The Scout Preview - Gameweek 15
Four of the top six in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels this weekend as The Scout casts an eye over the upcoming schedule.
Manchester City make their way to Southampton, as the hosts look to recover from a first home loss of the season against Aston Villa in midweek. Chelsea head to Stoke City searching for their fourth consecutive victory, Tottenham Hotspur pay visit to basement-dwellers Sunderland, with the Wearsiders determined to bounce back from their first defeat at the Stadium of Light under Gus Poyet, whilst Everton face league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners seek a seventh successive win in front of their own fans.
Elsewhere, Manchester United entertain Newcastle United at Old Trafford as both sides attempt to bounce back from midweek losses, Liverpool welcome West Ham United to Anfield in the back of a stunning home display against Norwich City, whilst Crystal Palace will be looking for a second successive win under Tony Pulis at home to Cardiff City.
Paul Lambert’s decision to roll out a 3-5-2 formation for Aston Villa’s midweek win at Southampton saw Christian Benteke drop to the bench for the first time since recovering from injury. Libor Kozak and Gabby Agbonlahor were given the nod for the front two positions and both justified their manager’s selection by finding the net in the 3-2 triumph – Benteke was introduced as a late sub but failed to make an impact and has now drawn blanks in each of his last eight appearances. With showdowns against Fulham, Stoke and Crystal Palace in the next four Gameweeks, Lambert may well decide to retain the same system, leaving the out-of-sorts Benteke on the bench yet again.
David Moyes faces a real forward dilemma for this weekend’s visit of Newcastle. Wayne Rooney serves a one-match suspension for Manchester United after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, whilst Robin Van Persie remains a real doubt with the groin injury that has forced him out of the last three Gameweeks. If the Dutchman fails to recover in time, Moyes may hand Javier Hernandez the lone forward role against the Magpies and retain Shinji Kagawa in “the hole” behind the Mexican, though Danny Welbeck offers an alternative up top.
Swansea City also have problems up front ahead of a home clash against Hull City. Michu and Wilfried Bony remain sidelined through injury for Monday night’s match at the Liberty Stadium, while third-choice forward Alvaro Vazquez was forced off midway through the first-half against Newcastle in midweek. A tactical alteration saw Michael Laudrup shift to a striker-less system, with Jonjo Shelvey handed the role of the most advanced central midfielder – the former Liverpool man produced a goal and assist in the 3-0 win over the Magpies and could be employed further up the field again as his manager looks to cope with the escalating injury situation.
By the numbers
This week, The Scout analyses some of the most consistent, yet overlooked Fantasy performers of the season so far. Listed below are the top 10 players for points scored after the first 14 Gameweeks, with an ownership of 7% or less.
|Tim Howard (EVE)||75||5.6||6.3%|
|Samir Nasri (MCY)||66||8.2||5.6%|
|Alvaro Negredo (MCY)||61||9.3||6.3%|
|Steven Caulker (CAR)||58||5.1||4%|
|Roberto Soldado (TOT)||57||8.7||6.8%|
|Kevin Mirallas (EVE)||56||7.3||3.9%|
|Jay Rodriguez (SOU)||55||5.8||3.8%|
|Jonjo Shelvey (SWA)||54||5.3||4.6%|
|Gareth McAuley (WBA)||54||5.5||2.8%|
|David Marshall (CAR)||53||4.6||3.9%|
Everton’s Tim Howard has picked up 75 points over the first 14 fixtures, more than any other goalkeeper. The Toffees stopper has 8 clean sheets to his name already, yet sits in just 6.3% of Fantasy teams – with home matches against Fulham, Sunderland and Southampton and a trip to Swansea from Gameweek 16-19, he looks poised to continue his ascent up the rankings.
Manchester City duo Samir Nasri and Alvaro Negredo have earned 66 points and 61 points respectively. With team-mates Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero proving more popular picks, Nasri (5.6% ownership) and Negredo (6.3%) have remained firmly under the radar – the former has now produced attacking returns in seven of 14 appearances, whilst summer signing Negredo has scored or assisted in each of the last six home fixtures.
Cardiff City pair Steven Caulker and David Marshall feature in our rundown. Centre-half Caulker has racked up 2 goals and 11 bonus points in addition to 4 clean sheets, whilst keeper Marshall has earned 12 extra points due to saves. With a trip to Crystal Palace preceding three home fixtures in the subsequent four Gameweeks, both could be set for further returns – Marshall, at 4.6, looks a strong option for those looking to replace the injured Artur Boruc between the sticks.
Jay Rodriguez has proven a consistent source of points in recent matches. The Southampton forward, who comes in at just 5.8, has now scored in five of the last eight Gameweeks and has also produced an assist and 9 bonus points over that period.
Everton’s Kevin Mirallas and Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey remain a couple of overlooked midfield options, with both owned by less than 5% of Fantasy managers. Mirallas has started all but one of the first 14 Gameweeks and has returned double figure hauls in two of his last three home appearances, whilst Shelvey has contributed 3 goals and a trio of assists since moving to the Liberty Stadium last summer.
Ones to watch
Patrice Evra – the Manchester United defender offers the prospect of points at both ends of the pitch this weekend. Whilst David Moyes continues to rotate the rest of his back-four, Evra looks nailed-on for the visit of Newcastle – a goal and pair of assists highlight his attacking capabilities thus far and with the Magpies scoring just twice in their last three road trips, a clean sheet could also be on the cards.
Jonathan de Guzman – a key player for Michael Laudrup this season, the Dutchman has been particularly consistent in front of his own fans. De Guzman has scored or assisted in three of Swansea’s last four home fixtures and with Hull City rolling up to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, he may well be in line for another points haul.
Steven Gerrard – a home clash with West Ham affords the Liverpool skipper further chance to continue his superb recent form. Gerrard has now scored or assisted in eight of the last nine Gameweeks and will fancy his chances of extending that streak against a Hammers side that have picked up just a single point in their last three road trips.
Dimitar Berbatov – the Bulgarian hinted at a possible return to form in midweek by supplying an assist in Fulham’s narrow home defeat at the hands of former club Tottenham. Berbatov is set to lead the line again as the Cottagers play host to Aston Villa and looks crucial to new manager Rene Meulensteen’s chances of success.
Marouane Chamakh – the arrival of Tony Pulis looks set to get the best out of the Moroccan’s aerial ability in the box. Chamakh headed the winner in Pulis’ first home match in charge of Crystal Palace last Tuesday and with plenty of crosses expected from out wide, the 4.7 priced forward could be poised to repeat the feat as Cardiff arrive at Selhurst Park this Saturday.