20 December

Kostic could have easily been Star Player here.

5 efforts and missing by inches or just good saves. Also created chances that went unfinished.

On another day he could be sailing clear of 250 here.

Not running for him at the moment but the chances of him appearing with at least a couple of big scores over the rest of this season are high. 

61p to 76p for a potential Star Player who is just 28 and gets occasional EPL transfer rumours as a possible sweetener. Really not much to dislike in that package.

André Silva is ticking away nicely too. Strong threat always including yesterday. Such a consistent scorer.

One of my favourite IPD picks as mentioned a few times.

And in a miserable year – one of the ways I’ve been able to make some headway to balance out the drops is by recycling players like this for what is pretty much as close to free money as we are likely to get.

For those familiar with the latest internet parlance on the printing of money – IPD players go brrr.

This fact is a big contributor to the market eating itself – and it should be stopped by FI who need to creative different incentives. But whilst it exists? It would be naive not to work with it.


Dominant game from Leipzig with a hatful of chances. But they could not finish and ended up with a 0-0 draw.

A pity for holders as there were some huge potential scores on the board here.

Angelino is mildly ridiculous. Very close to winning again here. Were it not for a hero moment block from a Koln defender and a good save from the keeper he could very, very easily be pushing towards 300 yesterday.

I’ve long picked out his potential and he is definitely realising it. Further big scores are all but inevitable. The one worry you have is whether he is flying a bit too close to the sun.

He’s so far advanced he is basically a forward now yet is categorised as a defender – it’s not fair. OPTA can be slow to catch on to these things but there is the risk of reclassification there. 

Overall – I’d say that doesn’t concern me too much. Certainly for £1.24 to £1.54 – a move to midfield would take away the massive unfair advantage he has over defenders. But he is more than good enough to compete in midfield too. So a reclassification is no disaster and I still consider him a great pick.

Upamecano close too. Baselines alone can carry it for him – we know this. He isn’t far away here. I like him – one of the few CB’s that can put up regular challenges and he has that big transfer likely to come as well. 

Sabitzer and Olmo my favourite Leipzig attackers but both are killing each other in this game by sharing one half each of pitch time. Olmo had 4 efforts here in just 45 minutes which is good – holders want to see more threat like this. 

Everything else is there for him to win – except the pitch time remains inconsistent.


Bayern win in the end but Leverkusen did not let them have it all their own way, so we don’t see the blockbuster scores we often expect.

Lewandowski scores twice, which is just getting boring now. Often this will get him in contention for wins but he’ll need games where Bayern dominate. Doesn’t matter so much at under £2 – the IPD will carry him and anything on top is a bonus.

Muller exceptional again – I reported on this last week so I won’t dwell on it but if he keeps up this level the big score is a matter of time. And it should not be a long wait.

Gnabry poor again. Does get chances but nothing is going his way right now. Far from awful – no reason it can’t fall for him and he can’t put up a big score next week. But you can’t point to any particular evidence it’s close either. 

A massive dip in form but I still suspect the price drop is an overreaction and a return to form is more likely than his top level career being over.

Interesting to see Hernandez slot in at CB to accomodate Davies. They will likely compete and I don’t expect Sulé to be displaced permanently. But it can only be a positive that Hernandez has another route into the team. I like Hernandez, he is more likely to win at full back but baseline wins without a goal are possible from CB too.

Neuer is so good here. Not just for his saves but he plays the ball so often he racks up the baseline. Zero surprise to me he dominates TOTM that was always going to be the case based on his stats.

Kimmich makes his way back from injury, appearing from the bench. Big boost for Bayern in general – they clearly missed him. Got an assist already in this time.

As reported here when he strung that set of wins together earlier in the season things got a bit out of hand price wise. He’s good but he was a bit lucky to win so frequently. At £7 in November you had to be thinking of selling there in my view. 

But the injury cooled that right down and at under £5 he may not be the cheapest but he is worth that.

17 December

The first game after the sacking of coach Favre. Let’s see what we see.

I guess the first thought on the sacking is that most traders should be happy to roll the dice – recent results have been poor and not just that – there are a host of theoretically good performance players who have not been firing. 

Terzic, the former Assistant Coach is now in charge until the end of the season and may not be the longer term appointment. This is his first head coach role – quite the step up. 

All we really know is he has a reputation for preferring attacking football – and he has vowed to bring attacking football to Dortmund now. Sounds good. Did we see it in the first match?

Well, they won 1-2. But it was hardly dominant – really we want to see Dortmund doing better against weak opponents like out of form Werder.

They were back to a familiar Dortmund 4-2-3-1 which is quite good for FI usually. This ends the recent 3 at the back phase which coincided with the poor run of results. 

(I imagine the team talk went – “So, remember that formation we used to play when we won games? Let’s use that!” Nailed it. This new coach is earning his big bucks.)

Guerreiro the clear standout. He bagged the first goal. Just has everything you are looking for in full back performance. These are the numbers that win dividends regularly – unlucky he didn’t get the matchwinner but so it goes.

Holders can remain confident on this evidence – if he’s not the best defender on FI then he is definitely one of them.

Reus finally breaks his scoring duck – though ends up with a 167 which disappoints me given my high opinion of him.

To watch in general this display is much better – possibly a good sign of life under the new coach. The last few games haven’t been great previously.

His problem here isn’t generating points. It’s losing them. He missed a penalty, then converted the rebound. Goodbye 20 points. He missed another big chance to boot. -10. 3 fouls. -15. Yellow card. -5. 

Things like that really take the edge off. But he’s not normally a bad lad for this sort of thing. 

On another day he could be scoring 2 here and hitting 250+. Overall, the score on the day is disappointing but I think the headline is he’s very capable of getting up there and this is an encouraging performance.

Sancho unlucky not to score. Good performance – the improvement from early season is clear and he is in contention for wins for sure. He’s now also at the kind of price where the issues I’ve highlighted before about the dangers of him failing to live up to the hype if at Manchester United are now much less of a concern.

The price is nowhere near as overheated and that makes all the difference.

Prospects should be good from here – I think he is pretty much a bet on the FI market in general. If positivity returns then Sancho will be one of the first in line to bounce most likely. 

On the downswing is pretty much the only time we get to pick up players this popular without breaking all the rules of sensible trading.

Brandt still out in the cold – just a bench appearance. The transformation from next big thing to squad player has been one of the most disappointing stories of the season if you like potentially good performance players. 

A new coach could be a reset – but it does seem difficult to see where he fits in this side right now. He wants Reus’s spot really but Reus is The Man and the Captain. 

You’d have to drop Reyna and Reyna is earning his place. As covered previously he will be a real FI contender when he is IPO’d – but he may well just be too popular at first to get hold of for any kind of reasonable price.

You could put him deeper where Bellingham or Witsel is but that might kill his goal threat.

Experiments with Brandt as the cover for Haaland have been tried and this does not work either for Dortmund or for traders.

Maybe what Brandt needs is a transfer. Or theoretically he could start next week and win – getting full games is his main problem it’s not a lack of ability with him.


Let’s start at the back for a change since Neuer kept his side in this.

Neuer is in my view the best keeper on FI which is something I said after my early season keeper analysis. He’s dominating Team of the Month and has moved into first spot again here. 

5p is a nice dividend for a keeper. He might not win this one there are plenty of games to go – but the fact he is contention this often is a good sign. Solid value.

Lucas Hernandez put in a great showing here. He did well with Alphonso Davies out and he is now putting up a real challenge for the starting spot. Davies is back from injury but has looked leggy as you’d expect until he gets up to full speed. They may start sharing pitch time. 

I like Lucas and at 45p to 70p it’s value – and rotation is acceptable given that price. A caapable winner for sure. If he wrested the spot off Davies permanently I’d get very keen.

Tolisso was back after an injury. They were leaning on him more heavily and it’s a shame he was injured when he was. He was showing promising stuff in October/November. This was a weak game – no real threat, nothing created, average contribution in general. 

But at least he’s back – and he’s always worth keeping an eye on because his potential is high.

Coman remains, perhaps surprisingly, the best of the trio of him Gnabry and Sané. In pre-season he looked behind both in the pecking order. But his improvement plus slow starts from Gnabry and Sané put him ahead.

You cannot drop Coman right now he is too good. Looks very close to wins and I’d normally be raving about him but I just cannot bring myself to click buy on such an injury prone player.  But the more games he finishes the more he proves fitness.

These borderline decisions can in the end come down to nothing better than “What would make me feel worse?”. I can take it if Coman wins and I don’t hold. But if he crocks himself and I can’t sell in this market I will be annoyed at myself for buying Mr Glass.

Not exactly scientific, but there it is.

Gnabry was bang average again. Had a really good chance, didn’t finish. Just looks nowhere at the moment and it is a very strange and lengthy dip for a very good player. 

If he was still at £3 I’d start to get stressed if holding but at £1.50 to £1.81 it feels more likely this is an overreaction to a spell of bad form in a tough market. 

Sané is arguably worse. He isn’t close either and is playing poorly. And, unlike Gnabry, we’ve no previous evidence that he can do well in this team. I would be sweating here, even at £1.35 to £1.53. It’s obviously cheap – but then so are many players who look closer to bouncing back.

Muller doesn’t have this kind of stress. The only thing surprising here is he isn’t winning more often – very strong numbers and it’s the sort of stuff where the big score is more a matter of when not if.

And Lewandowski makes things simple by just scoring two and winning the forward dividend. That’s his thing. May not be the typical FI template player because his overall contribution isn’t great but when you score more than 1 goal this often you are in a good spot. 

He’s lucky to win with a soft score, really. And needed the OPTA recount. But given he justifies his value in IPD alone… you can consider any wins a bonus. It’s not like he has an outrageous price tag that brings a lot of pressure to do anything he isn’t doing already.

Dominant 4-0 win for Leverkusen – though without too many big scores to show for it.

Moussa Diaby was very close, if the match winner drops to him he wins comfortably. Really nice goal after a powerful run. Beautiful assist too with a raking cross actually. 

Really good young player capable of wins now and has future big transfer potential. Not much to dislike here for 75p to 90p that is a steal.

No goal for Amiri – but his big improvement continues. Creating so many chances, gets a few of his own. Numbers big enough for goals to count. Great value player who like Diaby can win now and may drop a bigger move. 

This is Bailey‘s best spell in a long long time. No goal yesterday but he did provide an assist. A player transformed this season. I’ve highlighted this in previous reviews and it’s continuing. A possible January EPL transfer but I suspect more like Summer.

Wirtz scores again. Incredible breakout season for the youngster, earlier than expected at just 17. Not on FI. Looking very good but it may have just become a touch too obvious and the price might get silly. 

A shame perhaps because if he was on FI we could have picked him out nice and early before he unmasked himself a wonderkid. The signs were there early.


13 December

Gladbach rotate and stumble to Hertha only managing the draw.

Two standouts. 

One is Neuhaus who again showed consistency. He’s always been a good potential player but that is really coming through as reported recently. And it continued here. 

Had a great chance to score and on a low FI scoring day he is not far away at all. Good chances.  You could be forgiven for mistaking him for a deep player and for much of the time he is but he gets forward very regularly. Looking very good for him.

And someone we don’t see a lot of is Hannes Wolf. 21 year old Austrian midfielder and an RB Leipzig loanee. He started yesterday for the first time in a while.

He has had his days as FI’s hipster hype kid of the moment reaching over £1.50 at times. But an unfortunate serious injury in 18/19 hit and he is now at Gladbach to help regain fitness.

The FI hype is not entirely unjustified he’s a decent player, although it rarely shines through for Gladbach. And I am not entirely sure it will.

However he is worth keeping an eye on because he can be had for probably something like 40p these days and if we saw signs of an improvement or a return to Leipzig he is the sort who can pretty easily double in price from a low bid without doing much more than starting a few games. Probably not anytime in the coming weeks, though! There are bigger fish to fry.


And not just this 1-5 defeat at home to Stuttgart, the Dortmund form is awful lately with just 1 win in 5 and they had to sweat vs Zenit even for that.

A common theme this season when big teams slip is that they run the game but are being taken apart on the counter. So it shows us where big scores are possible at Dortmund – but they just aren’t going to appear without the wins.

Sancho did very well again. Really should have scored with a great chance late on, not that it would have turned the game. Created chances that weren’t finished. Really good stuff.

In many ways, in his overall personal numbers Sancho looks closer to regular wins than he has ever done, even though he is falling far short of last season in terms of goals/assists output. And of course Dortmund aren’t winning so it’s not showing much.

This, combined with the transfer rumour window edging ever closer plus that diving price tag in this hysterical market – he really is becoming a great pick up. I did not think I would be seeing an under £5 Sancho – and it shows just how much a few nervy people can drop a price. The Average Offer Price is £9 and whilst I don’t have a great deal of confidence in that number as discussed, something like £7 would be much fairer for Sancho.

He’s probably never looked more attractive as a buy. You could pick him up very early for much less of course but you didn’t have all the evidence we have now that he might well turn out to be a genuine contender.

It’s a bet on the FI market as much as anything – if you believe the FI market will recover there is little doubt that Sancho will recover with it. And probably very strongly.

If you hit a point where he is £10+ again you might want to consider whether it’s got out of hand again. But that isn’t close.

18 year old Gio Reyna was very impressive too, both to watch generally and in his FI numbers. He provided Dortmund’s solitary consolation goal. A cracker after a great cross from Guerreiro.

And strong overall contribution too – one of his best. Great we are seeing so many minutes from him. Odd that he is not yet on the platform but FI can’t really win on this.

They were asked to get a new IPO system because the old one was awful. And they get hammered by some when they release new players that distract from current assets in a struggling market. Yet, it’s becoming increasingly indefensible that great players like this aren’t available.

He could cause mild hysteria when he does eventually get IPO’d. It won’t be entirely unjustified. But his good displays are so obvious by now it will likely be hard to get an acceptable price, or one that sustains beyond any initial rise. A paniced market may dip out of him quickly. £2 or so would be fair in this market, I’d be unlikely to pay more right now.

Guerreiro excellent as ever. If not to watch, though not many get much credit, in his FI numbers which always hold up. If Dortmund were doing better he’d be in contention even more than he has been. 

Reus is hitting his stride completing more and more full games now. But it’s not bearing fruit. Threat is fairly poor, but his overall contribution is very strong.

Only really 1 goal away from a big score and we know he is more than capable of goals. If Dortmund turn it around I’d expect him to reveal himself as a consistent challenger.

My prophecy of Sabitzer‘s winning score almost came true. He fell short of being Gold Day Star Man by just 16 points.

He’s been threatening this for a while as per Scouting. And holders are unlucky that he was subbed on 72 minutes. It’s quite unusual for him by this season’s standards – he is not one who gets hooked regularly he finishes the game far more often than not.

Not much we can do about that, them’s the breaks. 

Notably the penalty was not his only chance. 4 good efforts in total and on another day he might have dropped two goals and run away with it. 

Holders will feel unlucky but it shows that he is a contender and the most suprising thing is that he hasn’t scored more recently. He gets the chances. I’d back him to be challenging again before too long.

Olmo has been picking up lately as reported last review. He added Leipzig’s second here. Threat is much better, as is his overall contribution. He’s also starting to finish games. 

Still have some improving to do but really not much, and for the money, he’s unquestionable value.

Signs of life from Justin Kluivert? His move to Roma was pretty much uninterrupted mediocrity and rotation. 

But in December at Leipzig we have two goals vs Bayern and Manchester United, and he was very close to making that 3 goals in 3 yesterday. In fact, he could well have added 2. 

Missed a sitter early on that could have easily been the matchwinner. Had another gilt edged chance in the second half too. 

Suprisingly good overall contribution to the game and given a full match versus a softer opponent he really showed what he can do. 

The score looks disappointing at just 63 – but he’s been hammered for fouls and big chances missed losing a total of -45 for those. Ouch.

He’s not normally a bad lad with fouls though and at least he is getting big chances to miss now. 

Could well be back from the dead and there is enough evidence here to make him an informed punt for those who want to pick him up on a rock bottom sub 50p bid. 

Or he is at minimum worth a spot on anyone’s watch list he’s really picking up.

Bayern stumble too on a day where many big clubs struggled.

Much like Dortmund they dominated but couldn’t make it count.

Lewandowski meets expectations with his customary goal. He at least isn’t struggling too much in a spell where Bayern have drawn 3 of the last 5. The more he dips the better the bargain – he’s really reliable and unlikely to be going anywhere. Under £2 is just crazy and it’s only the most desperate of traders who will be parting with him for that. Or perhaps those who want to keep the market crashing to try to buy back cheaper.

Goretzka was good to watch although was pinned back in the absence of Kimmich – Musiala was the one allowed to go forward. 

Threat has dropped off but his overall contribution has not. Still getting forward some just not as much. Longer term he looks fantastic value. May improve with Kimmich back.

Gnabry continues his goal drought which is starting to border on the bizarre. Gets his chances but he has not scored in 13 games now which is incredible.

He’s doing ok in overall contribution but he is a player that will generally need at least 2 goals to really blow the scoring away. That used to be a frequent occurence, looks quite far away right now.

And yet, he’s not doing a great deal wrong and good players hit barren spells and then recover all the time. This dry spell in a hysterical market has combined to crash this price from £3.50 to possibly as low as £1.30 today. There is no rational basis for that price at all it is far too low. A massive overreaction and if people buying for that don’t make a killing then something has gone very very wrong either in his career or for FI as a whole.

Coman keeps racking up the minutes and his form is far better, chalking up 4 goals and 5 assists in the last 6 appearances for club and country. 

The IPD value is exceptional and there is no reason to think it is slowing down. And his chances of more performance wins are high. 

How many minutes does he need before we can trust his fitness? Very hard to say and it’s really a personal decision. He can hardly be doing much more to convince though. 

For £1.06 to £1.35 you can probably start to consider the risk/reward balance in the holder’s favour. More so than at £2. 

Alphonso Davies is back, starting and finishing his first full game since injury. Was ok, a little rusty perhaps but that’s expected. But he’s never been a special FI player, just slightly better than average. The £4+ valuation was always crazy – and would have been even if the market was performing well in 2020. 

As it is… £1.79 is not an outrage in true value terms but there are vastly superior defenders available for less.

Off the pitch –
Kimmich is recovering faster than expected. May well be back in January, possibly later December if he is risked. No doubt they miss him. 

£4 is a very fair price in True Value terms and he could easily recover for doing nothing more than starting.

Is he the best use of funds? That’s another question. With great players like Gnabry at rock bottom the potential gain is far larger in other trades.

But Kimmich feels like a fairly low hassle trade that is likely to turn out well in the longer term. Lots might find that “clustering” behaviour quite attractive right now in this nervy market and see him as a “safe” choice. I can personally see better value elsewhere though.

7 December

Strong 3-0 victory for Leverkusen – really just lacking a goal from one of their key FI players. 

Lots of great baseline play in a dominant game but the first goal was an own goal, then Baumgartlinger and Schick add one each. They aren’t really the ones you hope they fall to.

Amiri was super close again. I’ve noted his improvement lately and this is more evidence. Managed 207 with no goal, just an assist. 

But he had 5 efforts on goal, his threat in the last 10 games or so has been excellent by central midfielder standards. Just 1 goal can see him pushing well over 250+ and he’s getting close. If he were to score one every 4-5 that would be fair. 

I’ve flagged him for a long time as a good future potential pick – feels like that potential is blossoming and he looks very relevant in the here and now. 74p to 95p? A steal.

Bailey did well too, just 1 goal away from a very serious challenge for the dividend and he had 4 shots – 1 a really great chance. That’s the second game in a row he has had fantastic chances. GReat form overall in the last 6.  A massive improvement over last season and a bit like Amiri that long known about potential is coming through now.

Diaby had his chances too. Also unlucky not to provide an assist he had 4 key passes that went unfinished by team mates. He’s looking good and 

A real contender in the forward category and it’s a little astounding he is available for £1 or under.

6 December

A disappointing draw away at Frankfurt – the worst patch of Dortmund form in 2020 with just 2 wins from the last 6. 

Sancho probably the best of it. A few half chances and a decent overall contribution in a poor Dortmund display. Provided an assist. Just a goal and a win away from a decent score.

Struggling a bit overall this season – the headline goals/assists numbers nowhere near the sublime stuff we saw last year. And the season isn’t that young anymore. He has been improving but to maintain the hype of global football’s biggest young star he’ll need to do a lot more – there are always new wonderkids coming through to snap at their heels. 

Could yet do very well with the right transfer and the new sub £7 price is a much, much fairer balance of risk and reward than it used to be.

Overall my view remains the same – it’s very foolish to just believe that he’s a sure thing and you can safely sit on your “career bet” because your spreadsheet says he’s worth £30 if you project last seasons performance forward for a decade.

This is utter garbage as a way of valuing players. Thinking we can reliably predict that far ahead is foolish and/or self deceptive.

Young players fail to meet expectations all the time, even when those expectations seem reasonable. As long as you are aware of that and are paying attention rather than making lazy assumptions – a holder could do very well if picking him up today. 

But the true believers may well get burned all over again if they fail to manage risk correctly and time their entries and exits to the trade.

Brandt filled for the injured Haaland up top. This position is usually bad for him and this game was no different. Did get him chances to score.. But it slays his baselines and he needs to be central and just behind the striker for FI purposes.

I am sure a regular Dortmund fan would agree – Brandt as the central striker doesn’t work in reality either and I am not sure why Favre keeps doing it.

When Moukoko came on Brandt did drop back to his favoured position and looked much better. Remains a high potential player but all these details are lost on most – most traders will just see another poor score and it hurts him. 

I would back him to turn it around if he was playing in his preferrred position regularly but he just isn’t.

Overall though, he’s just 24 and if you can get him as low as 74p now it is really hard to see patient traders not ending up very happy from there. It just might take many months and possibly a transfer.

Speaking of Moukoko, he’s doing really well to get a full half at just 16 years old. Had chances. His scoring rate in the U19’s is out of this world. In his last 12 games for the U19’s he has scored 27 goals. 27. Not a typo.

Not on the platform yet but with that kind of record I am sure he will be in demand at IPO. And rightly so. He will however be almost certainly appalling for FI purposes outside of IPD. Very, very similar to Haaland actually.

But that is not a problem when the price is low. That’s something that only becomes unsustainable at high prices.



Exciting 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig, really entertaining game. Bayern always expect to win but this isn’t a bad result.

Some awful defending made this more fun than it should have been too.

Bayern dominated the ball so had they won there could have been some great scores here.

Muller the best of it for sure. Two goals. He’s actually pushing for a Germany recall and it would be deserved.

Two goals. Just unlucky Bayern didn’t win the game or he’d walk the Forward dividend yesterday.

Fantastic and I’ve said this a few times recently including midweek after his CL performance. 

Muller is showing all the signs that a win is imminent and back onto my explosion imminent list he goes after a brief period off it. His threat had dropped a bit in November but it is back with a bang in recent games.

Coman another standout with two assists. Fantastic form for him. He just has to go on explosion imminent too.

Finishing consistent games too now. At what point can we say we trust him to stay fit again? 

Really hard to say. We’ll have to add “qualified physiotherapist” to the skills we need to master if we want to become the world’s greatest sports trader at this rate.

The answer is we can’t know – even if we are a physio. In trading it’s about probabilities and risk versus reward.

Given he’s very likely to win soon and return big IPD… you are paying £1.52 to £1.74 for a 24 year old player. Massively under his “True Value” if fit. Massively. That’s probably closer to £4. 

But if he crocks himself… you’ll probably have to wait a few months to get any kind of decent price. 

And there is a really worst case scenario where he gives up entirely which he has mentioned when at his absolute lowest.

Really difficult. Very tempting to go for him. I would say… we also have to consider what else is available and in a market with so much value there are probably choices that are equally as good that won’t make us sweat everytime they are on the pitch. 

I’ll probably still say no but there is a decent chance I’ll regret that.

30 November

Demirbay follows up his win with another decent display. Some fierce efforts from range and if another one of these flies in he’s usually going to be a contender. 

His 32nd minute shot nearly took the keepers wrists off. 

Still value at around £1.03. He’s consistent and whilst he won’t win every week he’s often just 1 goal away from a very big score – anyone who thinks he is a one hit wonder after his midweek win is mistaken.

Bailey starts again – decent enough but no major threat. I think holders are just happy to see him starting and over the last 7 games as a whole he’s very impressive. This is the sort of form that can spark those big transfers rumours again and I can already see them starting.

Wirtz continues to impress – making a starting spot his own at just 17. Has FI relevance too as a sort of high baseline occasional big scorer type. 

One to look out for at IPO – hopefully he’s been just quiet enough that not too many people have noticed. Hopefully.

Kramaric back, with a rare blank. In fact this is the first game in… well for all intents and purposes essentially forever where he had no threat at all.

But that’s highly unusual. His 2020 form is insane. 

In terms of his overall contribution it was superb and just 1 goal can see him challenge – and he’s often capable of 2 or 3 in a game. 

Really unfortunate he has been out with covid recently. 

£1.41 to £1.66 is a steal for him and he’s only 29 he has tons of time both in this season and the ones to come. We may even see him transfer. I’m keen.

I’ve been tracking Sessegnon recently too and he’s impressive here. Arguably his best overall game for FI purposes. Contributed an assist and was very advanced. 

Decent chance of resurrecting his career at Hoffenheim and it would not be outrageous if he won anytime soon either. At just 74p to 94p I think he’s a decent punt.


29 November

Poor result for Dortmund – they were wasteful and looked a bit lazy. But it’s not all bad for FI purposes.

Some potentially huge scores on the board here had Dortmund won.

From an FI perspective this is arguably one of Sancho‘s best FI games of the season, big potential score here. Hit the bar early on and had that gone in this could all have looked very different.

Traditional match reports will slam him for a poor performance but in FI terms there is only good stuff here. Consistent good form lately.

No real reason for that performance to cause a drop in price. Maybe people will just be more fearful the second time around as the “he can only go up” garbage has been dismantled. 

A skilled trader may do well out of this from here though if that transfer rumour stays alive and provided they aren’t too greedy and push it too far.

Reus – strong overall numbers. Couple of half chances. Strong FI forward and a real contender to be another of  those forgotten men who turns up and wins one of these days. But it should not be a surprise to anyone paying attention.

Brandt savaged for a woeful display. After a good game last time out. FI numbers track the general perception here it’s poor.

Yet based on recent form in general he is well within range of wins when on the pitch. Given consistent minutes I’d have little doubt in his ability to deliver – it’s really all about his place in the side.

Unless the Gods of probability are very unkind Emre Can is going to turn up with a monstrous score at least once over a season. Almost to 100 passes here and he had a really good chance to score that just went wide.

One of the best long range punts around in my view for 52p or anything close to that when that big score comes you have a shot at making 50% of your purchase price with just one win and he’s only 26 so you are going to have chances to resell most likely.

Dortmund CB’s can do really well on baseline alone and Akanji and Hummels are close here.

Akanji is much younger obviously but Hummels could well have blown scoring away yesterday. 3 shots and good quality chances too. Could have walked the defender dividend so easily yesterday.

Both good value pickup. Hummels may be older but he’s contracted until 2022. 

Lovely goal from the bench for Thorgan. Like I said midweek in the CL article things are looking up for him and I think people are far too negative on him at 64p to 92p. May not be a powerhouse but he’s a solid player and that’s too cheap.

Good to remember at times that trades don’t always have to be sexy and players don’t need to win every week – they just have to be great value.


Another goal for Angelino – a player I’ve long considered one of the strongest defenders and he’s sitting on my explosion imminent list. 

If his goal had stayed the matchwinner he’s beating Stones yesterday. Consistent and this is why he’s more than worth his money. Actually he had enough chances for a hatrick, incredible really for a defender. Created chances too. So many ways he can pump his score up.

Improved threat from Olmo in recent games. Suffering from heavy substitutions at the moment but per minute he looks a contender. Provided an assist.

£1.06 now or anything close is great value and I’d happily pick that up on the basis that constant substitutions is unlikely to last forever even if you have to wait for next season in a worst case. Price is so low it makes that kind of patience viable.

Sabitzer started from the bench this time but again, he’s close to scoring. Very capable of turning up with a big score soon and nobody should say he didn’t warn us.


Bayern win but it’s nothing like their best performance.

Tolisso starts but then frustratingly has to be subbed off on 83 with a possible injury. And he’s only just back from his previous one. No date set yet could be nothing but we’ll see.

Shame because it’s a really tidy FI performance. Lacked threat but he’s had chances on recent games. Given time he’s high potential but these injuries are frustrating no doubt.

Coman probably Bayern’s best player here as he continues his superb form. The more he plays and the more he shows this form the more tempting he gets. 

Difficult decision this one because if I clicked buy I’d be not surprised at all if I won. But I’d be equally unsurprised if he went off injured and I got burned. I have trust issues with Mr Glass but I want to get over them. 

Goretzka excellent again. His big scores are a matter of time if he maintains this level.

Gnabry quiet again. Off the boil for sure and hasn’t scored in 7 games now. But really not far away and one of those that can easily bounce back.

Not much new on Lewandowski. Scored again. Yawn. Should score pretty much every game the only blot will be likely rotation in the CL but I don’t think this is a major deal. It’s important to be active with him and keep refreshing for IPD at good opportunities. If people are sad because he doesn’t start a CL game that would likely be a good moment to buy.

Pavard holders can be happy to see a spark of life. He has been very quiet recently but this was a better performance. He got forward and had some chances – had a really good crack that the keeper saved well. 

Out of favour but he hasn’t really dropped off much. He’s always been more of a steady slow burn sort rather than a week in week out challenger. But he should turn up with his big scores over the season.

I flagged Costa as a potential winner in the next CL rounds if Bayern rotate as expected. Here’s a warning shot as he comes off the bench to score a lovely goal. Given 90 minutes he can do some damage. Good punt.


Andre Silva of Frankfurt turns up with a brace. Great IPD rotation player as I’ve covered many times this season. And a possible transfer prospect. Portugal minutes too.

He should just not be 75p to 92p by all logic. The price is just too low and this is almost certain to correct itself.

Youngster Neuhaus is a player I flag up often and he’s unlucky not to be our midfield dividend winner here. Actually I call him a youngster but by now he’s 23 and maybe that’s not appropriate anymore.

But it’s a prime age for us on FI.

Only losing the matchwinner to a Schalke equaliser keeps him off top spot yesterday.

He scored a great goal and assisted too. Solid overall involvement as usual. This isn’t a one off – he’s consistent and he is improving in recent games. Always had potential but is getting better.

Getting Germany minutes too. A long range pick I’ve long liked – often gets bigger club transfer rumours. Could win now. Not much to dislike at 75p to 96p and in this downturn people have gone way too negative on these promising fringe players. 

Good displays from both Plea and Thuram here. Thuram scored but could have had more.

On another day Plea could have been scoring 2 or more with his chances. And he put in a solid overall performance we could see more wins from him as well as solid IPD. 

Both look bargains right now for their ability at Gladbach and possible big transfers.

24 December

We’ve been tracking the improvement in Jeff Reine-Adelaide in Scouting in recent weeks – and it nearly came through here.

Could have given Hakan a hard time without a late equaliser from Lorient. Particularly impressive because Nice didn’t really dominate – so he could do even better than this, potentially pushing towards 275 on a good day like yesterday.

This is no accident – as per previous reviews his goal threat, assist potential and overall contribution is very solid.

A bit like Gouiri – he’s unfortunate that Nice are so poor so far this season or he could punch through more often. 

Both Reine-Adelaide and Gouiri looking very strong in themselves and as longer term holds I’d back them. In the shorter term – Nice are going to have to do better than dropping points to struggling Lorient. Maybe they are unlucky to get a man sent off and concede a late penalty.

Nice do have soft fixtures in the next 4 so it is possible holders see short term reward.

We should not forget 24 year old full back Atal either whose still getting limited minutes and not looking particularly close to wins. But he’s never really far from big club rumours and he’s a popular name with traders if he gets going.

This is more like it from Lyon. We’ve seen better results recently but never really much dominance. In early season we saw dominance but awful results.

Finally we have both coming together and that can indicate a good spell ahead for Lyon assets. And they have a nice fixture calendar in the next 4-6 weeks.

Depay could have blown up here and got back on radars with a bang. He’s gone from FI favourite to zero this year and it’s not really warranted.

His crime of moving to a better club, plus poor Lyon form have conspired against him. But he remains a top FI suitable player with a lot going for him.

It’s players like this, and I’d include Coutinho and Dybala too, where they are clearly magnificent players who hit short term problems. Backing them when they are down could result in massive returns by exploiting the over pessism of other traders.

Whether Depay stays at Lyon or moves to Barcelona, Juventus or even Liverpool… the chances of Depay being worth more than £1.31 to £1.50 are very, very high.

This is the sort of thing I was talking about in SOTM this week where we are using our diligent research to challeng absurdly low valuations based on little more than panic.

Aouar was excellent here too. He’s had 3 good games on the bounce now actually – well in contention for wins again after a long period where he looked well off the pace.

Bagged an assist here, could have scored one or even two. Lost points for 4 fouls but he doesn’t generally do that. 

At under £1 it’s hard to think of anything to dislike with this pick up. Might drop a transfer in January including to the EPL. Or he might stay at Lyon where he’s a contender anyway. And then more transfer rumours come Summer. Solid choice.

Ekambi continues to plug away. With big stars likely to leave he’ll be leaned on more and more and as covered previously he’s a great IPD rotation pick. 5 goals and 3 assists in 6 games.

And calling him IPD only is unfair I wouldn’t be surprised if he bags another outright win.

Paqueta bags his first Lyon goal – I’ve been noting his improvement recently – that goal has been coming. He’ll be adding assists before long too if he keeps this up.

Pretty solid – clawing his way back from the dead. 49 tp 73p… he is a capable winner. Whether he would be my absolute priority buy right now is another matter – I think generally we want to make life easy for ourselves and just buy popular players that are great value. 

But Paqueta is well worth having on the watch list. Particular if players like Aouar move on they may lean on him more and more.


The biggest news is off the pitch with Renato Sanches getting big links to Liverpool. That could be a big deal and the former Golden Boy has revived his career at Lille.

What I like about this is that it’s a shot to nothing – he’s strong at Lille and for Portugal and likely already worth much more than the meagre 78p to £1.03 as of right now. Yet, if that Liverpool move did happen – that could be a nice pay day.

In the game itself it’s a fairly standard display from Lille. The notable thing is a start for 20 year old USA international Weah – a player I liked in pre-season but he has struggled for minutes.

Finally getting his chances though and he’s taking them – 3 goals in his last 5 appearances now. I like him – often with players like this you need some patience but when the buy price is low it can be well worth it. Has shown he is capable of performance wins given 90 minutes.

A 4-0 demolition of Strasbourg – perhaps surprising we didn’t see more big scores.

Bakker did manage – one of those CB performances where he racks up a ton of points just for passing out from the back. A bit lucky to win with 199 but this does happen.

Also a strong over performance versus his usual level, and he gets rotation. So not one I’d find easy to pick out as a winner. Or to expect to win again soon.

Di Maria was monstrous. Hakan holders can feel lucky because if one of Di Maria’s 5 efforts goes in he’d be very close to winning top midfielder, and if it was the matchwinner he’s pushing towards 300. Such a strong player on his day – it’s just hard to go for him until he has a settled contract as disussed recently.

I did a long Mbappé discussion last week – he’s done ok here but again fallen well short. I still see these discussions on Mbappé on social media – people claiming they are hard done by or unlucky with this. This has got to stop – it is not bad luck – it is a function of the scoring system not particularly rewarding Mbappé’s style. That has been obvious literally for years now.

I do however see some hope for Mbappé at current price – see last week’s review. But to trade him effectively we have to be aware of his limitations. 

Rafinha offers encouragement yet again. Lovely baseline play and he is consistently close to scoring. He’s convinced me – he’s a savvy pick up and one of those who can very easily return the lion’s share of his value in a single game.

21 December

Decent news for Neymar holders – he’s expected back in early January and given there is a Christmas break anyway for Ligue 1 he really shouldn’t miss more than 2-3 games.

And crucially, he’ll be back for the big CL games too. I’m sure plenty of media will accompany his return to Barcelona.

That injury tanked the price and yet has changed little in reality in the end – so I’d call this a good time to pick him up more than anything else. As discussed last time – there are worries about his injury proneness etc. But for this money he’d only need to play 2/3rds of a season to more than justify his inclusion in a portfolio.

He really is a breed apart in FI terms and only really Messi gets close in the consistency of his big scores. Just pretty much looks close to winning whenever he plays. Some of that is to do with the flat track of Ligue 1. But it doesn’t look like he is going anywhere – who could afford him?

The stumbling block is the difficult knockout vs Barcelona – as a player with no transfer and no Euros he could really do with a longer CL run. That might start to be a worry closer to the time but I think the return from injury and then the media associated with the big game could give him a good month at least.

After that, the outcome of the knockout game will have a big bearing on where his price goes. Imagine the outcome of a football game actually dictating prices on FI. Remember those days? 

Speaking of actual football games. PSG drew away at Lille which is not an awful result. 

Mbappé only started on the bench due to a thigh problem but did get on and finish the game so not too serious clearly.

Was poor per minute but maybe he was struggling with that injury. Jury will have to remain out on whether he will profit in this Neymar free period but that may now only be two games. 

As covered last time Mbappé is looking more sensibly priced than ever. It’s a bit of a bet on the FI scoring system getting tweaked in his favour, which is not unlikely at some stage. More pressing is whether he heads to the EPL or La Liga and the latest is it’s La Liga. If it’s not the EPL we may see some people sell in disappointment.

There is no doubt that to really be everything FI traders dream of he needs the media attention that comes with the EPL. Even if the scoring system is tweaked it’s going to improve him but it’s very unlikely to turn him into Messi or Neymar overnight. 

Real has always felt like his most likely destination – which is why a £10+ valuation was pretty radioactive. £4 or just under is much more manageable as at Real if things went well he may well justify that. And if you get an unexpected EPL move it’s a massive bonus. So it’s better than ever but still has these twists and turns to navigate.

If a narrative takes hold that he’s not coming to the EPL it might start to become a struggle. But there is a long time to go in that story, most likely.

Outside of these two the absence of Neymar likely helps Di Maria for minutes. He remains a very, very strong FI player.  But his contract situation is precarious. You would think if PSG wanted him they’d have signed him up by now. Juventus and Inter are now being rumoured as destinations. I’d back him to do well at any decent club but I’d want a certain contract before punting on a veteran at this stage.

Rafinha actually quite close to another competitive score here. In the last 5 he’s getting regular chances to score and he has the baselines for it to count.

He’s convincing me. Remains to be seen how he fits in a full strength PSG side but there is no doubt he’s a contender when he plays and for 32p to 57p you could stomach some rotation quite easily. 

Kean should have scored again, possibly twice. Whenever he plays he pretty much looks like getting a goal. Not too far off what you may expect from Lukaku etc. Will likely always be awful for performance but he’s undeniable value for 72p to 99p for IPD purposes.

Kimpembe is getting a lot of plaudits for a truly heroic last man tackle and rightly so. Worth watching.

You do actually get 20 points for this on FI – they are just quite rare events and it’s not like you can predict them. 

Didn’t count for much without the win. Solid player though and he can pop up with those baseline defender wins a couple of times a season, pretty good value.

20 December

Big win for Lyon 1-4 away at struggling Nice. 

They didn’t dominate though so the scores are limited. 

Depay scored a penalty but other than that his disappointing form continues – he looks average at the moment. He can be one of FI’s best at times.

This is anecdotal rather than observations on facts now but I recall him going off the boil ahead of potential transfers like this before. Is he even trying or is he just trying to avoid injury that would scupper his move? It’s one possible explanation. Not that he is in poor form it’s 3 goals in 4. But he’s not doing much running.

This January move is now looking very likely. With his contract expiring at the season end he may go for as little as £4.5m or so goes the latest gossip. That might suit Barcelona quite well since they are broke but also need reinforcements.

We’re talking £1.32 to £1.50 now and for that money – the “But he’ll have to compete with Messi” narrative is definitely overestimated. No guarantee he’ll cut it at Barcelona but he’s got a very good chance of justifying a price that low.

Moussa Dembelé in a similar boat as per the transfers section. He’s at a price now where even a move to a mid table club would be far from a bad thing. And if he does drop on a big club the profit could be enormous.

Aouar also set to move – Arsenal the rumour but is anyone joining Arsenal in the state they are in? Questionable. Little doubt he offers long term value though. Goal threat is strong recently and he looks close to wins at Lyon now. So even if a big transfer doesn’t happen he is far from a lost cause. I like the pick.

Surprisingly good from Paqueta. He came with big expectations to Milan but had an awful time in Serie A mostly, with a few flashes of hope occasionally. 

However if we take this game and indeed his last 5-6 on the whole there are signs of life from the Brazilian. Well in range of a big score here. Strong involvement. Good chances to score in the last 6 games but they haven’t gone in. Creating chances regularly too but only has 1 assist so far. Getting more minutes and with an exodus of Lyon players expected that may well continue.

Interesting. I can’t see many rushing to this sort of player with so much value available in more obvious picks but this improvement is worth noting. I’d at least put him on a watchlist – and if he turns up and wins soon I won’t be surprised this is good stuff. 3.5 out of 5 stars level if he was playing 90 minutes and in the last month he has completed 4 full games. 

No improvement for Nice under the new coach, certainly not in terms of results. This is abysmal really – just 1 win in the last 10 games in total.

The Europa exit was bad – they are showing the kind of domestic form that makes wins for any of their players very unlikely and before long will create additional negativity as they may miss out on the Europa next year too.

They are still only 6-7 points off that pace so a good run of results can swing that back. But it is worth considering.

I guess the one thing you can say is that they do have kind fixtures – the next 6 all look winnable. 

Gouiri the most likely man to benefit from any improvement. He’s doing everything right and it’s only Nice’s form keeping him from consistently strong scores. 

He’s operating at 3.5 out of 5 stars maybe even 4 out of 5 stars level if he was in a team winning enough to stay in the top 4. Wasted at Nice at the moment. Short term results rely on Nice’s form but a long term trader is very unlikely to be disappointed if picking him up at £1 in my view. Quite the opposite.


18 December

Routine win for Lille, though no obvious FI impact.

Yazici pretty close with a matchwinner. As I highlighted when he was knocking his hatricks away – he was probably overperforming back then and a bit lucky. He does need 2 or more goals and that’s a lot to ask with his threat levels.

So this is a great time Scouting helps – people are buying heavily – but they aren’t quite as aware that this is probably a flash in the pan as we might be. That’s when cashing out on that rise is a fairly easy decision to make. 

As opposed to Kroos in Scouting yesterday – he’s winning and rising – but also likely to do it again with his fixtures. That’s more of a balanced call.

Then, when a pumped player falls like Yazici has – it can be time to return to them. I’m not sure I expect regular wins but occasional ones are possible. Maybe a transfer is possible, too.

Bamba is the man at Lille in my opinion though. Another good all roun d display here although we are lacking major goal threat. Someone like Bamba can get away with that because all he needs is that one goal to get up there. Narrowly missed out for a win last week – these consistent numbers show why he sits on my Explosion Imminent list.

Weah is a young player I expected more from this season. Very, very slow start. But it’s getting better. Another goal here after he scored his first of the season vs Celtic a week ago. He came off the bench here and scored a fantastic goal to seal the win. Worth watching if you can. Shades of Yeboah, for those of us alive back then.

A talent, and an FI suitable one, held back by a horror injury in 2020. But he’s recovering and looking in the mix once more. Still just 20 – and under 50p it’s more than likely people are undervaluing him which is obviously going to happen in this market. 

Jonathan David blanking in the last 3 again – no game changer for him. He is getting chances. But the FI numbers are poor – I don’t think a goal does it for him. again, he’s only 20 and he’s not a write off. But a recovery does not feel close.

Ikoné holders can feel a bit hard done by. Really strong threat recently especially given the frequent early substitutions. And very creative too. The odds are against him though because he’s obviously a forward but OPTA have him as a midfielder.

We can expect goals and assists – 2 goals and 3 assists in the last 6 and that is not just luck.

But unless he finishes the game at least, and ideally is switched to forward, I wouldn’t expect it to produce big scores. 

Yet, small changes can put him well into contention. He’s only 22, has frequent decent transfer rumours, has been on the edge of the France squads recently. And he’s cheap. One for the watch list I’d say.

Rafinha does come through to win here, all be it with a soft-ish score. 

When he was going to PSG I had a bit of optimism – on paper at least – he could do extremely well in Ligue 1 with regular pitch time. 

Give him 90 minutes every week, and he’s a real contender. 3.5 out of 5 stars or so.

Actually, in this game, he was very close to adding a goal and he could have blown the night away, taking Star Man with a 250+ and even up to 275 if lucky with the matchwinner.

Only about 2 inches of goalkeeping glove prevented that from that being true. Fine margins on this platform.

But I’ve cooled a bit recently because he is almost never finishing games, often coming on late or never getting beyond 60 minutes. Interesting – he is actually good enough to win in 60-70 minutes and indeed, he came off 20 minutes early last night and still won.

Credible winner, and if he snags a star man just once, you’ve made back almost all of this current 32p low bid price. That would be fun.

Mbappé gets the matchwinner but ends up with just 167 having played the full 90. I haven’t done “why is Mbappé not as good for FI as traders want him to be” for a while but I suppose I have to here. Don’t worry veteran readers – I reach a new conclusion for the first time in… well since I can remember.

He isn’t quite as bad as 167 with the matchwinner might appear – he’s losing -25 for fouls and the yellow card and he’s not usually one to pick those up. But he’s still generally needing at least 2 goals to be in contention. And even then, it’s no guarantee.

What it comes down to is this: the FI scoring system does not capture what it is that makes Mbappé great. That’s not Mbappé’s fault! But it is a trader’s fault for confusing real life with a football betting game.

One reason I worried about him (I worry less now the price has dropped) is that PSG is about as flat a track as it gets. If he moves to La Liga or the EPL it only gets harder – and that will likely outweigh any natural improvement we can expect from him due to development.

One reason you could be optimistic is that the FI Scoring system might change – and making players like Mbappé more FI relevant would be a reasonable goal – the game has to make sense to casual observers after all. He’s not the only exciting forward that is harshly punished for risky yet often incisive passes and it would be quite easy to fix this in a Performance Scoring review. Which I do expect for next season.

And he has media to fall back on, and a very likely transfer. Whilst he might not be as great as people hope – people still hope. And if he does drop an EPL move people will just buy there is no question.

To me, holding Mbappé at £10+ was a dumb move because of all the risks above. But as that price sinks under £4 – suddenly we’re under a lot less pressure. He’s never really looked better as a pick. And a bit like Sancho – it’s only moments like now where you will ever be able to pick up a player this obvious for value.

Elsewhere, do not underestimate Florenzi. He’s 29 so not exactly sexy. But that’s not ancient either and in the last 5 games he has had very strong goal threat – he looks ready to drop a goal. And it’s likely to count for something given his baseline numbers. At well under 50p that could be worthwhile. Onto Explosion Imminent he goes.

14 December

Bamba leads the scoring for much of the day but is beaten to Star late on by another Messi masterclass. He’s far from the first.

I’ve long seen this coming from Bamba though since early this season as regular readers will know. The only real surprise is he hasn’t done it sooner. 

239 and had he dropped the matchwinner he’s pushing near 275 in the forward category which is big. And it’s not one of those soft European night 275’s either that’s a legit hardman 275.

Holders can count themselves a bit unlucky. But this is consistent stuff and Bamba is very likely to make his challenge again before too long. A player transformed this season.

The deeply unattractive (not physically) 35 year old Yilmaz is hogging a coveted forward slot at Lille. And he’s doing so well it’s hard to get him out of it. 

If he was 10 years younger we’d be raving about his goal threat and this performance in particular where he also showed he’s got what it takes to win an outright dividend. 

It’s not a market where making punts like this is particularly neccessary. He’s strong for IPD but there are less risky options. But he looks like scoring every game and might win a performance dividend. Which is always worth highlighting.

Injury for Neymar. A horror for holders. 

We might see further information come through later but on first sight it looks pretty bad.

In a market this nervous bad news is never going to be taken well and the price will get beaten down hard.

Often an injury is just a bad luck event – it can happen to any player and there isn’t always much we can do.

But when a player is injured this often we do have to consider whether this is more than bad luck and start factoring it in as injury proneness – much as we might with someone like Coman.

If we look at his injury record then according to Neymar has missed this many games in each season:

18/19 – 24

19/20 – 14

20/21 – 5 to date not including any from this latest injury.

It’s significant, to the point where you can expect him to be unavailable for maybe a third of the season.

So is he good enough to pull in enough over those reduced numbers of games to make him worth it? For today’s £4.69 to £5.14 undeniably yes. Back to his more usual £7-9? It starts getting a bit more questionable.

It may be that the best way to trade Neymar is around these injuries. Pick him up on the crash after an injury, hold for the recovery, juice a few (very likely) dividend wins out of him, but maybe don’t hold too long in too great a number just in case he falls over.

The one silver lining is that this injury gives him a lot of time to recover before potentially lucrative CL knockouts from February. We’ve just had the draw and him returning to Barcelona is juicy, if only for media.

Mbappé bounces on the news. Is this people just changing PSG horses? Or do people think Mbappé will improve without Neymar? Pretty logical conclusion.

Maybe this is just a natural bounce and I am over thinking it – lots of premiums are recovering today. 

If we dig back through Mbappé without Neymar stats – he does not improve significantly in terms of overall contribution. There is possibly an uptick in goals which would make sense as people look for him more often. But he goes through purple patches with Neymar too it’s not clear cut – this could just be random chance.

I would say it tends to be the fringe players who are more likely to benefit due to increased pitch time. Di Maria. Sarabia. Icardi if he was back although he looks still to be injured possibly until 2021 – miserable season for him but he is a player who can bounce back very easily. 

And possibly Moise Kean too primarily as an IPD rotation option.

A change of coach has not brought an immediate bounce, losing 1-0 at home to Rennes.

You can say that key man Gouiri is doing his bit – his numbers have not dropped off at all under the new coach. In fact it is a real wonder he did not score yesterday. 

He’s done just about everything asked of him this season but it’s not going to appear again in FI scoring unless Nice find better form. I’d be long term confident in him but shorter term Nice do need to improve massively. 

They do however have a decent fixture schedule up to February. 

Reine-Adelaide impresses again. It’s really good stuff from him as reported last review. Huge involvement and he’s getting some decent chances as well as creating them. 

With Nice in better form I expect more people would be noticing him but for now his ability remains under the radar.


13 December

Monaco have really improved as a performance side under Kovac.

If we haven’t seen that more recently it’s down to a very tough fixture run more than anything else. In the last 7 they have had Lyon, Nice, PSG, Lille and were unlucky to hit Marseille this weekend just as Marseille regain form.

Next up though they have 6 very winnable games in a row and it could be a great chance to shine.

Yedder back on the score sheet yesterday vs Marseille. The only surprise is the 3 game goal drought previously – he very rarely gets a game with no good chances. He could really clean up in these coming fixtures for IPD, and even an outright performance win is not going to be outrageous.

Volland was weak in this game, and vs Lille too. But if you take the last 6 games overall his improvement is huge as reported last week. Again, could do great in this upcoming spell of fixtures as an IPD option.

Badiashile another great pick as a longer term youth/transfer pick who can actually win in the here and now. See previous reviews from November.

7 December

Big win for Lille over an in form Monaco. Monaco dominated possession – they are really improving as covered recently. 

So it kept scores a little subdued for Lille. But they have softer games to come and the schedule all the way through until mid February looks tasty. Only really PSG on 20th December is rough – in fact 11 of the next 12 fixtures look very winnable.

Could be a good period for Lille ahead.

Bamba is now their indisputed best FI player in my view after his massive improvement this season.

Good again here when you factor in the tough game. He shows consistent stuff and I think he’s been unlucky not to make a bigger scoring impact. I’ll be very surprised if he gets through those soft upcoming fixtures without exploding at least once.

Jonathan David can breathe a little easier after scoring an important goal here. His second in 4 starts. Much better. Although it has to be said – the numbers aren’t much different to anything he has ever produced at Lille. The difference is simple – the shots are going in. 

Whether you consider this the confidence X factor or just probability is hotly debated. What matters for us is that despite the improvement – we shouldn’t be expecting big FI scores regularly.

He has definitely dropped off since his days at Gent where he was really promising for FI.

At Lille he is just being used differently with a more central role. As the price drops though you do wonder whether a longer term trader might be happy with it if he plays well and gets transfer rumours but it’s too early for that. Could become a decent IPD option, though.

We’re starting to see Weah creeping back on from the bench. Provided an assist last time he did. Doesn’t look anything like close to making an FI impact but given a full game he has really promising FI numbers. 

Worth watching because he is a highly regarded talent who is still just 20.

Very unlikely the prospects stay so bleak for him that he languishes under 50p forever.

I’ve done a lot of Monaco stuff recently so I won’t go through their key men again.

But it’s worth briefly highlighting young CB Badiashile here. Elite level CB baseline numbers and he’s also getting forward and could add another goal before too long. 

Also the sort who can win on soft days with just a baseline. And the odds of big EPL transfer rumours are high. Was not long ago he spiked to £1.50 amidst Manchester United rumours. 

With that heat off he’s down to 72p to 88p and I think that’s a great pick up for a patient trader happy to carry this to next Summer.


After sacking Vieira midweek this was relative unknown Adrian Ursea’s first game in charge.

0-0 draw away at struggling Reims… can hardly be called a flying start.

But Nice didn’t lose for the first time in 5 matches and kept a rare clean sheet. And held onto possession which is important for FI purposes.

Probably not a totally fair first test as this was played in heavy fog.

Slightly different setup – something like a 3-4-3 rather than 5 at the back. 

No change in the best player – Gouiri. Kept a similar position and had 4 efforts. Continues to look solid as always and through this dismal Nice run he has only done good things. If Nice improve then so will his FI scores.

He can be considered an established player now and one with a bright future in reality and on FI in my view.

The new and shiny excitement at Nice is now coming from Reine-Adelaide. Some members have noticed too because he’s one I’ve had a few emails on. (Apologies if I have not replied to every one I try to respond to every email but this has been a particularly busy spell.)

Adelaide has been starting more recently and the new coach started him too. He is yet to breakthrough with a big score, but it looks to be a matter of time more than anything. 

Lovely baseline numbers – the only dent for him is that midfield classification (which is not an unfair one). Playing consistently I’d rate him around 3 out of 5 stars in this team – I would expect Nice’s form to hold him back though.

If Nice improved he could be 3.5 out of 5 stars and whilst that is only half a star that is an important distinction to me between “good but not great” and a player that can be a consistent challenger.

Should be getting his first goal before too long, he’s due one every 4-5 games at this rate. And if Nice win it could well count for something.

He’s not too far away and for just 77p on the blue button – with no current bid price – this could be a steal. Obviously with players yet to break through there is always that risk – but at this sort of price the risk reward/ratio is strongly in our favour when we have a player showing potential like this.

Jury is still out on the new coach. We need at least a few games to really get a feel for it. And ideally in weather conditions where they can see anyone more than 5 ft away from them.

Lyon are in great form and doing a little better for possession in the last 3-4 as well.

This brings an improvement in their players and both Depay and Ekambi at times made Insigne holders sweat in the forward category. 

Depay did well scoring a very nice goal from just outside the area. Had 4 other efforts too. 5 key passes and unlucky not to bag an assist. 

Involvement way down from his best still, and passing sloppy. But he’s making up for that with raw threat and creativity. Still a contender and close to winning last night.

Ekambi was even closer. The goals aren’t surprising, I’ve long been highlighting him as a value IPD rotation pick. Even in games where he has blanked he has looked very close to scoring. Really great pick for that alone with 7 goals in his last 6 plus 2 assists. 

He’s proving explosive with two braces in the last 6 as well. And in the last two games he’s even improved his overall contribution to the game. Consistently creative. 

Becoming a serious regular dividend challenger – not just an IPD player. A slam dunk bargain at 62p to 71p. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make on FI is thinking that trades have to be sexy or popular to be profitable. They do not. Just great value.

Aouar has had his minutes managed lately, hooked off at around 60 minutes in each of the last 5 matches. Worse, he’s not been doing particularly well per minute either. His contribution overall is significantly down. Yet his goal threat is better than usual despite no obvious change in style or position. And he did produce a great assist last night. 

Good player and I’m not overly concerned by the shorter term dip. I suspect he is distracted by the impending transfer rumour and from a trading perspective that’s the biggest issue on the table at the moment. 

Could be as soon as January and Arsenal are the strongest link though they are in turmoil themselves. Chances are he will go if not now then in Summer and for just over £1 for a performance suitable player it’s really hard to see him doing too badly from there.

Veteran Ben-Arfa takes star player – not exactly the winner many would hope for.

He can win again – he’s not exactly an unknown when it comes to an occasional big score. You just need Bordeaux to win and for him to drop a matchwinner – 2 to 3 times a season he might be in with a chance?

Not a great deal of people who currently want to bet on that – if you want a long range punt like this there are younger players to do it on. 


6 December

A heavily rotated side. That’s a sign that PSG will not be taking any chances vs Istanbul in midweek – that could be a cricket score and Neymar has a huge opportunity to tear it up there. It’s a must win to guarantee CL football.

He’s the more likely although someone like Mbappé can do it if they score 2 or more.

I’d also be looking at Marquinhos to do well there. 

Di Maria would also be well placed but the fact he finished the full game here doesn’t bode well for his chances of starting. He remains a superb FI player on the pitch but it feels like if his contract was getting extended it would have happened already. I’d be a nervous holder at this stage.

Coach Tuchel is leaving at the end of the season most likely so that may explain the lack of commitment. Di Maria is however being rotataed and used like a player not in the long term plans though it has to be said.

Other than that Kean continues his good goalscoring form but he is awful for FI scoring and this is unlikely to ever change. Catching him at a low price ahead of a decent run of fixtures can be good though and that price is creeping down towards £1 which looks much better.

30 November

A bit better for Lyon lately.

The results have been good across the last 6 games but they haven’t really dominated a game until yesterday.

I’m a touch sceptical because they played vs 10 men for most of it so really we shouldn’t have expected anything less.

Ekambi was particularly good scoring the opener and assisting twice. And really it was a good overall performance he wasn’t far away from the win. This was from 9th November Scouting:

Ekambi is leaned on more and more and he’s in great form. No goals in two but the threat is huge. 4 goals in 4 games overall. 43p! Another great IPD rotation option.”

He’s done well for that and had a decent price rise too with 52p to 71p the going rate. He’s still well worth that and with Moussa Dembelé seemingly on his way out he is a regular. Big threat and it’s consistent.

Speaking of Dembelé – he finally broke his duck last night ending a goal drought running back to the middle of August. He always looked unlucky and had plenty of chances even from the bench so this is no surprise. 

He is possibly one of the most undervalued players on FI and at 79p to 89p I suspect traders have seriously overreacted to some poor form during the down turn. Just a few months ago he was one of the most in demand strikers in Europe and he probably will be again.

Guimaraes wasn’t far away either with a goal, let down by 4 fouls but he’s in the mix to put up a few big scores over a season. Just 22. Remains a good longer term prospect. 

Depay was not much better than his recent weak showings – and this is the sort of game where we’d expect him to bounce back. Troubling for holders. 

I don’t think he’s lost it – his Netherlands numbers just this month are strong. But he’s just not looking like his usual self. Treading water until January where he can move to Barcelona maybe? Perhaps he doesn’t want to run too much and risk injury but I’m just guessing.

£2.14 to £2.44 though for Depay at Barcelona? I’d take that.


I’ve been noting Monaco’s improvement under Kovac recently. For FI purposes as well as in reality.

Dominant win here and versus weaker sides in particular they look really strong.

Diop got the win here with a surprisingly limp 211 which is very low for a midfield Gold Day. On another day he might have been an also ran. He’s not one I usually pick out for this reason – he’s by no means bad but he will usually be overshadowed by bigger hitters. 

I like to give plenty of options and could highlight every possible winner but if you pick everyone you sort of pick no-one if you know what I mean.

No goal for Yedder but he did provide an assist. And had good chances himself. No goals in two games but this is unusual and he had chances. He’s a goalscoring machine and I am amazed I have been able to get away with abusing him for IPD refreshes for… well over a year now? 

People did catch on eventually and he went closer to £1.50 twice last season which is a much fairer valuation. But this downturn sees him as low as 64p to 75p and it’s just criminal. I’ll keep abusing it whilst I can.

Two tough fixtures up next but Yedder doesn’t care he can score anyway. After that the schedule really softens up.

Volland scores again – he’s transformed from his early poor showings for Monaco. 4 goals in 4 games. Could do some IPD damage in the upcoming kind fixture run and he’s even cheaper than Yedder.

For a patient youth pick Youssouf Fofana looks good. Just 21, midfielder. Regular starter now. High baseline player with occasional threat – the sort who can appear with a 250+ a couple of times a season and for just 75p to £1.06 at that age it could be a big deal if it happens.

In a similar mould Badiashile is one of those high baseline CB’s who can punch through in FI scoring in soft games. Just 19 and frequently linked to big clubs. Reasonable threat too for a CB. 79p to 93p… patient traders are likely to end up happy here.

Another really poor result. Is Vieira close to the sack? Might be a touch early but he’s under pressure.

They actually produced some nice FI numbers if you ignore the result.

Gouiri in particular was a bit of a beast. He scored the penalty but had plenty of chances besides. Lots of involvement by forward standards. On another day this could have been a brace or hatrick and probably a Star Man win. 

Incredibly encouraging for holders – yet it’s never coming through with Nice in this god awful form. 

Tough fixture next vs Leverkusen (but it won’t count for anything they are out) but then it’s a relatively kind fixture calendar into the new year. So they will get chances to improve.

As a bargain punt option 27 year old Lees-Melou is the best of it. Tons of involvement and high threat too – should have scored again here. Does have 2 goals in the last 4 and he has the threat to make that consistent. Looking close.

Youcef Atal always worth watching – injured for this game though and had discipline problems which kept him out of the limelight recently. Talented player often linked with big clubs though and it could be a good chance to take advantage of the negativity. 58p to 75p is so low and he can bounce back so easily.


29 November

Marseille get a little joy with a 3-1 win over Nantes after their awful CL run. 

And doesn’t Thauvin just show how much he cares: 

Almost certainly on his way out on a free at the end of this season. And he should have no shortage of suitors – AC Milan are strongly linked. 

He had a decent game and was only really the matchwinner short of being competitive. 

Despite Marseille’s struggles in Europe this is the 4th win on the bounce in Ligue 1 – these fixtures have just been heavily spread out so it doesn’t feel like there is momentum. 

Thauvin at £1.23 to £1.41 is looking good again given he could win in Ligue 1 whilst holders wait for that transfer.

Payet is never far away either and he scored here. One for the braver and more active trader as he is very off beat with what people are going for in this market right now. But he is a capable winner and could be good for a punt on a soft fixture. 

49p to 64p. Maybe 33 but he has a contract until 2024 recently signed and he’s unlikely to be going anywhere.

This was nice from Bayern loanee youngster Cuisance. Laid on an assist and had cahnces of his own which is an improvement. Previously he’d been tidy enough but never close to goals. I’m not expecting an explosion but he’s a value long range youth prospect who looked so strong at Bayern.


Neymar returns to his usual levels after  a poor midweek CL showing. As covered in the CL review – this was always likely to be the case.

Unfortunately for holders PSG stumbled to Bordeaux and did not win but if they had Neymar is potentially running Mahrez close with just a single matchwinner. 

Given Mahrez hit 345 that demonstrates Neymar’s power. I’ll say it again – under £7 on a bid for Neymar is crazy value. I suspect I won’t be saying that for long because it won’t be an option too much longer unless he gets injured or similar.

Hopes of a big score from Rafinha Alcantara are not totally dead. He’s getting some reasonable chances and starting games. But early sub offs are killing him and whilst I am fairly forgiving of a little rotation this season given the circumstances this feels like too much. 

Still. As low as 37p potentially if people like a punt on a player who can put up a monster score maybe once or twice a season there are worse picks.

30 December

A massive display from Leeds – 5-0 demolition and 75% possession to boot. We expect big scores here – but didn’t really get any. Why?

There is an obvious issue to kick off – the matchwinner Alioski is not on FI, and neither is Dallas. With the backlog of players to be introduced to the platform for IPO these have been left out in the cold. Which is a shame – because Leeds full backs are very competitive. 

I recall saying that Dallas would probably have won a dividend recently, and it’s hard to see how Alioski is not Star Man yesterday if he was scored. A huge performance. Look out for both Alioski and Dallas at IPO – people may overlook them – and they put up incredible numbers. If this was Bayern and we expected them to win week in week out I’d be saying these are matching the best full backs on FI.

As it is, we have to be realistic – Leeds aren’t going to win every week. But they are winning often enough to make Alioski and Dallas maybe 3.5 out of 5 stars level which is impressive for a smaller club. And the IPD looks solid for them too.

Rodrigo Moreno has apparently squeaked through via the OPTA recount overnight beating Rashford. But it’s a soft score with 158.  Not bad though – as I said in a recent review he has improved at Leeds from his Valencia days. He can be a decent IPD source and occasional wins like this 2-3 times a season wouldn’t be outrageous.

The attacking players like Harrison, Rodrigo, Raphinha and Bamford can be competitive but I would expect them to need more than 1 goal and the goals were evenly spread here. 

Klich is the one most likely to score big with just 1 goal but his threat in the last 3-4 has been poor. Back in September though we saw really strong threat and he has scoring pedigree including at least a share of penalties.


A pity for holders the results aren’t always going Liverpool’s way recently because the performanecs are often superb in the last 4 games – a real spike in possession and dominance that should lead to strong FI scores.

That’s how Henderson won on Tuesday on pure baseline – he was disgusting with 175 touches. He’s really improved lately along with Liverpool. I am guilty of bundling him in with Milner as one of the aging players but he’s actually only 30.

At a 42p bid the chances of him winning enough to get a decent return are high and recent statements are he wants to play for a long time yet. He’s got years ahead most likely. Actually could be a very shrewd pickup especially with big CL nights to come for Liverpool.

Excellent again from Jones – really solidifying his place in the setup. No threat in this game but he’s showing his baselines are consistent and over the last 6 threat has been superb. I’m very bullish on Jones as a longer term pick and think he is well up there with Foden and Sancho as the best of English FI talent. Possibly better.

Alexander-Arnold excellent here, big overall numbers and improved threat with 3 efforts. We’re likely hitting that point again where after a period of massive over optimism people then swing the other way and get far too negative. £3 is a big price but it’s starting to get pretty rational again.

With the CL run in coming up Liverpool assets could look very relevant, although they do have a tough R16 draw as per the recent article vs Leipzig. They should win, but there is a credible chance of a knockout. So what I’d be doing here is targetting players who could survive a knockout – maybe because they have Euro 2020 to look forward to as a late season reason to hold. 

That would rule out the front 3, although Salah has improved again as reported last time and Mané is tempting at a low price right now. Salah has those transfer uncertainties now. For that reason Mané might be the better CL pick of the front 3.

Thiago, due back soon, could also fit the bill given his strength and his Spain involvement.  Alexander-Arnold could work nicely too. Jones doesn’t have too much to fear from a CL knockout and if he plays he could win and make a big statement.


Chelsea are struggling lately but are producing strong background numbers – they just need the results and the big scores will return.

Mount has been impressing me recently as reported – this is another solid game and he wasn’t far off winning a second dividend in succession all be it with a soft score of 153. But that’s without scoring or winning the game – he’s well in range of 250+ with a single goal. 

Has racked up one win but he’s perhaps unlucky that Chelsea are dipping whilst he is in great form. If Chelsea put some better results together I see him as a consistent challenger with a great trend profile at a kind price.

The other standout from this draw with Villa was Hudson-Odoi. I reported last time after his strong sub appearance that people are now very likely to be undervaluing him. Such a common thing that when a player is overhyped they can later become underestimated.

He was a bright spark on a dull day for Chelsea so he is in the reckoning for more minutes. And the FI numbers are solid – he’s a capable winner given more full games like this. For under £1 with his trend profile I consider him a steal.

Chilwell stays strong. Adds an assist, had chances to score. Decent involvement though not his best. I remain confident on him.

Pulisic has huge threat and it’s amazing he hasn’t scored in the last 3 appearances. As I’ve said for a long time though he’s so far behind many midfielders for baseline it’s always likely to be a struggle for him. He’ll need more than 1 goal to figure. I always felt £3.50 was a price he had little chance of justifying and that remains true.

He is down to £1.24 to £1.41 now though and you can start to make a case for it. Given time he should start racking up goals and assists regularly and he’s in the price range where IPD alone can keep him afloat. And occasional wins where he pops off with 2+ goals are also probable. 

Chelsea do have a tough CL matchup though so I would stick to players with other later season reasons to hold like Euro 2020 or very cheap longer term prospects like Hudson-Odoi.

Not exactly vintage stuff but they ground out the win – cue the cliché’s about that being the stuff on Champions etc etc.

I reflected last week on how gloomy it was at Arsenal – and we were in that spot with Manchester United not long ago. Now they are title contenders – does show that the gossip and atmosphere around a team changes week to week and pundits and fans tend to overreact to what happened in the last 2-3 games.

Rashford perhaps unlucky to be denied the win by the OPTA recount although what’s to blame more than anything is his poor score of 156 with a matchwinner. This isn’t entirely unusual – we generally need Rashford to do more than score just 1 to push up to 200+ which he can do on his day. He also lost a few points for the yellow, a foul and an offside but that’s about par for the course. Apart from the yellow he’s not one to pick up too many.

He’s got his media pull though and time on his side, and we can expect a few big wins for him a season particularly in a Europa league run. They do have a tough game vs Sociedad in the R32. They should win in theory although the algorithm has highlighted a reasonable probability of an upset and Sociedad are not to be underestimated.

United are capable of a strong run in the competition and it gives players like Rashford strong hunting grounds if so. I wouldn’t fear a knockout too much where the player will be at Euro 2020 as it’s a reason they can bounce back later. Rashford fits that. I think he’s solid value – he’s the sort of well known face who will just get a natural bounce back if the market continues to recover.

Bruno also fits that bill – could tear up the Europa and he’ll be there for Portugal at Euro 2020 too. A knockout hurts but it’s far from terminal so it can be risked without too much worry.

As the Index King currently he’ll tend to track the success of the market overall and he’s been rising nicely. It’s hard to predict how long that continues in general – as we know it just takes a few people to panic or deliberately try to crash the market and prices can tumble. 

But eventually prices should start to resemble rational values and for his part, he’s just looking consistently brilliant and provided he maintains his level a rational human should have no issue paying £12 for him in future in this dividend structure.

Cavani looks like getting more minutes. I’ve liked the pick for the IPD at minimum and the media pull is there too, he won just 2 days ago. If he gets another season at United it’s a big bonus and those discussions are happening apparently. Remains a value pickup.

Greenwood is doing fine but it’s remarkable now to see he was up near £10 in July. What madness was this. £2.24 now on the Red Button. Which is much more like it although there are better players for cheaper – Jones, Mount would be fine examples. Maybe even Hudson-Odoi. 

Obviously, everyone has taken on paper losses at least this year. And there has not always been a distinction between deserved drops and undeserved. But this is clearly a deserved drop – people made serious errors of judgement in paying that much. 

My approach has not been to try to second guess what people will or won’t do week to week as people are quite wild – but rather – by sticking reasonably close to true value – at least when a player drops we will usually have a credible reason they can recover. With a trade like Greenwood at £10? There is no rational reason to believe the price will get anywhere near even £5 anytime soon. 

Whilst I believe the market will recover – I do not believe it will be the case for every player automatically – people are likely to be much more cautious and intelligent in how they spend their balances in future.

Give him a season or two and he may well be a lot more relevant for FI he’s clearly got potential. But he was always going to need more time to cook.

Telles continues to look good when given minutes but this job share arrangement with Shaw is killing him. Over 90 minutes he’s been showing some numbers competitive with some of FI’s best full backs. But it won’t be counting for much unless he can get 90 minutes regularly. 

Shaw has been in good form too so it’s very possible this continues to the detriment of both. That has probably caused an overreaction though so 53p for Telles is likely a good pick up – even sharing half the games I’d think him worth that.

27 December

Another win for Traoré, and it’s not even a week since I covered him last following his first win at Villa.

Our task then was to work out whether that was a fluke or whether it was repeatable. And my conclusion was that we are seeing real quality rather than just a flash in the pan.

That showed yesterday all be it on a low scoring day. 

He’s unlucky to play just one half, sacrificed due to the formation change having gone down to 10 men. Had he played the full game he could have quite easily cleared 250 yesterday – putting him well in contention even on competitive gold days. 

All good – very easy decision when considering pure bang for your buck in “True Value” terms. Even after last week’s win he was 32p to 48p. 

But it’s actually quite a tricky trade as I touched on last week. Worth extended thought as it effects lots of “punt” sorts of players not just Traoré. 

Whilst we know Traoré is a consistent challenger – not everyone will. They’ll just be chasing the dividend around. 

And the strategic priority in my view when considering what to buy is those more mainstream players right now – they are cheap – high quality – and crucially – easy to sell. 

That approach is doing quite well as we see in this tentative market bounce back – it’s always very likely that the most popular players rise first in any recovery and they should pull up the more middle ranking players later on.

So punting on the Traoré type may not be the priority – but there is no doubt it can be very profitable if done correctly.

If we went for Traoré last week and got a 32p bid matched (which we likely could as we are punishing those “on the goal” sort of buyers who realise they have to sell cheap the next day) there is a big profit opportunity.

What I would do here is just sell for 65p-78p yesterday as he is rising as he is leading the scoreboard on the day. Firstly because he might lose – someone might pip him at the post. And secondly because if you can bank a profit then it is best to do that rather than trusting others to stick in given current market conditions. 

And very predictably, we see Traoré is back to 44p again this morning as a potential red button bid.

The absolute worst thing we can do is buy on the goal to chase that dividend because there is no advantage in this. If you do buy on the goal, you really have to be selling almost immediately. 

This sort of dividend chasing is abysmal – it takes a torch to any rules of sensible trading. An experienced short term trader can abuse these bad traders if they are fast but you really have to know what you are doing here.

This is one reason I do not like the extended dividend deadlines – it encourages mugs to do this kind of chasing. Which some people think is good if they are able to abuse mugs for a quick profit – but once said mug is burned – he’ll stop chasing winners. And we all need winners to get chased. 

In order for our mug to keep doing that – he needs to be able to win at least sometimes. And right now, anyone buying on the goal then holding is just getting slaughtered. They’ll stop doing it eventually.

In all trading and betting, most profits come from mugs – and we have to look after them a bit. Not create a totally cut throat market where they just get wiped out too quickly.

So, I still think the “core” sort of pick is the priority. But these cheap players who can return most of their purchase price in a day are very valid picks too – but we have to be willing to go for them on the basis of match data well in advance, rather than chasing it after the fact.

Elsewhere at Villa. 

Tough game after the sending off so it hasn’t showcased the best of them. 

Grealish remains solid though and he was close to a goal. As per the review a few days back I liked the pick up – really easy player to sell with a lot going for him and he is one of the players bouncing back now which was always likely to be the case. I’d probably not be paying more than £3.30 or so but if you can get him nearer £3 I’d be happy with that.

Remarkable how Watkins didn’t score with double digit shot figures. Could have had a brace or a hatrick on another day. He’s been off the boil but never far away from scoring.

He’s doing really well to get consistent minutes and it seems a matter of time before he gets back on the scoresheet. 

Seems like a solid long term pick up for 60p – he’ll cover that in IPD most likely and you’ve got lots of ways he could develop in future – and England call, a big club move. 

Awful for performance in general – but at this money that’s forgivable and he could power through with a brace or hatrick occasionally.

What a fantastic manager Arteta is. A visionary. Taking them back to the top.

One thing I’ve learned over god knows how many hours of scouting is not to take the wild swings in opinion that we see week to week too seriously. 

Everyone is so heavily affected by short term results – from the pundits who set the tone for the debate, to the match reports and mainstream player ratings, to the fans gossip.

As traders we have to be pay attention to this as it can impact trading sentiment. But it often has very little impact on performance scoring.

Great performances and awful performances to watch can often look very similar in the raw numbers. 

And that’s true here – despite the win and rave reviews – Arsenal numbers aren’t much better or worse than their recent average. Worse, if anything.

Martinelli continues to be great to watch yet dire for FI scoring. At £1.68 to £1.91 it’s a damn sight better than the madness of him being £4+. He still can’t justify £1.68 but that doesn’t mean people won’t look at that old price, and his EPL performances, and believe him to be cheap.

So we could try trading around that sentiment at this point – just being aware that if he does pick up a head of steam we don’t want to be holding too long. 

We’re still in a nervy market though and I believe that sticking within touching distance of True Value is our best defence. We may be sitting on players right now for example at a low price – but if we’ve generally made good picks – we’ll have good reasons to believe they will bounce back.

If we’ve picked garbage.. we’ve got no right to believe they will reach their old price again.

Saka is probably the best bet given performance and price, as covered in detail last week. 

I also like Willock and Pepé but they played just a minor part in this good performance. 

Smith-Rowe had a good game and might start picking up attention. Very lightweight for a midfielder though and he has a lot to do to win. Cheap though, and if he keeps starting sentiment alone might drive the price up.

I’d have to see much better than his average to hold him too long, though.

Chelsea may have lost but they put up far more encouraging FI numbers.

Mount excellent again. The vast improvement I’ve bee noting recently continues. Managed a soft win vs West Ham in the previous game – I would be surprised if it is the last win we see from him he’s looking close to another.

And he has a great trend fit, I’m keen. Never looked closer to wins and hasn’t been cheaper for a long time.

James looked very good yesterday. Really underlining his status as a consistent FI challenger. in True Value terms I’d be happy to pay £2 or so. If we’re comparing him to other defenders – there are similar or better available for less. Decent pick up regardless.

I favour Chilwell though because he’s cheaper and has better England chances. Poor yesterday but it was a miracle he was on the pitch at all after injury. Price has dipped a little as people overreact to that injury which only increases the appeal.

Big threat from both Zouma and Silva at CB. 

Zouma is looking appealing right now. He does get plenty of threat and in the last 5 that’s been particularly good. Just 1 goal in that time, but it could have been 2 or 3. Strong baselines too. Well under 50p. Looks a very shrewd pick up if looking for a patient hold

Excellent from Hudson-Odoi. I had to double take because these are decent numbers for a full match but he only played one half. Provided an assist. Really looking very good when he plays. 

Whether he stays at Chelsea or moves somewhere like Bayern – I think he’s a great opportunity. 

Pumping him in the past to one of FI’s most expensive players was nothing short of a criminal enterprise for those who did it. 

But now? He’s never looked better in performance terms and he’s under £1. He is only 20 and is far from dead and buried – people tend to be over pessimistic after they are too optimistic and I’ve little doubt that is the case here.

Werner very poor. Long, long spell without a goal now and he’s under heaps of pressure. Often, his numbers are not as bad as many would think based on mainstream match reports.

He doesn’t have to improve much to get back in the mix for wins. I suspect we are hitting a point where negativity is too strong.

Do we really think that one of the most promising forwards of the current generation is done because of a 10 game goal drought? Probably not.

Sometimes, picking players like that up on the downer can be a great move – lots of people lack the courage to do it – but that’s why it works.

Not a great deal to comment on here – fairly run of the mill United display.

Bruno obviously the best of it as usual with another goal and assist. He’s a machine. Amidst all the players at new clubs who have struggled in 2020 he is an exception and I’m glad I’ve stuck with. 

Late equaliser plus a big chance missed, a yellow and a couple of fouls costs him Star Player. 

But he’s doing great to consistently get up there and he did snag the media dividend which is why he deserves his price. In fact, in True Value terms you could pay £12 for Bruno without breaking a sweat.

Nobody else was really close. Manchester United really need softer match ups than this to get other players up there. Or for Rashford to pop off with 2-3 goals. 

If looking for another United target Bruno aside I’d just go for Rashford – as a popular player he’s likely to bounce nicely if the market does. It doesn’t always have to be that complicated.

De Bruyne‘s big score drought is getting a little ridiculous now. It reminds me of the Insigne situation a month ago, or maybe Hakan Calhanoglu recently. 

When a player is this close consistently it just has to fall for them before too long.

I would stick with it – the win should come and it shouldn’t be a long wait. Plus, if the market continues to rebound he is a well known name that people will find easy to buy.

Cancelo is quite similar actually – playing consistently well but not getting rewards. He was one of City’s best players to watch yesterday. Very creative. Didn’t actually get any shots but he usually does – and he’s in the right places for opportunites to fall to him. I’m confident on him as per previous reviews.

Stones solid again. No reason to drop him at all really. As mentioned previously he is well in contention for wins, as is Dias, and both are value pickups. Y’know. At these prices it wouldn’t be an awful idea to pick up all 3 of Stones, Laporte and Dias to cover the rotation uncertainty – any one of them can win. And if one is dropped and falls in price the other should rise to compensate. 

You could also include Aké – any City CB is a challenger.

Sterling is looking better lately. Actually his game vs WBA mid December was excellent and I don’t recall mentioning that. 

As we know he is not the world’s best performance player and he’ll often need more than just 1 goal to figure. But he can do that when in form and he’s looking much better than in November where he struggled.

I like him as a “bounce back” pick. He’s got so much going for him with a strong City run in the CL likely, England this year. And he’s just a well known player that people will want.

If the market recovers is Sterling sitting at £2 for long? Highly unlikely.

21 December

Well. This was bloody miserable wasn’t it?

Bruno was all set to do Bruno things and win another Star Player but was pipped by a late penalty from El Ghazi.

When the underdog wins like this, FI make a sizable chunk of money. This is the equivalent of the bookie winning in FI terms. It’s normally fine, and just part of the game. 

But it is ill timed and it’s not just me (given Bruno is basically the FIT poster boy) and Bruno holders who miss out.

I think everyone wants to see popular winners right now, whether it is Bruno or Sancho or whoever. It brings dividends which often get recycled back into the general pot. And it boosts confidence and reminds people why they are on FI.

So it goes. This happens every season, we’re probably getting more than our share of it in recent weeks.

But overall this season as covered in State of the Market recently – the big hitters are still taking the overwhelming share. And that will only become more true the further into the season we get and big hitting teams rack up those CL/Europa League dividends and Team of the Month wins.

And it’s not all for nothing even if it feels disappointing. Big scores count for Team of the Month. And it reminds people why Bruno is the deserving Index King which increases confidence and optimism which could well pay off later as/when the market regains momentum.

It’s no accident. As I have been banging on about for the best part of what seems a millenia – Bruno really is just this good. 

And what’s particularly encouraging is seeing such regular open play threat lately – which as mentioned previously – I like to see this because it lessens any worry about him being penalty reliant. Which he ain’t.

I’ll cover Villa separately and dig into how Ghazi and Traoré managed their spoiler wins.

In the game overall this was a rout and United invited a naive Leeds onto them. Leeds ironically dominated possession but just left themselves far too open. 

This actually kept United scores lower than they perhaps normally would be. (Meaning Bruno’s ceiling is probably closer to 350 especially when not subbed off early). 

What hits home is how hard it is to find really good options outside of Bruno at United. 

It is pretty safe to dismiss McTominay‘s brace as a freak. Daniel James looks well off the pace even in this improved form where he has scored in both of his last 2 appearances. A goal is just not enough for him. 

Rashford can figure though a bit like Sterling – he’ll need more than 1 goal usually. But he can do that. And he has that media angle. I like him at under £3 – I think people forget how young he has. So much time ahead of him and just a small improvement could up his returns significantly. And they aren’t bad as it is.

Martial is a bit soft too, 3 out of 5 stars maybe. But occasional wins are possible particularly on European nights. And we’re talking under £1 now. You can see how if the market recovers lost of casual or new traders are going to be interested in such a well known player for that kind of snip. 

And it’s not even a naive decision for that money a clued up trader could go for that comfortably.

Telles is probably the most likely at the back but he did not start this one. 

I also like Maguire as covered last time. He’s getting regular chances to score and has the baselines for it to count. I think the memes about him having the turning circle of a fridge have made people far too negative on him. 

Funny as that is, what we’re really concerned about is whether he can win enough for the price and at 66p to 86p I’d suspect he can.

A poor run from Spurs now having not won in 3. 

The thing with Spurs is that we don’t want to go along with the lazy Mourinho “park the bus” narrative. It’s not always true – they will do that versus tougher opponents but against softer sides they open up.

There are a few decent options in this side but we do want to be targetting soft runs of fixtures really.

They do have a decent spell running to the end of January. They do have Leeds who I do not consider an easy side to play against, despite what we saw yesterday. They will starve a team of possession so unless a team is scoring 3+ they might struggle to make an impact. 

Little has changed from previous reviews here so I won’t dwell on it.

Son is the most likely performance winner at Spurs in my view. He’s very consistent. When Spurs have a soft fixture I think he is a real contender at a value price. Unlucky not to score yesterday. 

Kane similar – remains a very reliable pick for both media and those explosive days where he scores 2 or more.

Lo Celso has high potential but is struggling for minutes. Better lately but he’s picked up an injury here. At this stage he’ll need to do a lot to convince.

Bale continues to look very poor certainly for FI scoring purposes. Even if he was playing 90 minutes I’d struggle to back him. He’d need to really explode with 2-3 goals. 

Reguilon is looking very average in the last 5-6 it has to be said. No major threat or chances created. 

You can say he’s getting in the right positions to make that happen but it’s not looking close.

At 57p to 75p though you can’t complain too much – I’d back him in a soft fixture like a Europa League tie later on.

Boo. Hiss. Not exactly popular winners here. 

I wouldn’t hold it against Villa – blame West Brom. The early red card allowed Villa to dominate.

This led to an unforgivable number of shots on the West Brom goal and really racked up the points for Ghazi. And Traoré saw a lot of the ball.

What we need to work out is whether this is a freak mainly caused by the red card or whether this can be consistent.

Villa in general are a decent performance side this year as covered in scouting this season. They like to get on the ball when they can and it helps them.

Grealish in particular I’ve liked and he is a very capable winner. Trend fit ain’t bad either. I’ve advocated picking him up on this downturn and I’ll stick with that view based on recent performances too. He had a really good game yesterday overall.

Perhaps surprisingly his threat was poor yesterday in the circumstances. But in general, we’re seeing enough from him to expect wins at Villa and he could get a transfer that makes him even better. Plenty to like, especially with him breaking into the England setup. 

Let’s look at the most unpopular player on FI this morning – Ghazi

Y’know. He’s actually quite good. It would be very harsh to call this a freak win. He’s definitely fortunate that West Brom threw the game by having 10 men – there is no way he beats Bruno without that.

But that’s hardly his fault – he’s made the most of the opportunity and he’s able to do that because he’s got a pretty solid baseline and has penalties in the locker. With some modest open play threat too. 

With Villa not being a bad platform – you could actually abuse the dividend chasers this morning. If they are taking silly low bids of 28p as they are desperate to get out… it’s not inconceivable that he wins again given 12 months or so. And the IPD might be reasonable.

I would wait though – people may be even more desperate in a few days and Villa have tough fixtures after Palace next. 

Bertrand Traoré was our top forward as well. This was a fantastic FI display and if this was Griezmann or Dybala or Gnabry doing this we’d be raving about it. 

I always saw him as a good FI player potentially at Lyon – but it did not work out for him there he struggled for pitch time often.

He didn’t make an instant impact at Villa but he’s been playing more and more in December, completing full games or close to it.

Again – there is no way he wins without the flat track gifted to him by West Brom. But he’s decent – gets regular chances to score, creates too. Reasonable involvement in the game. 

No reason he couldn’t win again given a soft fixture and he’s dirt cheap at 32p to 48p.

I think right now – we have bigger fish to fry in this market than these two. It’s unlikely they string wins together quickly and we are generally better served by targetting the more obvious value that has a greater chance of winning sooner. 

But it is worth being aware where this value is – they are credible punts and if you win just once with a player like this you have nigh on doubled your money in a lot of cases. That can be worth waiting for.

At the right age – it’s not like they are going anywhere. If your purchase price is cheap enough – the chances of you finding someone to buy Traoré for 25p to 32p at most times are quite high. So it’s not an expensive bet.

For all the grief the Matching Engine gets – it really opens up opportunities for big wins and these sorts of punts will become more relevant as/when the market settles.

20 December

A total rout of Crystal Palace.

Like many I am sure I got away with captaining Salah in my Fantasy side – he started on the bench yet came on to score 2 and assist 1.

In Fantasy this is great – on FI – he needed the extra hour to rack up points.

What is remarkable though is that in his 34 minutes he saw almost as much of the ball as he does in most 90 minute matches. 

Incredible stuff – I’ve noted an FI improvement for Salah at times, including last game vs Spurs. This was evident in early season, though wavered a bit in November/December. But it’s definitely back in the last two. 

This might be inconsistent – but when you combine those occasional performance challenges with his media appeal (he won yesterday) plus the low price plus the CL knockout campaign ahead – there is very, very little not to like about this pick. 

With a full game or 60 minutes there is little doubt that he would have won yesterday, possibly even as Star.

What will continue to be a surprise to most casual observers is how average Firmino is for FI scoring. With 2 goals for a forward in his playing position in a game this dominant it just feels wrong that he is only getting 175. 

It’s the efficiency of Liverpool telling here – something not rewarded on FI. When he has the ball he’s doing great things – but he’s not doing enough of the minor background things that build baselines. It’s a flaw in the FI scoring system on display here rather than anything Firmino is doing wrong on the pitch. It’s just not very good at capturing this form of good play.

He also doesn’t quite score/assist frequently enough to call him a top tier IPD player either. Awkward. Maybe if a scoring review is approaching by Summer (it’s an if) it might be worth punting on this sort of player as this is a fairly obvious weakness in the scoring system that could be addressed.

And Robertson takes another Star Player, stringing those wins together now which really gets people talking and boosts trader confidence.

One win is nice – but when it happens in quick succession that’s when people get convinced and you see a sustainable price rise. Or you would, if the market mechanics were not currently incentivising people to do destructive things and I’ll talk about that more in State of the Market I’m sure.

This also appears to hurt TAA – because people naturally compare the two. I’m not sure you always have to. Things like this are often said on social media: “you don’t want to buy that Barcelona player because he has to compete with Messi”.  

Feels kind of logical. But really? Every player at every team playing on the same day as Messi or Robertson has to compete with them – whether they are in the same team or not makes little difference. It’s true that there is only one ball and if one player is hogging it then they may struggle. But if you look at a player and they are good enough for the price then they are good enough and that’s all there is.

Price is the real factor if picking between them rather than performance. In performance terms, Robertson has nudged ahead of TAA a little but there is very little between them really – well within the zone that whether one wins or the other is down to luck as much as anything else. 

Robertson is good – I’ve said that all season. Is he this good? No, he’s not good enough to deserve to win every other week. He’s had the luck, especially to win with fairly modest scores.

Robertson still the better pick if you have to choose being almost £1 cheaper. But TAA’s England status does count for a bit too and the more he drops the closer this gets. 

There is also no reason you can’t have both – TAA should get his wins and luck should balance out eventually.


De Bruyne holders continue their run of bad luck. 

He’s really not doing a great deal differently lately to those months where he scores big 2-3 times. It’s just not running his way. 

He’s making a good overall contribution as always. He’s getting good chances that aren’t going in. He’s creative. If he keeps this up it just has to swing for him eventually.

In this market this misfortune is slamming the price – yet if you know what you are looking for you know this is luck not ability. And that usually means it’s the best time to pick them up.

The Stones/Dias partnership is solid again. Perhaps unthinkably it now looks Stones’ position to lose with Laporte now the squad player. 

Pretty much any regularly starting City CB is capable of wins and Stones may force his way back in for England too at this rate.  

Could be a fantastic value pick up for those who back him to keep his place. He deserves it on this form he’s been great.

Cancelo pinned back in this game – his side was targetted so he had to defend a lot. Did well though and still created chances that went unfinished. 

In last week’s game vs West Brom we saw really strong numbers but City didn’t win. Still City’s best defender in my view and in probability terms deserves better scores than he has had. 

Sterling scored but ended up with a soft score. Not unusual – he is the type who needs 2 goals or more generally. Feels out of form this season and that’s always going to wreck the price in this market.

My feeling is that this negativity is overblown by now – he’s entering what will likely be his prime in the coming years. He’ll probably hit form again at some stage. And if the market recovers then I can’t see a shortage of suitors for Sterling at £2 to £2.50 in Euro’s year.

As grim as it gets for Arsenal right now.

The irony is that results aside – the FI numbers are really quite good in places. Clearly though – if you aren’t winning it’s never going to count for much. 

If Arsenal do turn it around though there are players who could be useful.

Willian – absolutely slammed in the traditional match reports for his lacklustre contribution. But in FI terms it’s actually pretty good. He’s tidy. He’s regularly creating chances. He’s getting a few himself and in the right sort of areas where things will drop to him. 

None of it will count much unless Arsenal win. And he may get dropped by popular request. But it’s worth being aware that in FI terms Willian even now is not far away from big scores.We should not be surprised if he hits a big score in a soft fixture if he plays.

Pepe was decent, one of the few to put in a respectable performance. COnverted the penalty. All round contribution solid enough. At under £1 now he isn’t a bad pick up for occasional wins in soft fixtures, February Europa action where he could dominate, and even a possible transfer given how it’s going at Arsenal. I’m sure there would be no shortage of bigger club suitors.

I continue to warm to Saka. He had really good chances to score here. Was one of the better performances in general. Honestly, if you look at his chances and chances created in the last 5-6 it is nothing short of remarkable he has registered neither a goal or an assist in that time. 

Traders often get overexcited for youth. They carried him to a £4.50 – a price he was never going to justify. This was just bad trading that would have been punished eventually even in a positive marketplace.

But this kind of reactionary trader who tends to do that sort of thing is also often the first to panic too. Now we have the opposite situation. With some people having been burned badly – people are now overly negative on Saka at the £1 mark. This is when you can pick them up sensibly. 

17 December

I haven’t written about Wolves too often here recently – results are mixed this season and they aren’t the most FI suitable outfit generally.

But 20 year old forward Neto has forced his way in here after a great goal to sink Chelsea late on.

If Wolves won more games I may well be regularly raving about him though because he’s very FI suitable. I haven’t mentioned him since June.

He was just breaking through then and showed some promise – but since then he’s looking much more established and very much a regular now.

Even in relatively low possession games for Wolves he’s holding his own, seeing plenty of the ball. What’s particularly good is the overall contribution at both ends – crosses, dribbles, key passes going forward but also interceptions and recoveries too. He’s a busy player.

If you can get a bid of around £1.25 to £1.30 I’d be very happy with this. Wolves’ results may hold him back a bit but I think he is well capable of more wins in the rest of this season. And he has some vague transfer rumours too which are more likely to come next Summer than January.

That’s interesting because if he replicated these numbers at a dominate club he could be very, very good. Perhaps even 4 out of 5 stars level and I rarely give those out.

Portugal fringes, too. And I generally like these trades where they are good value where they are playing their usual game but you also have a transfer scenario where they might explode in value and potential. Nice.



Chilwell did really well here. Lucky to win the dividend on a soft scoring day sure – but a bit like Kimmich – being good makes you lucky more often. Fancy that.

He’s so busy – the most touches of any Chelsea player and it’s not even close. Could actually be his best overall game for Chelsea – had Chelsea won the game and kept a clean sheet this could have been a real monster of a score.

These are the sorts of crossing numbers that fueled Alexander-Arnold’s hype back in the day. It’s an unsual spike – not guaranteed to stay at this kind of level – but his usual level is good enough, any improvement is just a bonus.

I’ve been highlighting his strength since very early this season and all I can say is that potential has come to pass and looks sustainable. Superb pick up and £1.52 or a bid thereabouts remains great value.

Reece James wasn’t quite up there for overall involvement but his goal threat was better – 3 efforts from him. He’s been getting regular chances in the last 3 so if one of these flies in he will very likely be up there competing.

I can’t get a cigarette paper between him and Chilwell performance wise in recent games. Chilwell is cheaper and has better England prospects so that swings it for me if having to choose.

Havertz still really struggling – both in the standard match reports which is bad for morale – and from an FI point of view too. 

I don’t think he’s a total write off – it wouldn’t take too much for him to come back into contention. But there is nothing to suggest a comeback is just around the corner either.

The one thing you can say is that at the current £1.35 to £1.56 it is value. A dozen bad games hasn’t ended his career. But when choosing who to buy there are other players similarly down on their luck but much closer to bouncing back. 

Werner looks a bit closer. Chances to score here. Overall in the last 5 he looks very much off the boil – traditional match reports have this right and it’s not different on FI. Remarkable drop off when you consider his October/November form. He will get time and I still see him as a strong FI player for the longer term.

Pulisic… back after injury niggles. Actually better involvement than usual but no threat. Generally getting decent match reports in the press.

But as a midfielder on FI he just has so much to do, 2 goals+ most likely, to be assured of competing with midfield big hitters. Looks like scoring often but I’m not convinced it will count for much – never really have been. 

Bit of a drop off for Mount in the last 2 but that probably reflects Chelsea struggling. I remain encouraged by his November numbers – he was very unlucky not to get rewarded on FI for these consistently good performances.

Given the trend fit a breakout for Mount could be a big deal and I like the pick. 

Leeds are likely to provide us with a winner at some point, and they weren’t far off here.

A typically dominant display – we rarely see possession like this outside of the big clubs. The only difference in raw FI performance terms between Leeds and a big CL club is that they don’t win as many games. And of course, the lack of European football.

Of course, winning games is a crucial thing. But it highlights the underlying strength Leeds have due to Bielsa-ball and how well they could do in a kind run of fixtures. The upcoming schedule isn’t bad once the next game vs Manchester United is out of the way.

Raphinha is looking really good, which is just as well given he is one of the few performance suitable younger guns. A real handful – amazing he did not score really with 7 efforts – he could be netting a couple here.

Consistent too – he may only have the one goal in the last 5 but he is getting regular chances. 

Looking good – and could well win given a kind game. He’s really cheap too. Whether you’d make him a priority in a market bursting with value? Different question. But he’s a decent pick.

Rodrigo breaks his scoring duck – surprising it lasted this long really given he regularly gets good chances. He’s better than he was at Valencia – he used to be an IPD only type but in this team, he is a capable winner. 

Klich very strong as a veteran punt. Not entirely sure anyone will be interested with so many other options available but – it’s there as a good value punt if people want it!

Andrew Robertson holders might be grateful Dallas isn’t on the platform because I think there is a good chance that Dallas wins top defender and Star Man last night if he was on FI. Very FI suitable player if he was IPO’d and he would fly under the radar at a bargain price.

We’re watching Under closer after two great Europa League performances. 

He had an hour here  – he again showed he can be a livewire. Tried to do a lot – didn’t always work. It’s enough to show potential but it does show that whilst he can put up big numbers versus soft teams in the Europa – it’s not automatically going to happen in tough EPL games.

Couple of tough fixtures next for Leicester too. Worth monitoring Under as he is showing some promise but it feels like he still has a way to go.

Maddison was criticised for a poor performance – certainly compared to his last outing where he bagged a brace. Actually though – in FI terms he’s not doing much wrong – still showing numbers that bring big performance scores. 

We’re seeing more consistency from him – he’s looking better and better at a time when his price is lower than it has been for some time. I like the pick.

James Justin holders can be pretty happy too. He’s obviously not quite up there with the Chilwell’s for raw output but he’s in a similar FI suitable mould and he’s not far behind. 

Would not take a big improvement for him to start looking strong and he’s cheap with time on his side.

Andrew Robertson nicks it at the death with a late assist. 

As highlighted here he’s a really consistent player. Definitely improved this year, but I think he was unlucky not to win more last season too.

Creating plenty of chances so the assist is no accident as we know. He’s also getting into the box generally so it would not be outrageous if he broke his scoring duck either. An assist can often be enough for him though. 

So involved with well over 100 passes here. Getting better if anything and definitely up there with the best FI defenders around.

Alexander-Arnold was a little behind him yesterday though he had a good game to watch. 

He’s still good despite his price fall – it’s not like he was ever bad. But the exceptional numbers we used to see aren’t there – he’s amongst a group of good defenders rather than way out ahead of them these days.

The over optimism on TAA will now go down in FI legend, possibly as a cautionary tale. Lots of players have lost ground in 2020 but rather than say “Well everything dropped you can’t see who is good and who was bad” there is such a thing as rational value (or true value).

Even in a buoyant market I just see no possibility whatsoever of TAA carrying £10+ in this dividend structure, and that’s with dividends doubled. And to me, that’s a worse loss to take than say Bruno from £11 to £6.70.

What we’ll profit from more than anything in the end is the quality of our decision making – we’ll tend to get what we deserve in normal market conditions. And if we’re holding players at prices they can’t justify even in good times – that’s a red flag to me.

Bruno has done nothing to deserve his drop per se – his performances and returns have been superb. But in this market everyone takes their hit. At least Bruno can rationally be worth £11 at his current output level – so you have a reason to believe he can return to it eventually.

With TAA, there is no reason he should return to anywhere near £10 anytime soon. But how low does he have to go before he becomes value? We’re finally getting there I’d say.

The £3 mark is fair if you still see him as the Liverpool and England starter for the coming years. And – whilst £10+ was always silly – this will have a psychological impact. Even though he is still one of the most expensive defenders, many will still see him as cheap compared to what he used to be.

That could mean he gets a natural bounce as/when the market recovers – maybe even towards £5.

Curtis Jones. I almost embarassingly gushed about him last week so I won’t do it again. Not at length anyway.

But this is another excellent display both in reality and on FI. He is putting up numbers here comparable to the very best players on FI at the peak of their careers. And he’s 19 years old.

This is special. You know how everyone on FI bangs on about wonderkid after wonderkid and most of the time it’s going to come to nothing? This is one that has a genuine shot.

Really good from Salah. Just the matchwinner shy of winning top forward. In early season I highlighted an improvement, then in recent reviews I’d cooled as numbers dropped back a bit. 

Back up again here – which mostly reflects the very dominant game. But Liverpool will have those games. With the media pull as well as a Liverpool CL run in ahead – it’s hard to see him as anything but value at under £2.

Firmino may be the latest OPTA overnight recount victim and unlucky not to win. He isn’t scoring enough to make his otherwise reasonable background numbers count. But 65p to 77p? Again with a CL run in to think about… it’s getting tempting.


14 December

Ward-Prowse was not far behind Maddison for the midfield win – and he didn’t even need a goal or assist.

Interesting example to cover – with big sides stumbling this season – is it worth going for more of these middle grade sorts rather than “core” sorts of bigger team players?

He is a known lower key potential winner. And it is hardly the first time he has been close recently.

He builds this on consistently excellent baselines – genuinely top level. If you were Kroos you would not be disappointed with these kind of numbers. He’s racking up points all over the pitch.

So, he’ll generally only need a Southampton win and a goal, or maybe just an assist, to get up there. 

Assists are likely to be consistent. Goals, less so. With 4 in his last 7 he is likely over performing on that score given he is mainly limited to speculative longer range efforts.

If we (possibly generously?) assume Southampton will win half of their remaining games as per current form, that gives him 13 realistic chances to win in the rest of the season. If we can expect a goal every 3-4 matches and assist every 3rd game… and those have to fall in a game where Saints win… that brings us to what, 3-4 possible wins.

Which assumes that Southampton continue in this great top 6 form, and assumes that Ward-Prowse continues to perform and does not go on a barren run like he did for almost all of 2020 prior to the last 7 games.

So, if you consider this in True Value terms – he’s 70p to 89p and expecting 1 big win from all that is very reasonable. Which could well return more than 25% of his value. And he’s not going anywhere he’s only 26. Easy decision – yes, he is true value.

But when you get into the essential but a bit more murky “market value” thinking – I start to talk myself out of it.

By the time most read this we’ll have the CL and Europa draws. And this is the key weapon of Core picks. Smaller teams won’t be able to beat them here because most of them just won’t be there. And as we get into the knockouts those start to be Gold Days with very few competitors. They just have more chances to win – and it’s more lucrative when they do. 

Plus – bigger teams are still dominating Team of the Month. And are more likely to contain reliable Euro 2020 stars. 

European knockout involvement plus Euro 2020 are going to become important factors heading into 2021 – we’ll start to see thoughts of “End of season” coming in – and the more reasons we can stack up to hold a player longer into the season the better it will be.

So, as covered in State of the Market last week – big sides may be stumbling. But when one falls, another usually steps up. You don’t want to go too far down the “big sides are struggling” rabbit hole this season.

True in reality – not so much on FI – most of the winners are still coming from big sides and it’s not even close. It just sometimes feels that way when we get days like Saturday just gone where there is no big club winner. But we have always had those days, they are probably just marginally more frequent this season.

So, with the market the way it is right now we have many of these core picks at rock bottom prices, often for not much more than a middle grade pick like Ward-Prowse.

For that reason, I still think stacking up on value Core players who will have stronger reasons to hold them deeper into 2021 is the right play. And they are quite likely to get a natural rebound whenever the market does without having to do too much.

Someone like Ward-Prowse (not to pick on him he is just an example) will need to do a lot to convince people to buy heavily. And the odds of rapid wins in succession are low. Even if his chances of getting his one big win this season are quite high.


Speaking of big teams stumbling – this is the sort of game where Liverpool players could have crushed FI scoring if only they could finish.

Absurdly good FI numbers on display all over the park and it really highlights their best players.

Both Alexander-Arnold and Robertson showed their quality – massive involvement in attacking areas. 

Robertson comes out better yesterday but only really because he finished the game where as TAA was subbed early. Very little between them and both remain capable winners. 

Robertson is still half the price and therefore remains the better pick – despite popular belief being young and English is not actually a massive advantage for defenders on FI. Never was which is the crazy thing when considering TAA’s previous price.

The standout in the midfield and attack, by a country mile, is Curtis Jones again. Great threat. Dominating the ball. These are numbers the best midfielders on FI would be proud of. And it’s no flash in the pan. He’s consistently this good.

I have had high expectations of Jones for a long time now from his academy days as regular readers will know. He’s exceeding even those. The fact you might pick him up for £1.16 to £1.38!? Sellers either a) do not know what they are holding b) must be leaving the platform entirely or c) are engaging in “crash the price and buy cheaper” shenanigans. 

Obviously, young players always come with risk because he’s got a lot to do still but to be getting this many minutes and performing this well this young? A great sign. He’ll be given every chance because these home grown stars are very rare and very valuable to big clubs. What we’re always evaluating is the odds of reward versus risk – and this seems very much in the holders favour.

And through great performances he is showing that he is no English diversity hire in a team of foreign stars. He’s there on merit.

Arsenal are being slammed for this loss, and rightly so, it’s inept. Arteta under pressure.

We often need a slightly different eye on FI though. And given they dominated the ball there is some decent stuff here. 

Unlike in previous weeks where I have highlighted Arsenal’s poor domestic results but likely victories against soft Europa teams (which happened). That won’t be the case now – the Round of 32 is not until February. 

That could be another great chance for them to dominate – but that’s some way off.

We now need to rely on domestic wins which looks very tough right now. So what we’re really looking for is very cheap players who might do better over the longer term.

Bukayo Saka is looking more attractive than he has in years. His pump to nearly £5 was utterly mindless – a price he was almost never going to justify even in a bouncing market.

But he’s under £1 now and it really is a wonder he has not scored in his last 7 games for Arsenal or England. Getting really good chances, particularly yesterday. 

The goals should come. He also looks very unlucky not to be generating assists because he is creating. The overall numbers are… maybe a little behind where we want them to be. But he could improve a bit as Arsenal do – and he is still young. 

Great trend fit of course, which makes him easy to sell if he does get better. 

At this point – I think a patient trader could do very well here. But I would not have touched this in a radiation suit at anywhere £3+. 

Willian started here and actually did well. It’s never really washed with me that Willian has suddenly gone from arguably world class to awful in a dozen games. 

And for FI purposes he’s strong. Even now with Arsenal in terrible form – he really is not far away from wins at all. A full match, a single goal and an Arsenal win is very luikely to get him up there. 

Those things do feel far away right now! But they aren’t actually much to ask. Maybe it takes a change of coach but the chances of continued form like this for Arsenal all season have to be low.

If Willian keeps starting and Arsenal show signs of improvement a move for Willian could look very astute – 33p to 47p for a very credible Star Man winner in better times.

I’d also pick out Gabriel as the stand out option at the back. His threat for a centre back is well above average, and he was very close to scoring yesterday again. Great baselines so those goals can count. 

22 and a Brazil U23, 50p to 64p! A steal for a patient trader.

It is Tierney who gets the plaudits in traditional match reports, justifiably so. But he’s really just average for FI. You can however say that at 50p it is fair where as at his £1.70+ it was a price he was pretty much never going to be able to justify.

A win for Maddison which looked like it was coming. He was close in the previous game and last week in Scouting I said:

“Maddison the best of it and he’s just a few inches away from a very competitive 250+ score here potentially. His shot hit the post and it would likely have been the match winner. 

He’s consistent and though he’s been poor for FI scoring recently I’d chalk that up to Leicester’s form rather than him. Leicester tend to do very well when they have a soft fixture like they did this weekend and it’s these games where Maddison will get his chances.

When general sentiment goes down because of “poor” scores – but we can see he’s actually doing quite well – that’s often a good time to target a player and he’s slid a lot in price in recent days.”

So he did win – in Scouting we’re doing that part of the job. We’re being rewarded with the dividend, but not with the price rise we often expect to go with it.

On the market – his blue button price has barely shifted as a result and it may even be possible to get him cheaper than this time last week, as people probably try the “sell and rebuy” tactic. Which is a reflection of some of the crazy things we’ve seen in this market this week which no doubt I will discuss tomorrow.

The dividend rewards are substantial, though. And wins do generate positive feeling which may help him rebound generally as the market does.

No real reason he can’t win more throughout the season – he’s consistently there or thereabouts. 3 tough fixtures next but kinder in the new year. 

And over Christmas there is a 10 day window that will favour EPL players. I like him and think at this price he represents a very strong hold for the next 6 months, especially factoring in the likely transfer rumour bonus. 

He is down in the England pecking order at the moment but that’s not fatal.

Elsewhere, Perez was quite disappointing after a good showing last time. He’s high potential but has a lot to do to convince consistency wise. This didn’t help.

I was however pleased with what we saw from James Justin, the young and English right back I’ve been tracking in recent reports. He bagged an assist here, which is not a surprise based on his numbers. And he’s so advanced with 3-4 touches in the penalty area in pretty much every game – despite the lack of shots – in the last 2 – it is pretty likely something falls to him if he keeps this up. Promising young full back.

No repeat of the midweek heroics for Cengiz Under who did not play. The last two in the Europa have been exceptional for him, a very rapid and sudden improvement from the weak stuff he showed early on. 

Prior to the midweek Star Man in the last Europa match review I noted this from the previous game vs Zorya:

“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.”

So the improvement was there to see in the game before he exploded – but I stopped short of saying he was a likely next round winner. Zorya was a soft game and previous performances were not good. So it’s hard to call a turnaround based on just one game. But two? It’s slightly more convincing. Although AEK Athens was a very soft game too. 

It’s impressive – I did flag him as a high potential player a long time ago but in the last year recent reviews at Roma and early at Leicester he has looked poor. Is the real Under standing up? Maybe. 

To be totally convinced I want to see something versus tougher opponents though. And there are some coming up. 

One positive of this market, if you can call it that, is that we don’t have to too worried about player prices running away and can afford to be patient. But I’m stretching really hard for a positive there.

13 December

Worth noting that despite a ropey patch of form for Villa, Grealish is still ticking away quite nicely.

He hasn’t had too many clear cut chances in the last 3 but he’s getting well into the area, with 5, 7 and 8 touches in the box in those games respectively. HE’s creating chances that are going unfinished. And the overall contribution puts him in range of a big FI total when he scores and Villa win.

It’s impressive stuff for a player at a smaller club who don’t always dominate possession.

This, combined with England form plus transfer speculation for next Summer makes him a strong bet in my view, especially if bids are getting matched under £2.50 now. 

That’s surprising for such an “obvious” pick and he’d probably be quick to rebound if the market did in general.

Disappointing game but there were a few decent FI displays.

No surprise that Bruno performed – fresh from his further win in midweek where he was, again, excellent.

He could well have done it again, even against City here. Potentially just a matchwinner away on a low scoring day in general – and he had 4 efforts 3 from open play and 1 from a free kick. Could easily have scored.

This is reassuring for holders as he continues to demonstrate that penalties are a nice to have rather than totally essential to him. Not that there is any reason he will lose them – but it’s nice to know that one change like that can’t totally scupper a player, especially when they are at the premium end of the market.

He deserves more assists too from the chances he is creating. Those should be coming through if his team mates can finish.

Pure FI quality. I had high expectations by my harsh standards when he went to United but he is surpassing them. 

Pogba was back in the side and it’s hard to pin down what is going on. After the agent comments over the weekend – he issues an (ambiguous?) statement of loyalty. Suspect he is still wanting out – you kind of have to say you are committed to the club you are at.

Played well in reality… in FI terms it is pretty weak. Never threatening a win here. Did have a good game vs West Ham recently he isn’t a total write off. Really just about reading the transfer tea leaves on this one – extended discussion of that is over in the Transfers section.

Maguire saw plenty of the ball and had another chance to score, something I noted against West Ham too. A capable winner and with all the negative general football fan sentiment on him at the moment – he has become very much undervalued on FI. Potential performance wins here, plus he is one of the few defenders who can get some media.

Similar to their Manchester neighbours – some reasonable performances here despite the drab game.

De Bruyne the best of it. Really not far away again as reported last week. Holders have been unlucky recently. The performances are solid enough and he is just one of those players that is not getting the breaks but remains capable of exploding at any time.

This can lead some to frustration or to think he has declined – he has not. It’s particularly poor timed for holders in a nervy market where people will make knee jerk calls like that. But the chances of him bouncing back with a big score soon are high.

Rodri continues to threaten a big score. One of these days he is going to smash one in and he will likely blow FI scoring away when he does. Hard to say when that will be but this current 57p to 76p price is just madness. 

He is extremely likely to get a big win with these numbers, even if it is just once or twice a season. And that may well return near on half his purchase price on that cheap bid. This panicked market continues to make little logical sense. Which is frustrating but also presents these insane value opportunities.

You can also look to Cancelo and Dias for value – both continue to look good.

Perhaps more interesting is the continued run of Stones. Another great game for him – arguably the best defender. And more praise from Pep. 

People don’t quite believe this will continue yet and he languishes under 50p but he is definitely capable of wins. Baseline alone can carry it for him and whilst there are no shots on paper – he is definitely getting into danger areas where something can fall to him. 


The first of many giant killings we’ll be looking at today.

Everton did really well to restrict an in form opponent. But as our colleagues over at say: “Chelsea dominated the ball and struck the woodwork twice from range but didn’t really create clear chances.”

With over 70% possession Chelsea players could have really done some FI scoring damage here. But. If you don’t win the game you are rarely scoring big.

Mount was excellent. Readers will know I noted a huge improvement in him in recent weeks and the more he plays the more he convinces me this is consistent.

This improvement has not yet filtered through to big FI scores yet but if he keeps going like this it is pretty much inevitable that it will. Unlucky to hit the bar here with a great chip. Decent free kick as well that was well saved.

It’s exciting to see such good displays in a player with such a great trend fit. I was no fan when people pushed him to £3+ a year ago now. It was too soon for him in development terms to really live up to that. 

Now, with a big improvement and a price tag potentially as low as £1.42 he’s just such a steal.

Reece James holders can be happy here too with his usual great involvement plus a continuation of his good threat. He’s creative too. Unlucky that his assist came in the tough game vs Leeds where possession was low. 

Looks like a regular big scorer and this price dip brings him well back into a value price range at under £2.

Chilwell remains strong too and with the price around £1.50 or so I don’t think there is a great deal between Reece James and him anymore. I’d probably still give Chilwell the nod due to his increased security for England.

Havertz and Werner showed nothing to get themselves out of their slumps. 

Havertz was notably poor to watch which hurts sentiment. Really poor numbers and he is getting worse if anything. 

Early season numbers were quite promising but there is a notable drop off as reported here recently and that continues. 

To be fair the midweek game vs Krasnodar was pretty good and he should have scored there. But that is very soft opposition we really want more than “could have” versus teams like that.

You are never sustaining a £3-4 price tag playing like this, and definitely not in this knee jerk market. You could definitely say that the current £1.68 is insanely cheap and a big overreaction to a mixed start to life at Chelsea. And it probably is – he wouldn’t have to improve much to come back into things.

But I would wait for some more signs of life before doing so.

Werner I’m a bit less worried about. It’s 8 appearances without a goal now which is very poorly timed in this market. But he’s not doing all that badly. He was good against Leeds recently and could not have been closer to ending his drought. 

Feels a bit cursed at the moment but he is a player Chelsea will stick with almost certainly and it was not long ago, only late October/early November, where he was in great form smashing in 10 goals over 9 appearances.

At around the £2 mark now for a capable FI winner, a strong IPD returner (usually) and the media pull plus Germany involvement… I would think this more of a time to abuse short term negative sentiment and buy rather than panic sell.

7 December

Dominant 4-0 win for Liverpool and I’m only surprised we didn’t see some bigger scores. Let’s dig into it.

Salah the matchwinner and he provided an assist too. This is a puzzle as he really hasn’t done much wrong. Plenty of big hitters fell short this weekend with seemingly good performances but there was usually a pretty solid reason like big chances missed or an early sub off. 

It’s actually a fairly good game. He’s not a million miles away with 204, just lacking 10-40 points to be seriously competitive. 

I had thought he might be improving to a point where 1 matchwinner might be enough for him, but it’s just short and to be really sure of a big score from him we are looking for 2 goals at least still. 

Not far away and definitely better than last season but hasn’t improved by quite as much as I thought in early season. 

At just over £2 he’s strong value because he does often score 2+ and has some media pull too. But still lacking that tiny bit of extra involvement to push him from 200-220 to 230-250 where he’d win much more often. 

Really fine margins but with a price that low it’s not too stressful, at £3+ I might be sweating.

Another full game for Jones. Getting far more minutes than expected and Klopp is not doing it as a favour – he is earning his place with great performances. Fantastic. 

Really tidy stuff and these are numbers that Thiago or even Kroos would be happy with. All wrapped up in a 19 year old trend fit friendly package. I’ll say it again –  £1.53 to £1.85 is nothing short of a failure of the market to judge his correct value. A serious under estimation.

There will be bumps – Thiago will come back etc and there will be more competition. But with a view of season or two ahead I can’t think of many better long term prospects. And he can win in any game he plays right now.

Good win for Spurs fans but Mourinho’s counter attacking style kept scores down.

It’s easy to roll out the park the bus narrative but it’s not quite true. Mourinho tends to do this in big games which is probably why it’s famous. But in easier fixtures like Ludogorets, WBA, Burnley, Linz, Newcastle recently he opens up.

So we shouldn’t totally write off Spurs players but rather be aware that it’s more important than usual to target softer fixtures.

Son holders suffered for this low possession because with a matchwinner Son is capable of far more than 203. 

He is Spurs’ best current performance asset in my book though he needs a softer game than this. Should be a consistent challenger – I expect him to need more than a goal but he is well capable of being explosive. Under £2 very solid value.

Kane is a little behind Son for performance purposes, and particularly in low possession games like this he is fairly abysmal for performance scoring.

Can do better vs soft teams though – he’ll need 2 or 3 goals to figure but again, he can do that regularly.

And holders won’t mind too much because he did pick up the media dividend – and that’s why he deserves his premium. Under £5 is a strong choice for a premium hold particularly in a Euro’s year.

Lo Celso remains, in theory at least, the highest potential player at Spurs. Did start here, but only really because Ndombelé was out. 

Wasn’t brilliant but did setup the second goal. Can’t say I have a great deal of hope for him unless we see him become a regular. 

He can dominate an easy fixture. So something like Antwerp up next where we expect rotation and he may get a chance – that will probably be his best chance for a big score in some time. 

Spurs have a mixed schedule up to Christmas but in games against Antwerp (beware rotation there), Palace, Wolves and Fulham they will have good chances to win. Also have Leeds but I consider them a tough FI opponent as discussed since they won’t let go of the ball.

Here is the irony of this game – Arsenal showed some really FI friendly stuff here.

The scoring system in no way rewards counter attacking football and over rewards wasteful shots and impotent possession.

Only the massive penalty for losing the game drags things back to reality otherwise we’d get some extremely strange results. What it does show us though is which players would perform on FI in better games.

And if we recall just from last week with Pepé’s midweek win after a miserable game vs Wolves – disastrous results and Arteta misery count for very little in the next games when that same team line up against weak opponents. 

Dundalk next. Burnley after that. Southampton. Everton. Likely – there will be better days ahead. Whether Arteta stays or not.

I back the youngsters and fringe players for that midweek game more than anyone. Pepe again. Willock. Nelson.

Back to this game, this was Willian‘s best for a long time. If not to watch then in the FI numbers. In theory he should be Arsenal’s best FI player and in theory that remains true. 

He’s showed it here. If it was a more in form player we’d be raving about these numbers. 16 crosses is insane. 

Needs a goal, starts, and Arsenal to improve. That’s a lot to ask. But he’s still got it and we can’t throw him on the scrap heap just yet he’s worth watching. Maybe he needs a new manager.


Better from Leicester after poor results recently. Showed some performance friendly stuff here. Tough fixture schedule up to Christmas in general but the next game vs Brighton is a chance to shine.

Maddison the best of it and he’s just a few inches away from a very competitive 250+ score here potentially. His shot hit the post and it would likely have been the match winner. 

He’s consistent and though he’s been poor for FI scoring recently I’d chalk that up to Leicester’s form rather than him. Leicester tend to do very well when they have a soft fixture like they did this weekend and it’s these games where Maddison will get his chances.

Looks better and better the more the price drops. I was adamant this was a crazy trade to be involed in at £4-5+. But at well under £2 with the current lowest bid £1.72 it’s much more attractive for a young, performance suitable player with transfer prospects.

When general sentiment goes down because of “poor” scores – but we can see he’s actually doing quite well – that’s often a good time to target a player and he’s slid a lot in price in recent days.

Forgotten man Perez put in his best performance for… well a long long time. Handed a rare start – he made the most of it. I’ve always highlighted him as a high potential FI player and in this game he put on a good show. NIce finish to open the scoring. 

Had a couple of other shots. Nearly provided an assist. Strong involvement. Subbed early which took the edge off but overall it’s the type of performance that can win dividends. 

Could be a performance that earns further starts and if he did become a starter at any point he’d definitely be of interest as a potential winner for a rock bottom 29p to 54p. 

Tielemans never far away. If we see a Leicester winner outside of Maddison I’d expect it to be him. Only ever needs 1 goal and they can come every 5-6 games. Should get his occasional big scores and for under £1 that ain’t bad at all.

I’m also watching Justin James – he was superb midweek vs Zorya and he’s shown that on a flat track vs soft opponents he can be an FI contender. 

Which would be a big deal as he’d automatically get tagged as the next Chilwell. 

Poor here it has to be said which is surprising because this was a soft game. 

Still, inconsistency can be expected in young players and overall he looks a good fit for FI. Will keep monitoring. 


Everton’s grim form continues. 

In early season they were a candidate for most improved club in performance terms. But results recently are poor.

What’s interesting is that in terms of of their background numbers versus the weaker teams like Burnley they are still looking quite performance friendly. It’s results rather than overall performances holding them back.

James Rodriguez in particular continues to look close to big scores, only needing a goal to get himself up there if Everton win. And he’s getting plenty of decent chances – quite remarkable he hasn’t scored since early October. Or assisted since mid October for that matter – he’s very creative.

Feels unlucky and he should bounce back particularly if Everton do. Upcoming fixtures are grim – Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal, Man. City up in the run to Christmas, with only a Boxing Day trip to Sheffield to lighten it up. 

Fixture schedule softens up after that though and Everton assets can yet make an impact.

Calvert-Lewin doesn’t really need wins – he continues to chip away for solid IPD and the more he drops the more viable that is. £2+ was always a bit much but £1.37 to £1.63 is decent value particularly that lower end.

There are cheaper striker options for IPD of course but they don’t play for England or have potential longer range transfer appeal.

And I like Richarlison too as a longer term transfer prospect at this rock bottom £1.29 to £1.54 price. IPD is decent although outright wins do not look close.

6 December

Dominant City display. 

De Bruyne the standout and holders will be left wondering quite how he didn’t do better than 236 and win Star Man yesterday.

Well, he’s very close. He’s missing the matchwinner obviously, not much to be done about that it’s just a random element. That alone makes him Star Man yesterday. Fine margins.

He’s going to be losing points for big chances missed here too, and whilst he got 6 shots only 4 were on target. This does take the shine off. Plus he’ll lose 5 for a foul.

Other than that… it’s a great FI display with a goal and an assist and a solid all round contribution. You can’t really ask for much more than this. 

Doing enough to win – he’s been unlucky lately as reported here and this is just another near miss. But the big scores will keep coming if he maintains his usual level.

Mahrez holders weren’t far away either. He had a decent chance early on but never threatened after that. But his overall contribution is fantastic and just 1 goal wins it for him here on what was a soft day for forwards. 

Terrific FI player who almost certainly has more big scores to come he’s not far away in pretty much every game he plays.

Sterling back from the dead after an unusual 6 game goal drought. I said in the midweek CL review that his threat was strong and he was doing better than many would think. 

Pretty average score though which is a bit below what I’d expect. He isn’t the worlds best performance player – I always think he’ll need more than just 1 goal to be a serious contender. But he can be explosive enough for that to be a regular thing when in form – he gets the chances.

And that’s an issue here – a bit like De Bruyne he’s going to get dragged back by missing 2 big chances here which is -20. That really chips away at a score. You gotta’ finish your dinner on FI.

Overall though I think Sterling is a solid pick currently at a very low price and patient traders should end up happy if picking him up in this rough patch of form for £3 or under. Not like he’s going anywhere.

Cancelo was excellent. Bit unfortunate nobody finished the chances he made. Consistently strong though and should get rewarded eventually. 

Dias great too. Didn’t quite get the big baselines of the other defenders but he’s potentially more explosive. Had a big chance (which he missed noticing a theme for City?) and if that goes in he may well be yesterday’s winner. Consistently excellent and I really like this pick.

Stones great too – if you trust him to stay on the pitch. Currently keeping Laporte out and there can be no complaints with his performance yesterday. 

Rodri threatened. He dominates so much that he is only ever 1 goal or even an assist away from a huge score. And he can win without one on a soft day. I’m convinced he’ll get a big win at some point and he’s a value player under £1.


Decent display in the end from United, for FI purposes anyway.

Unfortunately the most likely players to profit from that Fernandes and Rashford only came on at half time. They were rested ahead of that crunch CL game vs Leipzig midweek.

Bruno Fernandes holders won’t mind too much as they got the media dividend – this is why he earns his premium.

Pogba had his best game for FI purposes in a very long time. He’s unlucky just to lack the matchwinner because with that he’s certainly beating Ritsu Doran (Not the star man traders wanted!). 

He’s eben very patchy all season but often even when playing a full game he hasn’t looked close to a win. Even the baseline numbers were quite disappointing. He’s better for France. 

To me, this trade really summed up the folly of traders who could not adapt to the changing circumstances of FI this year. Around £8 even by July having risen back in March where you had ample time to protect yourself from it. This was a car crash waiting to happen and it is astounding more did not see it coming sooner. It was a bet you couldn’t win in all but the most perfect of circumstances.

Now though? You can start to make a case for £2.29 to £2.47 if you believe he will improve. This is the sort of price where if he landed at a decent club like Juventus he could probably still justify it. And as a regular at United performing reasonably well he would too. So there are ways he can claw it back from here. He’s only 27 and isn’t going away.

Maguire has had a rough 2020 but he’s better for FI than most people would assume. Had another chance to score here and his threat over the last 7 for club and country is good. He’s scored 1 but it could have been 2-3. 

Again he’s had his periods of being overpriced but £1.09 to £1.32, the lower end of that in particular is a solid pick up. He’s one of the few defenders who can win performance and pull in some media too. It’s important not tp let negative general football fan sentiment from influencing our trading too much.

Greenwood had a good day out. Lots of threat with 5 shots. 1 goal. That was his only effort on target though and he’ll have lost -10 for a big chance missed. 

Good overall though and he’s doing about as well as you can really hope at just 19 to get minutes etc. Again – it’s a harsh lesson this year and speculating on him all the way up to £9 was always just a silly thing to do. 

I think this year will have a lasting psychological impact on traders and many will knock this wild behaviour on the head. It’s been costly in 2020. At least with a quality player if they drop you have options – they may recover. The speculative stuff? Players don’t have an automatic right to return to their previous high they will have to earn it.

I like Greenwood as a longer term prospect but he is a long way from the best value available at close to £4. A long, long way. Even in the usually saturated England youth market. Mount. Jones. Grealish. All superior FI players that are cheaper and much closer to FI success.

Rashford excellent. A real purple patch of form and he’s unlucky to only play 1 half because he could have made a real impact on the scoring. As discussed many times recently £4 or just under is great value.

Telles provides his first assist. Really not unexpected as per recent scouting his chance creation is consistently excellent. I like him – we’ll need to see more United clean sheets though.

De Beek subbed at half time but it feels a bit harsh. Actually did alright and the ray of hope is that he did get forward. Obviously he has not had a great start but I don’t think he’s a total write off – given pitch time he could do well. That’s a big question mark though.


Our big club players might beat Leeds – but Leeds will take us down with them.

Leeds really are fearless and they actually had more possession away at Chelsea. This chokes off big FI scores. If your team is facing Leeds it’s like facing a top 4 side. Not an easy game.

Giroud scores again. How do you leave him out playing like this? Not sure this will be every traders cup of tea but he could/should have had 2-3 goals here. Just the 1 as it was. 

His threat level is consistently up there with the best strikers in Europe though. Can win when he explodes. IPD would be delicious. And if he breaks his leg you are in deep trouble. One for the brave but he has every chance of continued success should he stay in the team.

Mount good again. An assist on the board. Had a couple of chances of his own but nothing clear cut. Factoring in this was a game where Chelsea didn’t get a great deal of possession – I’d be happy with this as a holder. 

A definite improver as covered here recently and that could be a big deal given his trend profile. After just one win he is not going to be a hard player to sell. And that’s looking likely. 

Havertz wasn’t brilliant but did have a golden chance to finish that he missed. That’s good because we know he can do all the baseline stuff. This is his best chance to score since October. So you can call that encouraging that he got one, but that was the only time he really threatened.

Over the last 7-8 games though he’s still lacking the threat required to punch through and that’s gone on far too long to call an accident. Must improve.

Ziyech did well but unfortunately limped off with an apparent hamstring injury. I wouldn’t call him injury prone per se but that record isn’t brilliant either – unavailable for 8/9 games in the two previous seasons for Ajax. 

A shame because he was starting to get some momentum and was looking good for FI purposes.

Not entirely sure how Werner‘s goal drought continues. Seriously I’m watching his 8th minute effort and it seems to defy the laws of physics. Not only does he stop it going into the net on it’s own he managed to hit the underside of the bar and see it bounce out. He’s in an awfully unlucky spell. Big hitters misfiring seems to be a theme of the day.

5 efforts in total and he’s a big threat. Did manage an assist. A decent FI display overall even if it leaves you a little mystified. He’s a good player but it’s just not going his way. It should do given time with these numbers.

Both Chilwell and James holders can be happy. Will do better in games Chelsea dominate. Both had chances to score and James laid on an assist. I’ve covered them a lot recently so I won’t repeat that – but they are showing consistency.

30 November

Entertaining fightback for United with plenty of FI interest.

Cavani the Star Man – not something I’d necessarily expect especially from the bench!

In the midweek CL review I liked the pick but I saw it as mainly an IPD and possible media option. Well, he did deliver on both counts – we can’t say he didn’t warn us the goals were coming. And he’s a big name player so media pull was always there.

The Star Man is perhaps more unexpected – he isn’t exactly a textbook FI fit. But you can do a lot with 2 goals including the matchwinner plus an assist. 

Just checked my midweek CL review and he was a 69p punt! Just shows the massive rewards available for picking the winners right now – what a welcome change to recent months where you could win but not see much for it beyond the dividend.

He’s £1.15 to £1.56 now, with IPD, a Gold Day Star Man and Media in the bag. Insane returns.

I guess the beauty of prices being this low is that even after such a bump – a £1.15 bid or close to that is still not unreasonable. In fact by all measures you’d have to call it value. I tend to be wary of following into big rises. 

And United do have tougher fixtures. So maybe you could say give it a game or four. On the other hand… for media appeal a goal vs PSG or Manchester City in the coming games could see him win at least that. And he’s capable.

Obviously better to go at this midweek at 69p but you can still make a case for £1.15 I like him. Not sure I expect further Gold Day wins but IPD and media will cover that price tag.

Bruno Bruno Bruno. Did so much right. But he’s also really sloppy with his passing here and made a couple of fouls and it’s cost him. 

Still, it was a tougher match. He’ll do better in United’s more dominant games. To be fair, even when United do not dominate he is not far away. 

Looking competitive near enough every game and recent good scores are a fair reflection of his level. 

Well under a True Value even at £8-9, £12 would not be at all outrageous. But it will take a while for the rest of the market to catch up a bit before we see him at that price.

De Beek looking a more regular fixture – and he played well. Good involvement for baselines, very good in fact. 

No shots which is disappointing but on pitch position is more encouraging. He got forward plenty with 5 touches in the box so if he continues that the chances of something falling to him are high. And just one goal can be enough for him. Quietly encouraging.

Telles wasn’t amazing to watch but the FI numbers are encouraging again. Was pegged back a bit more this time in a tougher game but still managed plenty of possession and swung in crosses. I like him – definitely the sort of full back that can prosper on FI. A £1.24 bid is value.

Rashford was pretty good and he’s doing better than 1 goal in 6 might indicate. An “obvious” player that is yet to get a big market bounce back… I can’t see £4.32 or near enough as anything but a sound investment.

Goalless but not dull – Chelsea dominated possession and a goal or two could have brought some good FI scores.

I’m watching Mount with a lot of interest at the moment, as per recent scouting. The improvement is strong.

Regulars readers over the last year will recall that I’ve never felt he was ever close at Chelsea even when he was over £3 and people were crazy for him. 

But since late October it’s looking up. Very high involvement now which means a goal can start to count for something. Getting some chances, that needs to improve a bit still. But he is getting in the right areas for things to fall for him. 

Much better and £1.78 looks solid to me – it would be a big deal on the market if he bagged a win. And he looks close. If he doesn’t, he’s very young and has a lot going for him he has time. 

This is the beauty and the art of FI – stacking up bets that have high upside but minimal downsides rather than gambling on 50/50’s.

Ziyech was impressive in the FI relevant numbers if not in the overall performance. 

Traditional match reports will slam his wastefulness from crossing etc but for FI purposes he’s doing a lot of the right things. Had a good chance to score on the volley. Created chances too that weren’t taken. 

He’s a contender. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Werner had a disappointing game. Goal ruled out for offside (would have been a lovely finish). Didn’t get any other notable chances. Subbed on 74. Overall he’s not doing as badly as a 3 game goal drought might suggest and he remains a capable winner. 

But frustration will set in for traders – when fast results are on offer for winners people will tend to chase and to do that they’ll sell players who appear to be out of form. I’m not exactly putting Werner on explosion imminent but he’s not too far away either. 

Chilwell continues his excellent numbers as per recent scouting. Consistently excellent and I don’t regret bumping him to a very high 4 out of 5 stars in my ratings.


Dire – and the talk of Arteta getting sacked is gathering pace. May or may not be true.

There will be an aversion to Arsenal players as a result but it’s important at such times not to overreact. Remember when Manchester United were a dead team a month ago? Yeah.

It’s hard to recommend anyone based on this performance vs Wolves. But overall, there are some reasonable players.

And 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. Pepe. Willock. Nelson if he starts. All capable.

It’s even likely that the negativity pushes prices for such players down further. We shouldn’t always go along with the popular sentiment when there are reasons to disagree with it.

29 November

A return to domestic form for City – and they have the schedule to keep a good run going into December.

Mahrez our Saturday Star Man. In Scouting last week I said on him: 

“Mahrez is in a similar boat (to De Bruyne) in that he’s doing a lot right but just not finding the net and City need to be winning. Remains a very high potential player. 

A return to usual levels for him and City could easily leave us marvelling at how he managed to get under £1 on a bid.”

He continues our clear theme of the week – the importance of knowing the difference between a bad player and a player out of favour.

We may have players nobody seemingly wants languishing in portfolios – but we have to remember that most people don’t know what they are doing. Popularity is not a guide to profitability – often the opposite.

As per recent reviews, Mahrez was always so likely to bounce back that dumping him under £1 felt like bankroll suicide.

He’s now bagged a Star Man and there is no reason why he can’t repeat that feat – he’s a high quality player and he doesn’t even need the hatrick to do it. 

His price has risen to from £1.21 to £1.98 in a day – players can bounce back. 

On the bid – he was sellable for similar last night. This morning as I check close to market opening that red button is astonishingly back to potentially as low as £1.10!

These are old bids because you can’t bid lower than £1.49 now. £1.10 is very unlikely to get matched unless someone is really dumb/desperate and Instant Sells for that. 

Likely those bids are either removed as pointless or overidden by some more sensible £1.49 bids and that remains strong value if you can get it. 

I’m stressing this a lot this week but dumping good players just for being currently unpopular when they are showing signs of being close to a win is a common sight at the moment yet good traders must avoid this. And getting that right starts with good Scouting knowledge.

Speaking of good players close to wins – enter De Bruyne. As I mentioned last week if he maintains his recent level then the wins are coming. It’s more a matter of time than a question of his ability.

Last week I said a £4 bid was cheap but that was in a market only just bouncing back. As an obvious/popular pick he has naturally bumped up to £4.86 to £5.22 now as the market feels very different place to just a week ago. 

That takes the edge off the value for sure and as I’ve mentioned previously he’s pushing it in terms of True Value given his age. But I also think a win or two can push that significantly higher into £6 or so. This trade can be juiced a bit more in my view it’s a long season to come.

Stones the surprising (sort of) defender winner. Only really because it is a rare start – City CB’s are one of the few who can challenge for dividends particularly when some of the more attacking defenders lose or take the day off. 

Second start in a row and he was really good to be fair, now keeping Laporte out of the side apparently. How long that lasts well anyone’s guess is as good as mine. Guardiola’s comments suggest he will get more chances. 

If you think Pep will be true to his word then 41p to 61p could be a bit of a steal – all starting City CB’s are worth considering at the right price because just like Stones they can win with baseline alone. I suspect Laporte isn’t getting dropped forever, though.

In fact the winner could just as easily have been Dias had he not been subbed early – which is unusual for him. He is a bit more expensive but probably the better choice given his consistent starts. 

Equally you could target the excellent Laporte and take advantage of the negativity of missing the game to get a value price – is he really going anywhere? Probably not. 

He’s a quality player that has been unlucky – fully fit we’d see enough challenges out of him in a season to warrant his sub £1 price – and with ease I would think.

Yet another game for Ferran Torres – pretty much a dream start at City for him. Another goal – could have been two. 

Unusually low involvement though when playing wide I’d normally back him to do better than this poor score of just 100.  Given City dominated this game this feels a little odd even accounting for his early substitution.

Inconsistent but then he is young. I can see him putting a big score together when at his best. And the performances are unquestionably good in reality.

£1.90 to £2.09 is decent value. We just want to watch it carefully because in the next 4-6 games at minimum holders are going to want to see some results or frustration will set in.


30 December

Lots of uncertainty still at Barcelona and results are mixed, yesterday’s 1-1 slip to Eibar at home the latest cause for questioning Koeman’s decision making.

Off the pitch there is the Presidency election in January and the uncertainty over Messi. The worrying news for Messi holders is the latest gossip about him wanting to play in the USA which will cause some alarm.

As covered last week – he’s in red hot form at the moment and he’s very tempting for that reason. And there are gambles with the possible EPL transfer too – that could be a jackpot. But as I say – when you have potential all or nothing risks on the board like this with a move out of Europe possible? Or a price drop if he stays at Barcelona. It’s just a bit too much to sweat on in my opinion. 

Yes you can get a big profit – but there are tons of options available for big profits without waking up one day to find that your player has taking a hammering. 

Could turn fast – if a new President persuades Messi to stay etc. Or a link to City firms up, or even PSG. But it’s hard to predict. It’s likely that the US link is a bit overblown – it is probably something he will do after a season with another European club or another season at Barcelona. But still. It’s not the gossip holders want to be hearing.

Back on the pitch. Nobody is ever going to report a 1-1 draw with Eibar positively. But for FI there is plenty to like.

Ousmané Dembelé continued his ifne form after returning from an injury setback. Another goal – holders unlucky he only played 1 half because he’s almost definitely our forward winner yesterday with 90 minutes. 

Looks great and I think we’ve got another situation where people have been over excited on a player in the past when they didn’t actually look like winning.

But the price has dropped and the player has improved. Looks a slam dunk bargain to me for £1 or thereabouts. Has a potential big transfer bonus but he’s also fine staying where he is – the sort of transfer trade I love.

Griezmann‘s goal drought continues though numbers in the last 8 games are generally very good. People are definitely over reacting to the poor form by now and whether he stays at Barcelona or makes a potentially excellent move to somewhere like PSG the current 64p to 84p is ludicrous

Should also be in demand for the Euro’s come what may as he’s a big deal for France. One of the tournament’s most likely consistent winners.

Trincao is quietly racking up minutes and the match reports are favourable. Solid stuff per minute and he’s shown when he gets full games he is very FI suitable. A slow burner but one with promise and undeniable value at 50p to 69p. People’s need for safety at the moment is pushing the prices of fringe players down very hard – it won’t be too long into a recovery though where targetting fringe players becomes exactly the right move.

I’d say keep things obvious for now though in general. But it’s something I will be keeping an eye on there is so much value in this sort of area. 


24 December

Real win again and move joint top of La Liga (though Atletico do have 2 games in hand!). A remarkable turn around of late. Pressure is off Zidane for now. 

And for our purposes – these are good displays that put their assets in contention for wins. Particularly good since they have a favourable CL draw as discussed yesterday.

Kroos up there again. Had shots too so he could have been Star Player very easily. Playing so well he’s near undroppable. Looking strong and the kind CL fixture is helpful to him. Better form increases his hold on the Germany spot too.

Benzema monstrous. 7 shots and he could be scoring more than 1. The IPD just drips off him and he is capable of wins. CL campaign could be a big boost. Astounding value for under £1. All you really need to make money here is a bit of courage to do something few others are doing.

Carvajal had a decent game too. A bit like Sandro or similar – these guys might not be sexy but they are likely to get 1-2 wins a season and they are cheap. Could look very attractive on CL gold days with limited competition when the odds of winning are high – winning a dividend that covers a massive chunk of their price.

Similar – Vazquez is playing so well he is near undroppable and he is well in contention for dividend wins on a regular basis. Likely to get underestimated and a savvy trader could get a very smug win out of this.

The problem we have this season at Real is that the best players are at the veteran end of the scale. Traders would prefer obviously if it was Vinicius, Rodrygo, Asensio cruising for the dividends. 

Rodrygo was in pole position and starting – unfortunately – stretchered off here with an unknown return date. That could open up space for Vinicius or Asensio. 

Asensio was decent here for his hour appearance. He replaced Rodrygo and fans were happy with what they saw. Had threat. Provided an assist. Good contribution. He’s a high potential FI player and he’s not dead yet. 

Neither is Isco who may be about to get a January transfer – could be a good target.

23 December

Suso – back from the dead with a midfield dividend win. 

He’s been a very frustrating FI player in the last 12 months or so. 

If players are just bad it’s never an issue. Where they show just enough to get us interested but then fail to deliver that can be expensive. 

Moving to Sevilla initially seemed quite good for him but then through various niggling injuries and then a big lay off from October 2020 to early December he has dropped off the radar. And when he did play, consistently getting 30-70 minutes never helped him either.

Since back from injury though he’s played (almost) the full game in the last 4. And it’s solid stuff – a goal can definitely get him into contention again but it likely has to be the matchwinner. We might see a goal every 5 games in decent form, so it’s not too many. 

His shift from forward to midfield was a bit of a killer for Suso. He’s now awkwardly placed where he doesn’t score as many as a good forward but he’s also just behind the baselines of the best midfielders too. 

I would not be surprised to see 2-3 wins a season though – so it’s within value range. I’m just not sure this is *the* pick I’d be going for right now when there are so many targets who are more likely to win and easier to sell.



A good win for Atletico but again, not achieved in the way FI traders would want. 

In November the free flowing football was really pumping up Atletico’s numbers – even against tough sides like Valencia. 

But as reported here that is definitely not continuing into December – it’s back to the old defensive solidity and low possession game that kills hope for consistent big scores.

This hurts Felix, at least in the short term. Where holders can take a bit of heart is that it does show that given the right conditions he still looks the real deal – it just might take a couple of seasons and a transfer to get there.

I’ve liked Felix – he was an FIT posterboy at one stage for what can be acheived when scouring ineligible leagues early. But as I said at the time I did not like the chances at Atletico. But at least you can see him doing well in future. Or if Atletico return to the football they played in November.

it also hurts Trippier – who was getting himself back into contention. Not anymore. Well off the pace in the last 3-4. 

I will keep faith in Lemar however. He’s shown he can produce some really nice FI friendly stuff and what’s really important for him is that he is playing well and reviving his career – increasing his chances of a move to a different club where he could do very well.

And if Atletico have a high possession game again he is very capable of a win now. At the moment they seem happy to sit back but they do have some soft fixtures coming up. 

Getafe next actually and they hate playing football too so Atletico might have no choice but to take the ball – someone has to. 

I’ve been marvelling at Messi‘s form recently. This isn’t just standard Messi being Messi he’s excelling even by his high standards.

He’s into double digit shot figures for the 5th game in the last 6 which is just insane.

In the last 5-6 he’s hotter than I can ever remember him being, or perhaps remember anyone being. I might need to make an Explosion Very Imminent list just to put him on it. Looks like winning every game he plays. 

He is so much better than any other player on FI right now it is not even close to being fair. 

I don’t gush like this often but the evidence is just there to justify it so. I don’t mind doing it.

It’s an intriguing trade at £4.81 to £5.05. In this market that suggests a high degree of confidence. At over 31 then, in theory, he is already near a maximum rational value by my Dashboard definition (£4.20 to £5.60).

And he’s also very over 31. Though may well have 3-4 years ahead we don’t know. And he’s also breaking my system by performing well out ahead of what a 5 out of 5 stars player can be expected to do right now. 

Then you have a possible jackpot Manchester City move. Or a PSG move which is also fine as it’s an even weaker Farmer’s League for him to plunder and will also get considerable media.

To simplify this complicated situation. I think he is rational value still at £4-5. You have the chance of a jackpot with an EPL move. Lots of short term dividends in the remainder of this season too most likely. 

But you’ve also got significant risks of price collapse.

This could be due to the City move falling over (i.e he confirms a stay at Barcelona or move to PSG).  Now PSG is rationally fine but in sentiment terms you could see selling just because people are disappointed he didn’t go to City.

Then the other risk of any player at this age is a major career threatening injury which can happen.

So a pretty knife edge decision that can go very well or very badly. 

I generally do not like those situations. I think the clincher for me is “What else is available?”. There are probably other players that have a high chance of a similar jackpot in a market recovery without the big red flashing risks. 

Yet. Those risks are unlikely to materialise in the next few weeks and whilst he’s in this form? It would be very difficult to sell him.

Other Barcelona players are also available.

Pjanic was excellent here. In fact, whenever he plays the full game, he’s really really strong. He does get rotation but he’s also played 3 full fixtures in December. 

He can win on baseline alone – and he is getting plenty of chances. If he hits 300+ a couple of times in the remainder of this season nobody should say they weren’t warned. 

Really not dissimilar to what Kroos has been producing. And probably available for 50p or under. A very savvy pick up which could easily result in overwhelming smugness for a braver trader.

Pedri is now on the platform. He’s landed as a midfielder which is not unfair.

My fears of a promising Barcelona youngster getting quickly overbought have not come to pass in this miserable market. 

But very little good has come to those who chased them and it is pretty tone deaf of FI to put them out this week in my opinion. Obviously they were going to get pumped and dumped leaving some people holding a heavy bag.

Yes people are responsible for their own actions but I don’t think FI really need to be baiting people into this right now. Anyway. 

He’s doing quite well – overall baselines can be relied upon to be decent, but in the last 8-10 games goal threat has been very low and assist potential quite weak too. 

So, I’d say 2 out of 5 stars at best at the moment. But he can improve. I’d call him a good pick for a patient trader normally but right now you can get more “here and now” players for this money.

I wouldn’t expect wins exactly – but he is playing very well and getting rave reviews. So if anything, a price rise could come from that kind of sentiment based optimism in a healthier market.

And Dest deserves an honourable mention for bagging his first assist. The only surprise there is that it is the first because his chance creation is consistently good. 

He gets marked down a bit for some average possession numbers in recent games – but we also saw very nice stuff in early December so overall I still like him.

A good young player – and I think he will remain FI relevant beyond any initial “new and shiny” phase – he’s consistently good possibly performing around 3.5 out of 5 stars.


21 December

Real’s recovery continues – 5 wins on the bounce now. 

And it was a good FI display, even if we didn’t see monster scores yesterday with the goals spread between the team.

Benzema did very well, only losing the matchwinner to an Eibar goal keeping him from a very competitive total. Scored and provided two assists. 

He’s The Man and not going anywhere anytime soon. Amazing IPD pick and a capable winner on his day too. Likely to reward the braver trader – the main risk is him getting a major injury or similar. But I’d say the balance of risk/reward is pretty favourable.

Another great display from Kroos – his days of regular rotation are over at least if Zidane likes winning. Solid numbers as we expect.

I highlighted Lucas Vazquez recently as an underated pick. Bagged a goal here and it’s a generally good display. He’s in contention and earning his place in this team. 

Better from Rodrygo lately after a spell of poor form. Started here and fans are happy with the performance. 

Provided an assist – had chances himself. Decent involvement. If he can string more performances like this together he can start to look very undervalued very fast. 

He’s under £1 now which is incredible for a former Real Madrid darling who was over £3.50 not long ago. A poor few months isn’t going to end his career he’ll get chances. 

People tend to overreact very strongly in this market and may find that ends up being very expensive.

Real’s injury woes clear up too.

Hazard making yet another return soon. This is a make or break season for him. A very capable winner given 90 minutes he’s shown some really nice stuff when playing. But that’s it – he’s got to play. But do not rule out a comeback.

Odegaard on the way back too and I think traders have made a double error on him. Firstly – in going too crazy on him in the first place. And now – going too negative on him and dropping the price too much. Traders who go overboard in buying often tend to overreact in the selling too.

He’s looking decent as value longer term prospect. Who can win now given a game.

20 December

Atletico have been my new hipster team of late.

When a team has a bad reputation but you can see a clear improvement – we should be on alert for big profit potential.

And Atletico had improved in November and started dominating possession. December has been… well back to old ways actually. Although, Salzburg and Real were tough away games so could be forgiven. Home to Valladolid in early December was better.

This week they crushed lowly Cardassar in the Copa del Rey – 77% possession which is ridiculous – a good sign. 

But then vs Elche at home yesterday we wanted them to show they are out to dominate a weaker side like they did in November – but they didn’t. Good result at 3-1 but Elche shaded possession.

So we’re back to questioning them and w’ll want to watch upcoming games closely. They have a mixed bag of fixtures – but plenty of soft teams where they will have a chance to showcase their intent.

Suarez did well anyway – 2 goals including the matchwinner and not far off top forward at all. Awful overall contribution but all we need from him is goals. Looks consistent for those.

Have to say though – so are many other players that don’t come with the huge risk that goes with the 32+ year old veterans. Brave trader who goes for this because if you are holding when he is injured or similar… not pretty.

Felix is vulnerable to this recent downturn in Atletico dominance – he’s very strongly tied to this. If Atletico return to November form then he is primed to do very well. If they revert to the old Atletico as they have recently – he’s going to struggle again.

Lemar was very good for his 69 minutes. Couple of decent efforts, good overall contribution too. Really nice run to setup his first chance actually.

Wasn’t long ago he was one of Europe’s hottest teenagers. Having a good spell in recent games. Came very close to winning a dividend recently and he could do it again – even when Atletico are only getting around 50% possession he just needs to play a full game. 

Plenty of uncertainty as he is not a regular 90 minute player and may also get a transfer. But he is currently one of my favourite underdog picks at a really strong value price. 

Pretty much the perfect FI performance from Barcelona. Except they didn’t win. But it does showcase the best Barcelona have to offer.

Not that a standard match report will agree – from a critics perspective there is disappointment they could not make the dominance count.

Hardly needs saying that Messi is the best of it here. Back into double digit shot statistics and the only surprise is he didn’t score more than one. Very close to another win and it’s only really missing the penalty (scored the rebound, mind) that has cost him the forward category win here.

And unlike others who are lucky to string wins together – Messi is pretty much just getting what his exceptional numbers deserve. If you designed a scoring system to reward Messi specifically – it would look like the FI scoring system.

Coutinho back in the starting line up. He’ll get average match reports but in FI terms it’s superb as usual. Strong overall contribution. If one of these 5 efforts flies in he’s likely challenging for a win.

May well be sold in January as Barcelona are broke. Might just suit both parties by now. Coutinho just won the CL with Bayern and I think there is evidence to suggest his struggles are more Barcelona’s fault rather than Coutinho’s. 

Incredible FI player. I have to say, to see the price sitting at 69p to 94p… this may be one of the biggest undervaluations I have ever seen on this platform. Pure panic and short sightedness. 

Whether he settles at Barcelona or goes to any decent club he is overwhelmingly likely to prove that low valuation very wrong.

Griezmann is back to getting poor reviews from critics in this game. Though, in FI terms  it’s really not that bad at all. Numbers over the last 5-6 have been very good and he’s even sitting on my Explosion Imminent list right now – I added him last week.

He wouldn’t be there based on yesterday’s performance but overall he’s looking very close to wins. So he can stay on that list for now.

Alba superb again here. Really is in great form and looking very close to more big scores.

21 year old CB Araujo is making waves on the back of very consistent good performances. He scored here, though goals are not something we expect.

Have to say, he looks pretty terrible for FI most of the time. There is a reason I don’t feature Barcelona CB’s too often. Not on FI yet anyway – but I’d be wary of this one. If people buy up a young Barcelona CB just because of the hype… they are likely to end up disappointed.

18 December

Decent result to beat Sociedad, but not a dominant game for Barcelona so scores were modest.

I’ve covered Griezmann’s dramatic improvement recently here. This was another decent performance – just incredible he did not score really. 4 chances, one pretty much on the line. This is quite similar to last time.

Looks consistently very close to big scores. What I will absolutely not accept though is this:

Even in 2020 the world is not yet ready for this abomination.

Messi calmed it down a bit  – no double digit shot statistics this time. But still by any standards this is a strong FI display. You feel like he’s going to put up a big score every other game right now and that’s not just luck. 

De Jong got a collector’s item of a goal. Does not exactly get regular chances but he was a bit further forward than usual here so something to watch. Any holders unlucky actually because on most days when Barcelona are dominating he would generally put up a very big score with a goal. The problem is it’s hard to see how he gets more than 1-3 per season tops. 

Alba very strong again. He’s on my Explosion Imminent list right now. Incredible strike actually to equalise. Needed the matchwinner or clean sheet to win last night but he’s well in contention for regular big scores.

Disappointment for CoutinhoPedri’s good displays are keeping him out of the side. Pedri had another good game in reality so Coutinho has a fight on his hands yet again.

We’re still awaiting Pedri’s IPO but he could be a good pick – sadly, too many will likely target an obvious youngster getting this many minutes at Barcelona and getting him for a reasonable price may be difficult.

17 December

Kroos continues his great run of FI form with another dividend. 

The performance isn’t a great deal different to his usual – just this time one of his longer range cracks flies in. He should be scoring more often and this drought going back to June before this goal is likely very unfortunate. 

But then he’s so good he often doesn’t need a goal which is why he’s so dangerous.

Really – not many players have a right to win this often! Like Kimmich – he may be overperforming. This is luck – but then – he has endured periods of rotten luck too where he has been really close to winning but just hasn’t. Luck does tend to balance out in the end. Or rather, probability just does it’s thing given enough time.

He isn’t significantly better in terms of raw numbers than he has been throughout 2020 – things are just falling his way and Real are in better form recently. 

He is probably better to watch though – instrumental in this Real upturn and it’s very difficult to drop him right now.

Good example then in this market – if you get a consistent winner – do you actually want to sell them knowing that winning with this kind of frequency is a bit fortunate? 

Possibly. But then you do have Team of the Month dividends to think about where he looks a shoe in.. and the next 7 fixtures are so juicy for Real. Eibar. Granada. Elche. Celta. Osasuna. Alaves. Levante. It’s a shooting gallery for Kroos.

Without that fixture run I’d say yes – we should probably take advantage of the win in this market – whilst perverse incentives like strong IPD are still here the case for being twitchier when selling is strong.

The great fixtures ahead make it a more balanced decision because he could easily continue this win rate against opposition that soft.

A nice problem to have for holders, and we don’t get enough nice problems these days.

As covered in the last review this Real improvement is a direct benefit to Benzema, ramos and Carvajal. Reliable performers.

There is less evidence it’s benefiting the sexier players traders might want it to. Asensio limited to the bench here. As is Rodrygo. Odegaard back in training so may figure soon and he looks very good to me. Recent negativity likely overblown.

Vinicius did play here and had a good game to watch, even if the decision making is a little sloppy at times. But he assisted Kroos and had very good chances himself. 

Much better – and currently looking the closest to a big score of that batch of promising pre-season hopefuls who have both trend fit and potential strength.

Remarkable turn around at Real overall. Prices have been heavily punished as their awful form combined with the market downturn – but they are still Real and will have pulling power if the market recovers and they maintain this kind of level.

They couldn’t have better fixtures so I think going into that run with at least some Real representation in our portfolios feels like a good idea.


14 December

Routine win but an important one for Barcelona after two straight defeats including that disaster vs Cadiz.

What seems to most fans to be routine or average though is much more attractive to us as traders. Some lovely stuff on display here.

Messi, obviously. This was a magical performance even by his standard. Actually, scratch that. I was about to comment on how getting 12 shots in a game is unusual. Which it normally is but he has hit those kind of numbers in all of the last 3 games.

I commented on this last week – he just looks like winning everytime he plays it’s not even fair. I really don’t have much more to say other than I expect this to continue. 

The tricky thing is not so much whether he’ll win but rather how to navigate the transfer drama. 

I don’t think that’s too tricky. At the £5 mark he can justify that at Barcelona or get some kind of dream EPL move which would be a big bonus. Holders can be happy with either. 

The only bad outcome would be retirement or a move to an ineligible league but that does not seem likely. Or perhaps a really serious injury. Always a big risk with players at this age.

Coutinho is getting more heat for struggling and not making an impact in the press. But in FI terms he’s very close to big scores. Just a goal away and he is getting plenty of chances. 

He may not even need the full game to win which is just as well since he rarely finishes one recently. 

His £1 price tag is a massive over reaction to short term issues in this nervy market – whether he improves at Barcelona or goes to any reasonable Europa/CL club – with full games and in reasonable form he’d be one of FI’s best for sure.

Griezmann however is making fans think twice with recent displays – and his improvement for FI purposes is very much continuing. 

This is lovely for a forward. Elite level baseline stuff that is just lacking a goal. And he had 4 chances, very close to scoring. 

His transformation has lasted a good 5 games now – enough to say it is consistent. If he continues this way then it is more when not if  he makes more strong dividend challenges.

I was actually looking forward to a potential PSG move where he could be The Man. This improvement makes that less likely.

But really, for £1 or under – it doesn’t matter that much. Whether he settles at Barcelona or moves on he is clear value. 

Alba magnificent. Do not count out these low key veterans – they are likely to win. And at 40p to 58p he can net a good 30% of his purchase price or more in a day. Not too big a risk to dip in and out of these in small numbers.

Dest attractive too and a capable winner for sure. A better longer term hold but in the short term it is Alba who is looking most likely to win.


13 December

One of the few big hitting sides to come through yesterday – and perhaps surprisingly it is the consistently inconsistent Real Madrid.

Main issue? The first goal went to Casemiro, not exactly a favourite. And the other came courtesy of Atletico keeper Oblak.

Kroos the closest, who was inching towards taking Gold Day Star Man for another win but was just short by 9 points . This is the kind of consistency we expect from Kroos. And he’s not even scoring. Has been getting chances though in the last 6. A really strong FI player and one of the few to be forcing something of a recovery with good form. Such as it is, in this market.

No reason it will not continue. The word “masterclass” is used in pretty much every conventional match report he gets in recent games and that works on FI too.

Benzema strong again. Great performance to watch. We’re expecting him to score every game at the moment. Maybe even more. 

Great IPD and he’ll make his performance challenges too. 52p is exceptional value and he’s on a contract until 2022, unlikely to be hanging up his boots anytime soon.

It’s a left field pick but if Lucas Vazquez wins soon we should be in no way surprised. Inches away last night. And very close midweek vs Gladbach too. 

He’s quietly starting plenty of games having wrested the starting spot from Rodrygo who is in weak form. And he is racking up the points. 

Incredibly, available for perhaps 14p to 26p and he is looking close to a score that could carry a Gold Day. It’s a brave trader who strikes out of his own like this in this nervy market but they could end up very, very happy.

Carvajal was solid too. Had a reasonable chance to score. Never the most exciting player but players do not have to be exciting, just good value. 

Under £1 now and he is a capable winner. A bit like Alex Sandro recently – he can pop up with a win he’s reliable. And it’s a potentially huge percentage of the value when it happens. Plus even if he makes it back to just £1.25 which is very acheivable it’s a massive capital gain.

Ramos worth watching closely. Never far away from wins at all. Contract expiring – deals can start to be negotiated with a new club in January and EPL rumours are starting. Could also stay at Real.

If he looks like staying at Real I’d be very happy to sign him up if we know he will be around next season. Very happy indeed. Until that certainty is there though, not so much.

Overall Zidane was tottering but he has recovered with 3 good wins in just 7 days. Through the slip ups of others they somehow managed to get away with topping their CL group after another good midweek display versus Gladbach. Which is a sporting crime they do not deserve that!

It isn’t all Zidane’s fault though. They have been missing lots of key players and have had a big injury list. Hazard and Odegaard are on that still but they have a much better roster now.

The question of underperforming players is still there though. Asensio. Rodrygo. Vinicius. All showed promising signs, and could well improve. But none of them have lived up to high expectations from fans or indeed from me in pre-season for FI purposes.

What we’re seeing here is better FI performances at Real – but not from the players traders would want. The veterans and fringe players are carrying them.

6 December

I had a feeling we’d see an Atletico winner soon and we nearly had two in a day. 

As covered here and in the midweek CL review the improvement in this side has been remarkable.

I have joked many a time that Atletico is where performance scores go to die but when the facts change we need to change our views too. 

Ironically this isn’t actually Atletico’s most dominant performance of recent times but it was good enough.

I’ve long picked out Lemar as the most likely lad at Atletico even though he was seemingly dead and buried on the market. Including this time last week where I noted he was close to a win.

He was 8 points away from proving me right as he was nearly Star Man. Unlucky to be subbed off on 79 or he walks it.

Genuinely excellent stuff from him for two La Liga games now. Numbers that leave most forwards for dust .Let’s hope this continues because if it does he is a total steal. It was possible to pick some up for as low as 30p just a week ago – no joke because if I sold today at current Instant Sell that’s 66% gains minus commission. 

And for what risk really over the long term? He’s only 24. For 30p it’s just silly.

The best traders are going to be identifying these logic gaps – players who are rock bottom but looking close to wins who are low risk too because of their profile. Massive gains available here and if you are acting on good information there is no reason to fear this price range at all.

But do be careful because 90% of bargain bucket stuff is in the bargain bucket for a reason. 

Trippier is coming back into it too, and I noted this in last week’s scouting: 

“Trippier is looking competitive and is getting plaudits for great displays. Not undeserved and we may see it appear on FI before long. Looking a bargain right now at 26p to 46p”

Two assists for him. Possibly more encouraging is the massive overall contribution. 

Insane – if you went for this 26p pick up last week he’s returned 16p – 62.5% of the cost. And can be Instant Sold for 36p – a 38% gain. So near enough a doubling of the money if you sold today.

But there is no reason to do so – he can keep pushing.

Huge profits on the board here for traders who are willing to use good information to do things most traders are averse to. Until they aren’t because the FI scores convince them. 

We must not wait for the scores – act on the match data.

We’re having to work harder than usual perhaps and be a bit braver but there are major profits available in this market no doubt at all.

Two tough fixtures next so there may not be an immediate second Atletico win but after that the calendar for December/January looks tasty.


Barcelona had looked good prior to this  winning 5 in 6 games but losing 2-1 to newly promoted Cadiz brings out all the unrest behind the scenes at Barcelona. 

This is a day that should have resulted in Barcelona players blowing Fi scoring away.

Messi did limp over the line to claim top forward – but he’s very lucky that other strikers misfired.

Or you could argue Messi is unlucky not to take Star Player because Barcelona lost and he was magnificent. At least in the FI relevant numbers.

10 shots in total, and couldn’t find the net. Massive overall contribution with 121 touches and 86 passes. He’s just operating on another level to any other player on this platform, only really Neymar can touch him and maybe Bruno on a good day. 

The only real surprise is he hasn’t scored big more often. 

Transfer rumours abound and this is a big deal. Older players are always risky – what if he breaks his leg this season? Wipeout. 

But you’ve got huge upsides on the board – an EPL move could see him soar over £10 with ease. At least temporarily. And PSG where he could crush it in Ligue 1. Tempting too. Plus the short term media. And if he ends up staying at Barcelona – fine really. 

You can make a really strong case for this at £5.28 at this stage. I’d be pretty confident on it – but you do have to accept that risk of a major wipeout if he gets a major injury at a very unfortunate time.

Balance of risk and reward is probably favourable. I’m just not comfortable with bets that have wipeout options on the board personally but that’s just personal preference.

Griezmann was ok, no goal this time but had a couple of chances. Overall involvement good. Looking up, team result aside.

Coutinho didn’t look good but the FI numbers are very strong – was subbed at half time otherwise he could have dominated. Hasn’t had many full games and this is his problem. 

Not entirely unusual for a player recently returned from injury. But it’s something holders want to see less of for sure.

Still, lovely stuff and whenever he plays he looks very close to some very big scores.


Real will be happy with this win after recent awful results. Just 2 wins from the last 6.

But it’s a bit of a sorry state for this club when they are content to grind out ugly victories. 

Gave up all possession and they were never producing big FI scores here.

Have a tough schedule next and a pressure CL games in 3 days vs Gladbach as covered in the midweek CL review. Through luck as much as anything they are still undeserving favourites to top the group if they win.

As per usual recently Kroos is getting credit despite weak performances from the team. He ran the show again here, at least when Real did have the ball which was only 36.9% of the time. So to get 63 touches in that he’s come out well. 

Had a couple of shots too. If anyone looks like shaking of Real Madrid’s hoodoo it’s him, and he has done recently. Could well again. But to see really consistent results Real will need to improve.

Benzema close to scoring again. Big threat since his return and unlucky not to score in the last two. He should be back and will be a strong value IPD rotation pick. With a potential outright win if he explodes.

Really hard to recommend anyone else on this performance. 

Odegaard and Asensio the potential comeback kids as per the midweek CL review.

Vinicius and Rodrgyo both look nowhere in recent games despite starting the season with high optimism including from me.

30 November

As is typical of both La Liga giants this season Barca have been bouncing between brilliant and bang average. 

This is a little show of consistency as they have comprehensively won in the 3 of the last 4 games.

And there are soft games to come so there is no reason that can’t continue. Though Ferencvaros will see rotation as per the CL article midweek.

Griezmann hits a worldy. Good for the confidence if you believe in such things. Actually, if he wasn’t so unselfish/stupid and tapped it in rather than setting up Coutinho he beats Cavani yesterday to Star Man. 

This is probably one of Griezmann’s best performances in a Barca shirt. For FI purposes certainly and perhaps just in general. Maybe his Barca career isn’t dead yet. And if he could replicate this holders wouldn’t mind.

For the price as a holder you really don’t care – settling at Barca is fine. A big transfer is possibly even better. 

The bad outcome is a sort of halfway house where he does well enough to stick around but remains an underperformer. At the moment – he’s looking very much on the up.

His fluctuations aren’t random. He’s obviously better in his preferred Number 10 role rather than marooned out wide or as a central striker. That’s both for reality and in FI terms.

Imagine getting better performances out of players with the old square hole square peg strategy. Tactical genius. A whisker away from a Gold Day Star Man.

Coutinho had a great game. Did so much in 64 minutes he could have won in that time. 6 efforts and he could have had 2 goals or more here.

Nearly opened the scoring but it was cleared off the line.  Denied at close range by a decent save. Finally scored with a big help from Griezmann.

An FI powerhouse – his only drawback is frequent 65-70 minute sub offs. I’m not worried about that – he’s cheap, he can do enough in that time to win, and it can change very quickly. Tremendous value.

Messi was just Messi – did enough to win Star Man he just needed the matchwinner to fall to him. Looks like challenging just about every game he plays.

He was set up by Trincao who couldn’t make a huge impact in 30 minutes. But per minute he did well and I’m expecting a run out against Ferencvaros next where he could do really well. High potential young player and he’s cheap. 

Alba was excellent too. For all the valid buzz about Dest – Alba is still The Man at the back. Over 100 passes here and consistently close to big scores. Not exciting but he’s astonishing value at 46p to 64p and that’s all traders need. Contracted to 2024.


Youngster Barrenetxea has been off the radar for a while but he’s a potentially exciting player if he can get scoring. First start for a while and his best chance to score all season. Didn’t take it – but it’s an encouraging sign that he’s getting in contention again. 

We’re approaching Copa Del Rey time as we get into January – a chance for youngsters to traditionally get pitch time in Spain. 

Off the back of good performances in January 2020 Barrenetxea reached over £2 – and he’s just 57p to 92p right now.


29 November

This is decent stuff from Atletico.

I often joke that this team is where hope for good performance scores goes to die. But consistently over the last 5-6 they are starting to dominate games. 

At first I thought this was due to some very soft fixtures but this is away at Valencia and they are pushing over 60% possession. 

It’s new and significant and potentially brings their assets into contention. We’ve got to change opinion if the facts change.

Thomas Lemar is one I’ve flagged as high potential if Atletico improve or he gets a move. We can see that coming through here. 

Great display to watch which is good in itself given he struggles for minutes. 4 efforts on goal and good chances combined with a strong overall contribution. Could have had a brace if his finishing was slightly better. 

His best display in… years? Do not give up hope, ye Lemar holders.

With no bid price right now he could be a decent punt because A) he might improve at an improving Atletico and B) he might drop on a decent transfer if not.

Felix’s improvement is well documented and if this form from the last 6 continues for Atletico I’d be much more confident on him. Only on from the bench here, just rested. But had 2 decent efforts. More encouragement.

I’m still not entirely sure I’d click buy. People can be sticky on wonderkids and he’s stayed stubbornly highly priced. 

Clearly better value available elsewhere. But he’s starting to look much much better than he did and it’s turned a potential disaster into a decent pick.

Trippier is looking competitive and is getting plaudits for great displays. Not undeserved and we may see it appear on FI before long. Looking a bargain right now at 26p to 46p. 

We’d have to start backing forgotten man Koke too if this Atletico improvement keeps up. 

Enormous baseline play. Gets occasional chances. He may only produce 2-3 big scores in a season but when you are getting him for 38p to 55p… that’s a massive return in just one dividend and a potential price bump when/if it comes. And at 28 years old that is not a high risk bet for a patient trader to make.

Dominant from Sevilla and they’ve looked good in the last 6 really, all be it vs softer opponents. They have tougher fixtures ahead so may drop off a bit.

May not matter for Haddadi though who was monstrous here. You’d mainly pick him for IPD due to sharing pitch time but he’s played two full matches in the last two here and the numbers are excellent. 

Not just an IPD player at all – he can win outright in a softer fixture. Could have been around 250 yesterday had he finished one of these chances if it was the matchwinner. 

Ocampos looks a bit out of form so it’s hard to back him with a more difficult schedule coming.

Rakitic and Joan Jodran  very capable too but holders will most likely need to target the softer games where they can dominate possession.

So typical of Real Madrid this season to smash Inter and then fall over versus Alaves just a few days later.

This is killing them as an FI prospect because the second they get momentum they are dragged back.

Really poor start to the match, giving away an early penalty. Then Hazard has to come off after just 28 minutes, hopefully just a knock but still to be assessed. Really disappointing for holders after a midweek comeback. 

One positive is that the numbers are really good for Real in the background. They dominated and you can’t fault the effort. But it doesn’t count on FI without the win.

Kroos gets some credit. Big baseline as you expect plus 4 shots – he hasn’t looked this dangerous in well… 2020. So close to a follow up monster score after his win in midweek. But I think I said last week Real’s mixed form is hurting him and here we are. Also should have finished his dinner which is on him but at least he’s getting chances.

Actually quite decent numbers for Asensio overall and the playing position is good. But no chances again and this is really week across the last 6-7 games now. Also to watch it was an anonymous performance.

Back to his best he can be a really strong FI player but it doesn’t look close to coming together right now. Should get more chances but time is running out for him at Real you would think.

From a trading perspective you’ve then got to consider the options. Obviously traders are super down on him right now so if holding do you sell for a rock bottom 75p? That’s very, very low for a 24 year old high FI potential player.

You could say “Ok I think I will take that – here is a different 75p player I think will do better.” Valid. Equally, you can say – “hey, he’s not too far away from a win he just needs 1 goal. And he might get a transfer later if it doesn’t work out”. 

No real right answer there either cannot be called a terrible decision.

Isco in a similar boat – but he could be very interesting. Wants out in January and an EPL move has long been rumoured. A decent FI player given good form and from a rock bottom 56p to 79p… it is so easy for him to be a £1.25 to £1.50 player if he moves to Arsenal or similar.

That’s a huge potential profit. We mustn’t forget that it is often in the unpopular players we will find the biggest gains if we get those calls right.

It’s natural instinct to stick to popular stuff and that has been right in recent weeks but that will slowly change if the market keeps recovering.

24 December

Better. I’ve been complaining about Inter’s lack of dominance recently and they’ve finally showed some. Even if we know Conte is quite a negative manager it’s good that at least occasionally he lets the shackles off.

Brozovic nearly benefited and challenged for a dividend without needing a goal. This is why he is a solid pickup and he can add an occasional goal too and when he does that can be a very hard score to beat.

Barella was decent too, managed a couple of speculative efforts and his baseline is good. Very similar to Brozovic, and younger with Italy involvement. I like him.

Hakimi at least completed the game, and managed an assist. But what should not be a surprise to anyone paying attention is that the score is still soft. 

On Twitter you see claims of bad luck etc – no. We have to get over historic perceptions of players when facts change. He is not what he was at Dortmund it’s pretty clear and has been since very early on.

I would not write him off – the goal and assist potential is strong so he can do some damage occasionally. But this is not one I’d be thinking deserves to return to a £3.50 valuation – he doesn’t deserve to. But £1.50 or so would be fair.

Martinez breaks his scoring duck as expected last time. He’s really come full circle – massively overvalued in parts of 2020 – likely massively undervalued now.

Well frickin’ finally. 

Hakan Calhanoglu gets his win and if any player deserves one this month for his consistency it is him. I try to be quite level headed but I swear if that no name Betis midfielder had chased Hakan down I’d have been pretty mad. And it was close.

But like I said in the last review 3 days ago – when a player is putting up these kind of numbers consistently – it just has to fall his way eventually. And it did. Merry Christmas Hakan holders.

He’s also in contention for Team of the Month so the consistency does get rewarded that way too. Just a brilliant FI player and remarkably, the market being what it is, you can still pick him up for £1.63 and it’s great value.

Theo was also close again, narrowly missing out on the defender win. Another goal, he’s such a threat. Milan gave up a lot of the ball to Lazio here so it’s no surprise his numbers were a bit subdued. Butas reported all season I’ve no doubt he is a regular contender and deserves his place amongst the most expensive FI defenders.

Leao is getting chances to impress in the absence of Zlatan. Not really taking them unfortunately. Not a bad performance but he needs to explode if he’s going to take advantage of this pitch time. No real reason to expect big scores anytime soon.

Another strong FI display for Napoli – just a pity they aren’t getting the results to make them count – no win in 3 now. Tough games, to be fair. They have a very nice fixture calendar heading into February including a favourable Europa match up. So I’ll be optimistic on them.

Insigne is killing it here. He scored, great overall contribution. Just unlucky Napoli didn’t win or, yet again, he’s up there competing for Star Player. Hitting the levels like Hakan is now where if he keeps this up then the big scores are inevitable and the wins are very likely.

It is a travesty that he remains under £1 on a bid and this is almost certainly a tragic error on the seller’s part.

Zielinski has significantly improved in the last 5-6. Ahead of a good run for Napoli he’s looking like a contender. Again, another who can by now win his almost entire valuation in a single game and it is fairly likely he challenges soon based on recent numbers.

Berardi close again. Not Sassuolo’s best game so his score was just short at 204 but in more dominant games he can really get himself up there as we will know by now.

Looks in strong form and whilst they have a few tough games there are also some soft fixtures in the diary – Genoa, Parma, Cagliara Spezia, Crotone all before mid-February. Berardi could do some damage there.

As could Boga. He is yet to prove it largely because injury niggles have kept him out. But he’s starting more and more and the numbers are solid overall. He’s out of fashion but definitely not out of contention. 

23 December

What was I saying about Pirlo being safe again? 😉

It’s not that bad. Recent results overall have been excellent at Juventus but this 0-3 home loss to struggling Fiorientina is a shocker.

Cuadrado ensured they played 70 minutes with 10 men, but to be fair they were already 1-0 down from the 3rd minute. Sandro bundled a second into his own net. 

A bad day at the office all round. 

And I think that is often the best way to treat a shock result like this. I take more of a cue from the overall form and Juventus are looking good at the moment.

If the next game or two is poor we can consider that but I don’t think it serves us to overreact to a single game generally. They are a good FI outfit.

Games like this will also tend to make everyone look bad for FI purposes. 

Ronaldo can be excused – he got so many chances and played well. Very close to yet another big score he really is heating up and is likely to bag more wins before too long on this form. 

As ever – just comes down to how content you are to run those retirement/big injuy risks with players at this stage of career. 

Sandro battered in match reports for his poor clearance that went into his own net. And was generally disappointing to watch. 

However – he did have 2 efforts on the correct goal and the numbers are decent especially with 10 men. Solid player, not exciting but there is a reason why we see him appear with a couple of wins most seasons. Looking particularly strong in the last 5-6.

Bentancur is unlikely to string wins together because he relies on baseline as discussed last time. Good though – I am guilty of underrating him because of his lack of goals/assists and I’ve tweaked my method a bit to give these guys a bit more credit. 2.5 out of 5 stars sort of level, maybe 4 challenges a season. Which ain’t bad when paying peanuts.

Chiesa considered one of Juve’s best he had a good game. Little doubt he is a first teamer now. FI numbers are poor here though and that was true vs Atalanta last time. Both tough matches to be fair. Genoa and Torino in early December much better.

Only one huge score at Juventus so far but I think he’s a solid hold with his trend fit and he is definitely capable of more big scores, looks 3 out of 5 stars right now but I think he can get towards 4 out of 5 stars without having to improve too much over a season or so. I think holders can be happy with that.

McKennie keeps starting too which is a breakout youngster story that is going under the radar this season with the market so miserable. Looks good though – he’s doing really well to establish at Juventus and he’s very capable of big scores.


21 December

Worth quickly noting that Belotti keeps plugging away at Torino.

Unlucky not to score here vs Bologna. Arguably he should have had 2. Over the last 6 for club and country he’s put away 4 and assisted once which is very solid. That goal output is as expected – he’s unlucky not to get more assists with the chances he creates.

He’s a low key favourite of mine. I tend to be a big fan of players who are already worth more than their price yet have a jackpot upside – in this case if he gets a transfer which is possible.

This market is not rewarding players like this right now – but I would suggest not using what this current paniced market is doing as the measure of our success.

What we want to be doing is abusing the gap between reality and what the market is currently thinking – picking up players like this right now gives a very strong chance of future returns.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a big score from Barrow. And like many players he is dropping recently. What gives? 

He’s really not doing much wrong at all. Quite the opposite. Threat is good. He’s creating chances. Overall contribution good. 

Bologna however have only managed 1 win in 6 and that is the main issue for Barrow. Often the case at smaller clubs. 

Remains a good player and capable of wins as well as decent IPD. Bologna will need better form though and the fixture calendar is fairly tough.

This market creates dilemmas for players like this. Perfectly good player that is worth a long term hold. Yet you can’t really expect a win in the next few weeks.

In normal market conditions sticking and showing patience can be right. But at the moment there are clear incentives to change horses faster. We may be selling a player too cheaply – but if we are getting a player we think can do better sooner for a cut price too – making the move can be a good play. 

You’ve increased your chance of winning sooner and potentially it’s cost neutral.

This isn’t actually specifically about Barrow – but this is the sort of player where he’s quality but not likely to win very soon where this sort of thinking can be warranted.

Alternatively, I’d be very content also to just hold a player like this – he’s undervalued and patience is likely to get rewarded too. 

At the moment the most optimal results will likely be acheived with more active trading though as covered in State of the Market recently.


Were it not for being dumped out of Europe we’d be fizzing about what great form Inter are in. 

6 Serie A wins on the bounce now and with no other distractions they’ve got every chance of winning the league this term.

I’m disappointed with this display though for FI purposes. Inter have got results with mainly negative play on the counter attack. 

This is fine versus tougher possession based on teams – you can understand it. But often we see them open up versus softer sides – but not here. They gave up 58% of possession at home to Spezia which is not great for Inter holders.

Spezia like to play so Conte is inviting them on. Being content to give up possession even in soft fixtures massively limits their FI performance output.

Yet, it’s not all bad. You can lazer focus some talent in here.

Lukaku and Martinez are good for IPD alone, so any wins when they explode with 2-3 goals can be considered a bonus. And Martinez has the possible transfer, with Lukaku having the Euros in the locker. 

Lukaku scores again here. Martinez very close and does bag an assist. He is on an extended scoring drought but with the chances he has this seems unlikely to last much longer or we’ll have to burn the laws of probability to the ground. 

I’d be very happy to hold either.

Brozovic back again- seems very much in from the cold. So much of Inter’s play goes through him that even one goal can be enough, and we might get one every 7-10 games. Can also nick a win on a lower scoring day without scoring. At a bargain bucket price it’s definitely value. 

Barella is similar to Brozovic just younger. High baseline with occasional goals and assists to spike the score. A slow burner but definitely good value. 

Hakimi scored a lovely goal. But as reported for a while in Scouting now – this overall contribution is garbage for FI purposes. It’s getting worse if anything. 

We’re hoping he can score enough to get over the poor baselines – but with defenders that is not a good place to be.

It’s not because he’s being subbed off. Or not having full games particularly. It’s because his Inter numbers are fundamentally very weak right now. Given 90 minutes I would not back him at the moment.

Let’s note this lesson in how much a change of club and/or tactics can help or hinder a player on FI. 

3 soft fixtures next – we need to see them playing more positively versus minnow teams – they do sometimes. Perhaps Conte likes to be unpredictable. Which is all well and good but it is hurting Inter’s chances on FI.

I’d be most confident in Lukaku/Martinez as they don’t require performance wins, just IPD. And both have other reasons to hold them as discussed. 

Bruno holders might feel hard done by this morning but the dubious award for most unlucky traders this month has to go to Hakan Calhanoglu holders.

He’s missed out narrowly twice recently and was close to another big score here, although to be fair it wouldn’t have challenged Bruno’s or Ghazi’s big totals yesterday.

He laid on a superb assist, created other chances that weren’t finished. And had a goal ruled out by VAR because Saelemaekers (love that name) was offside. 

The headline – he’s getting consistently close to wins and when you do that this often it has to fall his way eventually. 

He’s doing so well AC Milan seem keen to keep him. This could kill his Manchester United speculation which is an opportunity missed for holders if so. But, he’s perfectly fine at AC Milan anyway where holders know he is the Main Man and a consistent challenger.

It’s particularly impressive Hakan wasn’t too far away here given AC Milan put up an awful display from an FI perspective, giving up 68% possession to Sassuolo.

Other players were not immune to this though. 

Massive dip in numbers across the board including for Theo Hernandez but he very nearly powered his way through it by laying on an assist and getting into positions where he could score from. 

Never going to be a big scoring game for Milan but it does show again Theo’s attacking strength. And it’s rare that Milan play on the counter like this.

This also made youngsters Leao and Diaz look bad. 

Leao at least scored a wonderful goal breaking his duck and with Zlatan out we may see him get a chance. 

He’s been a very hot and cold pick – talented no doubt with some potential. Has shown really encouraging signs every so often but then fades away. Often due to lack of pitch time.

Will be worth watching because with a full game and a more dominant AC Milan display like we are used to I think there is hope for him yet.

This is truly awful from Diaz in terms of numbers but with possession this low it was never going to be his game. Continued limited minutes from him – and even per minute this is significantly worse in the last 4-5 appearances than the very encouraging stuff we saw in October. 

AC Milan have injuries to Zlatan and possibly Rebic (illness) and so this could be a decent chance for him to get more minutes and prove himself – no doubt he is very talented and FI relevant.

Berardi may be out of the spotlight but he’s doing a lot right. 6 shots here, 1 goal, but could have been more. And huge involvement.

This was the same vs Fiorentina last time out. Such a great FI player – he’s a forward but he could go toe to toe with the big hitting midfielders on his day. 

Sassuolo are a pocket performance powerhouse but smaller clubs still don’t win as many games as the big hitters and this will hold him back. But over a season he should get enough soft games where he can punch through.

Sassuolo have 3 tasty fixtures in the next 5 though so don’t be surprised if we see some Sassuolo players coming through. 

Berardi is the best but given 90 minutes Boga isn’t far away either. He still seems to be gradually getting introduced but he’s good and I would not give up on him just yet.

Locatelli missed this one with yellow cards but he’s also well in contention when Sassuolo have better days.


A bit more like the Atalanta we know. Results are picking up recently. 4-1 demolition of Roma here.

What is hitting FI chances though is inconsistency in team selection with key men Gomez and Illicic having corona and possible depression issues. 

Gomez is a worry recently – rumours of a rift with the coach and a January exit. With a player at that age, no matter how good, that’s a risk a trader doesn’t really want to be running in my view. 

Ilicic holders can be more optimistic. He’s still being lightly used but the coach is clearly keen to get him firing again given his comments. He played just one half here but managed a goal and assist. Great contribution. Really hasn’t gone away in terms of quality but he does need consistent minutes, same as anyone.

Pasalic continues to be injured until January, again he remains a good player when fit.

Zapata finally breaks this miserable goalless streak yesterday which has run through November and December. Wit hthe chances he gets that is truly remarkable for a player of his calibre – he can easily have had 5-6 in that time. 

If this marks the start of his turnaround he could be another great IPD rotation option. All the more so since that dry spell has crashed the price.

Gosens scores again – huge threat for a defender. And I mean huge. We can expect a goal every 3-4 games at the moment. And he’s creative too.

Baselines are a touch low so this limits the amount of times it really punches through but you can almost make the case for being an IPD player given you are chalking up 4p per goal in defence. And occasional wins are possible too.

The duo of Alberto and Immobile combine here. Goal and assist for Immobile and a goal for Alberto. 

Alberto got 198 which isn’t bad without the matchwinner. It’s unfortunate for holders that his goal has dropped versus Napoli who dominated possession. With a goal Alberto can be pushing 300. Strong player.

Unlucky this time but it shows what he is capable of. And he could be scoring every 5-6 games so his chances of a few big scores over the season are strong. And they could be tough to beat on the day. 

Immobile’s consistency is incredible. Go back 12 games and only ONCE has he failed to score. 

Rotating him for IPD at well under £1 is not unlike printing money.

20 December

Much more like it. Juventus are getting consistent wins and also dominating the softer teams now which bodes well for good FI scores. Pirlo worries pretty much over at least for now.

62% possession in a 4-0 win is exactly what we want.

They therefore provide the Star Player yesterday – although in unorthodox fashion. Bentancur takes it without goal or assist. 

He’s a very high baseline player. He also had a chance to score so it would not have been surprising to see him close to 300 yesterday.

To be honest I think I’ve overlooked him and underrated him because of his weak threat and assist potential. 

He makes up for this with an unusually high overall contribution both offensively and defensively. Huge involvement with very high passing accuracy, he’s tidy and not losing many points for errors. Interceptions, recoveries, tackles. He’s quietly racking up the FI points.

No reason he can’t win again with a big baseline display like this. And it is surprising he hasn’t scored or assisted all season – he gets a few chances and creates them too. So perhaps 2-5 times a season we might see something to add to these big baselines. 

I can’t call him a regular contender but 3 out of 5 stars or maybe 3.5 out of 5 stars with Juventus in very good form. And for 53p to 69p that is obviously good value.

Morata superb. Goal. 2 assists. Had a little dry spell recently but was never far away. It shouldn’t be this easy or this cheap to win significant IPD’s. 

And I would add – he is well within range of outright wins too he should not be pidgeon holed as an IPD only player anymore. At old Atletico yes – not at Juventus.

Ronaldo was excellent, a deserved top forward. Scoring for fun right now and we can expect at least a goal a game. Emphasis on at least – with the chances he is getting recently 2 goals in most games is not over optimistic. 

His overall contribution is decent too here, which it isn’t always. He’s benefiting from Juventus’ better results and more dominant performances. Little doubt holders will see their rewards – unless they hit a bad luck event like a big injury. Then, it could be a car crash and this is why I stay out of it personally. 

The Matching Engine is a new era where we do not want to be taking these kinds of all or nothing risks in my view. FI won’t pick up the pieces anymore.

Superb game from De Ligt – against these soft opponents he is starting to dominate more and more. This is his best Juventus display I can ever recall. He even had a rare chance to score.

Finally realising a bit  of that potential – which is to say he’s looking a bit like one of those CB’s who can win on a soft day with a higher baseline. 3 out of 5 stars tops.

Which is why his status as one of FI’s most expensive defenders in the past is one of the biggest collective delusions in FI history. And we’ve seen a few.

As I was at pains to point out back then – it was never going to be better than this. Him reaching this level is literally the best case scenario.

However, at under £1 now – with an improvement there to see – you can now make a decent case for him.

18 December

A little slip for Juventus as they draw 1-1 with Atalanta, ending their 4 match winning streak.

This is nigh on inexplicably poor from Chiesa, surprising since he scored the only goal! Amazing strike too – he’ll get the plaudits for that. But what’s upsetting me is that the underlying numbers are possibly the worst I’ve seen from him certainly in a Juventus shirt. 

If this was his usual output I’d be writing him off. Fortunately – it’s not. His usual level is much better. And the performance was considered good so he’s still a regular. I’ll just chalk this up to a poor game and move on – the last time he scored he managed a 320 so I can forgive this one.

I still like you, Federico. But don’t do this again.

Morata should have scored. Twice. Possibly three times, actually. No dice – but at least he’s still getting chances and whilst he hasn’t scored in 3 games now the chances of him ending that are high given the opportunities he is getting.

I think he’s a great pick and as people knee jerk because he hasn’t scored – that can be when the value opens up.

Dybala left out again with only a late cameo. Such mixed messages. The latest according to Juventus Chief Agnelli is they have just made a massive contract offer and “see him as a future Captain”. Well. Play him then? 

Such strange behaviour. I don’t think holders care too much either way. Stay at Juventus and play – holders are almost certainly very happy. Come to the EPL? Holders are probably very happy a lot sooner. What can’t continue is this halfway house where he wastes away on the bench.

For all the headcahe with this – the price makes it easier. Unless we really think he’s going to be a Juventus bench warmer forever there is potentially a massive profit available here.

AC Milan checked again, two draws on the bounce. But they still sit top of Serie A. Just.

In the last match day Hakan Calhanoglu holders were desperately unlucky not to win. They are unlucky again – he’s so close. 

He played well – just lacked the points for the win and for either 1 of his 3 shots to go in OR 1 of his 3 key passes to be converted by team mates. Very close to Star Player again. 

Unfortunate for holders – but when a player is getting this close this often it’s pretty much a matter of time before it falls his way. To Explosion Imminent with him – and that’s probably a bit late he should have been there after the last game.

Nobody else was really close for Milan.

Leao had a rare full game – but was very disappointing for FI purposes. And bang average to watch. At times he has shown good stuff on FI on a per minute basis. So given a run of games and better form we could get optimistic – but he does not seem to have won over the coach just yet.

Big win for Inter, bringing them just 1 point behind Milan at the top of Serie A. It’s good they have that to fight for given their European knockout.

Negative from Inter though, giving up possession and inviting Napoli on. Conte tends to do that in tough games, but then they usually open up in soft fixtures. So targetting kind fixture runs for Inter is key. One like the next 4 games, perhaps.

There is little of note in this poor display where they only managed 40% possession. Except perhaps Lukaku‘s goal – he’s so consistent. Great for IPD alone and he can win.

Barella has been looking excellent recently too and he’s good value as per recent scouting reports.

Brozovic is back from the dead. Starting regularly recently – but picks up an unfortunate injury here. He probably misses the next one, unclear how long he will be out. A shame because he is looking very good. He was on Conte’s naughty list but a new contract is rumoured and that could bring him back into contention as a great value option capable of a few monster scores per season.

And Martinez I like as per the recent Transfers update.

Hakimi continues to struggle, starting on the bench now. As per recent reports – just looks a shadow of himself at Inter. The systems players operate in are key and we need to remember this – we can’t assume a good player moving clubs will stay good. And players who were previously never in contention can improve dramatically at a new club or under a new coach.

Napoli have been a form team and a 0-0 away at Inter wouldn’t have been bad.

Then in late drama Ospina concedes a penalty by pawing at an Inter leg and Insigne is sent off for dissent after challenging the referee.

Gattuso rages at the overreaction: ‘In England and Scotland they tell refs to f*** off all the time!’

‘When I was a player, it was a sport, the referee should show some common sense and understand that after a dubious penalty, a player can say f*** off and the official should pretend not to hear it.’

Oh how we miss the old days. Anyway.

That’s an early bath for Insigne – a shame – because this was an excellent display otherwise and he is very close to another Star Player here.

4 efforts, the one late on which he sort of fell into.. actually scratch that, looking at it again it’s almost an amazing intentional backheel… that could have been the matchwinner and turned the game. Just a few minutes later is when Ospina gave away the penalty. 

Insigne will miss 1 game. Looks very strong recently though. 

The other stand out is 27 year old full back Di Lorenzo. Huge baselines and very close to scoring. He’s in there with Alba, Sandro and Carvajal as the sort of quality reliable older player that might not be all that exciting but they can turn up with big scores consistently. 

14 December

Inter are in good form overall but are reeling from that shock European exit midweek. They were expected to beat Shakhtar but just could not finish the glut of chances they had.

There is no way to sugar that pill – losing European football altogether for a team like Inter is awful for market sentiment. 

It’s not just the potential Gold Day’s they will miss, particularly in the Europa where they could have gone all the way. 

What is a key factor going into 2021 is not just those games but the anticipation of them. It gives people a reason to stick late in the season which matters.

For Inter – they remain a strong team and prices are currently so low they can get away with this European exit whilst remaining very strongly within true value.

But players are going to lean more heavily on transfers and Euro 2020 involvement for those later season reasons to hold.

It’s bad – but I wouldn’t overreact either. It should mean less rotation in the league and they can still dominate.

Yesterday vs Cagliari they played well. 

Barella challenged strongly, in fact if the luck of the matchwinner goes his way then he beats Maddison to the midfield dividend. Solid from him and as per previous Scouting reports he is a player I like.

I do not think it will be the last time we see him up there this season. He’s a slower burn patient pick for sure but the value is definitely there.

Lukaku scores again – standard. We can expect a goal per game, often 2 out of him realistically. He loses a lot from a lack of European action as he can really bully late stage Gold knockouts. 

But for none holders the price drop following that is a definite opportunity – £1.25 to £1.59 is a slam dunk bargain for his IPD return and potential out right wins. Plus his Belgium involvement is very helpful for later on.

Martinez has crashed too – but this 37% week drop is just way too severe. Still has every chance of a big transfer and because of this he wasn’t totally reliant on late stage European action. Under £1 is just a steal. Ridiculously so.

Rare start for Eriksen though he only got an hour. Created plenty early on that went unfinished – unlucky not to score himself actually.

He’s a FI good player – just not a fit at Conte’s Inter. If the right January rumour comes off he could bounce very sharply from 83p to £1.13p.

Sanchez was excellent yesterday.  Slow start due to injury but when he gets full games, and he is more often lately, he’s looking a real contender.

He is probably the most savagely hit by the European exit because he lacks a transfer reason to hold and has no Euros involvement either. Still, very cheap, and if he turns up with a win soon nobody should be surprised. 

If he keeps this up and keeps starting he will be a shoe in for my explosion imminent list.

The story overall for Inter is that they were expected to go through but didn’t – and that’s bad. But the current nervy market has
severely clearly over reacted and whilst existing holders will be licking their wounds – it opens up some real bargain opportunities. 


Good dominant win for Napoli – huge potential scores on the board here though the goals fell to what many traders will consider to be the wrong players.

Lozano came on at half time to score the equaliser and setup the second. Good game for him – but he just didn’t have enough time on the pitch to make it count on FI. Close, though. 

He’s shown some good stuff even if he’s not a slam dunk FI fit – if we could rely on him to finish full games I’d get interested but he hasn’t done for 13 appearances now. And I don’t think he’s good enough to do it without a full game.

Petagna added the second. Good goalscorer and I noted his goal a week ago too. He’s probably rightly aggrieved to get so few minutes this season given his scoring record at SPAL. 

Starting to get more though and he’s winning games for them. Underrated player and if we see him getting regular starts here or at any club he’d likely be a very solid IPD rotation option.

Insigne was a monster here. He’s a forward but he can go toe to toe with Kroos or Alcantara on days like yesterday for baseline. Over 100 touches. Crazy.

Had 4 shots too and really not far away from adding a decisive goal. Even with a goal Messi still beats him yesterday with his huge total.

But this kind of showing from Insigne is why I have been at times left wondering how he hasn’t scored bigger more often this season.

In probability terms he just should have. But just because something is likely doesn’t mean it will always happen over just 10-15 rolls of the dice. It’s like having a great hand in cards – you can still lose.

He banked a win recently – on this evidence – he should be challenging more and holders should not have to wait too long.


Dybala the standout player to watch, he got a lot of praise for this performance.

Ironic – because in terms of overall contribution for FI purposes this was one of his weakest for a while. Unlucky for holders that this drops on the day he finally breaks his scoring dry spell.

It’s far from bad – give him the match winner and he’s up in the 220’s and that’s on a bad day. 

The problem with this is it educates casual observers, incorrectly, that this is as good as it gets.

Most games, I’d expect a matchwinner to be putting him at least to 250, and he is a player well capable of 300’s too.

He was subbed 10 minutes early which takes an edge off but he also didn’t seem to like it when Morata came on where he seemed to get pinned to the wing and his touches per minute tanked.

We are used to him being shunted around a bit but usually it doesn’t tell – I usually expect bigger scores from him and that hasn’t changed.

The transfer rumours are heating up too. Could be a big profit here and £1.57 is just a steal whether he stays at Juventus or moves. 

The halfway house where he stays at Juventus but gets continued rotation is the outcome to avoid but even then, at this price, it’s not that bad. My feeling is he won’t accept a bit part role much longer.

Youngster McKennie excellent again. This is beyond youth experiment he is earning his place now. 

A bit like Dybala he’s unlucky that his 2 recent goals have dropped in his poorest games. But usually, a goal is going to do good things for him. Golden chance to add a third goal in 3 yesterday. Denied by a good save. 

One of the better youth stories of FI this year, making his way in a big team. Under the radar to date maybe, but he’s showing real potential.

Chiesa was solid. No chances on the board but he’s really advanced and getting on the ball in the box a lot. We know he can score from here and he has the numbers for it to count. Lovely.

Both Cuadrado and Sandro close.

Cuadrado edges it between the two due to superior assist potential but by enough to be worth twice the price? No. I suspect Cuadrado has just been more popularised recently as he now famously beat Sancho.

This is a fun one.

Theo Hernandez pops up to win a long awaited, and deserved, defender dividend. But he does it whilst conceding 2 with no clean sheet. 

And Hakan Calhanoglu hits the post THREE times and if any of those goes in he is cruising past Maddison to win easily given that without a goal or even he only lost by 1 point. 

Hakan holders must be crying into their cereal this morning this is so unfortunate. 

Maddison holders counting their lucky stars. In fact, so are Messi holders potentially as a match winning goal likely takes Star Man off Messi despite his 324 haul.

Theo scored twice which he probably has no right to do – once is enough for him. So a little fortunate. But the win is not fortunate because he so often produces “near miss” sort of numbers that it had to swing for him eventually. 

Usually, I’d expect that to be with a more conventional clean sheet plus a goal or assist which he is well capable of. But he’s so attacking that these explosive days might well come along once or twice a season. 

A good reward for patient holders of a quality player here. It’s what this market needs.

As for Hakan holders well. Bad luck. But they can take consolation in the fact he is very likely to put up big scores again and you probably won’t have to wait too long either.

And if he does drop on that Man United January rumour holders might consider themselves lucky after all.


7 December

Insigne bags his star forward dividend – it’s been coming and it’s a nice reward for patient holders.

I was pleased to see this one because as I wrote last week here – I spent a good hour checking my work on Insigne last weekend.

I’ve always been confident in him and he has been close lately but just kept falling short. It made me wonder whether I was missing some important detail. 

But after some time picking over it all all I could really come up with was that he is a good FI player who has been a bit unlucky, and maybe the injury didn’t help as he took a while to get back to full fitness.

When a player is getting himself in the mix for wins this often though – eventually it is going to fall their way. 

260 with a single goal and subbed off early on 79 is very healthy. Not many forwards can do that with just 1 goal and that’s why he is so strong. He can do this again – in fact, by rights holders can expect him to do it more he is rarely more than a goal away from a big challenge. 

He tends to need the games Napoli can dominate if he is to win with just 1 goal. Here Crotone had 10 men for a long spell and that helped. But Napoli often have over 60% possession like yesterday that is not unusual.

Hugely undervalued player and given enough time I’d be confident that he is going to make people realise that he should be closer to £3 than to £1. 

Elsewhere Petagna was an interesting inclusion, a rare start for him. He is quietly picking up minutes here and there lately, and he gets his chances. He scored his first since late October here – really should have had more.

I was expecting him to feature a bit more this season He’s been on loan at SPAL where he could scored 16 then 12 Serie A goals in two seasons – which is very impressive for a small club striker. Worthy of respect. And he’s only 25. May well get more pitch time or a decent transfer at some stage. Not a priority target but he’s worth monitoring at a crazy low 29p to 44p.

6 December

Better from Juventus. 2-1 hardly emphatic but recent form is solid with 4 wins in the last 6 and 2 draws. 

Pirlo a bit more secure. Need to string some wins together in the league though or they are going to fall behind. 

From an FI perspective it’s encouraging that they are dominating games in the last 6 – something that was not always true in October/November. Better.

All we really missed is a big name goalscorer. 

22 year old McKennie came off the bench to score. Quietly he is one of the best young breakout players at a big club for FI purposes this season. 

Obviously he has a way to go but all the ingredients for a good FI player are there. And he’s getting a decent amount of minutes. Unlucky that his goals have not fallen in his better games because he is capable of massive scores. 

A symptom of this miserable 2020 that he languishes at 39p to 59p – he’s done so much right. An incredible bargain for the patient trader.

Dybala better, again. He seems to have one great game then a miserable one then back to good again. Or so the traditional match reports say.

In FI terms – he’s consistent and even when a poor game is reported in the mainstream he’s not far away for holders.

Getting great chances lately and he’s only ever one goal away from very big scores. Under £2 now is crazy and it’s hard to see credible scenarios where you lose that bet outside of a horror injury or similar.

Whether he stays at Juventus and settles or goes to another decent club the chances of success are very high starting at a price that low.

Chiesa had another good game to watch. Definitely established fast as a regular – not a surprise really as Juventus wanted him for so long. 

Really strong overall contribution including 4 interceptions and 6 recoveries. 10 touches in the area. Created a good chance that wasn’t finished. Had a good effort himself. Very close to big scores. Excellent. He goes on explosion imminent.

Cuadrado great again. Two assists. A competitive score only narrowly beaten by Trippier. Now that he has moved to defender he joins the elite group of defenders who can be consistent challengers. Another for explosion imminent.

Nice scoreline at 3-1 vs Bologna but Inter really gave up possession and it hurt their FI scoring.

This has been a theme in the last 6 but they did have tough opponents and I thought that might be it. I thought they might open up more against Bologna but no. 

Something to watch – I wouldn’t quite peg them as a low possession side yet they dominated games in October versus softer teams. They have softer games to come in December/January so holders will want to see them play more positive football or it could become a real hindrance.

You can see Hakimi suffering for that here. When I saw him score 2 I thought I’d have to re-evaluate my recent bleak scouting reports. But not really. 

When a defender scores two and only hits 227 with the matchwinner that is not a positive sign that is a massive red flag. It did convince some buyers though because he rose a bit.

We know Hakimi is a threat from his Dortmund days but form wise… these goals came from nowhere. Hasn’t had a reasonable chance for Inter since… late October.  

Overall numbers are not great though and it leaves him with a lot to do in terms of goals and assists to challenge – very undesirable in defence. Inter will need to improve and dominate more and Hakimi will need to improve to get consistent team selection. 

Certainly better at under £2 than he was at £3.50+. But are there better FI defenders for half the price or not far off? Sure are.

Lukaku scores again. Brrrrr goes the IPD printing machine. It shouldn’t be this easy but these are unique circumstances as discussed in State of the Market.

Excellent from Alexis Sanchez actually. One of his best FI games for Inter, just didn’t punch through because he couldn’t finish one of his 3 chances. 

Had fitness struggles but he’s getting closer to wins. Strong value for 66p to 90p for a likely winner.

A second start for Brozovic who may be back from the cold in Conte’s book. Second assist in two games. Getting his customary long range blast in each game too and if just one of those flies in he could produce monster scores. 

A forgotten man at 56p to 70p and if he keeps this up he is very likely to force attention back to him. 

30 November

Convincing 4-0 victory over Roma although possession was pretty equal, not quite so one sided as the scoreline might suggest.

Insigne had a good day, coming close but not close enough to Cavani. 

But for holders it’s tinged with disappointment because on a day where he scores the matchwinner and assists you really expect him to be doing much better than the 200 mark.

This is down to the tougher match up – limited shots, lower possession and more wayward passes than usual. Just takes the edge off. 

I chewed this over for some time this morning trying to find reasons why he keeps falling short recently. It’s not like he hasn’t had his wins in 2020 but lately it seems a struggle. 

He’s been out injured sure so hasn’t been available at times and then not always at full fitness. He’s had some bad luck and you can point to some poor finishing. 

He should be scoring more with his chances and we know he is capable. That low scoring rate of 3 goals in the last 10 is putting too much pressure on that one goal to line up with his better games. Only 1 of those has been the matchwinner which is just luck.

When his goal/matchwinner drops in a tougher game like here where Napoli do not dominate it might not be enough. 

But when it drops in one of his better games he has the capacity to score very big. He’s proven that historically and little has changed. 

I still think he’s a good player that’s struggled with injury and some bad luck.


Hakan agonisingly close to a very big score here. 5 efforts on goal and good chances amongst them. With an overall strong baseline.

One of his efforts hit the post. Had one of those gone in, he’s taking the midfield dividend yesterday with ease. Had it been the matchwinner he’s taking Star Player.

And generally to watch – a much better performance generally than his poor showing last game.

Seems like he’s off the boil but he really is not far away at all. Can easily be that next player to make a comeback. Manchester United links don’t hurt either.

No major news elsewhere. Kessie scored a penalty. He’s capable of an occasional win particularly if he takes penalties off Zlatan permanently. 

Brahim Diaz started again which is good. He did ok but no major impact. I like him and he’s shown the ability to win in previous outings.

Barrow at Bologna is quietly ticking over. Nice overall numbers yesterday, had a reasonable chance to score. 

Scored in the Coppa Italia this week too. Assisted in the previous league game. 

Just worth noting that he hasn’t dropped off and he’s still performing very well. Capable of winning again.

29 November

3-0 win over Sassuolo – a better result for Inter after a rocky spell which put Conte’s future in doubt. Still is, but this helps.

Not a great FI display though – they gave up possession to their opponents and didn’t mind doing so. Not a favourable feature of FI teams.

They don’t always do this though – mainly just against tough opponents. Inter have been poor recently but they’ve also had tough fixtures. They have a much easier run up to Christmas and even into January. I expect an improvement.

Alexis Sanchez could be primed to benefit. He scored here and made a decent contribution. Can do much better than his 163 with the matchwinner suggests. Something of a bargain at 67p to 87p and could easily be the next for a bounce back.

Martinez a huge danger and it is a wonder he did not finish. A good performance but wasteful. Did provide an assist. I have been no fan of this trade when it was up near £4 that was insane and it has deservedly crashed.

But at £1.58 to £1.82 now – that’s when you go for a trade like this. On the downswing. He can justify that value in IPD and can so easily drop on a huge transfer rumour. Good pick now.

Barella can do much better than he has recently too versus softer opponents where Inter dominate. Nobody paying attention should be surprised if he turns up with a big score over the next month and he’s jsut 92p to £1.11. And still just 23 with Italy minutes too.

Sensi is working his way back to fitness gradually. Once the biggest hype player on FI – he’s struggled with fitness. But he is a very capable winner when in form. 65p to £1 is sensational if you back him for a return to the starting line up. He was north of £3 this time last year and his ability hasn’t changed – only the hype and the current level of fitness.

Lukaku rested here but I really like him as per recent Scouting. Strong value that can explode but also does just fine for IPD alone at £1.72 to £1.90.

And Eriksen is well on his way out with those transfer rumours heating up. Great for holders and he could well land on his feet after a torrid spell at Inter. Does show that good players will often find a reason to dig themselves out of holes in a way that hype based players can’t.

Big games coming up for Inter – they need to do well vs Gladbach and Shakhtar to secure a Europa spot. They could dominate the Europa and traders will love that. 

Lose European competition though and it’s a real lost opportunity. So when targetting the above having a backup reason to hold like a transfer is a great idea, or at least we are looking for rock bottom prices. 

All the above mainly have them so… despite that risk… I’m not actually too stressed if they do go out of Europe when I think about it on an individual basis.

Defeat for Sassuolo but given they dominated the game – it actually showcases some good FI stuff.

More encouragement for Boga holders. I said last time that he was capable of better. He scored and assisted in that game but still ended up with a mediocre score.

This seemed to lead some into selling as they thought “well he can’t do much better than a goal and assist – he must be bad.” This analysis is too basic.

He did really well here and if he drops a goal on a day where Sassuolo dominate like this he can do very well.

I would abuse this recent negativity because the evidence says recent sellers have got this wrong.

Usual suspect Berardi was strong too. Really consistent, amazingly so for a smaller club player. Solid choice.

And Locatelli too is not far away with over 100 passes plus had a decent chance to score. He’s a whisker away from monstrous totals and probably available for under £1 all wrapped up in a kind trend fit with Italy minutes into the bargain. What’s not to like.


A bit like Sassuolo Atalanta dominate but get a poor result. It hides some promising performance numbers. Do have that soft fixture up next vs Midtjylland as per the CL review.

It’s the usual suspects. Gomez. Ilicic. Zapata. Haven’t heard much from them very recently but all are still well in contention in Serie A and in Europe. 

Gomez and Ilicic require a bit of nimble trading around fixtures/form given the age and a quiet spell where they are down in price but no worse in the numbers is a good moment to get them. A moment like right now.

Zapata is similar – an incredible 8 game goal drought but this just has to end with the chances he is getting. Or he’s really messing with probability.

I’d expect Pasalic to be doing well in the coming games too but he is unfortunately sidelined with injury.


Oh Morata. Sent off after the final whistle believe it or not for saying something he shouldn’t have in earshot of the referee. Dummy.

That’s after another goal and decent FI display. An IPD monster and actually not too far away from challenging for performance wins outright. Remains a slam dunk bargain for under £1 despite the red card. In fact it probably makes it a great time to pick him up because people will overreact. 

Better from Dybala to watch. And for FI too but then this is never really a problem even when he appears to play badly. 

He is crushing the FI scoring here and is so far ahead of your average forward it’s not even close. Yet, he didn’t finish one of his 6 chances and Juventus didn’t win so he’s not putting up a big score here. 

Still – there are the building blocks of +300 monster scores in his stats. Needs to sort himself out with regular minutes but he remains a potential FI powerhouse despite recent struggles. Can win literally any game he plays.

Cuadrado is getting heat this week as OPTA switch him to a defender. Rightly so because this is his position. But Sancho holders are aggrieved because he nicked a midfield win from Sancho just before he moved position. 

Conspiracy? Probably just bad luck for Sancho holders – he is obviously a defender and the move is right. OPTA are just very slow on these positional shifts.

But now we’re talking. In defence I’d put him up there as one of the best defenders on FI. He can crush it from here and he’s well worth the £1.09 to £1.28. 32 years old maybe but contract until 2022 recently extended.


Explosion Imminent

Players by position showing exceptional performance strength in recent games