It’s been a very busy week reviewing the weekend’s action and revising my site player ratings following what we have learned in pre-season and the early games, so I didn’t get to my usual Tuesday update on the blog.

We have a lot to catch up on so I’ll try to make up for lost time here!

This time last week I talked about the importance of consistency. Early season always has those freak big scores foxing the market, and this season with a new scoring matrix in play it was reasonable to expect that to be an even bigger factor than usual. 

It certainly has been a bit like that. But eventually, the really strong players will rise to the top and the over hyped and over priced will get found out. 

You only know who the real deals are if you have the stats and the ability and time to interpret them. 

Never buy on the basis of a performance score you don’t understand.

Insigne, Griezmann, Brozovic, Depay. Consistent big scores and likely wins for these players were probable based on good pre-season analysis and if you are a member you’ll have seen all that in the Scouting weeks if not months ago. But there are other players out there who have won and been bought heavily who are extremely unlikely to repeat that anytime soon.

This is particularly important because it is the ones who can win and then go on to win again (whilst having the right trend fit) who will go on to become the “must have” players of the season you will look at in November or February and think “Damn, I wish I’d gone big/bigger on them”. 

And of course, the ones carrying high prices and high expectations based on hype but not much substance will go the other way eventually.

Priority one for me at this stage of the year is sorting out the wheat from the chaff that crucial week or two before everyone else does.

 

Risers

James Maddison

Maddison has carried high expectations even if staying at Leicester due to their strong end to last season. They looked very performance friendly back then.

Despite an underwhelming start, Maddison has flown and it shows the continued importance of paying attention to more than just the on pitch stats (as I mentioned in my latest guide on the False Choice between following trends and good research that many traders seem to think exists).

An England call up for the qualifers looks on the cards and something like that can cover up a multitude of sins.

Leicester have struggled a bit. Maddison hasn’t scored and some of his numbers particularly for involvement and passing accuracy have been down by his high standards. He does have 2 assists though and his goal threat is reasonable too, so he isn’t doing that badly.

They have had tough openers against Wolves and Chelsea and even Sheffield were not the pushovers Leicester may have hoped for. 

Home to Bournemouth next may be the chance to show what they can do and I do still think they are capable of showing some performance friendly stuff this season for a smaller club. Others like Perez might benefit too, and maybe Vardy for IPD purposes. 

The fixtures toughen up after that, though.

In general I am expecting a bounce for players involved in the qualifiers. I think many traders may not have fully clocked that qualifiers now count for performance and you are going to get some pushover games to boot where players could run riot. 

It could be the spark that starts dragging people’s awareness away from who scored last weekend and more towards how important the Euros is going to be to trading this season.

Lorenzo Insigne

A monster score for Insigne which was great to see. 

He has real quality and looks set to be a strong beneficiary of the new scoring matrix given his creativity and goal threat. And he had a strong pre-season. It should not have been a surprise to anyone who was paying attention that he got this big score.

Last season was a poor and unsettled season for him and he can do much better.

Will these big scores happen every week? No, probably not! But he is well capable of hitting the 250-300 scoring range regularly provided he keeps doing what he is doing. All holders have to do is keep an eye on that. 

Has also scored for Italy in both of the last games and Napoli are in the Champions League so he has that “whole season” narrative that I look for right now.

Victor Osimen

Benefting from an early injury to Remy, Osimen came off the bench to get a second brace of the season last night.

In the season opener, he was very impressive on debut scoring 2 but then in the next game vs  Amiens he offered very little at all.

Across all 3 games, his involvement is poor. So, we should not expect regular performance wins outside of limited game days like last night.

So far, he looks more of a Moussa Dembelé or Piatek character who could emerge as a strong goal scorer but does not have the overall game to win consistent performance dividends. 

This fits with what we have seen at Lille but also in the Belgian league last season.

If he kept on scoring at this rate big clubs could be sniffing around come the Summer and he may have a bit further to go in price.

But given the Fear of Missing Out in any young player he is already quite heavily bought and I think the best value went after his first brace. 

If he had real performance quality or was under £1.50 I’d be much more keen but in this price range there are already more proven young goalscorers with a potential big transfer on the horizon.

But, he’s looking a fine goalscorer on this early evidence and if he kept that up he could go a bit further. 

 

Fallers

Raheem Sterling

It’s perhaps surprising to see Sterling as a big faller of the week. He certainly hasn’t done a great deal wrong lately.

In fact, in recent months, and with a combination of a genuine improvement and a bit of help from the new scoring matrix, he looks better than ever. 

The issue for many EPL stars is that they get overbought whether they are really good or not and can carry a high price. (It can be quite hard to find value in the EPL and one reason for that is because traders like to buy what they know)

For those who don’t improve they can eventually fall back in price. For those who do improve, many traders take that improvement as a buy signal.

Better player = higher price right? 

Well, not always no. Not when the player was overpriced anyway. It was more that the ability crept a bit closer to the price, not that he was suddenly worth more.  

Despite some strong performances, he isn’t the world’s best performance player and he generally will need more than that 1 goal to challenge. In fact, a hatrick delivered just 211 vs West Ham and as traders are learning under the new scoring matrix that is far from an unbeatable total. 

Overall, he is getting better and his media profile seems to be raising too. In a Euro 2020 year, I can see Sterling doing well overall.

But, it doesn’t totally surprise me that some traders are losing patience with high priced stars who aren’t bringing home the dividends regularly. 

The bigger the price, the bigger the pressure to deliver. 

 

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