If you missed Part One, you can find that here. Part One starts with a strategic look ahead and discusses the importance of Euro 2020 to the story of the coming season. This reflects the early preparation I set out as part of the site Key Strategy.
But for Part Two and beyond, let’s get straight to the players!
Defenders: Guerreiro, Dias, Cancelo
Midfielders: Fernandes, Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, Guedes, Neves, Sanches,
Forwards: Ronaldo, Felix
Market and Player Assessment
Badly needed wins from Portugal who got their qualifying campaign back on track.
I like Guerreiro and he is a player I mentioned a lot last season due to mainly playing as a midfielder whilst classified as a defender. Due to rotation and nervousness about FI’s apparently quicker moves to reclassify such “out of position” players, I’ve stayed clear of him so far.
For club he has definite rotation risk but has started with Piszczek injured. Also is playing left back so he loses his unique advantage and doesn’t look particularly special at Dortmund. For Portugal though he does get a lot more forward and very involved in the game. Played the full matches in both qualifiers with lots of involvement and created 3 chances with 1 assist. Looks solid although he is quite pricey for a rotated player. Not 100% convinced, but maybe if the price dropped.
In performance terms alone Dias would not get a mention at all, he looks pretty average. However, he does have Manchester United transfer rumours and if those surface at the right time in January and late in the season ahead of Summer transfer window and the Euros, that could combine to spike the price. May need patience but it looks a decent bet.
Cancelo looked decent for Portugal. He has been rising in anticipation of more Manchester City game time. I’m not totally sold based on his stats from Juventus but we will have to see how he does at City. Baselines should be decent but I’d like to see some threat or greater assist potential to be convinced he is worth the £1.37 which is a lot for a defender.
Probably one of my favourite and most profitable players from last season, Fernandes has started the season well again. With the transfer falling apart and the price crashing (Bear in mind I generally do not hang in for the actual transfer but rather take profits when people are piling in and hyping it) he has crashed heavily from £3 down to £2.19.
So, he could be the gift that keeps on giving but I have not wanted to go back in too early. Instead, I have made a reverse bet that away at PSV tonight in the Europa he may not have his best game and some holders may get bored and sell further. But he might annoyingly perform well anyway because he does have exceptional performance quality.
Could have used more goal threat for Portugal in this round but the baselines are solid and he created 8 chances across the 2 games, assisting once.
In the good cheap punt category we have Carvalho. Doesn’t look great for Betis but is more advanced for Portugal and he was in the right place to tuck in 1 goal in both games in these qualifiers. Still just 27 at 31p, you can’t argue with that for a punt ahead of the next qualifiers if he looks like starting.
Bernardo Silva had a good couple of games for Portugal with a goal and 3 assists. That only gets him into the +200 range though which is not enough in midfield. As I have been saying for months in Scouting, he is not as good on FI as people would expect him to be. Traders are finding that out now and he has taken a savaging in the last month.
Looked better for Portugal though actually and if the price slide continued you may be able to start to see value although I would want well under £2.
Guedes I like given his future potential and kind price of £1.32. Has had some poor scores recently for Valencia, though, with rotation an issue. Scored a nice goal for Portugal though vs Serbia. Looks off the boil and I wouldn’t expect huge scores anytime soon. So selling is a fair option if getting twitchy but personally I think he will have better days and with his trend fit and occasional EPL transfer rumours he will be easy to sell if he did explode again as he did back in April.
Neves is a player I have said is overpriced for a long time and traders are starting to agree with me. Another example, and we are seeing plenty, that no matter how big the hype, eventually you have to show big scores or the shine comes off. Baselines will be solid, but he creates very few chances and whilst on paper he gets a lot of shots they are mainly very long range speculative efforts.
Capable of an occasional very big score but it will be very occasional unless he was played in a more advanced role at some stage and there is currently no reason to believe that will happen.
No minutes for Renato Sanches but as mentioned in Scouting despite the lack of goals so far he is well worth watching at Lille. If we saw him start to score and get Portugal minutes he could look a bargain at 94p.
The main man. Ronaldo duly dispatched Lithuania with a stunning 4 goals. He isn’t the all action performance player he used to be as he gets older but he is still very solid and we all know he does explode like this a fair few times a season. I have chosen to not get involved in this but as I have noted frequently in Scouting, this started to look very appealing again after his personal issues cleared up and he has rebounded significantly since.
There will always be that worry about retirement but in a Euros year he will be the main draw come tournament time. Tempting and some may really like the trade.
Felix was my darling last season but you always have to remember that shares in players are just numbers in a spreadsheet at the end of the day and you can’t get attached to them. I went big on him at £1 and took a huge profit but dumped him during peak transfer rumours and am very happy I did. Atletico was never the best performance club for him and whilst he showed some excellent pre-season numbers, they have really dipped away in the season itself.
Goal theat in the last two for Atletico has been better but on these numbers 1 goal is unlikely to be enough for a big score.
For Portugal he got 1 game and a sub appearance and actually looked better for Portugal than his club which I would expect. Very unlucky not to be on the scoresheet vs Lithunia with 6 shots and some good chances amongst them.
Hard to see anything other than him being a class player of the future just maybe not for FI depending on club. And the price got really silly and is still so high even after the 20p fall I can’t see it coming back into value range anytime soon.
Best of the Rest
Defenders: Schar, Zinchenko,
Midfielders: Eriksen, Modric, Perisic, Brozovic, Anton Miranchuk, Golovin, Berisha, Odegaard, Under.
Forwards: Mitrovic, Isak, Lewandowski, Skov, Tadic, Erling Braut Haland, Tosun, Pukki.
Market and Player Assessment
Schar is solid for Switzerland and much better than for Newcastle. Bagged a goal and an assist over the 2 qualifiers and is capable of some decent scores. At 51p it’s not a bad punt or even a long term hold as you would think people would buy up a solid defender closer to the tournament. He should get attention from the Fantasy crowd for the tournament and that thinking often comes over to FI.
Zinchenko I covered in scouting this week, and he looks particularly good for Ukraine with over 100 passes and a goal in both games with some chances created. Plays in midfield at international level so may get reclassified for the tournament but that’s ok, he’s good enough anyway. Would not buy just for the tournament but it does add another string to his bow for those who like this hold.
Eriksen is the main man for Denmark and I like the trade for a season hold after the drop. It may be worth waiting a bit longer to see if he can be bought a bit cheaper.
You can imagine a situation where come January he is getting transfer rumours which may be Real Madrid or another big EPL club and combined with optimism for Euro 2020 he can push on. 2 goals and 1 assist but it was vs Gibraltar. Also capable of club performance wins in the mean time although has been quiet in the last 2 games for goal threat.
Veteran Modric is difficult to recommend at his age for a tournament at the end of the season as unfavourable transfer rumours are likely. But you can’t deny his strength, he is very capable of winning for Croatia where he runs the show and has good goal threat. Scored 1 vs Azerbaijan. As a qualifier punt it looks great at 42p but I would be wary of holding into 2020.
Perisic is looking solid for Croatia and also Bayern although rotation will be an issue there most likely. Scored vs Slovakia with decent threat, assist potential and overall involvement he is capable of a good score. Looks value at 78p and 30 is not that old these days.
As covered extensively in Scouting Brozovic looks strong and he does for Croatia too. Not quite the extreme bargain he was at £1.10 in pre-season scouting but at £1.57 he still looks fantastic value. Slight drop actually after an off game and apparent handbags with Lukaku so that will be interesting to watch.
That just makes it look a better time to pick him up to me unless that situation develops and causes a serious problem but it seems unlikely at this stage.
Anton Miranchuk from Locomotiv Moscow and Russia looks good. Has had decent transfer rumours in the past and looks performance suitable. Had 60 minutes vs Kazakhstan with 3 shots and could easily have scored. Has regular goal threat for club and country and assists in the locker with decent involvement. Potential bargain at 39p for a patient holder. Just don’t confuse him with his brother Aleksey (though you could look at him too, he’s another one that could be a good long term hold and also 39p. Just didn’t feature in these qualifiers.)
Golovin is a well known player and quite likely to carry optimism into the tournament. Monaco are struggling but he looked much better for Russia with strong involvement, goal threat and assist potential across both games. Could come good for the club too potentially but he is nowhere near as strong there at the moment. Was bought heavily in anticipation of the qualifiers and sold off afterwards. I think this could be exploited.
Berisha made England blush a bit with 2 goals. He came to Lazio with high expectations that he never delivered on due to some poor form and injury. He does have performance suitability and I think he is worth watching to see if these goals get him back into the Lazio setup. At 44p he would look very cheap if starting regularly.
Solid for Odegaard and quite similar to his recent good club form. He started both games and looks secure. No goal but he’s getting chances. Was tougher for him vs Sweden. Wouldn’t buy just for the qualifiers but if you fancy him anyway, internationals are another string to his bow.
Under was absent through injury but he is worth mentioning for Turkey. Did start both games for Turkey when last fit scoring in both. Patchy form but a good young player who may pick up EPL transfer rumours later.
A good qualifiers punt, Mitrovic smashed in 3 for Serbia and has the goal threat to pop off in the scoring despite his weak baselines and at minimum is a good shout for IPD. 68p is decent and it would be surprising if he did not rise ahead of the next qualifiers.
Isak showed some promising pre-season stats despite not scoring but it has been a bit bleak since for the club. He’s not scoring but worse he isn’t get chances at Sociedad so far. He did for Sweden though in both games, scoring 2 vs Faroe Islands. Decent and worth watching still but does need to improve at club level.
Lewandowski blanked for Poland and actually looked a shadow of his usual self for Bayern. As mentioned in Scouting, if this continued it would turn me off holding him too far into the season but certainly for the next 2-3 months he looks great. Will probably carry high optimism into the tournament though and the new long term Bayern contract might sooth some fears over age. That makes it a bit easier to hold him longer into the season. If he smashes some goals for Poland next game easier still.
Skov looks solid for Denmark. Hoffenheim was not the transfer we wanted for him. He was only playing Gibraltar but he managed a goal and an assist and he is getting minutes so looks promising. £1.06 is ok value but it may be a season too early, he needs a bigger club.
Tadic is a good performance player and the price is held down only by the ineligible league. That can make him great value when internationals and Champions League come together and give him some pitch time. Looks dangerous for both Serbia and Ajax and has the baselines to make his goals count. Excellent if unorthodox pick and I can see him doing well this season particularly if Ajax have a good CL run. Will likely go up and down in price depending on fixtures though.
Erling Braut Haland is one of the big stories of the week and has flown to an insane price after 2 hatricks vs weak teams and an association with OGS for a potential Manchester United transfer. Also featured for Norway where he looked extremely poor.
He is almost certainly going to be a weak performance player and that is very evident from the stats. There’s no real “ah but he’s young and it could change” argument to be made. The style of play is clear. You can see it in the stats for his club but you don’t even need to – just contrast him to a performance suitable player like Depay who comfortably beat his hattrick score with 1 goal without even winning the game.
Goal stats are impressive but these are at a very soft level and even if was a decent striker in a big 5 league even 2 goals may not be enough for him to win. Awful value and big risk of a drop. If you are a hype trader it may remain of interest but this is absolutely not for me.
Everton’s Tosun gets plenty of minutes for Turkey and has hit braces twice this year now. Good goal threat, weak performance scores. A decent IPD punt at 36p.
Pukki looked good for Finland, scoring in both games. Goal threat is consistent even vs tough opposition at club level. I personally find it hard to believe that this scoring rate can be maintained playing for Norwich. And £1.92 is expensive for essentially an IPD player. But, if he keeps scoring he will hold the price and a good scoring record for Finland is a good bonus for holders.