Welcome to Part 2! If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 from yesterday which has more discussion about approaching the CL in general.
Key Players - Highlights
Lots of members love the in depth analysis, but I’m also experimenting with more top level summaries for those pushed for time.
Note that this is no substitute for reading the in depth analysis below, understanding the context is important to getting trades right!
I’ll combine the lists from yesterday and today to create one single source, with today’s additions in blue.
Note that in “My Picks” I am factoring in the chances of a run in the CL but mainly considering the prospects of the player over the next few months as a whole.
Van Dijk, TAA, Sancho, Neymar, Mbappé, Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coutinho, Messi, Griezmann, Kroos, Ramos, Sterling, Mahrez, Laporte, Ronaldo, Dybala.
Strong chances of winning in this round and beyond. Potentially vulnerable to drops if knocked out, but most have other reasons to hold longer term*.
VVD, Gnabry, Lewandowski, Griezmann, Kroos, Mahrez, Coutinho, Dybala.
*Note: Messi and Ronaldo will be particularly vulnerable to a shock knock out as explained below.
Mario Pasalic, Christopher Nkunku, Dayot Upamecano, Achraf Hakimi, Corentin Tolisso, Piotr Zielinski (ok, 25!), Fabian Ruiz, Ousmané Dembelé, Houssem Aouar, Maxwel Cornet, Moussa Dembelé.
Good, performance suitable young players at reasonable prices with a chance of making a splash in this round, and good longer term prospects too.
Pasalic, Tolisso, Zielinski, Ruiz, Aouar, Moussa Dembelé, Ousmané Dembele.
Julian Brandt, Giovani Lo Celso, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara, Kingsley Coman, Lorenzo Insigne, Eden Hazard, Isco.
My picks: Hard, I like them all. If I have to pick… Brandt. Goretzka, Insigne, Hazard, Isco.
Alvaro Morata, Marcus Reus, Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens, Arkadiusz Milik, Kerem Benzema.
All cheap, yet capable of exploding with more than 1 goal.
My pick: Icardi, Morata, Mertens, Benzema.
Value Long Shots:
Angelino, Martin Terrier, Alex Sandro, Elif Elmas, Ross Barkley, Jorginho, Willian
My picks: Angelino (if starting), Alex Sandro.
I’ve included for ease two snippets from the prediction algorithm, showing first the win chance in each leg, and the predicted chance of progressing to the quarters. Full credit to fivethirtyeight.com, this is not my work, I just like to reference it as a rough guide and include it here for interest.
Chelsea v Bayern Munich - 25th Feb and 18 March
The overall expectation will obviously be for Bayern to win comfortably, particularly at home.
Chelsea have a decent shot for the first leg at home. But, Bayern have squeezed teams for possession in every CL game so far and Chelsea will have to fight for every FI point.
This justified pessimism could keep Chelsea player prices down in the run up to the game, reflecting nervousness about a knockout. Many key Chelsea players have been dropping in the last month or two anyway, due to a combination of over optimism and over valuation. Regulars will recall I predicted these price drops in Scouting.
We do have newer traders around this month and it can be easy for pumpers to con new traders back into some of them though. But overall, I would not expect price rises for Chelsea players once the short term minded switch onto it being the CL soon.
Chelsea have a really mixed bag of results in the groups, whilst Bayern have 6 wins in 6, most of them very comfortable including big wins away. Whilst upsets can happen, it would seem foolish to bet against Bayern here unless we can find great value at Chelsea that we can hold longer term.
The only problem with Bayern players is choosing from an embarrassment of performance suitable talent which can get rotated. I expect them to be in demand, but that is nothing new and I’ve sung their praises often enough in Scouting this season that hopefully most members have at least some of them!
We also have Barcelona and Napoli competing on this day, who are both full of strong performance players (Though Napoli are doing their best to keep that a secret, at least domestically).
Notable: Abraham, Reece James, Barkley, Willian, Emerson, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic
Lots of players at Chelsea who could get significant attention with a big performance and an upset. But very few with great FI form and credible reasons to think they will pull it off in a tough game.
Hudson-Odoi can generate hype with a big performance but the odds of that look low. His good FI displays typically come in walkovers vs weak opponents. He rarely shows much of use on FI in tough matches, so there is no reason to bet on him here.
It’s hard to recommend Pulisic in poor form, with his generally weak FI numbers. We’d need him to be smashing in 2-3 most likely and that feels like a very tall order. Also has no late season reasons to hold making him high risk.
Abraham, as covered in Scouting since pre-season, is an atrocious performance player. He’s been scoring, and limited match days like this are where this sort of player can win. Bayern do ship the odd goal, but then they’ll usually score more.
Abraham is a high price, with reasons for a late season hold dwindling unless you really believe he will be trusted to deputise for Kane at the Euro’s, I suspect not. Can win in the event of a big upset, but he’s still not a player I’d touch with the longest barge pole you can possibly imagine.
Mount obviously has that hype factor, but form is poor, FI numbers are poor, and his CL form is even worse. I was keen in pre-season at around £2 but as he headed towards £4 I highlighted how far this price was out ahead of his ability at this stage. £2.87 now, I don’t think there are many reasons why he will have a good few months ahead.
Willian is one of Chelsea’s best, and if you are backing an upset, would be one the one to go for. But I would probably do it late (prematch) as a cheap punt rather than a long hold. If Chelsea do pull it off, Willian would be a great prospect for a Gold Day Quarter Final. But he’s very high risk because of his age and his expiring contract at the end of the season.
Barkley, if starting (and not shipped out to West Ham as per the latest speculation) is likely Chelsea’s best performance player, certainly one of them. And that’s true for England too. That may seem borderline blasphemy to conventional football thinking but on FI it is true.
Played two full games recently and looked good for FI in both. If we see him starting more in the coming games and some positive noises from Lampard he could start looking a bargain once more. But he’s been very stop and start with injury etc.
Will be tough for any player to actually win versus Bayern but if backing an upset it’s best to do it with cheap players. Would only buy if we saw him get more minutes soon. West Ham move would be mixed I’ll cover that in scouting later.
Jorginho is a solid pick, purely because if you are going to beat Bayern it might be a penalty that does it. Also has Italy involvement later on as a back up plan. Price is dropping, may be worth waiting to see if gloom for Chelsea’s CL prospects beats the price down further. £2.25 now, if he could be picked up much closer to £2 I think he’s a decent bet for the coming months and as an underdog for this round.
Reece James has been playing well as covered in Scouting, and my early January prediction of a win coming soon came true.
But as per this weeks Scouting review, I would be selling on this wave of hype rather than holding in great expectation. He can contend but to expect that in this round is a bit much with Bayern squeezing possession. When people switch to full CL thinking mode, eyes may water at the prospect of facing Bayern.
Key: Gnabry, Coutinho, Lewandowski
Notable: Goretzka, Tolisso, Alcantara, Coman, Alphonso Davies, Pavard, Kimmich
The main issue is rotation here so sticking with the best players that can be held for the domestic season and the Euro’s too seems the best call.
Gnabry the main man, people will remember his 4 goal demolition of Spurs away. Has not actually scored in the CL this season outside of that, but has had chances, and his numbers are consistently strong.
Just a really solid hold all round CL or not. Not the bargain he was when I banged on about him in pre-season at a now ludicrous £1.40-£1.60 but his price has been stable at £3.35 and he’s got all the right ingredients for a good 6 months ahead.
Coutinho is looking incredibly strong for FI scoring and I’d be confident in him for this game. Rotation is possible. And the case for a late season hold is ropey. Balanced against that, the price is very reasonable at £2.58 for a player of such quality. Bayern have tasty fixtures too. This can have even the best of us scratching their heads.
On balance, I’d say yes for the coming month and the CL games, relying on his raw performance strength to overcome the issues with trend fit. Especially with Gnabry/Coman currently injured.
Lewandowski is an easy yes at £2.22. So strong for IPD and performance. Age keeps his price relatively reasonable but it’s actually not a big issue in his case. Euro’s will sustain him, his 4 year Bayern contract recently signed means we don’t have to worry about age too much in his case. Will be a favourite for later CL gold days if they make it through.
I’m a well known Kimmich sceptic since pre-season, still am. Inititally the market disagreed with me, as he went from £3.25 pre-season to £4.72 by November. But in the last 3 months he’s been dropping back due to a lack of returns. He’s not adding enough end product to these good baselines.
My main reason for scepticism was the risk of reclassification into midfield, which FI made a song and dance of early on, but then did very little about it. I always thought him capable of wins and in that regard he has been unlucky to get so few wins with his numbers. I’d expect that luck to balance out at some point.
That risk of reclassification is still there though, we just don’t know when it hits. He’d need to drop at least another £1 to get me interested.
At the cheaper end we have the excellent Tolisso and Goretzka, both of whom are potential rotation risks but also potential winners and breakout players. At £1.46 and £1.65 respectively I think these are solid choices with high potential, but will likely need patience so are best thought of as long term holds (possibly a year). At these prices, that’s viable.
Alcantara is a sleeping giant with some rotation problems. But he has started 5 of 6 CL games. His end product has been off colour this season, but he can score (got a great chance vs Spurs in the CL) and in these limited fixtures, he probably doesn’t even need to. Death by 100+ passes can win it.
I think £2.15 is a good price but given his form/possibility of a transfer to Juventus/Real Madrid and general uncertainty, I think he’s another with a long hold in mind. He is one that can announce himself with a 300+ monster score though so he’d be a favourite for QF Gold Days.
Davies is a player I’ve liked for a while, and indeed featured him in my October wonderkids article and Scouting before that. Great rise in recent weeks but I’m not sure it’s a smart choice for buyers now.
He’s now being played out of position at left back, classed as a midfielder on FI. That’s the wrong way around! Whilst a reclassification at some point is near inevitable, he’s too weak at left back to compete with midfield big hitters. Yet he carries a midfield price tag.
When switched to defender, his chances are better, but he’ll be overpriced because people have been buying him as a midfielder. Whilst he’s talented, there is so much wrong with that picture.
Pavard is a very solid choice. After a drop, £1.75 is still reasonable for a player with good prospects ahead. Flicking back to June 12 pre-season scouting when I was very keen, he was just 80p back then, a fantastic rise. He’s not that bargain anymore, but he’s solid and I think he can hit £2 again fairly easily.
Napoli vs Barcelona - 25th Feb and 18 March
Although Napoli have awful domestic form, their CL campaign has been much better. They have seen off Salzburg away, beaten Liverpool at home, got the draw at Anfield, and demolished Genk 4-0 in the final game.
Whilst Barcelona are clear favourites in both betting odds and the algorithm, given Napoli’s good CL results against strong sides, my view is that Napoli may be a good underdog who can cause a big upset in the round of 16, at least in the home leg.
Still, it would be better to stick with Napoli players that have reasons to hold them anyway. This may be made easier by nervousness about a knockout – this can send Napoli players down to bargain prices. They have already been dropping, mainly I think due to this awful run of domestic form but no doubt partially because of this tough CL draw too.
Barcelona are generally expected to progress comfortably, and have plenty of strong players, including some good young talent. However, being a strong favourite in knockouts on FI comes with problems – in the case of a shock defeat traders often can’t hit that Instant Sell button fast enough. And, a win may not move the price much because it’s already assumed (unless it comes from a breakout youngster).
Key: Insigne, Ruiz, Zielinski, Mertens, Milik
Insigne, Ruiz, Zielinski are all strong FI players with good future prospects including Euro involvement and possible transfers, notably for Ruiz. Prices have been kept relatively modest due to poor domestic form and this tough draw, which makes them good long term value.
If they get knocked out, they are unlikely to dip because of it, it’s expected. In the event of a shock, they can rise strongly. If their domestic form improves they can win there too. And regardless, there are longer term reasons to hold them anyway.
I view these 3 as close to a free hit chance to win and cause an upset, since I’m happy to hold them anyway.
Insigne is a scouting favourite, but despite rising dramatically since pre-season (£1.23 > £2.42) he has struggled since as Napoli go through this awful domestic form. Interestingly, Insigne hit his first home goals of the season only yesterday in the cup, smashing in 2. This would have been a huge FI score, hopefully a sign of things to come.
Ruiz has quality, his form is not the best as he has struggled recently for end product as covered in scouting. It is also unlikely to be his game as Barcelona squeeze possesion. But particularly at home, he is capable. With him, it’s more about him improving domestically and moving to a very big club come season end, as well as his Spain involvement.
As per scouting I am keen on Zielinski at the moment, as he has shown significant improvement and represents great value. Check scouting for my detailed thoughts on him.
Mertens and Milik are both very strong contenders in the CL, and if Napoli did make it through to a Gold Day, they’d look especially good value. For this bronze day, less so because the prize isn’t that great. But, I think there is a good window here where Napoli have a lot of games on the way.
Both are capable of hoovering up strong IPD in the next month, and may attract a price rise before the game, where it may be smart to cash out if so. At the cheap prices of £1.18 for Mertens and £1.42 for Milik, this is very viable.
Elmas is a good young talent who has gone a bit quiet due to rotation. Had some good games when he has played though, including this week in the Coppa Italia where he again showed solid numbers. Would expect him to start benched but he looks a solid pick for long term holders at £1.06, or for a punt if you see him on the team sheet pre match.
I also considered Koulibaly but in this game, he is unlikely to get the possession he needs for big scores.
Key: Messi, Griezmann
Notable: Ousmane Dembelé, De Jong, Fati,
Messi is the obvious favourite to win, but it’s an example of how being the favourite is not always desirable in these knockouts, particularly before the Gold Days.
The trends also have to work in your favour. He’s been declining since November. This is why in Key Strategy offloading veterans as we approached Christmas was a guideline.
If he wins here? Well that’s expected. It won’t cause a huge stir unless Barcelona get a favourable draw for the quarters. You can see people going for Messi at that point for a shot at a Gold Day.
But if he loses in the R16 or Quarters? Or picks up a bad injury? That’s going to be rough.
Suarez underlines the point. His (probably) season ending injury gives little reason to hold him until August at the earliest, and even then, with 1 year on the contract, he may not be at Barcelona next season, or he might lose his starting spot. Veterans are high risk at this stage particularly where there are doubts about next season.
Griezmann is by far the better bet. He’s on the up with better and better performances. Scoring regularly. Though it’s not coming through in performance scoring quite yet. If he becomes a more trusted member of the team, it can. With Suarez out, they may need to rely on him more. And with high expectations for the Euro’s, he can withstand a shock knock out. Solid prospects for the next 6 months.
It could be an opportunity for someone like Ousmané Dembelé or even Ansu Fati to step up.
We have a new manager at Barcelona, so will be interesting to cover the first few games in Scouting for more clues as to which younger players he favours.
Dembelé has been overhyped/priced in the past, but last review on 24 November I said he looked good value at £2.35 coming off a big price drop, and much closer to delivering some results.
Up to £2.51 now, which is pretty good. Unclear whether he will make an impact here, but he can, and he feels like a good longer term hold to me regardless, whether he settles at Barcelona or gets another big transfer, the dream being to the EPL.
This is also Fati‘s opportunity to shine if he can get minutes, even off the bench. Did score vs Inter last CL game with just 10 minutes on the pitch. That’s all he really needs to do! In truth, recent form has been poor and his price is madness. I said this as soon as he went up to £3.79 at IPO and he has stagnated and dropped a bit since.
But, whilst unlikely, a goal could send him flying to £4 easily. Not one I would personally go for though because it is a very poor value price despite his talent.
De Jong is really poor for FI purposes, something I have said consistently all season. He’s stagnated since, which in a market that has risen this much is a bad result. Has also never looked close to a win. He can win in a very low fixture day with a decent baseline, but it would have to be a 0-0 or a very rare collector’s item goal.
With a change in coach, more options may emerge. Keep an eye on Scouting as we see the first games.
Real Madrid vs Man. City - 26th Feb and 19th March
City are the strong favourites to qualify in both the betting and the algorithm. The first leg with Real at home is much more up in the air.
With Real in very mixed form, I can see why City are favourites. Real have struggled versus credible CL opposition, losing to PSG away and Ajax at home. The only real bright spot is beating Ajax away 1-2. City have cruised it but mainly vs soft opponents. Only draws with Atalanta and Shakhtar spoiling their record.
That’s not hugely convincing though, I think for trading purposes a lot of people will view this as a tough contest.
That could mean a bit of nervous buying in the build up, decent gains for the winners and sizable drops for losers.
These match days are shared with Lyon v Juventus. City and Real will be the main event, but Juventus have the biggest chance of crushing Lyon and stealing the show.
Key: Eden Hazard, Kroos, Ramos
Notable: Rodrygo, Vinicius, Isco, Benzema, Carvajal
Hazard should be back in plenty of time. He was really improving in reality and in FI terms before his unfortunate injury as covered in Scouting. This is a great stage to remind people of his quality.
I’ve warmed to him in recent months following his price drop and better performances, and £3.91 now looks good value for a premium player with a strong profile for the next 6 months with the Euro’s ahead.
Kroos is an obvious contender by now. This will be a tough game but his numbers hold up in big games. As a fun fact, he scored an insane goal from a corner kick vs Valencia in the Super Cup last week, worth watching if only for the look on the goalkeeper’s face.
More than happy to be holding him for the season run in, as his week in week out big scores and Euro’s involvement keeps him going. If he can get through to the QF Gold Day’s that would be a big bonus.
Rodrygo can’t currently be recommended on form, he’s struggling lately and not looking dangerous anymore. But, he’s got ability and a big performance here can see him fly easily. Has a better record in the CL but his 4 goals were vs soft opponents.
Not one I would pick at this stage as per scouting from November to December. He’s overheated by at least £1. But I often say if you have to go for the hype picks, at least get the FI suitable one’s and he is that.
Likewise, Vinicius is off the boil and seeing heavy rotation. But again, whilst you can’t recommend him on form, the potential for him to fly on the market is there with a big goal. Looks better after a long slow price drop from £3.97 to £2.59 now (I was scathing about his £3+ price tag! But for good reason.) But not a trade I would go for, unless these recent speculative EPL transfer rumours firmed up.
Isco, despite his struggles, I have time for at £1.94 which is very reasonable. Given the chance in attacking midfield he can be very good for FI. In the Super Cup last week he was, scoring vs Valencia and managing over 100 passes, with high accuracy, crosses, dribbles, recoveries, everything. Had that been scored on FI, it would have got serious attention.
If he settled at Real, that’s all good. If his long gossiped about EPL move happened either now or in Summer, brilliant. CL chances are tough to call, he might not even play. But as a trade on the whole, there are plenty of things that can go right, not much that can go drastically wrong at 27 years old.
Brief honourable mention to James Rodriguez, who I would back if I thought he would get regular minutes in an attacking position. Still looks very stop and start though, will monitor in scouting.
Benzema was in monstrous form in November and whilst he only scored twice in December, his goal threat was great. Also has better than average overall involvement for a forward. He’s great to have on your side for the big CL nights. But probably more for Gold Day’s where the dividend is meaningful.
He runs against the trends though at this stage of the season. An injury or similar could hurt. But Real have plenty of good fixtures coming up before the CL, and I suspect buyers over the next month may hoover up some strong IPD and have a chance of a performance win too. Just check his injury isn’t too serious we are still awaiting news on a knock.
At the back the front runners would be Carvajal and Ramos. Carvajal can win it with high baselines, crosses and potential assists. In a tough game though, possession may be hard to come by and a Ramos penalty or headed goal could swing it. Has scored twice in the CL so far this season already.
Key: Sterling, Mahrez, Laporte
Notable: Aguero, Jesus, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Angelino
Aguero or Jesus will lead the line, probably Aguero. But despite their clear goal threat, I can’t think of a reason to punt on either. Prospects for the next 6 months are fairly bleak, and it’s only a bronze dividend up for grabs.
If City take a commanding lead in the first leg, I might consider a punt on Aguero in anticipation of a rise ahead of a QF Gold Day where he could win. But it wouldn’t be a big priority.
Sterling has a good fit for the next 6 months, and can do well, particularly if City make it through and he can get in on some Gold Day action.
Has been dropping recently though after a run of poor scores. Not been that bad in the stats though, he’s been unlucky that his big days have fallen in the Cup or when City lost to Wolves. Stats are generally solid.
We can’t expect huge profits out of premium players like this, but I think he’s one of the better ones to be holding for the coming months.
Sané should be back soon. He has potential but despite all his struggles his price has been relentlessly high, possibly due to a potential move to Bayern where he could improve performance wise. That’s a touch odd, because normally traders hate out of EPL moves.
So, I can’t say it is extreme value at £3.19, but with a bit more experience he can be a good FI player at City or otherwise. And he can get back into contention for Germany too. I can see him hitting £4 over the next 6 months but a lot would have to go right. A 50/50.
Mahrez is superb on FI, the only issue is potential rotation. And, increasingly limited reasons to hold him in late season. A lot rides on this game for him, because with Gold Day QF’s ahead, he has a solid case for a longer hold. If City go out, the clock will be ticking on how useful he stays for the rest of the season.
But he is in great form so I’d be happy to back him up to the first CL game, possibly further if he gets a result.
Bernardo Silva can win, but he tends to do better vs soft opponents where he can see more of the ball. This could be tough for him. I didn’t like him in pre-season scouting at around £2.40, but he’s another who should have a better second half of the season.
£2.27 now after a drop and a lot cheaper than he was relatively speaking too, with the Euro’s ahead, I’d be more neutral on him than negative these days.
De Bruyne is a bit off colour and his CL performances have not been great. But he’s capable of a big score anytime. As per my recent Scouting review, I think he’s a solid but unambitious hold for the coming months. And he has a lot to gain/lose depending on whether City make it through to the Gold Day’s.
David Silva could be a good Gold Day punt, but only if they make it to the QF.
Seems unlikely Foden would start in such a big game. I’d probably look to pick him up later in the season with next season in mind, provided his price drop continues.
At the back, Laporte may return. Injury buyers already bought him for that so I would say he is fairly priced rather than great value at £1.91. He’ll likely struggle particularly vs tough opponents like Real. But can dominate weaker teams.
Price may be compared to VVD and it’s not unfair, he’s nearly 80p cheaper with similar raw ability. Liverpool’s kinder draw, better domestic form, and Laporte’s freeze out from the France side are valid reasons why that is the case though.
A tough one but I would say if in the market for a premium defender for the next few months Laporte is solid. He just may take a bit of a kicking if City go out with no back up reason to hold him.
I’m not been a believer in Mendy, which is just as well since the price has taken a thrashing in recent months. It was always clear from the new scoring system in pre-season that some attacking full backs would do well, that was my analysis at the time.
Emphasis on some. There is a lazy “flying fullback” narrative going on at the moment based usually on weak/misleading stats that is leading people down blind alleys. Mendy’s price chart shows what happens when the music stops.
He’s doing a lot of the right stuff, but right now at least, the end product is not there.
I would be much more interested to see Zinchenko or even Angelino fill the spot. Zinchenko is excellent but his rotation is a problem as is his pricetag, which is a legacy of being a midfielder. Once switched to defender, that makes him look very expensive at £1.81. But he’s capable of big things and likely is a solid hold for very long term minded folks.
If I saw Angelino on the team sheet, I’d be very likely to punt on him at his bargain price despite his rotation troubles. His assist potential/crossing numbers are insane. Played both recent cup matches, assisting in both.
Lyon vs Juventus - 26th Feb and 19th March
Expectations for Lyon are sub zero, with both betting odds and algorithm making them the least likely team to progress.
That’s mixed. It probably subdues prices in the build up, but in reality, most of the market has already written Lyon off and a loss shouldn’t move prices down much.
Plenty of cheap good players at Lyon anyway, so as long as the longer term prospects are good, a hold can be a good option. You get an (almost) free bet on an upset that way.
Juventus could score big here and whilst they have lots of big talent, Ronaldo hogs a lot of the action.
I do not go in for the “you can’t buy X he competes with Y” theories. Your player is always going to be competing vs other good players on most meaningful days, and they are either good enough or they aren’t.
But in Juventus’s case, everything is set up to go through Ronaldo and it does stifle those around him. There a few players good enough to break through though.
The only real danger for Juventus is a shock defeat that could crash the price (remember Ajax?!). Not likely, though.
Key: Moussa Dembelé, Aouar,
Notable: Terrier, Traoré, Cornet
Dembelé is in great form and the most likely goal scorer for Lyon. Been up and down in the last week due to transfer rumours. If this doesn’t happen now, the rumours will be back by Summer most likely. When the price is right, I prefer to hold now during the window, just in case you get lucky and one of these transfer rumours just turns out to be true.
I don’t need to care about a small short term drop if it doesn’t, the upside outweighs the down here.
A solid hold for the next 6 months and any CL goals/win would be a bonus.
I also like Aouar who is hitting good form as per this week’s scouting. Like Dembelé, he’s got good prospects for the next 6 months with big transfer rumours likely come Summer. And he is showing the form that can lead to domestic wins too. Again, a good CL performance would be a bonus which is the key for underdogs.
Lyon have 3 good young prospects in Terrier, Traoré and Cornet.
Cornet has had a recent good performance and I highlighted him in scouting this week. Provided he keeps his spot on the wing rather than the odd move to left back, I think he looks a good longer term prospect for patient holders at £1.16.
Traoré has also improved, and he’s putting some good numbers up recently with plenty of decent shots and chances created. Can hit a win.
Probably more hopeful domestically than for the CL itself, but £1.18 is reasonable value for a punt on him continuing to improve in the next month or two. If he hasn’t done it by then, he could be struggling.
Terrier I was keen on pre-season but it has not worked out. Had a great finish to last season and has been considered a potential future France player too with some great stats from U21 level.
He has had a very poor season in general. But better signs in the last 5 games, with 2 goals and decent threat throughout. In truth, he’s struggling a bit with his classification as a midfielder whilst often playing more wing/forward roles, though he keeps being moved about so he’s difficult to pin down.
What he needs is a big breakout goal, perhaps Juventus is not the time to look for that it’s going to be tough. But, I think a long term holder might be quite happy with him at 92p, he is showing signs of improvement.
Key: Ronaldo, Dybala, Sandro
Notable: Ramsey, Pjanic, De Ligt, Higuain
These days are made for Ronaldo and there is every chance he will do his thing. There is a lot riding on this for Ronaldo holders. A deep CL run for Juventus with all those Gold Day’s could get Ronaldo pumping ahead of the Euro’s, and might make people ignore the risks he comes with.
He’s an exciting gamble but what keeps me out is the thought of a serious injury at this stage which could crash that price. But for the braver folk out there, he has lots of opportunities to shine in the next 6 months.
A shock knockout though… that’s not going to be a good day out for holders.
Holding Dybala or not is a tough decision. He’s a very strong performance player, and improving a lot in recent months.
Has actually been quite unlucky not to score higher more often. Hasn’t hit match winners, or he did but it was from the bench. Or, it was in a Cup like yesterday where he scored 2 and assisted 1, likely would have been his best score of the season.
Has an excellent CL record this season with 3 goals and 3 assists in 6 games, over just 231 minutes, it’s very impressive. I’d expect him to be starting now and not suffer so much rotation.
Against that, he’s running against my trend fit for the season, with no Euro’s and the chances of a big transfer looking less likely the more he beds in at Juventus.
Could have a great run if Juventus go far in the CL though. If you are a patient trader who is happy to be holding Dybala in 8 months time for the start of next season, and can stomach a bit of a drop in the meantime if things don’t quite go to plan… I think he’s a very good choice.
Shorter term, bit of a risk particularly if Juventus don’t go far in the CL. But I’d be happy with this because of my longer term confidence in him.
Higuain would be a brave punt. But he is capable of a big score on the day. I’d be more likely to go for this in the build up to a Gold Day where the pay off can be more worth the risk.
Ramsey is seeing far too much rotation to be consistent. But when on the pitch he is looking really good in the FI relevant stats. Would be happy to punt on him late if I saw him on the teamsheet.
Pjanic is a clear contender, if only through a million passes which can be all you need on limited match days. Way back in September/October Scouting when he was being hyped, I warned about going in too hard on a player that was clearly on a hot streak that was very likely to come to an end. He was chased up to £3.14 for that, but is back down to £2.26 now.
That actually looks a much better price these days and if Juventus have a good run he could get attention for Gold Days. Still got a chance of qualifying for the Euros through the playoffs too.
At the back, you can go for hype or substance. De Ligt is a poor performance player, always was. I pretty much savaged this on it’s way up to £3+ and have no sympathy at all that he is now £1.86, it was always coming.
Reasonable-ish baselines, he might get attention just for the hype, but with his numbers, he’d be very lucky to beat many other better defenders on the field.
Sandro is the better alternative at just 87p. Strong baselines and potential end product to make it count with good key passing and crossing stats. Whilst his trend fit is not strong, he’s cheap enough to be worth it at this stage if expecting a good run for Juventus in the CL.