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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 8

Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels this weekend as The Scout casts an eye over the upcoming schedule.

League leaders Chelsea roll up to London neighbours Crystal Palace as Jose Mourinho’s side look for a seventh win in eight attempts. Manchester United make their way to basement-dwellers Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City head to Stoke City, whilst Tottenham Hotspur face a tough task against defending champions Manchester City at The Etihad.

Elsewhere, third placed Southampton look for a third straight home win as Sunderland come calling, Arsenal entertain Hull City and Everton go in search of their second win of the season against Aston Villa at Goodison Park.

Talking tactics

A switch back to 3-5-2 helped Hull chalk up their first clean sheet since Gameweek 1 last time around. After conceding at least twice in each of the previous four Premier League matches, Steve Bruce re-installed James Chester to his defence and shifted Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady into the wing-back berths in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. With his side showing extra resilience, The Tigers boss is likely to maintain his current formation as he attempts to batten down the hatches ahead of a horrendous run of fixtures which pits Hull up against seven of last season’s top eight in the next nine Gameweeks.

Arsene Wenger is set to freshen up his midfield once again this weekend after Mesut Ozil was forced onto the sidelines with a knee injury. The Arsenal manager handed Alexis Sanchez his first start in three Gameweeks last time out, with the Chilean fielded on the left of a 4-1-4-1 and Ozil on the opposite flank. The German’s absence is likely to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain take up a role on the right, with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere taking the central roles in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Wenger has also welcomed Theo Walcott back to training in the last few days but the winger seems set for a bench role at best after being ruled out since January with a knee injury.

Nigel Pearson’s decision to opt for a 4-4-2 formation saw David Nugent drop to the Leicester City bench for the first time this term. The Foxes boss had previously utilised a 4-3-3 system, with Nugent and Jamie Vardy on either side of Leonardo Ulloa but his tactical switch allowed the latter two central roles up front, with Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp on the flanks. Both Mahrez and Schlupp grabbed a goal apiece in a 2-2 draw with Burnley and with the former also providing an assist, Pearson may retain the same set-up away to Newcastle this weekend. Priced at 4.5 and classified as a defender, Schlupp offers Fantasy managers an interesting option if he can retain the role on the left wing.

By the numbers

With a goal and assist in three of his five appearances, Angel di Maria has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving at Manchester United this summer. As Fantasy managers flock to snap up the Argentine, The Scout takes a look at his goal threat since arriving at Old Trafford from Real Madrid - listed below are the top 10 midfielders in terms of frequency of attempts on goal over the last five Gameweeks.

MPS SHOTS SIB SOT GOALS
Raheem Sterling (LIV) 26.9 15 11 6 2
Yaya Toure (MCY) 27.1 14 5 3 1
Niko Kranjcar (QPR) 27.9 13 2 4 1
Kevin Mirallas (EVE) 28.3 9 2 4 2
Angel di Maria (MUN) 30.0 14 5 4 3
Dusan Tadic (SOU) 31.5 14 6 6 0
Santi Cazorla (ARS) 32.1 9 4 1 0
Oscar (CHE) 32.5 8 7 3 1
Matt Phillips (QPR) 34.2 9 1 1 0
Jason Puncheon (CPL) 34.3 14 5 3 1

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling is the standout candidate, with an attempt on goal every 26.9 minutes from Gameweek 3 onwards. The Liverpool midfielder has produced 15 shots, with 11 efforts arriving inside the box and earning him a couple of goals – underlining just why he’s the most popular midfielder in the game with over 53% ownership.

Yaya Toure is the next quickest in our analysis, firing a shot every 27.1 minutes. Intriguingly, both Toure and Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon have equaled Di Maria’s 14 attempts and five shots inside the box over the last five rounds of fixtures, though the former pair have been far less clinical, scoring just one goal apiece. Priced at just 5.9, Puncheon is clearly one to watch in the budget bracket.

Southampton’s summer signing Dusan Tadic has also fired 14 shots over the previous five, at an average of 31.5 minutes per attempt. The playmaker has mirrored Sterling’s six attempts on target but, in spite of his consistent threat, has yet to find the net.

Chelsea playmaker Oscar has also impressed. Available for 8.3 and owned by less than 3% of Fantasy managers, the Brazilian has registered seven shots inside the penalty area – bettered only by Sterling – and has netted once.

Queens Park Rangers duo Niko Kranjcar and Matty Phillips have offered a regular goal threat in recent weeks. As the statistics show, though, their efforts have mainly been restricted to long-range – despite firing a combined 22 attempts, the pair have managed just three shots inside the penalty box between them, with Kranjcar leading by two to one.

Ones to Watch

Leighton Baines – the Everton left-back will be hopeful of earning points at both ends of the pitch at home to Aston Villa this weekend. Baines has scored or assisted in four of the last five Gameweeks and with the visitors failing to notch in each of their last three, a clean sheet could also be on the cards.

James Milner – an injury to Samir Nasri has allowed the England international to cement a place in Manchester City’s starting XI in recent weeks. Milner has started each of the last four league fixtures and has created 16 goal scoring opportunities for his team-mates over that period – a tally matched only by West Ham’s Stewart Downing. Having earned a pair of assists and four bonus points for his recent displays, Milner - at a price of 5.3 – looks excellent value at home to Tottenham.

Eden Hazard – the Chelsea wide man rolls up to Crystal Palace on the back of his first double-figure haul of the season. A proven Fantasy performer, with 190 and 202 points over the last two seasons, Hazard is just seven points off the summit of the midfielder’s standings yet is owned by only 13% of Fantasy managers as the league leaders look for another victory at Selhurst Park.

Radamel Falcao – mainly overshadowed by fellow new boy Angel di Maria, the Manchester United forward is one to consider for Monday evening’s trip to The Hawthorns. Falcao has produced attacking returns in each of his last three and, having opened his account against Everton last time round, will fancy his chances of netting against West Brom.

Papiss Cisse – the striker’s return from long-term injury has been vital to Newcastle’s chances in recent weeks. Available for a mere 5.9, Cisse has bagged a pair of braces in three appearances for Alan Pardew’s side and entertains a Leicester side that has conceded at least twice in five of the first seven Gameweeks.

NEW Scout Extra

Exclusive to premierleague.com The Scout is now writing two new weekly features. Both are available here:

GW8 Scout Extra: Can you afford to rely on Costa?

GW8 Scout Extra: Could Milner be your differential this Gameweek?

  • Raheem Sterling
  • Jason Puncheon
  • James Milner

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 8

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero joined Diego Costa at the summit of the top scorers chart as the forward netted four times, taking his goal tally to nine and registering maximum Bonus Points for the first time this season.

Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur

3: Sergio Aguero (MCI)
2: Christian Eriksen (TOT)
1: Hugo Lloris (TOT)

Tottenham Hotspur were powerless in preventing Sergio Aguero taking all of the plaudits from the Etihad Stadium in the early Saturday kick-off. The Argentina forward scored all of Manchester City’s goals to take his Bonus Points (BP) total to nine for the campaign.

Christian Eriksen, who completed 89% of his attempted passes and achieved four dribbles, equalised for Spurs in the first half to record a couple of BP. Hugo Lloris registered a single BP for his Fantasy Premier League managers after preventing Aguero scoring one of his three penalties, making a further eight saves and producing 11 recoveries.

Arsenal 2-2 Hull City

3: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
2: Per Mertesacker (ARS)

1: Danny Welbeck (ARS)

Alexis Sanchez grabbed his second maximum BP of the Barclays Premier League season after giving Arsenal the lead, before recording an assist for the Gunners’ late equaliser. As well as successfully completing 86% of his passes, the Chile international produced five dribbles and three key passes.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker picked up his first BP of the campaign thanks in part to helping Sanchez score the opening goal. The German centre back also recovered the ball 17 times and finished with a passing accuracy above 90%. Danny Welbeck scored a late equaliser to rescue a draw for the home team and take away the last of the BP.

Burnley 1-3 West Ham United

3: Diafra Sakho (WHU)
2: Aaron Cresswell (WHU)
1: Enner Valencia (WHU)

Diafra Sakho continued his run of scoring in every game he has started for West Ham United this season. The forward, who also completed four key passes, netted once and assisted another on his way to an impressive performance.

West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell achieved his first BP in the FPL thanks to an assist, creating a further two big chances, completing five key passes and producing 11 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI). Enner Valencia earned one BP after scoring the goal that ultimately won the match for the visitors.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea

3: Oscar (CHE)
2: Cesc Fabregas (CHE)
1: Fraizer Campbell (CRY), Willian (CHE)

Chelsea’s dominant unbeaten start to the Barclays Premier League season continued at Selhurst Park and it all began with an exquisite free kick from Brazil international Oscar. The Chelsea midfielder also set up his team’s second goal of the afternoon, as well as completing 89% of passes made.

Cesc Fabregas scored his first goal of the season and successfully found a teammate with the ball 110 times out of 123. The Spain international also recovered the ball on 13 occasions on his way to collecting two BP.

Crystal Palace forward Fraizer Campbell and Chelsea midfielder Willian both registered a single BP. Campbell scored a late goal, while Willian recorded an assist for Oscar’s free kick and had a passing accuracy of 91%.

Everton 3-0 Aston Villa

3: Leighton Baines (EVE)

2: Phil Jagielka (EVE)
1: Seamus Coleman (EVE)

Leighton Baines registered his third maximum points of the season as Everton comfortably beat Aston Villa at Goodison Park. In addition to keeping a clean sheet, the England international was at his attacking best as he created two of the goals, as well as stringing together six key passes and two open play crosses.

Fellow England defender Phil Jagielka secured his FPL managers a couple of BP for a commanding display. The Everton centre back scored the opening goal, completed 94% of his attempted passes and produced 10 CBI. Seamus Coleman netted to earn a first BP of the campaign, and ended the match with a passing accuracy of 88%.

Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City

3: Gabriel Obertan (NEW)

2: Paul Dummett (NEW)
1: Fabricio Coloccini (NEW)

Gabriel Obertan’s second half strike gave Newcastle United their first win of the Barclays Premier League season and provided the midfielder three BP for the first time in FPL history. The Frenchman’s performance also included 10 recoveries of the ball and a couple of key passes.

Newcastle defender Paul Dummett recorded a clean sheet and finished the match with three successful tackle attempts and 12 CBI to be awarded with two BP. Captain Fabricio Coloccini also contributed to the shut-out with 13 CBI and collected a single BP as a result.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland

3: Dusan Tadic (SOU)

2: Graziano Pelle (SOU)
1: Ryan Bertrand (SOU)

Dusan Tadic racked up the most FPL points (23) in a single Gameweek of any player so far this season thanks to a majestic performance that included a goal and four assists. The Southampton midfielder created a further three big chances, produced seven key passes and three open play crosses.

Italy international Graziano Pelle continued to reward his FPL managers with a further two goals and an assist, which provided a couple of BP for the forward. Jack Cork and substitutes Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama also got on the scoresheet, but it was Ryan Bertrand who grabbed the final BP. The defender’s clean sheet was supplemented with a 91% pass completion rate, three key passes and he also created a big chance.

Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Liverpool

3: Eduardo Vargas (QPR)
2: Raheem Sterling (LIV)
1: Steven Gerrard (LIV)

Queens Park Rangers forward Eduardo Vargas registered three BP despite only being on the pitch for 12 minutes. The Chile international’s second half cameo produced his first Barclays Premier League goal to draw the home team level, before adding another strike late on to equalise again.

Raheem Sterling’s assist for Liverpool’s third goal meant the visitors took home all three points after a frantic finish, and it provided the midfielder with a couple of BP. The England international also completed six dribbles, 11 recoveries and three key passes. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard popped up with an assist to take the final BP.

Stoke City 2-1 Swansea City

3: Charlie Adam (STK)
2: Wilfried Bony (SWA)
1: Jonathan Walters (STK)

Charlie Adam’s equaliser from the penalty spot in the first half helped the Scot register maximum BP in Gameweek 8. The Stoke City midfielder’s 93% passing accuracy and 11 recoveries aided the home team towards a third win of the season.

Wilfried Bony also scored from the penalty spot to give Swansea City the lead and reward his FPL managers with the forward’s first BP of the campaign. Jonathan Walters came on as a substitute in the second half and headed the winning goal to give Stoke all three points and earn the midfielder a single BP.

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United

Match to be played on Monday 20 October at 20:00.

  • Sergio Aguero
  • Leighton Baines
  • Dusan Tadic
  • Eduardo Vargas

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 7

Get expert tips and advice on your Fantasy Premier League team exclusively from The Scout.

Fill out the form below explaining why you need to ‘see’ The Scout and if you’re chosen, you'll get your diagnosis and treatment on this page. The Scout will examine your squad, identify the source of your discomfort, present his case notes and then recommend treatment to help get your team fighting fit for the Gameweeks ahead.

Though The Scout will provide personal tailored advice to at least two patients each week, return here to discover which teams have been selected and what advice may be of use to you too.

Make an appointment

Diarmuid Hayes - Togher Celtic F.C.

Prognosis: Diarmuid has concerns over a number of his 15-man squad as we head towards Gameweek 8. Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is set to serve the second of a three-match ban, whilst his team-mate Ander Herrera and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey are poised to remain on the sidelines after missing out through injury last time around. With question marks over some of his defenders’ pitch time, Diarmuid needs to address all areas of his side right now.

Treatment: Up front, Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck is expected to shake off a minor ankle knock in time for the weekend - available for a mere 7.3, he affords an excellent, in-form replacement for the suspended Rooney. Swansea City’s playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson could come in for the stricken Herrera, whilst Diarmuid could also turn to Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling for Ramsey as he freshens up his midfield. Crucially, this frees up the budget to address the problems at the back, where neither Geoff Cameron or Ciaran Clark are currently starters at their respective clubs. Drafting in the forward thinking Leighton Baines and Ryan Bertrand offers Diarmuid the prospect of points at both ends of the pitch.

Chances of Recovery: With Sigurdsson on board, Diarmuid has the top scoring midfielder in the game, with 46 points accrued already. Diarmuid’s other new arrivals all have excellent upcoming schedules to help elevate him up the rankings. Welbeck, Sterling and Baines all face just two of last season’s top eight sides in the next nine Gameweeks, with the latter having scored or assisted in four of his last five appearances. Bertrand has already grabbed a goal and an assist for Southampton and now squares up to Sunderland, Stoke City, Hull City, Leicester and Aston Villa in the next five Gameweeks.

Sadaan Khan - Exterminators

Prognosis: In an unfortunate quirk of fate, Sadaan’s 15-man squad contains all three of the Premier League players who are suspended for the upcoming round of fixtures. Calum Chambers and Jonjo Shelvey both received their fifth caution of the campaign last weekend and are set to serve a one-match ban, whilst Wayne Rooney is unavailable for Manchester United until Gameweek 10.

Treatment: Sadaan should take the opportunity to part company with Shelvey and bring in West Ham United’s Stewart Downing. The latter has excelled in a central role for Sam Allardyce’s side and, available for just 5.6, has already amassed 37 points in his first seven matches. With the remaining budget, he could swap out Rooney for Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who has scored in five of his seven appearances so far, and will have enough cash remaining to replace Tyler Blackett with Tottenham Hotspur captain Younes Kaboul, once the latter’s upcoming trip to Manchester City has passed.

Chances of Recovery: Aguero’s acquisition affords Sadaan a viable captaincy alternative to another of his front three, Chelsea’s Diego Costa, as the champions prepare for three home fixtures and a trip to Queens Park Rangers in the next five. Downing also has the schedule on side - with Burnley, Stoke and Aston Villa in his next four, he looks key to The Hammers’ prospects of climbing the table. Kaboul guided his side to a third clean sheet against Southampton last time around and with back-to-back matches against Newcastle, Aston Villa, Stoke and Hull from Gameweek 9 onwards, looks set for further defensive points.

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