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It’s been a mad season, results-wise, thus far, and the upcoming Premier League fixtures are not likely to calm anything down.
But as with any (relatively) chaotic event, a bit of preparation can lead to some major dividends. And in the case of Football Index, we mean that literally.
Football Index is a kind of stock market where people use real money to bet on football.
You buy shares in individual players whose value can rise or fall depending on their performance both on and off the field.
I’m actively using Football Index this season with more than a nod to FPL, seeing which aspects of each game marry up, and which don’t.
FI Traders, just like FPL managers, will be planning feverishly for the next two rounds of matches.
The first, FPL Gameweek 18, is a reduced set of fixtures involving just 12 teams, which will be followed by a bumper Double Gameweek 19 during which another 12 sides will play twice.
Back To The Future
To help us navigate all of that, a look back at how certain players performed during the festive period is instructive.
First up, FI’s Star Player from the January 2nd fixtures – Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney.
The defender racked up 18 points in FPL – the highest total of Gameweek 17 – and he was suitably lauded in FI as well, with his Match Day Dividends from the 4-0 win at West Brom boosted by a Media Dividend win the next day.
Tierney has really blossomed on FI through the Christmas period, with his price up from £0.54 per share on December 20th to a peak of £1.11 on January 4th.
Arsenal are one of those sides with a Gameweek 17 fixture, home to a Crystal Palace side that’s struggled for goals on the road this season. If we consider their 5-1 win at West Brom as an outlier, Roy Hodgson’s men have just six goals from their seven other away games.
They’ve also blanked in four of them, raising the prospects of defensive returns to add to Tierney’s recent improved attacking threat.
What Arsenal don’t have are two fixtures in Double Gameweek 19.
Some great prospects do, however.
Chief among them, as ever, is this season’s stand-out Premier League performer in FI, Bruno Fernandes.
We’ve written plenty about the Man United midfielder’s stellar FI work recently, but his consistency needs restating.
He’s averaged more Match Day points than any other player in the league over both the last four weeks and the last three months.
And for those hesitant to buy shares in a player with a hefty share price of around £8.00, his upcoming schedule suggests more price rises are on the way.
United play three times over the next two rounds of fixtures, all of them away. That suits both the player and the side down to the ground – Fernandes has blanked in just one away game since his move to England a year ago.
Burnley, Fulham and Liverpool await, with the latter the obviously tricky encounter.
Across town, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is turning heads.
Playing in a more advanced role of late, the Germany international has three goals from his last four starts, bringing in a Star Player award on Boxing Day and a Match Day score average second only to Fernandes among Premier League players over the last month.
Down to £0.49 a share on Christmas Eve, he’s now available for about £0.70. That’s a price that could keep on moving up if he continues to shine across City’s next three fixtures – Brighton, Palace and Aston Villa, all at home.
It’s also worth a glance at Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, who has more top five Match Day ranks than any other Premier League player over the last month.
Priced at £1.38 in late November, the left-back will now set you back around £2.60 a share, with a Double Gameweek 19 involving that United match-up and Burnley, both at Anfield, to come.
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