Midfielders To Keep An Eye On

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For first time readers, this is one article in a small series I’m writing for Football INDEX. To help you get as much out of this article as possible, I highly recommend you at least read my preview article, which you can find here. And you can find my peak score analysis on Defenders here.

So, let’s get into it. In my opinion, the analysis on Midfielders was the least ‘clean-cut’ out of each of the positions. Actually, I just looked at the analysis again and I’m now starting to have an argument with myself, so let’s thrash it out and see where we get to.

The average winning score for Midfielders on a Double Day last season was 218 and on a Treble Day it was 225, so I plucked out a nice round 220 as an average winning score.

If we start with total times players exceeded this score, we are left with a player who, at the start of the season, few would have tipped to be one of the top Midfielders when it came to Match Day Dividends yield.

Daniel Parejo reached a score of at least 220 on five occasions last season, which means he hit it at an impressive rate of 1 in every 7 starts. The nature around his big scores did tend to rely on the odd game winning penalty, so it will be interesting to see if the Valencia Midfielder can keep up this fine form next season.

It’s worth mentioning that there were two players who tied Parejo for hitting a peak score in 1 in every 7 starts, one I’m convinced is an anomaly while the other is very much a dark horse for next season.

Wylan Cyprien of Nice and Marouane Fellaini (ya, I know) of well, erm, let’s say Belgium to keep this article relevant for as long as possible, both hit 220 at a rate of once in every seven starts.

I’ve been keeping my eye on Cyprien, who has had a tough season with injuries, and he seemed to score well in the games he managed to start. However, with a change of coach, it’s unknown if Patrick Vieira’s style of football will compliment the Match Day Rankings scoring matrix. Cyprien may also be given a different role in the squad, which could affect his ability to hit peak scores regularly.

As for Fellaini, meh, there’s always the odd anomaly that makes some decent analysis look pants. I’ll just leave that one there.

Moving on, not far behind Parejo is another player who probably wouldn’t have been at the top of trader’s lists. Currently plying his trade in Marseille, with some forgetting he used to be on Newcastle’s books, it’s Florian Thauvin with four peak scores. At a rate of 1 in every 11 he’s as consistent as David Silva, however, at a chunky £3+, you’d expect a player to smash out these kinds of scores regularly.

There are then three players just behind Thauvin with three peak scores apiece. The recently mentioned David Silva with 1 in every 11, the hotly pursued Sergej Milinkovic-Savic with 1 in 13 starts and finally Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic with 1 in every 14 starts.

For me, there are a few surprising omissions from that list but when you take a step back and have a think about it, you can apply some logic to some of the omissions.

Let’s start with James Rodriguez. One of several darlings of the Index, he has a reputation for racking up big scores and has yielded an impressive 79p over the course of last season. He recorded just two peak scores, however, this could have been much much more had he been given the opportunity to complete 90 minutes more often.

At 1 peak score every 14 starts, it’s still an impressive return, but he could well improve on this next season if he’s given more minutes on the pitch by Bayern Munich’s new coach.

The next mention goes to another Bayern boy in the form of Thiago Alcantara, who also hit the peak score of 220 twice last season. While J-Rod’s problem was staying on the pitch for 90 minutes, Thiago’s was injuries. Despite only hitting 220 twice, he managed to do it at a rate of once in every ten starts.

I could go on and on about some of the midfielders in this list. A couple that I think might be worth looking out for are Daniel Caligiuri of Schalke, two peak scores at a rate of 1 in every 16 and Kingsley Coman of Bayern, one peak score at a rate of 1 in every 14.

Caligiuri is going to benefit from more games this season due to Schalke’s Champions League qualification, which could result in the German side playing more games on a less competitive Sunday. And then there’s Coman who, like his teammate Thiago, had a season disrupted by injury, so I’m keen to see how he does if he can get a solid run of games in an admittedly competitive Bayern line-up.

Moving on from the top performers, I’m going to take a quick look at a few you’d expect to be a bit further up the list. The standout omissions to me are Kevin de Bruyne and Isco, both with premium price tags on Football INDEX.

Kevin de Bruyne has hit a peak score on two occasions at a rate of 1 in every 22 starts. The return isn’t awful, but when you consider his cheaper teammates in David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan both hit peak scores more often than him, there could be more value elsewhere.

I haven’t followed Isco’s season that closely, but I imagine he may have had a similar problem to James Rodriguez where he was struggling to complete 90 minutes for his club. He managed to hit a peak score once in his 31 starts over the course of the campaign.

The last thing that I find interesting is looking at who hits peak scores at a similar regularity to some of the favourites on the Index.

Let’s take Toni Kroos, who hits 220 on average once in every 18 starts. The likes of Naby Keita and Giacomo Bonaventura reach the peak in 1 in 17, Cengiz Under 1 in 18 and then Giovani Lo Celso and Florian Kainz 1 in 19.

Then there’s Kevin de Bruyne, who averages a peak score once in every 22 starts. The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Marcelo Brozovic and Leon Goretzka all tend to hit this score once in every 21 starts while Christian Eriksen and Franck Ribery have been able to hit 220 with the same frequency as KDB.

There are various ways to use this data to find some picks for next season, so I hope my article has helped in providing a few techniques to help you find your goldmines.

Anyway, this is starting to get quite long. I’ve gone from saying the analysis on Midfielders wasn’t as clean cut to thinking it’s probably the most interesting out of the three positions. So, what are you waiting for, scour the market and find your midfielders for the return of Match Day Dividends?

If you want a debate about any of this, you can find my on Twitter: @footyindexLDN.

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