Who are the best performance buzz players from last season?

The Introduction

I’m @BuzzingPaul, you can mainly find me on #FootballINDEX twitter. I tweet daily Performance Buzz (PB) predictions and snippets of PB data that I find interesting. Check my timeline and feel free to follow me if this sounds of interest to you.

I have been a @FootballIndexUK trader since 28th October 2017. I joined @IndexGain close to its inception. IndexGain is a fast-growing, approachable and co-operative Football Index community. I would like to extend my thanks to them for inviting me to blog. Check out their @SlackHQ community out if you haven’t already.

The Challenge

@BuzzingPaul season reviews; @FootballIndexAS dividend tables; @footballindexed historical PB scores (£) and @Noirx4FI spreadsheets (£) are all great resources for analysing PB players. However, until now, no analysis has been done on how efficient players are in their PB scoring.

Neymar is the best PB Forward. In the 17/18 Ligue 1 season, he averaged 149 Points per Appearance (PA). He enjoyed 81 Possessions Per Game (PPG). 7 PPG ahead of the second most utilised forward in PB leagues, Lorenzo Insigne.

But how players would score if they enjoyed the same amount of possession as Neymar or his positional equivalent? The answer to this should allow benchmarking of PB players across different teams. Or, at least, make, for an interesting read on this bank holiday.

The Use

In addition to being hopefully of some interest, this will highlight:

  • Players who may benefit from transfers to high possession teams
  • Players who have scope for PB improvement
  • Players who should benefit from facing teams who allow their opponents lots of possession

The Caveats

  • This will not highlight the best PB players, PB dividends are awarded to the highest scoring player on a game day
  • Before investing in any player do your own research; google the PB Scoring Matrix and, if you have the inclination, look some stats up using @WhoScored
  • Rankings are likely to be skewed by set-pieces, an extension of this analysis could include Possessions in Open Play
  • Defenders gain PB for non-possession based output (e.g. tackles, clearances, blocks), a further extension could include Points Per Defensive Action
  • I’ve excluded PB points for Goals and Assist to allow for comparison across positions (this should be done with caution)

The Background

@tomh_36 introduced me to Actions Per 100 Possession (P100) statistics. His possession wheels go beyond raw data and per appearance data, to give a better impression of a players style and efficiency.

The Definition

A possession is defined as a passage of individual play that ends in a pass, cross, shot, clearance, foul won, unsuccessful touch or dispossession.

The Process

I have ranked all the players who appeared in PB Leagues last season using @WhoScored data for players who:

  • Are available for purchase on @FootballIndexUK
  • Had > 500 Possessions

I’ll present my P100 Rankings by position first. I’ll follow with P100 Possession Wheels for those I find interesting and close with P100 PB Benchmarking. Enough waffle, onto the Rankings.

Rankings – Forwards

P100 Ranking 

This is a reassuring place to start. Recognisable names; highly ranked PA players and some of FI’s most expensive players.

P100 Possession Wheel – Andrej Kramaric £1.04

P100 Possession Wheel – Anwar El Ghazi £0.63

P100 PB Benchmark

Andrej Kramaric and Anwar El Ghazi are the more exotic names to sneak into the Forward P100 PB Top 10. Their propensity to cross and shoot alongside the accuracy of their passing mark them out.

Julian Nagelsmann guided Hoffenheim to Champions League football. The return of Serge Gnabry to Bayern should lead to improved game time and PB scores for Andrej Kramaric.

Anwar El Ghazi’s 3.4 shots per 90 ranks amongst the elite. Lille rank 28th in PB leagues for possession. If the former Ajax youth product can increase his involvement, his PB scores will follow.

Rankings – Defenders

P100 Ranking

A wider distribution of PA rankings, but appearances from Kimmich and Kolarov give hope that methodology is doing something right.

P100 Possession Wheel – Phillip Max £1.02

P100 Possession Wheel – Jetro Willems £0.77

P100 PB Benchmark

Full backs Phillip Max and Jetro Willems dominate the Defender P100 PB Rankings. Both rely heavily on crosses for their PB output. Willems also appears particularly shot heavy for a defender.

Phillip Max’s Augburg ranked 16th in the Bundesliga for % Possession. Assuming he holds on to set-piece duties, a transfer to any other team in a PB league should improve his output.

Adi Hutter should implement a high pressing style at Frankfurt. If his arrival coincides with more game time for Jetro Willems, his average PB score will increase markedly next season.

Rankings – Midfielders

P100 Ranking

Now we are talking! A Manchester United trainee; players from relegated teams; and some more obscure names.

P100 Possession Wheel – Alejandro Gomez £1.30

P100 Possession Wheel – Adnan Januzaj £0.65

P100 PB Benchmark

Wingers Alejandro Gomez and Adnan Januzaj lead the Midfielder P100 PB Rankings. Again, both rely heavily on shots and crosses. Interestingly, Januzaj is extremely good at drawing fouls. Atalanta have qualified for the Europa League again.

Alejandro Gomez should be free from the impacts of managerial change/ transfer uncertainty, so will be a key PB asset again next season.

Adnan Januzaj appears to have settled back into football after his exit from Manchester United. Both his age and P100 profile highlight the potential for PB improvement.

Closing Thoughts

So there we have it, Anwar El Ghazi is a better PB scorer than Neymar….

Whilst this is not necessarily [definitely not] true; and while I’m probably the only person amongst the #FootballINDEX community to evidence this, P100  remains an excellent and innovative way to gain further insight into a player’s PB profile.

I have outlined 6 relatively cheap players who all should improve their PB scores over the course of the 2018/19 season. This may lead to a price rise, and PB dividends. But, please remember the caveats before choosing to invest in any of them.

P100 rankings are new, exciting and informative. Every season review I have tweeted includes them. Hopefully now it’s clearer what they mean. Maybe you can use them to inform future investment decisions.



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Written by BuzzingPaul
I’m <a href="https://twitter.com/buzzingpaul">@BuzzingPaul</a>, you can mainly find me on #FootballINDEX twitter. I tweet daily Performance Buzz (PB) predictions and snippets of PB data that I find interesting. Check my timeline and feel free to follow me if this sounds of interest to you. I have been a @FootballIndexUK trader since 28<sup>th</sup> October 2017.
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