The Scout Preview - Gameweek 3
Four teams are looking to maintain their 100% starts to the season as The Scout assesses the upcoming round of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League.
Champions Manchester City welcome Stoke City to the Etihad Stadium as the hosts look to kick on from last week’s win over Liverpool. Chelsea face a testing trip to Everton on Saturday evening, Swansea City entertain West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium, whilst Tottenham Hotspur’s strong start under new manager Mauricio Pochettino will come under scrutiny as Liverpool make their way to White Hart Lane.
Elsewhere, promoted Burnley host out-of-sorts Manchester United, Neil Warnock takes his Crystal Palace side away to Newcastle United, while Arsenal travel to Leicester City in the final match of the Gameweek.
Bojan Krkic was dropped to the bench for Stoke City’s first away match of the season last week. One of the most popular budget forwards around, the Spaniard made way for Steve Sidwell as the Potters rolled up to the KC Stadium and, despite the hosts being reduced to 10 men within quarter of an hour, was only introduced on 41 minutes after an injury forced Glenn Whelan out of the proceedings. Mark Hughes is clearly looking to gradually introduce the summer signing into his starting XI, particularly on the road, and with a trip to Manchester City up next, Bojan’s 13% of Fantasy owners may be forced to look elsewhere.
A shoulder injury to Kevin Nolan allowed West Ham United’s Mauro Zarate his first start of the season last week. Handed a support role behind Carlton Cole, the Argentine dazzled on his debut and was instrumental in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, after opening the scoring for the visitors. With Nolan expected to be sidelined for six weeks, Zarate looks set to continue in a central position once again as the Hammers welcome Southampton to Upton Park.
The arrival of Mario Balotelli could result in a change of formation for Liverpool this weekend. Brendan Rodgers has mainly utilised a 4-2-3-1 system this term, with Philippe Coutinho positioned behind Daniel Sturridge up front, but the Reds boss may decide to revert to last season’s midfield diamond as he looks to bounce back from Monday’s loss to Manchester City. This could allow Balotelli and Sturridge to lead the line, with Raheem Sterling moving from the flank to the tip of the diamond, forcing Coutinho into a more withdrawn berth against Mauricio Pochettino’s in-form hosts.
By the numbers
After a couple of appearances for new club Chelsea, the creativity of Cesc Fabregas has already proved significant. The Spaniard, who has provided at least 10 assists in each of his last eight seasons, has already teed up three goals for his team-mates thus far.
With this in mind, The Scout takes a look at some of the Premier League’s standout creators over the first couple of Gameweeks, with all of the featured players below having played at least 100 minutes in the first two rounds of fixtures.
|Joey Barton (QPR)||18.9||10||0||5.0||1%|
|Eden Hazard (CHE)||19.8||9||0||10.0||18%|
|Santi Cazorla (ARS)||23.4||4||1||8.4||3%|
|Alexis Sanchez (ARS)||23.5||5||1||10.4||15%|
|Cesc Fabregas (CHE)||26.9||4||3||9.2||34%|
|Marko Arnautovic (STK)||30.2||5||0||6.4||1%|
|Stewart Downing (WHU)||31.0||6||0||5.5||1%|
|Remy Cabella (NEW)||31.7||6||0||7.5||2%|
|Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT)||32.6||4||1||8.5||4%|
|Samir Nasri (MCI)||34.8||4||1||8.5||5%|
Joey Barton has provided more chances than any other player in the top-flight so far. The QPR midfielder has teed up a total of 10 goal scoring opportunities, at an average of one every 18.9 minutes, yet some poor finishing from team-mates means he has failed to pick up any assist returns. With home matches against Sunderland and Stoke City in the next three Gameweeks, though, the 5.0-priced Barton could soon be profiting.
Eden Hazard been more creative than team-mate Fabregas without reaping reward. The Belgian has produced nine key passes at an average of 19.8 minutes – quicker than Fabregas’ 26.9 minutes, though the Spaniard has chalked up three assists in addition to creating four chances.
Arsenal duo Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez have also been quicker than former Gunners’ skipper Fabregas. Both have earned an assist apiece, with Sanchez also creating five opportunities to Cazorla’s four – with Aaron Ramsey scoring in each of the first two Gameweeks, though, the former two have suffered a price drop already as Fantasy managers turn to the prolific Welshman instead.
Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic may have failed to pick up any returns so far but the Austrian is showing signs of returning to the form that served up 10 assists last season. The 6.4-priced midfielder has created five chances without success but once this weekend’s trip to Manchester City, he has the schedule to finally prosper.
Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor is the only forward to feature. Along with Manchester City’s Samir Nasri, he has created four chances and picked up a single assist – despite a favourable 8.5 price tag, Adebayor currently sits in just 5% of teams after producing a 12-point return in his previous fixture.
Ones to Watch
Alan Hutton – a peripheral figure for Aston Villa last season, the right-back has grabbed his opportunity with both hands this time round. Available for just 4.1, Hutton has helped Paul Lambert’s side register back-to-back clean sheets and his raids down the flank look set to pose visitors Hull City plenty of problems this weekend.
Siem de Jong – back in contention after recovering from a foot problem, the Newcastle United midfielder could be set for his first start at home to Crystal Palace. De Jong has a proven scoring record and netted at least 10 times in four of his last five seasons with Ajax and could be the answer to the Magpies’ goal drought.
David Silva – the little Spaniard has been quick to find his form and was amongst the goals in Manchester City’s Gameweek 1 win at Newcastle. A plum home clash against travel-sick Stoke now awaits Manuel Pellegrini’s side and Silva’s twinkling toes could be set to run amok against the Potters’ backline.
Mesut Ozil – the German has been mainly overlooked by Fantasy managers so far, with team-mates Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez proving far more popular picks. The Arsenal playmaker rolls up to Leicester City this Sunday and given that Nigel Pearson’s side have conceded over 10 shots per match inside the box, Ozil’s creativity could wreak havoc.
Loic Remy – a home clash with Sunderland affords the Frenchman the chance to open his goal account for the season. Remy may have failed to find the net so far but, with seven attempts on goal in his opening couple of appearances, is offering plenty of threat for Harry Redknapp’s side.