The Scout Preview - Gameweek 14
Four of the top six in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels as The Scout assesses the first of six Gameweeks played out over December.
Chelsea face a tough task at the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland have registered back-to-back victories under new manager Gus Poyet. Newcastle United are seeking a fifth successive win as they roll up to Swansea City, Manchester City travel to West Bromwich Albion, whilst Everton make their way to Manchester United to face former manager David Moyes.
Elsewhere, Rene Meulensteen plays host to Tottenham Hotspur in his first match in charge of Fulham, Liverpool welcome Norwich City to Anfield, with the hosts looking to bounce back from a weekend defeat, whilst league leaders Arsenal welcome Hull City to the Emirates Stadium as Arsene Wenger’s side attempt to register a sixth straight win in front of their own fans.
Steve Bruce’s decision to switch to 3-5-2 for Hull City’s home clash with Liverpool proved crucial last weekend. The Tigers boss has mainly utilised a four-man backline this term but reverted to the system that helped his side gain promotion from the Championship, with Robbie Brady and Ahmed Elmohamady handed the wing-back roles on the left and right of midfield respectively. With defensive lynchpin Curtis Davies suspended for Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal, Bruce faces a dilemma, though, and may revert to a familiar 4-4-1-1in order to deny the hosts space on the flanks.
Sunday’s home clash against Southampton saw Jose Mourinho utilise three different tactical set-ups over the 90 minutes. The Chelsea boss began the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation but moved to 4-3-3 when Brazilian playmaker Oscar was forced off with a knock – after the break, the introduction of Demba Ba allowed the Blues to switch to a traditional 4-4-2 and sparked a second-half revival which helped the hosts come from a goal down to triumph 3-1. As the festive schedule becomes increasingly stretched, it’s clear that Mourinho is keen to utilise the strength and depth of his squad, handing fringe players game time as he attempts to cope with a schedule which sees his side play 10 times in all competitions between December 1 and January 1.
Sam Allardyce’s shift to 4-2-3-1 at home to Fulham helped West Ham United pick up the points in front of their own fans for the first time since the opening day of the season. The Hammers boss has mainly operated with a 4-6-0 formation in recent matches, playing Kevin Nolan as the most advanced midfielder, but his decision to draft in Modibo Maiga forced his skipper to drop into “the hole” behind the lone forward and also saw Ravel Morrison omitted from the starting line-up for the first time since Gameweek 3. With 3 goals in nine starts, Morrison had proven superb value for a price of just 5.0 but, despite climbing off the bench to notch an assist, his owners will be somewhat concerned by his manager’s tactical tinkering, with the former Manchester United youngster’s starting role no longer guaranteed.
By the numbers
With November now behind us, The Scout analyses the top Fantasy performers over the previous calendar month. Listed by form, we cast an eye over the most impressive performers across Gameweeks 10-13.
|Wayne Rooney (MUN)||10.0||11.1||40||17%|
|Sergio Aguero (MCY)||9.0||12.3||36||31%|
|Aaron Ramsey (ARS)||7.5||7.4||30||60%|
|Yoan Gouffran (NEW)||7.5||6.3||30||1%|
|Luis Suarez (LIV)||7.2||12.3||29||32%|
|Seamus Coleman (EVE)||7.0||5.6||28||29%|
|Loic Remy (NEW)||7.0||8.2||28||16%|
|Eden Hazard (CHE)||6.8||9.5||27||19%|
|Samir Nasri (MCY)||6.8||8.1||27||2%|
|Jesus Navas (MCY)||6.8||8.1||27||2%|
|Steven Gerrard (LIV)||6.8||9.0||27||8%|
Wayne Rooney has proved vital to Manchester United’s attack over the last four Gameweeks. The England star has played a part in 7 of his side’s 8 goals over those matches, finding the net 4 times in addition to supplying a trio of assists. Priced at 11.1, Rooney currently sits in 17% of Fantasy teams ahead of a schedule which hands him three home fixtures in the next four.
Manchester City supply us with three players after scoring 16 goals in four matches. Sergio Aguero has produced 3 goals and 4 assists over that period, in addition to 5 bonus points – hauls of 18 points and 15 points highlight his captaincy potential. Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas have both scored twice, with the 8.1 priced pair producing 27 points apiece; Nasri started all four of the fixtures, whilst Navas has featured in the first XI in each of the last couple of Gameweeks.
Aaron Ramsey’s sensational season shows no sign of slowing. The Arsenal midfielder scored 3 of his side’s 7 goals and subsequently earned 5 bonus points – he has now found his way into over 60% of Fantasy teams after a 15-point haul against former club Cardiff City last weekend.
Newcastle United’s Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy both feature after helping their side register four successive wins over November. Despite moving to the left wing, Gouffran has picked up in consistency – he has produced 3 goals and an assist for the Magpies, yet currently sits in only 1% of Fantasy teams. Remy replicated his team-mate’s returns and also earned 6 bonus points; priced at 8.2, he has proven superb value since moving on loan to Tyneside and has now racked up 8 goals and a couple of assist in 11 appearances.
Liverpool are also represented twice, despite playing three of their last four fixtures on the road. Luis Suarez has produced 3 goals, a pair of assists and 4 bonus points for his 32% Fantasy owners, whilst Reds skipper Steven Gerrard helped himself to a goal and three assist. Gerrard, who is owned by just 8% of Fantasy managers, has picked up in consistency of late and has now earned attacking returns in seven of his last eight appearances.
Ones to watch
Jon Flanagan – the youngster looks poised for a third successive start at left-back as Liverpool welcome Norwich City to Anfield. Coming in at just 4.5, Flanagan offers a cut-price route into a defence that has conceded just 3 goals in six home matches this term – similarly, the Canaries have only scored three goals on their travels, suggesting a clean sheet could well be on the cards for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Nathaniel Clyne – a home clash against goal-shy Aston Villa bodes well for the Southampton defender. Since returning to the first-team in Gameweek 4, Clyne has produced 5 points or more in each of his five appearances at St Mary’s and with Paul Lambert’s side failing to score in five of their last seven matches, the 4.7 priced right-back could be poised to pick up the points again.
Theo Walcott – having emerged from the bench in the last three matches in all competitions, the Arsenal wide man looks poised for a first start since Gameweek 4 this Wednesday. Walcott needed just four minutes as a substitute to pick up a weekend assist against Cardiff and with Arsene Wenger hinting at rotation, the 9.1 priced midfielder’s pace down the right could wreak havoc at home to Hull.
Paulinho – moved into a more advanced role in “the hole” against Manchester United last weekend, the Brazilian’s assist in the 2-2 draw was his first attacking returns in five appearances. The only midfielder to start every match under Andre Villas-Boas, Paulinho will be looking to prosper once again as Tottenham pay visit to a Fulham side that have conceded at least twice in each of their last five matches.
Peter Crouch – the target man looks vital to Stoke City’s prospects of extending their unbeaten home run to four matches. Since returning to the first XI in Gameweek 9, Crouch has played a part in 4 of the Potters’ 8 goals and will fancy his chances of picking up the points against a Cardiff side that have conceded 10 times on their travels already.