On October 8th I previewed the Europa League groups.

Let’s review after each game and see how well the players really did and whether we can spot anything useful that will help us in later rounds.

I’ve kept the original preview here for ease and…

Updates from last nights games are all in these light green boxes. 

Europa League - Groups

Group A - Roma, Young Boys, CFR Cluj, CSKA Sofia


This very soft group makes Roma assets a lot more attractive.

Key Players: None

Punts: Pedro, Veretout, Pellegrini

Youth: Carles Perez

Roma top the group with a game to spare. Comfortable win here vs Young Boys and they have another good chance next vs Sofia. Can probably expect a similar line up.

Arguably it was 18 year old full back Calafiori who was the standout, who is just breaking through to the side. He scored a screamer last night and it’s well worth a google to watch it. You could put that down as a fluke but no – he had 5 shots in total and historically for the U19’s he’s got a good goalscoring record. 

Lovely stuff. Not on FI yet which is something I’m saying more and more recently – the IPO system is on the way though as per FI’s notification last night. Someone like this could easily slip under the radar of most so he might make for a good pick up. 

Carles Perez had a really good game too. He’s been my best pick for a Roma youngster and he’s not disappointed me. He may lack an explosion or even goals lately but the underlying numbers are cause for encouragement. 

3 efforts here, good chances too. And he made a really strong overall contribution, well ahead of what most forwards are capable of. One to watch and I think patient traders will be happy at just £1.01 on a bid or thereabouts. 

Next game could be a good chance for more short term joy, too.

Another goal for Borja Mayoral who is doing very well per minute, notching 4 goals in 7 appearances with limited minutes. If you can get the 39p bid he’s looking good for IPD. And given a full game in the Europa a win would not be outrageous either.


A barely recognisable Roma side with 9 changes from the last match. Wouldn’t read too much into these numbers with a rotated side on a rain soaked artificial pitch. Key men Veretout/Pellegrini did not start. 

Young CB Kumbulla came closest to a win with a goal but this is more good fortune than consistent level.

Borja Mayoral a new face after moving from Levante and could become a decent budget IPD option but we need more minutes to judge him on. 

Roma may have better days in this soft group. I think former Barcelona youngster Carles Perez is the most interesting – just £1.16 to £1.46 and well within range of a win if he plays a full game on a good day for Roma.

Match Day 2 

Should have been a soft game and Roma dominated but could not make it count. 

Carles Perez comes out of it quite well. Sees enough of the ball for a forward and he gets decent chances, including a couple of ranged efforts here.

The 22 year old former Barcelona player shows some decent numbers consistently when playing. I’ve liked him as a longer term prospect for a while and he’s shaping up nicely. Especially on a bid as low as £1.16. 

Some of their better players only make it off the bench – Pedro, Pellegrini. Veretout did not get on at all.  

Pedro looks dangerous overall but not last night – he may be 33 but is not to be counted out. Could easily win if he starts one of these soft games. Just 43p.

Young CB Kumbulla continues to upset the historic data. He had another good chance to score which would have made it 3 goals in 3. Which for a CB is very obviously very impressive. And he’s just 57p. One slightly off putting thing is that his overall numbers aren’t brilliant and a goal might not be enough for him to win. It’s a 4p dividend though just for a goal. 

It’s still hard to call it an exciting pick but he is proving more than a flash in the pan.

New signing Borja Mayoral had his best game thus far. 3 shots and probably Roma’s most dangerous player. Atrocious performance player. But on a 35p bid he could make a great IPD punt. Can probably expect some rotation with Dzeko but at that price that’s acceptable. Even 1 goal returns a good chunk of that fee and he’s 23 – very hard to see him dipping any lower than 35p for very long.

Overall Roma have had a weak start and should be making more of a soft group. But they do have some decent players and their fixture calendar both domestically and in the Europa is very kind up to December. So if there is a good time to go for Roma assets it’s now.

A 5-0 demolition much more like the results we expected from Roma in what is a gift of a group.

They do have a real problem for traders though – there are not many attractive players. 

30 year old Bruno Peres did win in defence, and if you saw that coming well… you are better than me.

He didn’t really do much special – it was just a soft night for defenders which is suprising on a chaotic Europa night with so many games. I wouldn’t be backing him again.

Veretout would have been more popular and he wasn’t too far away. Added an assist, got a chance. And he has penalties anyway. Probably the best punt if you want Roma assets for the upcoming soft ties.

And you have Mayoral who I said in the Match Day 2 review looked dangerous and a decent IPD punt. He added another brace here. When you are paying just 35p that’s a significant chunk for your money. 

And no reason he can’t keep going – it’s early days for him at Roma but he has looked dangerous in both of the last two games and he has a good scoring pedigree in La Liga. 

One of those quietly good players that most will not bother with – but those shrewed traders with a little bit of time to manage trades actively will very likely get rewarded.

Former Chelsea veteran Pedro looks well capable of very big scores – but he’s tricky as he is rarely finishing full games. Good punt if you see him starting.

Roma are through comfortably making rotation likely in the next games. 

They have dominated a soft group as expected but as per the preview they lack many really strong or popular players for traders to take advantage of. 

Veretout has been the most consistent and he’s unlucky here because he bagged the matchwinner which would normally see him competing but he was only on from the bench so didn’t have enough time to make it count. 

Close though and he looks like Roma’s most consistent player by far. 71p to 91p is good value for a 3 out of 5 stars level player. He has somehow escaped my player rating table I’ll fix that next update.

Mayoral dangerous again. Looks a really good IPD rotation option. 34p to 53p is a sick joke for a player who looks like scoring at least every second game right now. 3 in his last 4 and that is no accident. 

I like 22 year old former Barcelona trainee Carles Perez as the Roma youth punt. Decent game for him last night, when you are racking 55 passes with 93% accuracy as a forward you know you are just a goal away from competing. 

Played the full game here but gets rotated often. Per minute he remains promising – with Roma through he may get more pitch time in the final two group games.

Group B: Arsenal, Rapid Wien, Molde, Dundalk


Like Roma, Arsenal can be a suprisingly underwhelming performance side however this soft group, and likelihood of a good run in the competition, really gives them a boost.

Key Players: Willian (could argue he is a punt/veteran but I think he is so strong I’d be comfortable holding for a while), 

Punts: Pepe, Ceballos, Aubameyang (I’d tend to go for him in later stages when he will have less competition on smaller match days)

Youth: Gabriel, Willock, Nelson (big pitch time risk but capable)

Comfortable win and nice to see the fans in attendance, really does make a difference to the atmosphere when watching. 

Gunnersaurus back. Critical boost for morale and the best contribution Ozil has made in years. Unlikely to make a massive FI impact. But very welcome for Arsenal fans after a long summer of drama where they didn’t know if he was staying or going.

Elsewhere, Pepe won a second consecutive Europa League dividend which is no easy task on these chaotic nights.  

I said he was a snip in the after match review last week and incredibly the morning after his win the red button was as low as 84p! Some very short term traders seem desperate to sell really cheaply sometimes and I am really not sure how they make money this way.

Potential good tactic in abusing the desperation of “on the goal” or other short term buyers who want to sell the morning after a win. When you know that player is not a one hit wonder you can really clean up and buy cheaply.

That 84p price was thin though and didn’t last long before he was closer to £1.25. So you have to be fast. Most likely nobody was really selling for 84p but if you could get say 90p matched that’s a steal. When lots of people want to sell it’s going to push the price down. 

Even today Pepe is an obvious steal. And I didn’t think we should have been put off by the weak display last weekend vs Wolves. In Scouting 3 days ago I said:

“This poor form is unlikely to matter much when they line up against minnows Rapid Wien and Dundalk in the Europa over the next 10 days.

I’d look to the midweek Europa review for some good targets for that. PepeWillockNelson if he starts. All capable.”

Pepe may have struggled but price is everything. If he was still £3 I’d be saying no but for this bargain price he is looking really good. 

What’s remarkable is he won without a goal last night. Massive overall contribution and we may want to see more of him on the left wing. It was a soft game so we shouldn’t get too carried away. But if he could do half of what he did last night and add a goal too he’d be in contention. Remains a bargain even now.

Nelson had a good game too. Provided 1 assist but he made 5 key passes and he can be disappointed his teammates didn’t finish more for him. And all in just 63 minutes. Very tasty and it’s in soft games like this where we can really see a players potential. He’s really struggled for minutes but things are looking up lately and he is an FI contender for sure.

Willock rested or rotated, hard to say. Shame because this is the sort of game where he could have really done some damage. Doing well in general though and I like this pick.

Another soft game next and we can expect more of the same with a similar team selection most likely.


Arsenal fans will rightly be impressed with Partey‘s excellent debut. Looked similar to his good days at Atletico which means he’s high baseline but will struggle to add goals to really push the score into competitive territory.

However, he’ll be able to nick it on limited fixture days without a goal, and when he does score he could clear 300+. That may be a couple of times per season. As per the Deadline Day transfer article – there is some gossip that he thinks he is capable of more goals so that is worth keeping an eye on. No evidence of that so far but it is early days.

This £1.23 bid would be value – even without an improvement in threat he should justify that. And if he does improve a holder will be very happy. 

Gabriel was impressive. CB’s are a little awkward on FI but some of them have such high baselines they can get themselves in contention – nicking limited fixture days or sometimes even winning when the more attacking defenders do not score on a match day. 

I really liked him in Scouting and that first game versus Fulham was very impressive. I said back then though that there was no need to charge into him after the hype when he was £1.20. He’s dropped to 87p now – lots of traders come out when the hype for transfers has faded. Solid value pick up now and we should see regular challenges from him. 

Very disappointing when trying to find good targets further forward though. I think we’ll need to see Willian back who really looks the only consistent midfield/forward challenger at Arsenal at the moment. 

They do have a very soft group though. Dundalk and Molde to come at home in the next two weeks. Punts on Pepe, Lacazette, Nketiah or Aubameyang may pay off. 

Even Saka could win on a day like that but overall he’s poor in that midfield category and that penny is starting to drop with traders – price is dropping just agonisingly slowly and again it’s those true believers who pay the biggest price.

Cruised to victory as they should have. If there is a game to showcase Arsenal’s players at their best this was it. 

Willock impressive. A very competitive FI performance and dropping the match winner would have seen him up there, although outclassed on the day by the magnificent Pizzi. 

It shows his potential though and having that magic (if over stated) “young and English” vibe it’s a big deal if he starts performing.

I was very sceptical of this back when he was a pumped wonderkid at nearly £2. But I’ve got more optimistic after his price drop closer to £1. His pitch time struggles see him available potentially on a bid for just 66p now which is pretty incredible. 

Given regular minutes he’d be in contention, maybe 3 out of 5 stars or 3.5 out of 5 stars level. And for the money that’s decent. A patient trader might be very happy with the pickup at this price. Really all about whether he can get more regular minutes.

Nketiah a big threat. 7 shots in total. Got the matchwinner but it could have been more. Generally a fairly poor performance player but is a decent finisher and that’s worth something. 

The difficulty is if shopping for IPD there are more consistent options who are more secure in pitch time. It’s not a bad pick for the money at £1.25 or close to it – but you’d have to see a bright future for him as a first team striker at a big club.

Pepé was excellent. Lovely goal. Good all around contribution. I use to love Pepé at Lille when he looked on the way to Bayern. Had that happened he could be an FI powerhouse. But I was sceptical about his ability to deliver at Arsenal. 

To be fair though… that was when he was well over £3 in the old dividend structure. If you really can get this £1.38 bid or close to that it’s good value. Arsenal have spicy fixtures in the Europa with Molde up next twice. So a good punt for that period at minimum, possibly longer if he does well in the games to come.

Nelson very good too. I’ve been optimistic on him earlier in 2020 – hasn’t worked out though. The numbers are good, but he’s really suffered from being blocked in the side with limited opportunities. But when he gets them, he usually looks a capable winner. 

No bid price at all right now. Still just 20 so I think he is worth keeping an eye on. Maybe a move at this stage is the best thing for him.

Comfortable win – any holders perhaps unlucky that 2 of these goals were own goals. 

Willock the standout player if watching the game. And one of the better FI performers too. Added a goal but his presence heavily influenced both own goals. Lovely display. 

I’ve long liked him as a high potential player but he has really struggled for pitch time outside of League/FA Cups. If you flick to the Match Day 2 review he was the standout player in the last game too. Likely he starts next game and he is a very capable winner. 66p… I can’t see many ways a patient trader can end up unhappy from there.

Pepe  brilliant or awful depending on who you ask. Definitely improved late on finishing with a goal and assist. In FI terms there is plenty to like and I guess fans are just frustrated by the inconsistency. 

But again, he’s a capable winner particularly in these soft European nights to come – and any doubts over consistency can be soothed by that rock bottom £1.30 bid price.

Nketiah a big threat, just as he was last game vs Dundalk. Should be coming out of these games with 2-3 but he only has 1. I’ve been sceptical and thought him overpriced. His £1.25 bid last review I thought was ok – but you’d have to really see him as a big club EPL striker for the future. No bid price now, I think there are much better targets.

Very poor game for Willian. He could in theory be Arsenal’s best FI player and certainly the first game he played vs Fulham backed that up. But he’s been atrocious since, never really looking like scoring in 8 appearances. Puzzling. Certainly capable of wonderful FI scores but he’ll need to find form.

Arsenal are through so we may see another youth filled line up in the final two games – much like the one we saw last night really.

Pepé the Star Player and he took media too – in the last match day review I said:

“Pepe  brilliant or awful depending on who you ask. Definitely improved late on finishing with a goal and assist. In FI terms there is plenty to like and I guess fans are just frustrated by the inconsistency. 

But again, he’s a capable winner particularly in these soft European nights to come – and any doubts over consistency can be soothed by that rock bottom £1.30 bid price.”

Another example this week then of how a player is seemingly doomed by public opinion, but is not doing all that badly in FI terms, and can bounce quickly. 

That match review was written on November 6th before the major crash of recent weeks – so it was possible to get him even cheaper than £1.30 which felt a bargain at the time.

Incredibly, whilst his Blue Button has shot up to £1.62 the bid is even lower this morning at time of writing at 84p. Perhaps people think this is a flash in the pan or it’s just the sort of “on the goal” buyer trying to get out. I suspect that is the case – those bids look pretty thin and I’d be surprised that price stuck around for long. What madmen are selling that low?

If you can get that matched that’s a total steal (or anything around £1 to £1.25 really) because this is definitely repeatable and he is not a one hit wonder. There are consistency issues sure but at that price? Not an issue.

Willock. Neat and tidy in possession, laid on 2 assists and he’s shown that creativity is consistent over many games now. No threat but he has scored in both of his last 2 Europa appearances. Lovely. He’s a player I’ve liked over the last year – since he dropped to £1.20 or below anyway. 

Was doing well until the recent market crash reaching £1.72. A 72p bid or up to the 96p Blue Button is a steal for a Europa punt or just a longer term hold. He deserves to start the next two soft Europa ties and he’s consistently threatening on European nights.

Reiss Nelson took his chance too. Lovely movement for the goal. Really tidy play for a forward and chances to add a second. Pretty good. Always showed signs of being a high potential player. Willian’s signing really killed him off but with Willian floundering and Arteta raving about Nelson in his post game comments maybe he’ll get more chances soon. At least in the Europa. 

Nketiah was dangerous but wasteful with his chances. Could be a decent punt for the next two rounds for IPD or an outside shot at a win but it is an outside shot – he isn’t a great performance player.


Group C: Leverkusen, Slavia Praha, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Nice


Nice will be a challenging fixture but the other 2? Soft. Huge shock if they do not progress.

Key Players: Demirbay, Palacios, Tapsoba 

Punts: Schick, Tah, 

Youth: Diaby, Paulinho (when fit), Leon Bailey (game time risk but capable), Amiri.

Leverkusen seal qualification a game early, so we can expect rotation now. They may decide to play to top the group though.

They dominated Nice and there are some decent Leverkusen numbers on the board.

Diaby scored the first goal, and it was a lovely finish on the volley. Had other chances. Better for holders because in recent games his threat had dropped off. This breaks a 9 game goal drought which will be a weight off his shoulders.

Subbed early and not his overall best game. But I like him as a longer term prospect even if he isn’t in the best form. He’s strong value at £1 or under.

Demirbay decent again. Provided an assist and had 3 efforts. Loves a long range blast and he’s made the keeper work to keep him out twice, hooking another chance wide. He ain’t no one hit wonder he can challenge again and the last 3 games have been strong.

Leverkusen CB’s can really rack up the points when they dominate games, and they do often. Tah and Tapsoba both solid choices for this reason. Particularly as you get into knockout rounds with less competition. 

Third game in a row for Tah with over 100 passes at a 95%+ completion rate. Tidy. Tapsoba similar level. Had a really good chance to score last night too. But he only played one half. I like both picks and given the price… I think these days you have to say Tah is the better option given he is 42p to 60p with Tapsoba up over £1.50.

Amiri strong again. He’s always been decent but recently he’s turned it up a notch as per recent scouting. Two assists here. Nice pick for a patient trader.

Bailey rotated this time after starting regularly. Played a half and had two great chances, should have scored. Lovely dribble to make space for his second shot. Good per minute and his improvement continues.


Woah. Not sure anyone would have called 6-2 over Nice. Bodes well for Leverkusen assets because they only have softer teams to come. 

The best players line up with the preview apart from the rested Demirbay

Diaby bagged a goal and assist. Important as it breaks a goal drought. Not actually his best game in terms of overall involvement – he is capable of much better. 

Still, not far away from a win here. As per Scouting since he switched to forward I’m optimistic on him especially for that £1.38 bid now which is criminally low.

Leon Bailey has started twice in a row now – good news for holders. If he keeps getting minutes I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see him make dividend challenges. Still just 23 and frequently gets big transfer rumours. £1.19 on a bid now – great value.

Amiri was close. Well regarded youngster just making the Germany squad fringes and expected to get a bigger move one day. Will be an occasional challenger. Good pick up for a patient trader.

Palacios consistent – he’s been surprisingly lightly used this season so far but he should get his chances and his capable of big scores.

Tapsoba was solid again. Again CB’s are awkward but he is one of those that can challenge because they just see so much of the ball and his passing is tidy. A really solid pickup for a patient trader. May drop on big transfer rumours he has the right style for big clubs.

17 year old Florian Wirtz is making a regular impression from the bench. Finishing nicely for the 6th goal. Not on FI yet but looking good and has some very FI friendly numbers. One to watch at IPO.

Match Day 2

Disappointing result for Leverkusen losing 1-0 away to Prague. Early red card to Bellarabi cost them.

Was therefore never a game where their players could make much impact and we can’t read too much into it. 

But the usual suspects from the preview remain strong picks and the fixtures are soft to December with Freiburg, Beer-Sheva twice in the Europa, Gladbach (tougher) and minnows Arminia too. 

Diaby currently my top pick he looks strong and good value. 

I also like Demirbay, Bailey, Palacios and Amiri. And most will be aware of Tapsoba by now. These are all good players but we are seeing plenty of rotation for them.

Youngster Wirtz keeps impressing and will be worth looking at for IPO. 

And I’d also say remember Paulinho who should be back from injury in February. Strong FI player and this is the point in an injury trade where it can make a lot of sense to go for them. He may get a natural rise as he gets closer to returning and he’s a valid hold in his own right for the longer term too.

Win for Leverkusen and they needed it. Puts them in a good position to qualify from here but it remains a tight group. Soft tie up next home to Beer Sheva.

Excellent from Leon Bailey who was not far away from a win with 2 goals. I think I mentioned him either in yesterday’s post or in State of the Market earlier in the week – the sort of player who might be on a downer but has been seeing more games and can quite easily pop up with a win and rekindle some enthusiasm.

Nice goals particularly the second one with a fine header. Seeing regular football now and he is a contender – always has been capable – just lacked the minutes he is now getting. Good for potential wins now and may also boost big club transfer chances. Good pick up at 96p.

Demirbay we haven’t heard from for a while but he was a bit of a monster here. Elite level baseline and provided his second assist in two games. Capable of a goal ever 5-6 games perhaps and on those days he can put up a huge score. The sort of player that gets forgotten but then when he pops up one day topping the performance scoring it will not be a surprise. 

Actually Palacios was as good if not better than Demirbay, and he’s got the advantage of being 5 years younger. Big baselines and plenty of threat with 3 attempts on paper though to watch only one of them was serious. Solid player for the money and like Demirbay, he’ll go quiet for periods but should pop up with very competitive scores at least 3-4 times a season.

Young recent Germany debutant Amiri has always been decent – but in the last 5-6 he has improved. Very nice numbers in this game and generally looking strong with 2 goals and an assist in the last 5. Obvious value at 62p if you can really get that bid.

17 year old Florian Wirtz is making waves. Isn’t on FI yet but he looks FI suitable and he is doing really well to get consistent minutes so young. Added a goal (lovely strike too) and assist here. That’s 3 goals this season already. 


Barring utter disaster Leverkusen are nailed on to qualify for the knockouts. They play Nice next which is tougher but finish with Slavia Praha which should be a big opportunity to rack up points but we’ll likely see rotation.

Dominant game for Leverkusen here, the sort where a high baseliner like Demirbay can punch through. And he did, taking the midfield dividend.

In the last Match Day 3 review I called him a bit of a monster and noted his elite baseline levels. I said: 

“The sort of player that gets forgotten but then when he pops up one day topping the performance scoring it will not be a surprise.”

Very apt given what we have seen this week – there is a big difference between a bad player and an out of fashion player and it’s crucial we know the difference.

These are big dividends – if you bought Demirbay for £1 as was very possible (and still is!) then this one win has returned 14% of the purchase price in just one day. If he’d winkled out ~30 more points somehow which he easily could have that could be 28%. 

Alternatively, if you got frustrated and sold him just because he was out of fashion you sold low and missed out on that. Tragic – because if you looked the numbers were there to suggest he can bounce back fairly easily.

The quality players will shine through in the end – it’s just probability not magic. Our main problems are being thrown off by team selection, rotation, injury etc. But that’s par for the course especially this year.

Leon Bailey I’ve noted in the preview and regular Scouting actually for his improved performances. That continued here and he was up there challenging with a competitive score although Pepe’s 300+ was always hard to beat.

Lots to like in his numbers – low passing accuracy has let him down though and dragged what could have been a great score down to an ok one. 

Nice goal – that makes 3 in 5 games plus an assist. And this level should be consistent. Great stuff – a massive improvement that brings IPD, potential wins and stokes the big transfer rumours he often gets. Still good value for £1.18 to £1.39. 


I started with the assumption that Nice would progress however interestingly if we look at the fivethirtyeight.com algorithm here (I like to use this as a sense check on betting odds/my own assumptions) it is backing Prague to qualify. Betting odds say Nice.

I would still expect Nice to go through but I have learned to give the algorithm a little respect when it comes to predicting upsets. That might make me a little more cautious than usual – particularly if Nice get off to a bad start.

Key Players: Gouiri, Youcef Atal,  

Punts: Dolberg, Rony Lopes, Reine-Adelaide (New signing, we don’t know how he fits in yet but he’s potentially good if he starts).

Youth: K. Thuram

Vieira sacked.

Not a major surprise after a 5 game losing run. Out of the Europa and struggling in Ligue 1 too.

His assistant, Adrian Ursea steps up to take charge. No major experience as a head coach so it’s hard to know what to expect. No doubt we’ll be watching this closely in Scouting.

It seems unlikely main man Gouiri will be sidelined by anyone, his performances have been too good and he’s been one of the few positives of this campaign. Actually very subdued here but he has 2 goals in the last 3 and the only reason we haven’t seen better scores is that Nice aren’t winning. He’s doing well.

I’ll dig into this a bit more when there is more information on Ursea available and once we’ve seen a game or two under him.

Nice were smashed here but they do have easier games to come now. 

No surprise that Gouiri was the best of it. Another goal making 4 goals in 4 games (including France U21) plus an assist. The move to Nice is going about as well as hoped. 

He’s in regular contention for wins already and in the kind of form that makes the hoped for big club rumours likely. Capable of popping off in these soft Europa fixtures to come.

Plenty of rotation elsewhere with Atal, Thuram and Lopes benched. 

With these soft Europa games Dolberg would not be a bad punt. And neither would Lees-Melou actually. Also interested to see new signing Reine-Adelaide make his first start – on historic numbers he shows some FI friendly stuff. 

Match Day 2

Key man Gouiri close to a win, just pipped by another promising youngster Malen. Unlucky to be subbed off on 69 actually or he probably wins it. He’s more than just a goalscorer – his all round game gives him a key advantage which is why I rate him at 3.5 out of 5 stars

If he keeps developing then he might get towards 4 out of 5 stars which is a rating I don’t give out too often.

I’ve liked Gouiri for a while and he’s doing very well at Nice. Showing enough consistency to hold his price at least and this is a market that is valuing stability right now. If he keeps this up I’d expect these good displays to set him up for a decent rise in a more confident market.

Youngster Thuram also comes out of this well. Big involvement and although there are no shots he is getting forward here. I picked him out in pre-season and he’s unlucky not to have won already with a 252 score in early October. Hasn’t moved in price and even on a bid of 67p now. 

I’d peg him around 3 out of 5 stars which means we can expect some occasional challenges and for a cheap 19 year old at Nice that feels good to me.

Youcef Atal has been introduced back slowly but he’s one to watch. A very aggressive full back who often shows goal threat and assist potential. Not recently – he’s been a little out of form but he could easily make a comeback. 

At just 86p on a bid now or close to that it’s fantastic value. Not just because he might win but he also frequently drops on some big transfer rumours. 

Defeat for Nice away to Prague and that starts to put qualification for the knockouts in doubt – they must beat Prague at home next or it’s going to look very grim for them.

Gouiri scored again, 4 in 6 now. Lovely goal, too. Overall, probably his weakest game for a while in the overall numbers but it was a tough game. Overall he is looking good and having a great season as per recent scouting. Well capable of doing damage in the next round at home. 

Him aside there were not many strong performances from Nice in this game. However Thuram and Atal remain good options on overall form. 

Atal is having his minutes limited but looks excellent when he is on the pitch. He’s currently in hot water for liking an apparently inflammatory post on Instagram – which probably explains why he is being kept out of the limelight. 

One of those players that doesn’t even have a bid price yet can so easily come back into form and fashion he’s very highly rated.

Dolberg can be a good IPD option however there are strikers for similar money that look in far better form – really no shortage of these IPD options as covered in scouting recently. 

Oh dear. No more Nice, guys. They are out of the Europa unless you are incredibly creative with the goal difference maths. Ain’t gonna happen.

What is fascinating is that if we look at the original preview above the fivethirtyeight.com algorithm nailed this. I have found it great at spotting an upset or lazy assumption and the algorithm backed Slavia over Nice to qualify when most people and the betting odds would back Nice.

Not that it is right everytime but it’s a really good way of making us think twice about our assumptions. When it says something that challenges my expectations I take it seriously.

They do still have two more dead rubber games. 

Key man Gouiri scored again here but it wasn’t enough. As per Scouting he’s looked really good all season and that has become consistent. Losing European football is always going to be a blow on the market though. If holding I would not be too upset – he can win domestically and as a longer term transfer prospect he’s solid. Maybe he stays at Nice for next season too but that’s no bad thing. 

Don’t forget Youcef Atal either. He’s not far away from a win plus he’s often linked to big clubs. That 59p to 79p price is absurd. Would be astonishing if we fast forwarded 6 months and it was still anywhere near that.

Kephrem Thuram is quietly ticking away too. Not a priority pick right this moment but baseline numbers are big and he gets chances. Unlucky not to have a win already. Just 19. Good for the patient.

Group D: Benfica, Standard Liège, Rangers, Lech Poznań


Should comfortably qualify and are expected to have a decent run in the competition. Can also be a good source of future transfers targets as well as just wins.

In Everton, Waldschmidt, Pedrinho you’ve got 3 decent players who are almost certainly bought with the intention of selling on. However, all joined recently, so it’s judging whether they will spend just 1 season or 2 at Benfica which is hard to know right now.

Key Players: Grimaldo, Everton Soares,

Punts: Pizzi, 

Youth: Waldschmidt, Pedrinho

Benfica qualify comfortably. Another soft game next. May not rotate to try to nick top spot.

I often call Pizzi the best Europa punt pick and he’s nearly at it again here. 240 score with a goal and 2 assists. Holders unlucky he was subbed off early or there is a strong chance he beats Zubeldia to claim another Star Man. No reason he can’t do it again throughout the Europa and he could be as cheap as just 30p. One win pays for himself pretty much!

Benfica did provide a winner in Vertonghen. Not something I’d really expect to come again. He’s decent but no better than many other CB’s and not exactly the most attractive pick for traders.

Grimaldo was strong. Couple of efforts on goal and as usual his background numbers are solid. So frequently linked with big EPL clubs and the chances of this 38p to 53p pickup rewarding a patient trader is very high. And that reward could come sooner because in the Europa he is well in contention for wins. Great pick.

Soares was pretty poor here. Has been better in previous games. At least getting consistent minutes now. Value for sure although it may be a little too early for him to be making his expected bigger club transfer. Maybe the season after next.

Pizzi scored a penalty – only really unlucky to be subbed off at half time or he should have been up there challenging. He’s one of the best low key Europa punts around and he could do some damage in the upcoming home ties vs Liege and Rangers.

It was 21 year old Darwin Nunez who came closest though with an unexpected hatrick. He did not appear in my preview since he isn’t on FI. Whilst his overall numbers are fairly poor nobody can argue with his goals and assists record. Worth keeping an eye on – Benfica players with big goals tallys are never far away from a good transfer rumour.

Everton Soares was close to a goal and in the softer games like those coming up he could do really well. Plenty of minutes for Brazil recently too. Is expected to make a bigger move. Patient holders should be happy with this. And shorter term he’s in with a shot in these soft Europa games.

Waldschmidt could/should have scored too, he had a good chance. Bagged a brace in the last game vs Benfica. Doing well in Portugal so far. Also scored for Germany vs Turkey. The market hated his Benfica move but at 53p now that’s far too pessimistic and a patient trader can exploit that.

Pedrinho also capable but he is only getting limited bench appearances at the moment. 

I wasn’t kidding in the preview/Match Day 1 review when I said Pizzi was one of the best cheap Europa punts around. He cruised the win here. It’s no fluke – he’s a wonderful performance player. 

At an eligible club he’d be 4 out of 5 stars at least dare I say it possibly higher. Not likely he ever leaves Benfica though. 

More soft Europa fixtures to come and still extremely cheap. Not sure why so few people go for this. Lack of awareness of his ability? Lack of courage in this market? 

I’m more than happy to go for these – and when you are sweeping up Gold Day Star Player wins for a player on a 30-40p bid you are having a good time. 

It’s not even particularly risky when buying on a low bid when there are more good fixtures to come.

There are other contenders at Benfica.

Waldschmidt is doing really well in Portugal. He scored again and that makes 6 goals and an assist 6 games. Exactly the form he needs to get transfer rumours and this was always a buy to sell move. He’s not going to be staying in Portugal forever it’s really a question of whether he stays for one season or two. 

Everton Soares capable too and he’s another strong young player who is expected to transfer to a major league at some stage. 

Probably a good result for Benfica at 3-3 given they played the whole game with 10 men. Did ruin any chance someone like Pizzi or Soares would have to shine, though. 

They are very likely to qualify from here and have decent fixtures to come so we have probably not heard the last of key Benfica assets. 

The likely lads remain the same as in the preview above. Waldschmidt is having a particularly good time in Portugal netting 5 times in 8 appearances and he’s still in the Germany squad.

Benfica nailed on to qualify. Two very soft games next so they could provide winners.

On the evidence that could be Everton Soares who looked good last night and has done in previous rounds too. Still being rotated generally so these two games could be a good chance for him to get more full games. 

Plays for Brazil and is expected to transfer to a bigger club if not next season then the one after. 90p with no bid price, could be a good punt for these games and the Europa to come. And good as a long term hold in general.

Waldschmidt having a good time in Portugal as per the previous match reviews. Nearly scored again here. Would expect him to get more minutes in the ones to come. Probably won’t win but he can get some IPD and he’s another who can transfer.

Pizzi may get rested as an older player but if he starts – there aren’t many better Europa league punts around. He scored again and in all likelihood if he had played the full match and Benfica had won he would have probably beaten Demirbay. For his second win of the group stage. Class.

Group E: Granada, Omonia Nicosia, PAOK, PSV


Soft group and PSV’s array of talented youngsters have chance to make statements.

Key Players: Gakpo, Malen, Ihattaren, 

Punts: Gotze, 

Youth: (You could equally put Gakpo, Malen and Ihattaren here!). 

Much needed win but not a dominant one vs Granada. Books PSV’s passage to the next round but they have made hard work of a soft group.

Malen was the biggest threat and duly scored. This is much better from him lately. Not the greatest performance player – holders are mainly looking for the big transfer. And he’s hitting the form that brings those rumours – 5 goals in his last 6 for PSV and Holland. Nice.

21 year old Gakpo decent too and he is ticking over. One decent chance here. Overall 3 goals in his last 7. Generally considered to be having a good season. 

Signed a new 5 year deal this week which whilst it may seem to make a move unlikely – often this is exactly what a club does before cashing in on a player to put them in a strong negotiating position. January is definitely too early, maybe Summer.

Disappointing result for PSV. Should still have no issue qualifying in a soft group but this is a missed opportunity.

Ihattaren looked particularly good here with huge involvement. As covered in the Euro 2020 scouting he’s really struggling for goals at the moment but he is really not far away from big scores. Soft fixtures to come and he could make a statement. Wouldn’t take much to see the hype for him return.

Malen should have scored too. He’s in good form and could well fill his boots in the coming games. More on him in the Euro section updated yesterday.

Gakpo missing with illness – again though he’ll be in with a shot for the next two he’s in good form.

Gotze scored – he’s only appeared for PSV twice and he’s scored both times. Looking like a good punt if you can stomach the injury record. Probably a bit risky since if anything bad happens you are never selling this.

Malen won the forward category, nicking it from Gouiri with a second goal in injury time. Exciting stuff. But perhaps only if you own both of them.

He was in the preview as a key player and I noted his good form in the Match Day 1 review. So no surprise to see PSV making hay in this soft group. 

Malen was a big threat with 6 chances. No real reason why we can’t expect more big scores in the Europa. And he’s in the kind of form that should see those transfer rumours surfacing again. 

His spread has closed now but £1.52 is still good value. In general as I said this week in State of the Market – it’s about time we started looking out for some of these cheap transfer picks again. And if they have shorter term Europa involvement it’s even better.

Ihattaren is another and this was a decent game – involvement actually a bit soft by his high standards but crucially he looks closer to a goal which he badly needs as he is in a drought. The threat has improved in the last two and it’s a good time to go back to him in my view. 

Gakpo another good pick – unfortunately sidelined with covid here but I’d expect him to be a challenger too. In good form this season and transfer rumours are also likely. 

Poor result losing 4-1 to PAOK away. Puts qualification in doubt and they have a mountain to climb. Do have winnable games to turn it around so I’d probably still say they are more likely to qualify than not. The betting odds agree but the algorithm does not – giving them just a 35% chance to make the knockouts.

Malen did win in the last round but this was a soft group and PSV should be doing better. He was probably the most likely again here and was close to scoring. Having a good season generally which is helpful for transfer rumours later. And definitely a contender for the upcoming Europa fixtures. 

But yeah. Poor game in general so not much to pick out.

Ihattaren generally though is looking much better lately. How he did not score in the last Eredivisie game I do not know – needs that goal to break his drought but it looks on the way. I like him as a longer term transfer pick and his drought has calmed his price down a lot. So easy for the hype to rekindle for him though.

Gakpo also in good form, out with covid here.


PSV needed the win – now look like they should qualify but they have stumbled their way through what should have been an easy group. Will need full strength sides for the final two.

The best performers are no surprise from the previous reports – Malen and Gakpo both did well. 

Gakpo made a strong all round contribution with a goal and an assist plus heavy involvement in general. Pretty good and the matchwinner would have seen him up there had he got it. I like him as a Europa punt and a future transfer and he’s showing why – good form this season.

Malen is having a good season too. Big threat here. Doesn’t quite have the involvement of Gakpo but his threat is huge, we are expecting a goal a game out of him right now. 

Ihattaren missed the game through illness. Should be back for the next games. Out of form this season but recent numbers much improved certainly for his threat. Needs goals on the board to fuel those transfer rumours – they look like they are coming. Finally.

With players like this holders are finding the price rock bottom but they are very likely come back into fashion and I would not be giving up good transfer prospects too cheaply right now.

Group F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar, Rijeka


A little group of death? Not quite, it’s one of the tougher groups but Napoli are comfortable favourites in both betting and algorithm.

Key Players: Insigne, Ruiz, Zielinski, Di Lorenzo, 

Punts: Politano (if starting he’s capable), Petagna (Dark horse for strong IPD if he gets game time), Lozano (we’d need to see evidence of more consistency in Scouting – he got one big score recently but mostly looks poor). 

Youth: Osimhen, Elmas, 

A draw against AZ not an awful result but this is a tight group and they can still slip up. The next match vs Sociedad is going to be competitive. They are likely to go through but they must avoid defeat to Sociedad. Losing the Europa would be a real blow for Napoli players. 

A tight game so not many stand out performances here worthy of comment.

Mertens scored and he was the biggest threat by far with 3 efforts. I think he’s well under rated and with a new contract until 2022 not particularly high risk for just 56p to 78p.

Insigne quiet here. Just 1 speculative effort. Overall showing good numbers in recent games. 

Last time vs Sociedad away Napoli gave up possession and won on the counter. If that is repeated it’s unlikely to generate big scores. The most important thing for Napoli holders is that they go through to the knockouts. The big scores are more likely to come in the expected walkovers like Arsenal.

Shock defeat for Napoli at home to AZ. Especially because AZ had 13 players ruled out with a corona outbreak.

A shame because Napoli dominated possession and could have racked up big scores here.

The group looks a lot tougher now. It was one of the harder groups anyway and they can’t afford another slip up especially at home. A loss to Sociedad away next would setup a nervy away trip to Rijeka… that may leave holders sweating. A bit early to stress too much about that, though.

Ruiz in particularly had monstrous involvement, elite level. Threat has been limited recently though but it’s a reminder that on his day he can be clearing 300+. 

Politano was really strong and I expect that of him when playing, starting is his real issue. Had plenty of chances and is in good form scoring in both of his last two. A capable winner if he gets pitch time and for 62p to 83p he’s value even with rotation – it’s a packed season so we are going to see more of this than usual.

Insigne on from the bench as he returns from injury. Solid per minute numbers. He’s had his wins but he’s got to be one of the more unlucky players on FI that is not delivering as many wins as he should be in theory. Over time luck tends to correct itself though. 

Lozano was pretty toothless after his recent heroics. If you take his last 7 games including friendlies he’s scored 7 and assisted 3 times and nobody can complain about that. He has a lot of ground to make up after a very poor last season. And the performance numbers are not great. However even as an IPD pick if he keeps starting he’s probably worth his money.

Standard sort of high threat low involvement game from Osimhen – he’s obviously an IPD player rather than a regular performance winner and that’s been known for well over a year. But he’s probably a good IPD player at Napoli. Only scored once in the last 5 and that is really surprising. He has the threat for 3-4. There are better IPD strikers for far less money which is the only thing.

Mertens, with a new contract, could be worth a look as a strong veteran pick. He’s got bags of IPD in him and can be a performance challenger too.

Match Day 2

Good result for Napoli after throwing the first game vs AZ. 

Sociedad dominated though so big scores were never coming from Napoli assets here. They do have softer games to come though – minnows Rijeka up next twice – away then home.

Injury to Insigne a low point. Gattuso hinted it may not be serious but he has tests today. 

We are seeing regular injuries now to lots of key players – perhaps a symptom of fewer rest days. 

How to deal with this? We can diversify – carry a decent spread of players (40 minimum?) to minimise damage when bad luck strikes. And if a player is particularly injury prone we can make that more of a factor than usual. Active traders could watch most matches and try to sell immediately for a good price if possible. 
Probably the most important thing may be to avoid players that get really hammered if they get a big injury, some of the extreme end veterans at 32+. 29-31 I’m more relaxed on usually provided they have a long contract.
But that’s really it – there isn’t an easy fix for this and bad luck can strike any player. I think it is a bit like the rotation issue this season – it’s just going to happen and by trying too hard to dodge it we’ll be avoiding most of the best players who are playing the most games. Could be self defeating.

I expect this to play out similar to how it has throughout 2020 – there will be plenty of occasions where our player misses out due to being rested, subbed off or even injured. But with a portfolio of 40-60 strong players it’s likely someone comes through for the win. 

It’s changing who wins on a given match day – but the quality is coming through overall. Think of it like having squad depth in our portfolio – it’s one reason why I wouldn’t be running an aggressive 20-30 player portfolio this season. 

And yet I don’t like to be close to 60 either. I see little point in spending so much time on research if we aren’t winning big when they come through. 40-50 a sweet spot in my view for most traders this season. 

Politano continues to impress. Matchwinner here. On a more dominant day for Napoli, such as those to come, he can win it. Value player.

Dominant from Napoli vs minnows Rijeka but the goals did not fall to anyone particularly useful for traders. 

A shame because if they had there are some big scores on the board here.

Politano is impressive. A consistent threat in recent games and in range of wins, seeing plenty of minutes lately. Good value at just 54p if you can really get that bid.

Insigne back, injury not as bad as feared. For just half an hour he was a machine and yet again it’s frustrating to see him so close to huge numbers yet held back by something – in this case only starting from the bench. Has more touches than minutes played here which for a forward is crazy.

A frustrating season start but there is no doubt he is one of the strongest forwards on FI it’s just not been swinging his way.

Start for Elmas – decent young player who could turn up with a big score one day. Very close to scoring here in fact could have had a brace. Limited minutes so far this season but what we have seen is good.

Match Day 4

Routine win for Napoli. Very likely to qualify but it’s not nailed on yet they should put out a strong side away vs AZ next.

Dominant display but 5 substitutions kept scores subdued. 

Politano in particular is capable and had the matchwinner – had he not been subbed on 64 he’d have been a real contender last night.

For his minutes he does really well it’s just that rotation killing him. Still, at the 60p to 74p mark IPD alone is solid enough and he’s very capable of snatching a win too.

Insigne absolutely fantastic per minute but you can never do enough in just half an hour.

Had he played the full 90 though… I’d be backing him to beat Pepe to Star Man if just one of his 3 decent chances went in. Did provide an assist. He’s doing more than most forwards do in a full game in just 30 minutes.  

He has won in 2020 but I can barely remember an example of a player putting up such good numbers so consistently and not winning regularly. Really unlucky and luck tends to even out eventually. 

I think he’s one of these out of favour players who are so close to wins and can easily find themselves catapulted in price by just one big score.

Napoli will probably have more respect for AZ next so we hopefully won’t see their assets crippled by these constant substitutions in the next game.

Real Sociedad

Should get through but AZ will provide tough competition.

Key Players: Oyarzabal, 

Punts: Isak, David Silva

Youth: Barrenetxea

A shocker for Sociedad. Big slip up here opening the door to AZ who are favourites to qualify. Now have to go away to Napoli and match AZ’s result against Rijeka. AZ are expected to win that so they are really going to Italy knowing they have to win. Will be a big game.

In last night’s game – it’s a missed opportunity for big scores for their key players. 2-2 to Rijeka and they dominated but could not make it count.

Except for Zubeldia who managed Star Man despite the draw and lack of clean sheet. This is a reflection of the ease with which Sociedad dominated possession. He had 15% of the possession by himself! Rijeka had 24% total. Mad.

This is extremely unusual for Zubeldia. Very hard to see coming and the chances of it happening again anytime soon are rock bottom.

Oyarzabal was a massive threat with 4 efforts and great chances. He’ll be kicking himself. Still. Good form overall and whilst Sociedad are at serious risk of going out now he does at least have the big transfer rumour for holders to cling on to.

Isak culpable too. In all seriousness we should be talking about his hatrick with the chances he had. 7 efforts and some golden chances. Not in awful form generally and he’s getting decent chances – more than 1 goal in the last 7 appearances would suggest. Can be a good prospect at times but he looks a long way from his great form of last season really. 

You can’t say 76p to 89p is poor value at all but there are options who look much more likely to deliver in that price range.

David Silva shouldn’t be underestimated. Huge involvement and good threat overall. No shots in two games but he’s in and around the area where things can fall to him. If he wins it will be no surprise and he’s a decent punt.

As is the improving Merino as covered recently in Scouting. Added an assist here. Could have scored. Big baselines. Capable winner. Value.

Grim for Sociedad t’would seem. One glimmer of hope is that last time they played Napoli Sociedad dominated possession so there is a chance they do well next week, even though that appears a tough game on paper. 

Just because they dominate doesn’t mean they will win though – they have to finish their chances and that hurt them vs Napoli the first time too. 


Key man Oyarzabal saw plenty of the ball and had chances to score. Though sloppy passing let him down which is something he is often guilty of. Likely, that improves at a bigger club. Remains a contender for the next two and Sociedad have kind fixtures in general. Looks a good hold certainly for the next month or so.

David Silva is very close to getting on the scoresheet here and could have easily challenged for the win. At a 43p bid and with good fixtures to come… I think if we get through the next month without seeing at least one big score from Silva holders can call themselves unlucky. Two year contract as well so I’d call this a strong veteran punt.

Isak very much off the boil right now but he is getting a few chances. Looks very cheap at the moment really given the likelihood of big club transfer rumours later on.

Barrenetxea injured for this one. 

For all their possession Sociedad didn’t get many genuinely good attempts on goal. 

More generally goals have not been a problem for them as per Scouting. And they have soft fixtures coming up – Celta Vigo, AZ Alkmaar, Granada, Cadiz and then AZ Alkmaar again.

Could be a good period for them and I think the picks remain as per the preview. 

Performances are good in the Europa – though they do have a tough group and AZ, Napoli and Sociedad are neck and neck on 6 points a piece. 

At least one of these are going to end up unhappy – the betting and algorithm both agree that it will be AZ Alkmaar who drop out though they do top the group on goal difference right now.

Oyarzabal has always been the key man throughout these previews and he was very close here. Probably his best overall FI game of the season and had one of his 3 shots made it in he almostly certainly beats Skov. Good performance. 

Reflects a dominant display from Sociedad and this is a pattern – they are doing much better for possession in the Europa than they do in La Liga generally so we can expect their assets to overperform.

It’s also good for Oyarzabal holders in that it hints that at a bigger club Oyarzabal could be more of a force than he currently is in La Liga.

Remains a good pick and he could challenge again in the coming games.

David Silva still looking good. Really is capable of some big scores and 47p on a bid is great value as a punt. He has a two year deal so I’m not too nervous on him at that price, even at 34.

Match Day 4

Sociedad are level on points with AZ for qualification. They were expected to come through comfortably but AZ are providing tough competition. Won’t be able to rest key players without risk.

It’s something to keep an eye out for because going out would be a blow for Sociedad players. They should beat Rijeka next and that’s a good chance for big scores. They then go away to Napoli though. If AZ beat Napoli in the next game Sociedad will look in real trouble.

Oyarzabal is in great form as covered many times recently. He’s probably still the best bet. At least if Sociedad went out he has the transfer to sustain him so it’s not a disaster.

24 year old midfielder Merino is creeping onto the radar more and more. Played for Spain recently too. I’ve held off on talking him up too much because whilst his baselines are strong the threat has been middling.

In the last two games though he’s had some seriously good chances. 49p to 68p… strong chance of a breakout big score here and at a price that low it’s fairly low risk. 

H could go 5-6 games doing nothing but there is a reasonable chance he explodes in that time. If he does he can score high enough to take a dividend and from 49p you can get a huge price bounce too.

He’s only 24 and plays for Spain and is consistent – there isn’t a huge downside if the big win doesn’t come soon.

AZ Alkmaar

Underdogs in this group for sure. The games vs Rijeka should be a good chance for their key players to rack up decent scores though… that’s at the end of this month (Napoli before that). 

Key Players: Stengs, Boadu, 

Punts: De Wit (cheap IPD punt?)


A draw with Napoli is an excellent result for AZ. Puts them in the driving seat as all they have to do to qualify is beat group whipping boys Rijeka. Very likely to do so which heaps pressure on Sociedad who right now look the most likely to lose European football.

Stengs was ok, had a couple of chances, one was very close. Looking very far from his best this season – his numbers last year were a lot to live up to. But across his last 5-6 he’s improved so hope is not lost. 

Boadu on too late here to make an impact. 

Next game vs Rijeka will be a great chance for them to showcase their ability.


Tough game for Alkmaar – they won but gave up lots of possession to Napoli. They have their best shot at big scores up next though – Rijeka at home next week.

Boadu one of the many out with covid. 

Stengs played but no real impact on a tough game – next game should be a better opportunity.

Punt pick 22 year old midfielder De Wit got the winner. He’s in fine form with 6 goals and 2 assists in the last 5 matches. Not incredibly performance suitable but in this form bigger club links may not be far away. And he’s just 56p. Good for a patient trader. With a chance of a decent score or at least IPD in the next game too.

Koopmeiners bagged the match winner and 2 assists – if he were on FI he’d be another low key pick like Pizzi who could smash it. He’s more interesting though because he’s just 22 and could transfer. Really strong player I’ll look out for at IPO for sure.

That’s something of a story of the night as 22 year old Swede Jesper Karlsson got another goal. He’s had 8 goals and 3 assists in the last 7 games for AZ and Sweden U21 combined. Again, not on FI but one to look out for.

Albert Gudmundsson is on FI and scored twice. Unfortunately… he is a very poor performance player who hasn’t really been in great form so it was hard to recommend him. Just 23 though and.. 31p on a bid. Hm. I think there are probably better IPD picks available.

The men we are really looking to see are Boadu and Stengs. Boadu was out will illness. 

Stengs had something of an off game which is unfortunate as this was a good chance for him on a flat track vs Rijeka. He’s won in a Europa round before and he is well capable. He’s not quite in the form of last season but the numbers are still decent. The next games are tougher vs Sociedad (twice) then Napoli. 

Longer term it really is about the transfer for him. He’s a young player of exceptional FI potential and I like him especially at a £1.38 bid.

Poor from AZ here and they offered little. Suggests the betting and algorithm maybe right and they could be dumped out.

Nobody comes out of this well for AZ not even Boadu or Stengs. Does not mean they are bad picks – the primary reason for holding them is the future transfer and I like them for that.

But I am not really expecting big scores based on these results, at least not until they face Rijeka on 10 December.

Match Day 4

A draw is not a bad result for AZ and they are doing well to run Sociedad close. Napoli next which is tough. It might be best to withold any punts until after that game, particularly if they win. 

If they can beat Napoli they finish with an easy game vs Rijeka and will be in pole position. Tough ask though.

Stengs and Boadu remain the best targets. Haven’t been able to do much in the last 2 as they gave up a lot of possession vs Sociedad. Probably will be true vs Napoli. Final game vs Rijeka a better shot.

Really is more about the transfer with both players and Dutch wonderkids may currently be out of fashion. But they won’t be forever.

Group G: Braga, Leicester, AEK Athens, Zorya Luhansk


A very soft group. Braga the only real challenge. Leicester are expected to challenge for this competition. 

Key Players: Maddison (Although I’ve been no fan since he went over £4+ this last year… £2.52 to £2.99 now – that’s back into a reasonable price range). 

Tielemans (Again… was never justifying his £2.50+ in the old dividend structure… but with dividends doubled and now £1.02 to £1.33 on a bid – it’s fair. He could put up a very big score on occasion). 

Castagne – new signing. Have not covered in Scouting actually but this is an oversight I should correct – he’s looking good in the opening games and 80p to 99p is a fair price.

Punts: Vardy, 

Youth: Cengiz Under, 

Note: Harvey Barnes may seem an obvious omission but… despite good performances recently he does look way off the pace for FI purposes.

Rotation as expected but not sure we expected them to lose to Zorya. Doesn’t really matter they are through already. Juicy home tie vs Athens next but it’s going to be the fringe players again most likely.

Decent game for Under though. 5 efforts and good chances amongst them, he should have scored. Very entertaining to watch which can actually count for something as the market still isn’t beyond enthusiasm for a few tricks on Match of the Day.

His best game for Leicester since he joined no doubt. Was very soft opposition though. One to watch. 

Iheanacho was very quiet but he can blow up in the Europa. Likely to start the next game and he’s a capable winner for sure. He’s done it before and it’s no fluke. 54p to 71p and if he takes that Gold Day it’s a huge return for his price. 

I think a lot of people dismiss punts like this but when you are bidding that low it’s really not far off a free bet.

Barnes played well enough. But for FI purposes he still looks too soft in the midfield category, even when playing the full 90 which he rarely does these days. Goal threat is strong in general but just 1 is unlikely to be enough and he doesn’t have the threat to expect more in a single game.

James Justin is looking better lately. Good threat over the last 6 and he’s got decent overall numbers. Suits the typical FI full back we’d be looking for with plenty of crossing etc. 50p for a patient trader? Good pick and I’ll be paying more attention to him in the coming games.

Key man Maddison unlucky to miss out, subbed off early but he still challenged. As per the preview above I warmed to him after a massive price drop. He was available for as low as £2.52 just a couple of weeks back in that review. Lucky to get £3.09 now. 

Two lessons here – crushing disappointment often follows big hype. People can switch from overly optimistic to overly pessimistic very quickly – and this can be abused. 

This is where a big previous price can be useful – as people will think Maddison is cheap compared to his old £5 price. What we don’t want to do though is assume any previously pumped player has an automatic right to return to their previous high – they don’t. They have to earn it.

Very quickly Maddison has moved back into solid pick range rather than great value but he’s still a decent choice at £3.09 or thereabouts. Especially for the soft Europa games to come.

Iheanacho stole the dividend with a goal and assist and all round good display. He was not in my preview mainly due to a lack of consistent minutes. Maybe that was an oversight – it is not the first time he’s proven to be a good punt. no reason that can’t be repeated because in this market the price shot up for IPD but now people are desperate to sell the morning after – 58p even after a win.

Interesting to note that dividend wins drive prices but to hold that price people have to think it’s going to happen again next week. People want safety at the moment which is why I’m generally suggesting a focus on the “core” sort of selection from Key Strategy at the moment.

Barnes looked dangerous but I still don’t back him for big scores. I think people are realising he’s been pumped too heavily after starting the season well. But the numbers never suggested that was going to come through on FI. Still don’t. 

We’re seeing a bit of Under. Quite tidy and potentially a good player. But… he looks quite far off the pace in the big hitting midfield category so far.

Match Day 2

Decent away performance but Athens made it tough to control possession and the goals fell to the wrong players to generate big scores.

Maddison looked bright again. Sloppy passing but that is quite unusual. Did get an assist. Some weak efforts on goal. Overall, as per the preview, I liked him much better at £2.52 but the he spiked to well over £3 again quite quickly.

After a quiet game or so that bid is back to £2.82 which is attractive. Leicester have decent fixtures in the Europa with Braga twice then Zorya Luhansk, then Athens again at home. Maddison is the favourite to make the best of that.

And whilst he’s sitting in that 3 out of 5 stars “good but not great” category where I expect occasional but not regular challenges, I have him at 4 out of 5 stars for potential in my ratings because it really wouldn’t take a lot for him to improve. A bigger club could do it. And those transfer rumours are likely to come around again.

It’s sensible to go for him now. It’s good to hold popular players but you have to pick your moments – go for them when you are down rather than the bankroll suicide of going for something like this at £5+ with the transfer window wide open.

Under was nearly on the score sheet. Wonderful effort that just grazed the bar. An excellent full debut for a talented player. There is a however. For a midfielder he’s way off the pace of where you’d need to be to compete with the big hitters. A goal isn’t going to cut it for him on anything like a competitive day.

Still, it’s early days and he is cheap. At just 82p… if we saw him scoring a few and playing well for match of the day would people get interested? Probably. 

Good result for Leicester and they look one of the favourites for a long run in the competition.

I guess the disappointment is that the matchwinner didn’t fall to Maddison who had another good game and could have been competitive (I’ve highlighted good performances in every Europa game so far from him). 

He’s producing a lot with lots of shots and assist potential but his overall involvement is weak by his standards and his passing accuracy is incredibly sloppy here. That’s unusual generally – but I noted this in the last Europa league game too.

I’m happy to call that a blip because it doesn’t match his overall career numbers. But it’s something to keep an eye on. That’s really dragging his scores down in these last Europa games and if he produced his usual numbers he’d be a really strong contender.

Overall on him I think he’s currently on a downer dropping to £2.28 at the lowest bid from £5 in January at peak transfer hype. It’s a great time to pick him up.

Iheanacho always looks a danger when on the pitch. He’s had significant mintues across all Europa games so is becoming a decent Europa punt pick. 2 goals and an assist here so he’s got solid IPD for his 54p – 83p price tag. And occcasionally he can put up a big score – he’s won before.

Match Day 4

Leicester were expected to qualify comfortably and they have, despite being held to a draw last night. Can afford to rest/rotate in the remaining two as they are topping the group unless there is a swing of 8 on goal difference. 

You’d therefore expect someone like Maddison to be rested until the knockouts now. He really is their best shout, with Tielemans up there too. And he will probably be rested as well.

Very tempting soft fixtures though and it may be Iheanacho is the best bet as a fixture punt. No bid price at time of writing and just 83p Blue Button. Value. 

Under has been a little underwhelming at Leicester as reported in Scouting. Threat and assist potential is quite high but he looks far away from big scores. You could make a case at a rock bottom 60p to 77p – IPD alone can cover it and if he’s going to bag a win it will be against minnows Zorya Luhansk and AEK Athens up next.

Group H: Celtic, Sparta Praha, AC Milan, LOSC Lille

AC Milan

They made us sweat – needing a late shootout to get into the Groups. But get in they have. I confess that after they beat Shamrock the other week I thought they were in and did not spot that yet another qualifier was needed. 

This is important as Milan struggled to make a big impact last season on FI – but with European involvement, plus a big improvement under Pioli, optimism is justified. 

A tougher group but AC Milan should comfortably make it through.

Key Players: Hakan Calhanoglu, Theo Hernandez, 

Punts: Ibrahimovic, Kessie, 

Youth: Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao, Daniel Maldini (Not on FI – but watch out for him at IPO as per Scouting he looks a good youngster)

Entertaining 4-2 win against Celtic – this books Milan’s spot in the Europa League knockouts. May see some rotation in the next round but they could play to win to try to top the group. 

The standout performance was from a player yet to join the platform – 21 year old Danish midfielder (forward?) Jens Petter Hauge. I mentioned him in the last Europa match day report as it was his full debut. He had a bit of a nightmare game there, though. 

Not so this time – given another chance he shone. He scored after a powerful run through 5 defenders. And set up Diaz for the goal too with another dribble into the area. I expect we’ll see more of him he’s earned more minutes.

Has some FI suitability too particularly if he is classed as a Forward – hard to call as these wingers can go either way OPTA are not consistent. 

Remember the name for when he is IPO’d.

Hakan Calhanoglu finally back on the scoresheet with a nice free kick that left the keeper nowhere. That goal has been coming and this drought since October has felt unfortunate given the chances he has.

Decent score as we expect from him though short of a challenge given it was not the matchwinner and he was subbed on 60. He finishes most games though and this is just something we have to live with this season for most players. 

Solid pick right now because he has multiple ways to win. He can win at Milan. Or if it turns out that he is going to Manchester United or Chelsea as rumoured that’s a nice bonus. Prefer Manchester United though – don’t Chelsea have enough midfielders?

Perhaps unexpectedly 25 year old Samu Castillejo was the biggest threat. 4 efforts. 1 goal, could have been more. Too lightweight to punch through usually in midfield but he can be a good source of goals and assists for IPD – looks in fine form he scored last time out too and the threat in the last 5 has been consistent. Improving. For 30p if you can get that bid which you probably can it’s hard to complain here.

Not Theo‘s best game for FI but it’s still decent. Overall he’s looking very consistent and I’d expect him to deliver.

Brahim Diaz comes off the bench to score. Having a good season on loan and showing good performance suitability as expected. Great for the patient. Just struggling for minutes but that’s not unusual at this stage of career. Might get a start vs Prague next. Talk of a loan extension into next season which would be decent.

Nice away win for Milan. Celtic made it tougher than the scoreline suggests in the second half so it wasn’t Milan’s best game for performance scores.

Especially given they were missing key man Calhanoglu but he’s not expected to be out long. 

Theo Hernandez was solid though as per usual. Chipped in with an assist and had a chance himself. Strong pick and I don’t back many defenders to consistently get themselves noticed.

Brahim Diaz scored a lovely goal. Starting life at Milan very well. He’s capable of improving too and these are not the best overall numbers we’ve seen from him. Really solid pick up at £1.35 and I’m optimistic.

Leao limited to a bench appearance again. Per minute he looks good and he scored twice vs Spezia in early October. But he seems to have to work really hard to get regular minutes.

Not on FI yet but 21 year old Jens-Peter Hauge came off the bench to score a nice goal. Most of the minutes we have on him are at minnows Bodo but… you’ll rarely see more promising performance numbers than this in a youngster. Obviously they’ll tighten up at senior level but you could cut them in half and still be happy with them. 

Already made his first appearance for Norway too which shows he’s held in high regard. Interesting – well worth having him on the radar for IPO. 

Nice 3-0 win which gives Milan assets an opportunity to shine.

Brahim Diaz, a youngster I’ve been very keen on in the preview and over in Scouting was leading for much of the night. Really good display, only really marred by 3 fouls and an offside which knocked 20 off his score. Holders can be very happy with the performance

Consistently good though and this isn’t even his best game. Looks a regular contender. His spread has closed up to £1.42 as the best possible bid but that’s still great value. 

Dalot, who we will know best for his limited time at Manchester United, took the win by adding Milan’s 3rd goal. Not a player I covered in the preview, mainly because at the time of the preview he was yet to play for Milan!

We did see him vs Celtic where he had a decent game. Ironically, a much better game overall than he had last night. If you take out the goal and assist it was… pretty unremarkable. Was a nice goal though, great run.

Hard to judge on just two games. At United he was poor for FI. This looks a little better. I’m not sure it warrants now paying 75p to 90p for him when just a week ago you could have got 50-67p. Given that hefty price rise I’d stay a bit wary – at least until we see another game or two and can check consistency.

Another good game for Leao who is growing in price after some good displays. He tucked away the lovely ball from Dalot. But he had lots of chances and could have scored twice only playing 1 half. I’ve liked him overall in scouting – his only real problem has been getting on the pitch. 

Still, the price makes any rotation risk worthwhile – I think £1.35 is great value for the patient trader.

Something of a shame that both Calhanoglu and Theo Hernandez were rested – this is the sort of game where either of them could have cleaned up. 

Milan have been in great form so far this season but this is a bad result losing 3-0 to Lille. However, not too much damage done in the race to qualify they are still in a good spot.

Nobody comes out of this well and given the form we can probably call this a blip unless the bad form continues.

The main men aren’t changing from the preview.

If anyone looked close it was Theo Hernandez, he got a couple of shots and still saw plenty of the ball. He’s consistent.

Diaz was one of the better players to watch but didn’t produce much for FI purposes. He often does though and he’s had a great start to life in Milan. I rate him. 

Calhanoglu came on from the bench. He’s quiet recently although his background numbers are solid. 

Interesting bit of drama as he is struggling to agree a new contract at Milan – his deal expires at the end of the campaign. He wants more money. 

Apparently Juventus, Inter, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United are circling. Could actually be some truth to those United rumours it’s reported by multiple sources. 

I don’t think it costs much to bet on that given he’s a great hold regardless at Milan. 

Milan and Lille cancel each other out but it’s a draw that suits both of them.

Milan have good fixtures from here vs Celtic then Sparta Prague and they cannot take their foot off the gas yet.

Milan had much of the ball in last nights game but lacked major threat. 

Theo Hernandez was probably the most likely Milan player last night. He’s just consistently solid and he’s in amongst the best defenders on FI for sure. Holders can be happy to stick with him and his £2.02 to £2.22 may not be the cheapest but he can justify it.

Slim pickings for dividend challengers really. 

Hakan was slammed for his performance by fans and he did indeed look to have an off night. Just one game and overall the underlying numbers are much better than this extended goal drought lets on – he hasn’t scored in a whopping 12 games now. 

Is he bad, or is he just off the boil? The numbers say the latter – he’s not far away from big scores. Possibly distracted by the transfer rumours – heavily linked to Manchester United at the moment. Holders will take that as compensation for the drought I am sure.

Diaz replaced him and he’s another challenger but neither are likely to do much when sharing pitch time. Overall though he has been putting up solid numbers particularly in October. He’s been rotated in the last two. If you really can get close to this £1.14 bid he’s a snip for a patient trader. I say patient… if he starts he can win now.

Youngster Jens Petter Hauge of Norway makes his full debut. He didn’t take his chance unfortunately for him it was a poor display. Not on FI yet but the historic goals/assists record is impressive, as is the overall contribution. 

On the surface – could be extremely FI suitable however the standard of play in the Norwegian league is going to make players look better than they are. Still, one to look out for at IPO. 


Should qualify but Celtic will put up a fight. 

Key Players:
Jonathan Bamba, Renato Sanches, 

Punts: Ikone (Decent player but out of form… if he starts more games soon and he probably should I might be more optimistic than just a punt). 

Youth: Timothy Weah, Jonathan David (But see scouting – he’s really struggling right now)

Lille qualify with a game to spare. We could see rotation but may want to top the group and not take the foot off the gas. 

They dominated the game and had a lot of chances. Unfortunately the goals fell to 35 year old substitute Yilmaz who is not exactly attractive to traders.

Yazici did well again. No goal this time but he had chances. Mainly it’s his creativity responsible for his decent score of 179 with no goal in just 78 minutes. He’s not exactly a classic FI midfielder. He’s fairly unusual because his involvement is pretty poor but he’s doing a lot with the ball when he has it and he’s making it work. He can win again and if he was playing full games I’d say 3.5 out of 5 stars. Still being rotated though. 

Now he’s had a little quiet spell for a few games I think it’s a better time to go for him. A £1.67 bid is reasonable and anyone really impatient has dropped him already. 

Also getting Arsenal transfer links which is another positive. I like stacking up multiple ways to win.

Bamba continues his decent form. Just one chance this time. Good though – and just 1 goal away from being competitive. 

Benjamin André – 30 year old midfielder at a rock bottom 27p blue button with no bid price did well. Had 2 decent shots and if one of those goes in he’s going to be pretty competitive. Anyone who likes a punt on a seemingly random winner might like this – it wouldn’t be that random. 

Yazici blows it away. He wasn’t in my preview on the 8th because really he didn’t do anything of note until this weekend just gone where he appeared in Scouting 4 days ago. 

He’s been very lightly used in 2020, scoring his first goal vs Lens on the 18th. I called him a decent pick up for a patient trader at £1. He’s good… but I did not quite expect a hatrick straight away. He really isn’t a hatrick sort of player generally.

In truth he’s probably a bit lucky and the third goal in particular was gifted to him. 

However, playing full games he’s got the baseline to contend with just 1 goal. And for £1.07 to £1.24 we don’t need to have sky high expectations. He’s still value for what he is and that short termism we are seeing amongst IPD punters means he’s still well inside value range.

That’s probably even better because if this were to happen again anytime soon… that’s when you’d expect a sustained price rise because people will see that it’s consistent. RIght now people probably just think he’s a flash in the pan… but he’s better than that.

Elsewhere Bamba continues to look much improved and close to big scores.

Ikoné has now scored 2 in his last 4 for club and country and importantly completing his a full match for Lille – he’s been surprisingly limited in minutes thus far. At under £1 I think he’s undervalued. IPD, outside chance of a win, and big transfer rumours possible later.

Sanches rested. 

David continues to get chances but fails to finish. Must be kicking himself. Looks poor for FI overall. Price is really crashing. Almost getting tempting as an IPD pick in case he starts converting these chances. Almost. If it gets any closer to £1 maybe.

Match Day 2

Held to a draw by Celtic but Lille dominated and could have put up some big scores had they won. That’s despite going 2-0 down early on. 

Jonathan David is having a wretched time and he must wonder what he has to do to score. They let him take a penalty and he hit it straight at the keeper. Grim. They are showing patience with him – he was expected to be a big signing. And the goal threat is definitely there. 

But it’s a nightmare start. It is however reaching the point at £1.20 when it could be worth betting on him to turn it around, he’s getting chances.

Yazici, Star Man of the last round, wasn’t too far away. 4 key passes so he is unlucky his team mates didn’t finish any of those. And he had his own chances – the only real difference between this time and last time is that the shots just didn’t go in. 

Another decent game and like I said after his win – I think he is more than a one hit wonder. We could see some decent IPD out of him at least, and wins are possible. I’d put him at 3 out of 5 stars which for £1 is decent.

Another good display from Bamba. Lacked threat but over the season that has not been a problem. As per Scouting I’m keen on him he is vastly improved this season.

Ikoné playing more and more lately. Great form, 3 goals in 4 games. Unfairly categorised as a midfielder when really he seems to fit more as a forward. If he was switched to forward he’d be competitive. May nick it from midfield. 

The most important thing for him is good form that brings the transfer rumours around again. For 90p I think long term holders will be happy. The IPD alone is worthwhile in this form.

Actually, the best overall FI player for Lille was… very unexpectedly Boubakary Soumaré. 21 year old France U21 international. He almost never scores but last night he had big threat. 4 efforts and they were good chances.

He gets huge baselines anyway so if he could do this consistently he’d be superb. However. This is extremely rare. He was actually pumped for a transfer that never happened back in August. £1.70 then. 96p now on the blue button with no bid price at all. 

A very patient trader could try to get a crazy low bid on that and hold into the next transfer window.

Lille look good for progression after this win. And have decent fixtures to come both in Ligue 1 and in the Europa. Milan are up next at home which is the tougher game.

Despite the scoreline it wasn’t a dominant game. And it took another hatrick from Yazici, hero of Match Day 1, to claim a big score. A second Star Player for him – amazing. 

If we look at the Match 1 review and when I mentioned him as an example in State of the Market – he actually dropped to cheaper than he was before his first win the day after that game. £1.03 to £1.23 before, 87p the morning after a Star Player win!

People traded him like a flash in the pan IPD player. But as per my comments – I thought they were wrong about that and he has more to him – he first came on the radar in Scouting the weekend before his first win.

This time – he has held onto his price rise as people appreciate consistency.

He is quite fortunate to get another hatrick though – has to be said. He’s doing great work and should see more pitch time and he can be a contender. But he really isn’t the sort of player who gets enough chances to bag hattricks. 

In both of these hatricks – pretty much everything he hit just found a way in whether that is from a good strike or a fortunate bounce. It would be a surprise if he bagged another hattrick soon!

So at this point holders might want to take advantage of that sustained price rise to bank a little profit. 

Note this kind of trading behaviour – most people would be thinking the opposite as in “Oh he won twice he must be great I should buy”. 

If we’re really getting things right, we identify the likely win before it happens and then recognise if/when our player has probably overperformed, selling to those who are only just finding out the player is any good.

To get a key advantage – we don’t want to be waiting for big scores to tell us a player is good like most people do – we should know it already because of good research.

Jonathan David. I am starting to feel sorry for this lad. Getting plenty of decent chances but it seems every effort is smothered by a heroic defender or else he snatches at it. Must be low on confidence. Grim. But the club seem determined to give him time which could be a comfort for any remaining holders. 

It is reaching the point now where at under a £1 bid it could be worth punting on him making a comeback. He was a hot property really not that long ago and a bad couple of months doesn’t totally change that. 

He is getting chances to score and did at least lay on an assist for Yazici.

Lille should qualify from here and have two promising games to come vs Sparta Prague and Celtic. They aren’t so safe that they can totally relax which might be good for holders of their first team assets.

It wasn’t a great performance last night. 

Bamba did well again, scoring the equaliser. The improvement continues and when he does this versus softer opponents I can see big scores from him. As per scouting he is a player transformed from last season. 

Jonathan David contributes an assist and things are looking up a bit for him after a dismal start to the campaign. Overall the numbers are not brilliant but it was a taough game, they were better vs Lorient last time out. 

Better as per Scouting and this is more evidence of consistency. Lille are giving him plenty of time to settle and showing patience, it may pay off. A £1.06 bid is still a good bargain at this stage. 

No heroics from Yazici but he is this sort of player – he’s not going to be exploding every single week it’s going to be an occasional thing. Most likely he has overperformed recently.

As discussed in the last Match Day 3 report – with players like this I tend to cash them whilst you can get a higher price because it’s more likely than not they will drop off a bit. He was poor in this game.

But… next there are two decent fixtures and if he is going to explode again that’s a good chance to do so.

£1.77 bid… it’s not bad but it is a little high and I think there are players with similiar or better chances of winning for less. 

It’s a symptom of two wins coming close together that causes hype… really he will be very lucky to generate a huge score every 5-6 games. Every 9-10 games is more feasible.

Group I: Villarreal, Qarabağ, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor


What’s the opposite of a group of death? Should qualify comfortably or they should all retire in shame. Seriously though – Villarreal may not be the best FI side in the world but they can rack up some huge totals vs these minnows.

Key Players: Gerard Moreno, 

Punts: Alcacer, Parejo (He may be better saving for later knockout rounds where he can win on baseline alone). 

Youth: Chukwueze, Kubo (Neither are particularly FI suitable so in the groups where there are still a lot of games each match day they may struggle to get top midfielder. Actually, I note a significant improvement in Chukwueze’s numbers in pre-season and the opening couple of games – worth keeping an eye on.)

Villarreal are through and top the group for sure. Holders will have wanted them to do more in such a soft group, though. 

Parejo was only on for 25 minutes but he was pretty incredible – seeing more of the ball in that time than many decent players see in a full game. Still relevant. No shots but he was in the right areas. Under £1 is a bargain really the chances of him having more big days are high.

Goal for Chukwueze. Man of the Match. Never the best performance player but he is well regarded and I mainly watch him for the transfer rumour. Manchester United and Liverpool often linked. Good performances fuel that fire. 

75p on a bid now. You can really see a situation where the right transfer dropping doubles that so it’s one of those bets that almost nobody is thinking about yet has huge potential. 

Kubo poor. I’m really not convinced as per recent reviews and he does little to change my mind here, or in any recent games. The hype in real life may well be justified eventually but it doesn’t look close to appearing on FI anytime soon.

Moreno rested. In fine form in general though and he’s another strong IPD rotation pick who can also snag a win every so often.


Villarreal have a really soft group and they made the most of it here hitting 5 although conceding 3 is really unhelpful for FI scoring knocking -15 off everyones scores. 

Key man Moreno rested with a knee injury – not serious.

Parejo out until mid-November also injured – stalling his momentum. 

Kubo’s best game in a long time. Goal and 2 assists. He’s one of those players that social media loves to pump because of the Real Madrid connection which can be helpful if holding. (Is he getting near the Real first 11 anytime soon though? Probably not). 

His first full game in a while… per minute he’s ok but often let down by sloppy passing. 

With very kind fixtures coming up he might be a good punt to exploit that hype from a possible big score in a soft fixture. But I’d be wary of pushing it too far because the price is really quite high already for what you are getting. 

Punt pick Alcacer nearly nicked it in just 20 imnutes with 2 goals and dropping on the matchwinner. 

Gets rotation but that doesn’t really matter for an IPD player. His threat is incredibly strong even if coming off the bench. 6 goals in the last 6 now and still just £1 on a bid. Good punt for this kind run of fixtures – and he’s so explosive he can actually win as well as just return IPD.

Good game for Chukwueze. I’ve noted an improvement for him in the preview there and he hasn’t let me down with good numbers here. Not a brilliant performance player but he’s not far away and he’s good value. It’s more about the possibility of big transfer links for later.

Villarreal have a really soft group and they made the most of it here hitting 5 although conceding 3 is really unhelpful for FI scoring knocking -15 off everyones scores. 

Key man Moreno rested with a knee injury – not serious.

Parejo out until mid-November also injured – stalling his momentum. 

Kubo’s best game in a long time. Goal and 2 assists. He’s one of those players that social media loves to pump because of the Real Madrid connection which can be helpful if holding. (Is he getting near the Real first 11 anytime soon though? Probably not). 

His first full game in a while… per minute he’s ok but often let down by sloppy passing. 

With very kind fixtures coming up he might be a good punt to exploit that hype from a possible big score in a soft fixture. But I’d be wary of pushing it too far because the price is really quite high already for what you are getting. 

Punt pick Alcacer nearly nicked it in just 20 imnutes with 2 goals and dropping on the matchwinner. 

Gets rotation but that doesn’t really matter for an IPD player. His threat is incredibly strong even if coming off the bench. 6 goals in the last 6 now and still just £1 on a bid. Good punt for this kind run of fixtures – and he’s so explosive he can actually win as well as just return IPD.

Good game for Chukwueze. I’ve noted an improvement for him in the preview there and he hasn’t let me down with good numbers here. Not a brilliant performance player but he’s not far away and he’s good value. It’s more about the possibility of big transfer links for later.

Decent 4-0 result although none of the goals went to anyone of regular FI interest. Does make them almost totally nailed on to progress and so they should be in a real gift of a group.

The only enemy is rotation – maybe the games are a bit too easy so key players are being rested. And some are coming back from injury.

Gerard Moreno can really do some damage with these soft fixtures and he is making his way back from injury. Just 20 minutes here but he did well. A shame he’s missed these soft games. But if he was a big scorer in the next rounds it would not surprise me one bit.

Parejo back too, had 60 minutes. Big baseline play as usual. Provided an assist. If we recall he put up a monster score in his previous game in late October but then an injury killed his momentum. Was pushing £1.50 and the bid can be as low as £1.12 which makes him a decent punt again. 

Kubo is one some people love to love because of the Real Madrid connection. When I say he’s not that great for FI though I’m not just being funny. Really does look poor and it’s games like this where he really needs to punch through because he’ll rarely have a better chance. 

The more the price crumbles the less silly this gets as a pick though. 

One of the eventual benefits (if there are any) of price falls is that it is a chance for the market to reset – and when it does – it will probably resume on a more sensible path with a bigger focus on substance and less on hype.

Chukwueze is another promising youngster hitting form – didn’t appear here but did score his first goal of the season at the weekend in La Liga. Consistent threat recently and he gets good transfer links. So given he could be available around £1 I quite like the pick.

Match Day 4

Despite a disappointing draw Villarreal comfortably qualify for the next round barring some freak occurences. Two soft fixtures to go in the next rounds but we also see rotation.

Kubo really poor. Not a surprise to me – he gets pushed hard on social media at times with the excuse of the Real Madrid connection and a highlight video or two. But in FI terms… it’s pretty awful and his chances of being anything close to a Madrid regular anytime next season is very low. 

His best chance will be against one of these soft upcoming teams where anyone can look good. But against serious opposition a win is unlikely. 

Samuel Chukwueze I’d expect to fare a bit better but mainly for those transfer links which are starting to heat up again.

Big EPL clubs are rumoured and for a 91p price it’s not a bad pick for that reason.

Were he to explode vs one of these soft teams it’s a bonus. I wouldn’t be too confident of that but it doesn’t matter too much if not. 

Would be surprised if big hitters like Parejo and Moreno are risked from here. But it is good news for them overall that they qualified – they’ll be attractive for the later Europa Gold nights. 

Group J: Tottenham, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp


Another weak group and there could be plenty of walk overs. Spurs aren’t always a rich source of FI points (although Son challenges that notion) but with this group to go at… we should see some very competitive scores.

Key Players: Son, Kane, Reguilon (More by reputation than merit on his numbers at Spurs so far – will cover more in Scouting)

Punts: Lo Celso (Potentially very strong FI player – but struggling to establish as a regular at the moment). 

Youth: Bergwijn, 

Missed opportunity for Spurs to rack up points with a 3-3 draw with LASK.

Bale the biggest threat and showed glimpses of ability but for FI purposes he just looks poor as per previous reports. Nothing to change my mind on him here despite the scored penalty.

I’m struggling to find anything encouraging in a poor game. Normally when a big team loses to a minnow like this lately they at least have the decency to dominate possession. Not so here so even usually solid players like Lo Celso and Son aren’t great.

Overall though Son doing very well over the last 5-6 and he’s probably their best along with Kane

Comfortable win but heavy rotation and subs made big scores hard to come by.

New signing Doherty is starting to impress me at the back. Could have scored here… assist potential has been good. We haven’t seen either goals or assists yet but he isn’t far away. And the baselines are solid. Looking a good pick up for just 70p. Particularly in this soft group.

Reguilon decent too at times but Doherty looks as good if not better and he’s a fraction of the price. I’m concerned for Reguilon at this price. It’s so easy for his new and shiny status to wear off and we see this all the time with new signings.

New signing Carlos Vinicius impressed on debut with 2 assists and he could have scored. Awful baseline numbers overall though and this is a very familar picture from his Benfica days. 

However, his goals record is undeniably good. There will be rotation but for 97p I think that’s value as an IPD rotation pick… and he is an explosive sort so an occasional big score would not be totally unexpected.

All eyes on Bale… good display to watch. Caused the own goal. Generally unremarkable in his numbers in fact I would say they are poor. And this is a weak opponent where we want to see good players dominating.

Could be good but he’ll need to get more central. Really too early to judge but I am not impressed on the evidence thus far. 

The price tag does bring pressure. If holding I would by no means give up but just watch the next games closely.

Uh oh. 

Awful result, after a great spell for Tottenham in general. The only defence being it was a heavily rotated side.

That probably eases the bad feeling because chances are normal service will resume once their first teamers are back. Especially given the soft fixtures ahead. And I’d be surprised if he rotates this heavily again.

This is just as well for holders because they have some really soft games coming up, playing Ludogorets twice in the next two rounds.

Not a great deal to report in this dour game with what is basically a B team.

Bale poor. Overall his numbers aren’t bad per minute. If holding you could make a case for him improving but… I think with the market the way it is right now – we know how impatient traders are with players at new clubs. It’s a big risk to push this further for that reason.

Son looks by far and away the best pick at Tottenham as mentioned previously. 

Despite the slip last time Spurs should have no problem progressing from this group after this win and have soft fixtures to come. 

Kane managed to take the media dividend on the day he racked up 200 goals. I’ve been optimistic on the established England premiums – Kane, Rashford, Sterling for a while. This is part of the reason why. They may not be exciting but they are reliable.

People almost always over estimate the future returns of a player (i.e Sancho) and will often underestimate the here and now returns of consistent players who are already at the top of the game.

Someone like Rashford, Kane, Sterling. They’ll always find a reason to drag attention back to them. Rashford has. Kane has. Sterling probably will.

But they are often at higher prices and can be hard to add to portfolios sensibly. Until moments like now where you can pick them up on a price drop – which is the only time you should ever really be picking up such an obvious and popular player.

On the pitch he was dangerous with 5 efforts, could have easily scored more than 1. Plus his assists record recently is crazy but few will need me to tell them that. Solid all round pick.

Bale. Better performance. The numbers… Mm. Doing just enough for you to say he could be competitive. Just. Still early days but I would advise caution given how impatient this market is – we know how quickly a player can drop if they don’t make an immediate impact at a new club.

I’d call Lo Celso the best player for Spurs last night. A forgotten man recently which has been surprising to me because he did well at the back end of last season. Could barely have done more to make his case for more minutes and as long time readers will know – he’s a very performance suitable player given the chance. 

Some wonderful numbers here and he is a contender for sure – 3.5 out of 5 stars – if we could see him playing regularly. After that spell on the sidelines he could be a slam dunk bargain if we think he’s going to establish himself.

Doherty close to scoring again. Look out fantasy football fans because those goals and assists are coming. And he shows the baselines that mean they may count for FI too. Probably available for 50p and a capable winner, I like him.

Match Day 4

Dominant win making qualification highly likely, would be a disaster not to go through from here. We can probably expect to see a similar team to last night with key players rested.

Vinicius had a good night and wasn’t far off a win. As mentioned before he is a fairly abysmal performance player but he can bully his way through because he has enough threat for 2-3 in a soft fixture. And there will be more of those to come. 

It’s a bit like Haaland in that respect – it’s just much more acceptable when you are only paying 70p to 98p. Could be a good punt for the next rounds.

Bale is yet to make a huge impact. He had so many chances here but couldn’t finish, 7 in total. 

Numbers just about good enough where if one of those was put away he could compete but this is as easy a game as you’ll ever see. In such games we want to see players smashing it out of the park not just being good enough. 

As per recent Scouting… I’m really not convinced by Bale and he’s running out of time before people get very frustrated. Maybe at that point he could be worth looking at if he gets really cheap.

It would be big news if Alli made a comeback. A decent first step as he had a good all round game which could mean Mourinho gives him further chances. Not too far away at this level but it’s an easy match that makes everyone look good.

He’s got a lot of convincing to do. In the distant past he has decent numbers but he’s coming off a year or more of mediocre at best results. I’ll need more than one game to change my mind but at 99p to £1.25 it would be a big deal if he was to return to FI relevance because of his trend fit. One to watch.

I often wonder what Alli’s price would have been in his breakout seasons if FI was in full swing back then. Top 5 most expensive players almost certainly. How different might our current top 5/10 look just 1-2 years from now?

Group K: CSKA Moskva, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberg

Something of a dead group for FI interest. Note that is the Austrian Wolfsberg, not the Bundesliga one we may naturally think of first.

CSKA Moscow

Should qualify comfortably… the two players below may be of interest but only if you think they will also get a transfer later. It’s possible.

Key Players: Chalov, Vlasic



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Group L: Gent, Crvena zvezda, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec


Should have no problem topping this group, and there could be some walkovers on the cards here.

Key Players: Kramaric, 

Punts: Skov, Dabbur (IPD)

Youth: Bruun-Larsen (Good potential player but he is struggling for regular minutes).

Comfortably through well before this game so were always going to rest players.

Skov did play though and he was excellent again after his win in a previous round. The lad is no one hit wonder. 4 shots and strong possession. His wing back role is a bit of a cheat code as he sees a lot more of the ball than most strikers. 

The only issue might be the reclassification risk. If it’s to defence, not a problem, in fact, favourable. If midfield… tougher. Hard to call this is another position OPTA are not consistent with. 

Given the price though which can potentially be as low as £1 again I don’t think that’s a major issue and if Hoffenheim get kind knockout fixtures he could do very well.

A covid blighted Hoffenheim easily overcame Crvena Zvezda. 

But it’s a shame key man Kramaric was out because it’s the sort of game where he could be explosive.

Still, it’s a very soft group and there are plenty of those nights yet to come.

IPD punt pick Dabbur did deliver. 1 goal but he had the chances for 2. No reason he can’t rack up more in the league and in these easy Europa fixtures – he’s a regular threat and can be picked up for just 51p. 

Sessegnon made his full debut for Hoffenheim. Unimpressive.

Skov rested but he’s a good FI suitable young player that could do well in later rounds.

Overall there are some good picks in this team, a pity so many were out with covid but they still have really soft games on the way in both league and Europa in the next month. 

Kramaric in particular won’t get many better chances to shine.

Hoffenheim cruised to a 4-1 win – the only disappointment that key man Kramaric was out with covid. Something of a theme of the week. This is sort of game he could have put up a monster score so it’s a pity.

Still, lots of good fixtures to come still.

Skov wasn’t quite as good as he was vs Werder Bremen at the weekend. But he did get shots away. Has a good chance of some decent scores with soft fixtures both domestically and in Europe. Minnows Liberec up next twice.

A demolition from Hoffenheim – as expected in this soft group.

In the absence, again with covid, of FI scoring hero Kramaric we had to turn to Skov as our man and he did not let us down. We can’t say he didn’t warn us and in 26 October Scouting I said:

“Robert Skov put in a big performance this weekend in a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.

Very high levels of involvement to pump those baselines. Also had 6 shots, some speculative but good chances in there. And he laid on chances for team mates too. 

Easily in range of wins and when Hoffenheim have 3 spicy Europa ties in the next month we should be considering Hoffenheim assets. We should consider this a warning that Skov may be due a decent score or two.”

What is borderline crazy is he took the top forward dividend without a goal – he had two assists. A truly monstrous display – he was everywhere in this game. And had 3 attempts and a decent chance to score himself – he could have taken Star Player and beaten Yazici with a little more good fortune.

Wonderful player still at just 95p on a bid. And Hoffenheim have more soft fixtures to come. 

What’s not to like? Ok one thing – positional uncertainty. He’s a wing back classed as a forward. On pitch position? He’s a winger. But OPTA could also say “He’s a wing back I’ll make him a defender” or you could even put him in midfield. 

Defence would be fine, possibly better. Midfield… not a disaster he’d still be competitive for the money. Overall not too bothered but it is something to be aware of if buying.

I was frustrated to see Kramaric out again, still with covid. This is exactly the run of games where he could knock FI scoring out of the park. 

In better news he does still have 3 Europa ties to go at in the groups and should feature in the knockouts too. So he can still have his big days. If not holding I’d take advantage of the covid disappointment as a £1.16 bid is just silly.

Hoffenheim comfortably through the softest of groups with some dominant displays. Two more soft games to come but rotation is going to be a problem.

It’s a crying shame that Kramaric missed the best of this through covid as he could have been a performance scoring wrecking ball with these soft fixtures. 

Still, he’ll be useful for the knockout ties to come and just for Hoffenheim in general. Since returning he hasn’t missed a beat, scoring twice in the last two including last night from the bench. 

Great player and still undervalued at £1.56 to £1.69. 

Skov the other standout and if we see him in the next games he might do well as he did in Match Day 3. Only played one half here and we may see rotation in the next games as well. Solid pick up though for his £1.22 to £1.33 for these games and beyond.

The next games may be a chance for the on loan Sessegnon. As covered in Scouting he got his first Bundesliga goal recently. Looks good at times. Could do well versus soft teams and as a young England player attached to Spurs his comeback would be a story. Just 75p now it’s not a bad punt. 

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