It’s great to be finally seeing some real football after such a long period where the market has been driven by transfer rumour and hype!

I had a very good Summer, there is always profit to be made with the right strategy. Tracking transfer rumours is fine but what I really love is the football and then analysing the stats to see what I can see.

With the market having been driven by hype and transfer rumour for 5-6 months now, there has been and still is a significant gulf between real quality and price in a lot of cases. That can be heavily exploited for profit if you know where to look.

It’s also going to lead to a disappointment for those holding onto over priced players too long. Players who don’t have much to back up the price are now going to be tested on the performance scoring week in, week out and the bigger the price tag the more pressure there is to deliver.

Pre-season has told us a lot by now and the first games are starting to give clues too. 

As per my latest Guide on Match Days, we have to use this early information wisely in early season to set us up for success.

Risers

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial

An emphatic 4-0 victory for Manchester United over Chelsea, starts, goals and penalty duties saw huge rises for this pair. 

The scoreline probably was a bit flattering. But, results like this are important for trader sentiment and the “feel good factor” is as important on FI as it is in the dressing room. Particularly in early season where most traders don’t have too much else to go on.

Has the “curse of Old Trafford” been broken? For new readers, this is the term for the consistent poor performance scores from United.

From my pre-season scouting and this game, I would say things are improving and the more attacking style should improve their scores somewhat, particularly versus some of the weaker sides where they can dominate. I do not think it will be a total revolution though and we shouldn’t get carried away, we’ll have to shop for targets very carefully because there are some very weak players in the line up who I can see are being bought regardless.

I wouldn’t include Rashford or Martial in that though. 

Rashford has been a poor performance player historically there is no denying it. But, he does have that media potential to prop him up and the likely addition of a share of penalties at least is helpful. He managed a win with a 201 although that is probably a touch lucky given we only had 2 of 5 leagues in action. I would be very surprised if that score had won with all 5 leagues in play, especially this year where average scores should increase. I don’t expect a +200 to be the easy benchmark of a strong score like it used to be.

Still, I expect him to improve a bit this season and in a Euros year he has a good profile as a solid hold.

Martial has shown more performance potential in the past than Rashford. He had a decent pre-season although versus Chelsea his FI relevant stats were a little low by his standards despite the goal and general good performance. I expect versus softer opposition he could do better and he looks a decent option. 

If United have a good year he is one of those in pole position to profit. It’s not the secret it was though and at £3 now he is getting into premium territory. Just 3 months ago you could pick him up for £1.80 which shows the value there is in thinking ahead. 

It was very possible to see this coming from pre-season rather than waiting this long.

 

Fallers

Neymar and Pogba

The normally undisputed Index Kings are taking a beating this week to howls of anguish from old school holders everywhere. Is it fair?

Well. It’s complicated. 

If we start with Pogba, there are reasons to be nervous about holding him as well documented on this site before. My position has always been that whilst the risk of him leaving the EPL is live I am staying well clear. If that happens, the drop will be savage. And the fear of it will cause a drop anyway. That’s been true and was always going to be whilst the possibility of a transfer remains open.

However in terms of this latest drop, Rashford taking a penalty seems a pretty weak reason for such a savage fall. Pogba is not a brilliant performance player as it is. He is heavily reliant on penalties for almost all of his returns, that much is true. But as a proportion of his returns, media is the absolute lion’s share.

It is all about whether he stays or goes and that’s the thing that needs to be focused on for holders or long distance admirers. There is a good reason to be nervous on Pogba but penalties really isn’t it. Maybe it was just the final straw for some holders but in my view if your belief in the player is that weak you should have sold already.

The drop for Neymar is another interesting one as another transfer only gets him more headlines. And it is looking more and more likely. There is a narrative that outside of Ligue 1 he won’t get to play so many easy games versus farmers. But there are plenty of farmers in La Liga and as a performance player he could be expected to do just fine there, I wouldn’t really expect too much of a drop. There is a potential bonus to him being happy and hopefully more injury free too.

Nor do I ever buy the “he will have to play with Messi” argument. I think this is way overstated. Same team or not you still share the match day with such players. And great players are always going to be in great teams with other strong players alongside them at the end of the day.

This sort of player hasn’t been part of my plans for a while and I am very glad to be out of them in recent months. They have been overpriced ever since Share Split hype. But if they keep taking a beating and other players keep catching up with them, circumstances depending, they might start looking decent value again.

 

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