As traders we’ve always got one eye on the next set of football fixtures.
The games create a real sense of buzz and camaraderie around the Football Index community, as people look forward to seeing all the goals flying in by the minute, along with the real-time score updates on the performance buzz charts.
It all makes for a great experience on the platform as there’s very few things that beat a PB win or, if you’re lucky, a positional clean sweep (i.e. owning the top performing players from each positional category) on a gold match day.
For the traders focused on finding some of the hidden PB gems on the Football Index, it helps to have a set of criteria to follow when marking out your PB investments.
And so in this article, I wanted to take a deep dive into the Football Index scoring matrix as well as reveal some of the factors one can use to pinpoint a PB friendly player.
The experienced traders reading this will already have a clear picture of what a good PB player looks like, but it’s never a bad idea to see a fresh perspective and share these insights for the benefit of the newcomers.
So let’s get started…
Dissecting the Football Index scoring matrix
Now, in my Football Index explained article, I introduced readers to the scoring matrix, which can be seen below…
The matrix should be the starting point for new traders scouting for PB talent, as you’ll be able to compare players based on their ability to consistently replicate the positive actions shown above.
The most important positive actions that we should be looking at here are:
- Goals (45 points)
- Winning goals (35 points)
- Assists (20 points)
- Clean sheets (25 points for defenders and 40 points for goalkeepers)
- Team wins (18 points)
I class these actions as the most important primarily because they are awarded the most points under the current matrix.
Although I’m sure a few others may disagree with me on this and I’d be happy to hear their thoughts why in the comments section.
Ideally, you’ll be looking for players in each of the three positional categories that can score plenty of goals, provide a fair few assists along the way and be on the winning side more often than not.
What you’ll also see is that defenders have a wider range of actions that they can score points for, as they are awarded points for clean sheets, whereas players in the midfield and forward categories don’t score points here.
This brings me onto a unique example…
Earlier on in the season, right after the Football Index increased dividends across the board, I identified the Real Madrid captain as a good PB prospect and bought 300 shares at £1.06 each on Saturday 19th October 2019.
His team had a favourable run of fixtures ahead and I saw that he had a good chance of winning some performance buzz dividends during this period.
He’s a defender well known for getting his head on the end of corners and is Real Madrid’s primary penalty taker.
At the time I felt it was a no-brainer as there were plenty of opportunities for him to find the net considering the quality of the opposition that he was set to come up against in the next few weeks.
Here are the results:
He was on the scoresheet 3 times (2 for the period that my shares were eligible for in play dividends) and you can see from the image below that he also managed to secure a top defender win on the back of a solid performance against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
I was delighted with the return although I had to instant sell for a smaller profit as I urgently needed the funds for a real life situation.
Ultimately, there are clear benefits to owning a player who can frequently attain the highest weighted positive actions on the Football Index scoring matrix, as the positional wins generate dividends and often bring capital appreciation along with them.
However, it’s also important to note that there are a few secondary actions that also play a part in a good PB score. These actions tend to be:
- Key passes (6 points)
- Crosses (3 points)
- Accurate crosses (4 points)
- Shots (3 points)
- Accurate long balls (2 points)
- Passes (1 point)
Admittedly, there is an intense debate among the Football Index community about crosses. The argument mainly boils down to the view that crosses are overpowered on the current scoring matrix and that the action should be nerfed in the next matrix review.
This so-called “crossing exploit” is best exemplified through the PB performances of Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander Arnold, who often attains high PB scores by racking up an impressive amount of crosses per game, most of which are deemed inaccurate by Opta and not penalized by the matrix even though they don’t reach their intended target!
But that’s a discussion for another day.
Now that you understand some of the intricacies behind the Football Index scoring matrix, let’s take a look at a couple of factors that can significantly influence PB scoring.
Set Piece Takers
Those of you reading this article who have some background knowledge of fantasy football will be aware of the significance of set piece takers.
In fantasy football, having a player in your team who is the designated penalty, free kick or corner taker can give you an advantage over other fantasy players, as dead ball situations often bring about goals and assists which score fantasy points.
Usually, set pieces account for 25-33% of all goals scored in a league. They almost never account for that amount of training time or resources. That percentage seems to jump a bit in international tournaments because teams are more risk averse, leading to fewer open play goals, but similar numbers of set pieces.
Fantasy Football players will be pleased to know that the importance of set piece takers also rolls over to the Football Index, as the players taking the penalties get the matrix points for goals and winning goals.
More so, the players taking the free kicks from wide positions and the corners collect the matrix points for crosses, accurate crosses and assists if the crosses result in direct goals.
Here are a couple of great examples illustrating that set piece takers can bring in the money…
Lionel Messi – takes most corners, all free kicks and penalties for Barcelona
Dani Parejo – takes all set pieces for Valencia
Trent Alexander Arnold – takes free kicks and some corners for Liverpool
Toni Kroos – takes free kicks and corners for Real Madrid
You get the point.
A good set piece taker can prove a hugely valuable asset for your portfolio, as the dividends won can be reinvested in other areas of the market should you choose to do so.
Sometimes, statistics will provide you with all the insight you need to determine a player’s PB scoring capability.
As an active trader I often look at various metrics when assessing a player’s PB winning potential.
Within each playing category, I’m looking for a number of different things…
- High amount of crosses per game (preferably 4 or more per game)
- High number of passes per game (ideally 50+ per game)
- Goal scoring threat (at least a goal every 10 games) – I’m less strict on this one!
- Good number of key passes per game (2+ per game)
- Good number of shots per game (1.5+ per game)
- High number of passes per game (50+ per game)
- High PB base scores (90+ preferred)
- High number of crosses per game (3 or more a game)
- High number of shots per game (2.5+ per game)
- Decent amount of key passes per game (1.5+ per game)
- Ability to score multiple goals in one game
- Decent PB base scores (60 and above)
To add to this, there was an outstanding bit of PB analysis done by Football Index KBrown on YouTube, and the first point he mentioned was that 52.61% of PB winners have an average of 6 or more ball recoveries per game.
You can check out the full video below…
When used within the right context, statistics can prove to be very useful.
If you’re not entirely sure on the best place to get the numbers, I wrote a post detailing the main football index data providers who offer these statistics.
Now let’s move onto the next factor…
A Manager’s Tactics
There are also instances where a manager’s preferred choice of in-game tactics can provide certain performance benefits for players on the pitch.
A good example of this was seen with Quique Setien’s former club Real Betis.
The manager was – and still is – known for favouring patient build up play from the defensive unit, which allowed the centre halves to accumulate a very high number of passes per game.
Here’s an excellent video overview of Setien’s tactics during his time at Real Betis.
His appointment at Barcelona led to price rises in the likes of Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and a few other Barcelona players.
This was primarily because traders anticipated the increased potential for PB dividend wins due to Setien being at the helm, as he’s a manager known to stick to his core principles and therefore it was expected that he would carry over this possession-like style of play to the club.
And although we’re yet to see a PB win come from the Barcelona defence or midfield, it’s worth pointing out that Sergio Busquets has posted some very decent scores under Setien without any goal involvements, particularly on the 15th and the 25th of February.
This brings me on to my final point…
Certain player roles lend themselves well to the football index scoring matrix.
Defenders playing in midfield who put in a considerable number of passes, crosses, interceptions and tackles per game can notch a few PB wins in a season.
A good example here is PSG’s Marquinhos – listed as a defender on the index – who often plays as the single defensive pivot in the Parisian club’s midfield.
On the other hand, deep lying play makers who string together lots of passes during a game can be a good PB investment.
Manchester City’s Rodri is a prime example of a player tasked with the responsibility of recycling possession and making short simple passes to his fullbacks and midfielders either side of him.
He averages 79.97* passes per game, has a PB base score of 122.36* and a PB average of 136.22* (*as per IndexGain’s BuzzPro stats at the time of writing), making him a decent candidate for PB wins in the midfield category, especially if he gets on the score sheet as City are on the winning side more often than not.
Quite surprisingly, he pulled off a remarkable midfielder PB and star player win on the 19th of February, scoring 332 points as City defeated West Ham 2 – 0 in a rescheduled Premier League game.
And this came on a night where Champions League games were being played simultaneously!
And here are some of his stats for the game:
A whopping 178 passes completed with 94.7% accuracy!
Now for those not aware, on match days where the Champions League or Europa League are in session, a 1.25 multiplier is given to the PB scores for players from the teams competing in Europe.
So it was an amazing sight to see Rodri topping the PB charts on a night where he had an artificial handicap applied to the competition he was playing in.
This post has hopefully shed some light on the characteristics of a good PB player capable of winning performance buzz dividends.
The data available can be looked at from so many different angles, and I thought it would be useful to share how I approach performance buzz scouting as a trader with a small portfolio.
Now it’s up to you to go and find all the gems out there and profit!