Word of warning, I wrote this on the 1st July, a week ago. (9th July – Updated summary at the bottom of this post).
With a Dividend increase on the cards from 9th July and some Europa and Champions League games in August, I thought it would be worthwhile looking at key players from each team still in the competition, especially as players will get a 1.25 multiplier for PB scores. There could also be an increase in IPD's, although I'm not expecting it, would be a very welcome bonus. My strategy over the last few weeks has been to place some cheeky bids on players I like that are still in both the Europa and Champions League. With commission coming in at the end of July on Bids and with the Sell Orders due shortly after that, this has been an extended “Fire Sale” and it's been great to get some cheap Div performers and some youth prospects at significant discounts. It's always worth thinking ahead of the crowd. Most people have been focused on current league games, youth etc but I prefer to focus on the European competitions and play for IPD's today, while hopefully picking up some PB wins along the way and taking advantage of those Gold Days and European competition speculation ahead of the next set of games. Always be thinking a couple of steps ahead of the crowd.
Some key dates here. Inter v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma didn't get either of their legs in, so that will be reduced to one leg, played on August 5th and 6th. The quarter-finals will be played in a knockout tournament from Aug 10-21. It's rumoured that all the games will be played in Germany.
For the Champions League, the remaining 16 second legs will be played on the 7th/8th August. The quarter, semi and final will be played in Lisbon between the 12th and 23rd August. The draw for both Europa and Champions League will take place on the 10th July.
So, today. 9th July is a perfect time to take advantage of IPD's on players within these teams. Those marked in * are teams that are elegible for European IPD's
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 2-1
MAN UNITED 5-0
ISTANBUL BASAKSEHIR 1-0
MAN CITY* 2-1
REAL MADRID* 1-2
So, looking at both competitions, I think, if you want to play for Maximum IPD's and PB potential, there will be two entry points. The first will be on the 9th July (before Div increase) so you are covered for all the Europa Last-16 games on the 5th/6th August and the Champions League remaining fixtures on the 7th/8th August. There will then be a second IPD entry point on the 23rd July, to ensure you get all the mini-tournament players for both contests.
Of course, all this depends on which teams get through. I'm no expert on this, but some teams will be ring-rustier than others, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 for example may not be quite as fresh, so I'd give a nod to La Liga, Serie-A and EPL teams, at least in the qualifying knockouts in early August as they may have a match fitness advantage. My preference is also for players in teams that are likely to be in Europe next season.
The early August teams are as follows -:
GETAFE v INTER
Apart from perhaps Angel Rodriguez, Marc Cucurella and JAIME MATA in particular, there are not many Getafe players I like here so I'd favour Inter players, especially as they seem to be in better form. ROMELU LUKAKU has an IPD Yield of 18%, earning 35p, but has only nailed 2p in PB Divs. However, from these teams he has the highest Top-3 PB Average (T3PB) scores of 221, ranking him 1st here amongst the forwards. STEFAN DE VRIJ is a defender to note with a T3PB of 252 while one who is waiting to explode is LAUTARO MARTINEZ with 20p in IPD's and the 2nd lowest IPD PEG of 0.09 although he has been out of form for a while. ANTONIO CADREVA stands out in midfield with a PB Yield of 16% with 7p in PB Divs and an IPD Yield of 24%, earning 11p in IPD Divs. Another challenger who is a bit younger is CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN with 17p in PB Divs and 15p in IPD Divs, although his PEG figures aren't as strong, indicating poorer value than the others. Inter have the upper hand here as they will have Champions League next season, whereas Getafe and fighting to get a Europa League spot. ALESSANDRO BASTONI is a promising 21yo Inter CB that has been putting in some decent scores when getting in a full 90-mins.
ROMA v SEVILLA
24yo MUNIR EL HADDADI has fallen back in favour and been firing on the restart. He has 25p in PB Divs and 11p in IPD Divs, resulting in a 22% and 9% Yield respectively and looks a good forward option. An older striker is EDIN DZEKO who has only 2p in Divs but 26p in IPD's, the highest from both squads this season. 34yo JESUS NAVAS is a defender, but listed as an attacking midfielder/winger and with 9p in PB Divs and 6p in IPD's he is worth a look with the lowest PEG but his age is off-putting. ALEKSANDER KOLAROV and CHRIS SMALLING are two other older defenders who could go well but again there is an age issue here that limits cap app. 24yo LORENZO PELLEGRINI is a good midfield option with 4p in PB Divs and 13p in IPD's. He also has the highest EGR rate. Sevilla are closer to the Champions League next season than Roma, who likely have Europa League next season and they are also in slightly better form right now than Roma. DIEGO CARLOS for Sevilla has been putting in some very good scores at CB and, crucially, getting regular 90 minute gametime. LUCOS OCAMPOS already has 2 PB wins since the restart and is a midfield option for Sevilla.
JUVENTUS 0 v LYON 1
Lyon take a 1-goal lead into the 2nd-leg. MEMPHIS DEPAY jumps out for them with an 18p PB and 23p IPD returns and looks a must buy. He showed he has recovered from his ACL injury early in the season by thumping in 4 goals in a 12-0 friendly last week. [Rant Alert] It's worth pointing out that new signing TINO KADEWERE also managed 4 goals for Lyon but is NOT on the Index – FI really need to do something about getting the IPO situation sorted out – it's unacceptable that first team players and even the reserve players are not on the index, having them on would increase speculation on these players and enable traders to get on players with potential future value. I hope they address this soon as it's vital to the ongoing growth of the platform [/Rant Alert]. 21yo HOUSSEM AOUAR has 3p in PB and 12p in IPD's but I like 23yo MAXWEL CORNET with 16p in PB Divs and 8p in IPD's showing 15% and 7.5% Yields. Juventus have a few interesting options and high PB and IPD returners. JUAN CUADRADO jumps out with a 32% PB Yield and 16p in Divs, with 10% IPD Yields and 5p IPD's and has been in red-hot form. PAULO DYBALA has also been in fantastic form, now has 33p PB Divs and 20p in IPD's. That is bettered only by CRISTIANO RONALDO with 58p in PB Divs and 42p in IPD's, quite amazing and I'd add all of these guys in. Lyon players are maybe the riskier here, even though they have a 1 goal lead, Juventus have been excellent since the restart and will be fully matchfit. Also, Lyon are not in Europe next season, while Juventus will be, so they have longer-term potential. MATTHIJS DE LIGT is a Juventus CB who has been getting regular 90-min gametime and producing good scores in the process, at just 20 he has future growth potential and less likely to be subbed than other more attacking players.
MAN CITY 2 v REAL MADRID 1
Regardless of what transpires with Man City's appeal for a potential 2-year ban, they hold the edge in this tie. However, Real Madrid are faring well since the restart and it will be close. Either way, Real Madrid will definitely have Champions League football next season, so they look the safer play to look for players over time. However, I'd be willing to add 1 or 2 Man City players I believe ‘could' move on if a European ban is upheld, so may have some transfer spec, or those who may stay at the club, and benefit should the ban be upheld and some stars leave. There are a few City players to choose from here. RIYAD MAHREZ has an 11% PB and 10% IPD Yield, returning 24p and 22p respectively. He is certainly one of the big names that could move on, should the European ban be upheld, KEVIN DE BRUYNE has lower yields but has returned 25p and 39p and could also move on. I prefer Mahrez of the pair as a contrarian pivot to KDB. However, both these guys are 29 now, so cap app will be a little limited going forward. Better options could be the 23yo's GABRIEL JESUS with 15p and 22p and RAHEEM STERLING with 11p and 29p – the latter is preferred as he has better media potential and could have some transfer spec if deciding to move on and also has Euro's likely for England next year. For Real Madrid TONI KROOS stands out, with a 41p PB and 16p IPD. RODRYGO for me is a nice option, Benzema clearly can produce the goods but he already has 11p and 7p in Divs from limited appearances and I expect him to get plenty of gametime, especially in Europe, where he has already produced the goods. VINICIUS JNR is another young player who tends to get rotated with Rodrygo but has slightly more first-team experience and also looks a solid long-term prospect. SERGIO RAMOS has been blazing a trail lately with 3 PB wins since the restart. I'm loathe to go in on a 34yo so I'll pass him up and probably keep regretting it lol, but I'm trying to think further ahead. PHIL FODEN has really impressed me since breaking through into the first team and is one for the present and the future.
BAYERN 3 CHELSEA 0
No offence to Chelsea, but Bayern should seal this deal no problems. Also, Chelsea have a fight on their hands against Man Utd and Wolves for a Champions League spot for next season. WILLIAN is a guy I really like, has been on fire but who knows what his future holds. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI is the first name on the list, 49p in PB, 56p in IPD's give him a 22% PB Yield an 25% IPD Yield, basically nobody really comes close to that. He also still has some decent cap app as I would class him as ‘elite level' alongside the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar. SERGE GNABRY has really fallen out of favour, as he didn't really find his stride after the restat, but still has over 200% EGR this season and has 9p in PB Divs and 34p in IPD Divs, better than Thomas Muller and, 2nd only to Lewandowski. I'm sure his time will come again, as he seems a streaky kind of player and is only 24. JOSHUA KIMMICH has come in for a lot of unfair stick, fact remains he has 30p in PB Divs and 12p in IPD's. OK, so a lot of those were when he was classed as a defender, but he will have less competition than on packed Gold Days to get some PB and IPD's. His rate of development in midfield has been impressive to me. A more offensive midfield option is LEON GORETZKA, slightly older but 16p in PB and 15p in IPD's this season and could be the better short-term play in midfield. In defence it's hard to look past ALPHONSO DAVIES, at just 19 but 4p in PB and 11p in IPD's but BENJAMIN PAVARD is another to note at the back with 20p in PB and 11p in IPD's, so I'd go with him in the short-term. I'll also throw in 24yo KINGSLEY COMAN who caught my eye a bit more during the Bundesliga and was regular top-10 in PB.
BARCELONA 1 NAPOLI 1
This could go either way. Napoli will likely only have Europa League next year, and that is not a done deal yet as they face stiff competition in Serie A from challenging Milan, Roma and Verona. I'd focus more on Barcelona, and have to start with LIONEL MESSI who doesn't have great cap app appeal but BOY, can he produce the Divs! £1.05 in PB and 43p in IPD's give him a 19% and 20% Yield respectively. If you add in his 98p in media, it's a fairly safe and regular returner. At some point the lack, or drop, in cap app will start to negate returns, but from all evidence, that's not happening soon. Griezman and Alba return Divs but they lack the cap app appeal. I prefer ANSU FATI, who at just 17yo has 16p in PB Divs and 4p in IPD's although he does appear to have some temperament issues at times. That should improve given more gametime and as he matures. LUIS SUAREZ could make some short-term appeal. He has been out for a while but does have 26p in IPD's which is 32% Yield, but word of warning around his 50% spread, exiting could be tricky but he has been getting some goals of late – too risky for my longer-term blood but maybe a nice punt. CLEMENT LENGLET is another one of those CB's who is getting decent game-time and posting hig scores for Barca. FABIAN RUIZ jumps out in the midfield for Napoli while STANISLAV LOBOTKA has also been putting in some good performances lately. LORENZO INSIGNE is a forward option for Napoli who has been posting some good scores of late.
So, there are around 20'ish players I've bolded from above, for a slightly more selective list, see the update below. As always, pay attention to the spreads on these players. Anything less than 10% has potential for short-term profit, anything higher I'd chance a few low-ball bids.
UPDATE (9th July)
I wrote this just over a week ago and not too much has changed in my thought process. However, the 5 substitution rule, which will perhaps be in place next season, is worth looking at. I've performed some very basic research, the results of which are below. We can see that, obviously, less rotation with Goalkeepers but their PB lags a little. If going for GK's I'd favour Neuer (Bayern), ter Stegen (Barcelona) and Courtois (Real). Centre Backs though have a sweet spot, with regards to more gametime and higher AvgPB. Again, the likes of Bastoni (Inter), Carlos (Sevilla), Ramos (Real), Lenglet (Barcelona), De Ligt (Juventus), Ru (Napoli) are all of interest in this regard. Central Mids and Attacking Mids/Wingers have the lowest gametime but both have the highest PB Per Min, so those who get more than the average gametime are worth noting, in particular Kroos (Real), Gnabry (Bayern), Cuadrado (Juventus), Coman (Bayern), Ruiz (Napoli) & Ocampos (Sevilla). Forward options are Messi (Barcelona), Ronaldo (Juventus), Depay (Lyon), Dybala (Juventus), Lewandowski (Bayern), Cornet (Lyon) and Sterling (Man City).