough going for them in other stats to mount a challenge anyway and this wouldn’t change that.
Worth noting that in games where teams set up to play long ball, these stats can spike and we may see 10-15 successful duels made for a strong player, which is 20-30 points extra and quite significant. Most of the time, 10-15 would be more realistic.
Overall, this will become just one more thing of many I would look for in a good defender and in rare cases more advanced players. My existing list of aerial duel players from the last article wouldn’t be any different.
Last Man Tackle is a very rare action. A defender may get 1-2 of these hero moments per season and there is little if anything we can do to predict them. Fair enough they have been bumped up a bit but it’s not something we can do much with realistically.
Accurate long ball is a pretty new thing for us to consider. Goalkeepers will benefit from this more than anyone. It could be worth 10-25 points a game to a good long ball player. However, looking down the list, it tends to be the weaker/smaller club keepers who play long ball most often. The big names you might expect to do well generally like Alisson, Courtois, De Gea etc tend not to use it so much. I’ll look at goalkeepers more later on.
Here are some outfield players, mainly defenders or deep midfield, who have other strong performance traits and might also benefit significantly from accurate long balls:
Accurate through ball is a nice addition and fortunately, rewards many of the existing players who would be good for performance scoring anyway.
It’s notable but will not have a huge impact, we are talking perhaps 5-10 points per game added for most good through ball players, possibly more if you are Messi or Neymar who score significantly higher for this than anyone else.
Here are some examples, again of strong players who should benefit significantly from this metric:
Doubling of Assist points was unexpected! Again, it rewards many of the players we would be looking at anyway for performance scoring purposes. (I keep saying fortunately about this but fortune has nothing to do with it – if you stay in touch with the win mechanics/reality you are going to have better “luck” with these things).
This can be taken together with Big Chance Created and Key Pass. All of these things are essentially rewarding the same thing and could be boiled down to a simple metric like Expected Assists.
So this is significant. But, because there is a lot of bonuses in this area, it may lead people to think that this is a total game changer. It is not.
If in a good game, where our player got an assist, a key pass on top and created a seperate big chance, he would now score 29 where as before he would only have got 10. But the goalscorer is getting 5 more per goal too. And 14 points (in a super rough average) is not even close to making up the ground on goalscorers.
Goals are still king. And that makes sense because that’s why people watch football. I don’t think FI will ever change that.
So, there may be certain outliers like Alcantara who can challenge without a goal more often. But, I will certainly still be looking for goal threat on top of my assist potential. This is a fantastic addition to it, not a replacement for it.
The original list of players who could benefit from this in the first article on Key Passes still applies here.
Secondary key pass (i.e assist the assister) is new to us but will be a relatively minor factor. Again, this is going to be a familiar list to members:
Three new metrics for goalkeepers to try to push them into contention. Will it work? Let’s see.
Bear in mind as well from above that the accurate long ball under distribution will also benefit goalkeepers more than anyone else.
The starting point is that the best keepers are currently around 40 points behind the best defenders on average. And then you factor in the score spikes in that some defenders are going to score goals, and keepers generally won’t. So you can credibly argue that is an 85 point gap to make up on most major match days. If you wanted to really hate on keepers, you’d say that a defender will probably get a match winning goal on a big game day, putting them 120 points behind the pace.
That’s a huge gap to make up and why chasing goalkeepers has so far been reduced to an occasional news story or bizarre fetish for a small number of traders.
Is there enough here to get them into contention?
I cannot see it. These new actions are not frequent enough to bridge that gap. And with FI being goals centric goalkeepers would likely need their own category to really compete.
FI’s thinking is maybe that a penalty save is the goalkeepers “goal”. That may do it given it is now boosted to 45 points, the same as a goal. But then, you don’t get a +35 bonus for the “match winning penalty save” either so that is another reason the keeper is struggling vs a match winning defender.
The problem there is you cannot “predict” a penalty save in the same way that you can see strong goal threat coming in previous games.
There can be IPD reasons to hold a value goalkeeper. And you could do some number crunching and find cheap keepers whose team gives away a lot of penalties (who will then also not get many clean sheets, catch 22).
But aside from the occasional penalty save or other hero moment, I cannot see how goalkeepers can reliably start challenging defenders for regular performance wins following these changes.