Some hefty scores last night for just a double day after a couple of 5 goal thrashings. 

I have been thinking about positional advantages and the sheer numbers of defenders and midfielders added to FI over the last year recently for various articles. 

Time was, a defender could win fairly regularly with huge baselines alone. Now, particularly on double or treble days that is really hard to achieve. No matter how good the elite defender, they will often get pipped by whichever defender happens to score and maybe even net the matchwinner. 

Not that Van Dijk scoring is unexpected, we know he can do that! Ok, scoring two is unexpected. But it is also very common for an obscure defender at a relatively weak team to steal the show and leave their higher priced equivalents in the dust. 

Midfielders also suffer from this problem, Forwards less so. It is very notable now how much less competition forwards have and they can often win with much lower scores than the other positions.

The steady stream of IPOs is a double whammy win for FI. It’s like increasing the number of horses in the race whilst keeping the odds for the punters the same. And it must generate a ton in immediate revenue as people buy up and then go on to sell.  

Now I am all for FI making some money. I want them to be financially sustainable. But eventually, with dividends getting harder and harder to win and prices getting ever higher, we are going to need a cut of that to balance out the higher prices we are paying for players. 

At the moment, we can fairly rationally trade on the assumption that dividends will at some point increase. But we can’t do that forever. 

Likely, it will just get worse! Because current prices already assume that dividends will be increased, when they are, dividends will only catch up with current prices. But people will do what they do and say “Dividends just increased! Players are worth more, buy buy buy!”. 

And we will back in the same position where prices again outstrip rational value because yields will again be weak. And we’ll need another increase. This does store up problems for later because eventually once FI stops growing so quick, those prices and yields are going to have to get rational. 

Not everyone agrees but I want to see tiered performance buzz to reward those 2nd and 3rd place finishes where they play well but get pipped. It will reward consistent performers and make the game less frustrating. And it will spread value more evenly across the market. 

Failing that, a raw dividend increase will help which I know is FI’s preferred solution. Winning will stay hard but it will be more of a jackpot when you do. 

I talk about this some more and a host of other FI issues (and some more bizarre/comedy questions thrown at me by Twitter followers!) on an interview released tonight hosted by Football Index Guide. You’ll be able to see that here later this evening.

Risers

Virgil van Dijk

Dayum, son. Two goals for a Centre Back is always going to do big things and he comfortably walked the win on what was a competitive day. 

I have been cooling on defenders in general recently because of the increased numbers of them mentioned above and because they are very much off trend so you don’t often get rewarded much even if they win. 

There is an exception here though because people will feel good about a player of Van Dijk’s quality (and Trend Alexander-Arnold who was also excellent with 3 assists!). 

Van Dijk does have some consistent threat, though generally, you can be expecting perhaps just under 1 goal in 10 games from him. So, we are unlikely to be seeing these heroics every week. 

It can be very hard to predict a goal scoring streak for most defenders. So I think if you want to get the rewards from a player like Van Dijk, they may be best for patient traders as “season keeper” holds so that you have them when they do pop up with their goal. Or goals, in Van Dijk’s case.

Alfredo Morelos

He is talking up his own chances of a big Summer move away from Rangers. He specifically mentioned the Premier League. 

With the number of goals he has scored (16 in 23) all be it in a soft league, it’s not entirely unreasonable for him to boast. 

If that form translates to a big 5 league, he is going to be a performance factor. He would be in the mould of a Piatek or Lewandowski type. Big threat with not huge involvement. So not a textbook performance player but if he can be explosive that may not matter. 

What gives me pause is his discipline record. My God. 12 yellow cards and 4 reds this season alone. Those do chip away at scores and he will need all of the baseline he can get. It also may put off a big club from buying him because he is clearly a liability (I could use a stronger word. Rhymes with cat).

Fallers

Alexis Sanchez

I did not actually see this game but from the match reports Sanchez was dire again. Rarely threatened and his passing accuracy was abysmal. 

Last time I covered him I checked his Chile stats from November and it’s like a totally different player. The Sanchez we remember from Arsenal. 

So, I think that player is still in there somewhere but he needs to get out of Manchester United before this becomes how he is remembered.

With his salary, it’s going to be tough to offload him. But it might be worth doing and just taking the hit at this rate even if they have to cover some of his wages.

I can’t see where a performance win could possibly come from this season unless something drastic changes. But Media may be better and if some kind of rumour emerges for the Summer, he may look a decent gossip pick if the price continues to tank.

Hot Gossip

Luka Jovic

Jovic seems to be linked to every big club there is, and it’s not undeserved. He has been consistently excellent. Manchester City are the latest. 

Interestingly, I first thought he would be an out and out striker (Lewandowski type) but if you look more carefully he actually gets involved all over the opposition half. So, depending on how he is used, he could be one that really benefits from playing in a more dominant side. 

Timo Werner

This move to Bayern feels almost inevitable and it would be a big transfer. Although, perhaps not one hugely covered by the British press. 

Performance prospects for Werner at Bayern could be very strong, though. He is well positioned to become a top European and Germany striker for a long time.

I started the season as a Werner sceptic but his performances have changed my mind. He has shown a tendency to be prolific, frequently knocking in two a game. And with the quality of chance and domination he will get at Bayern, it looks tasty. 

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FIT

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