The Scout Preview - Gameweek 22
Four of the top five teams in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels time out as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 22 schedule.
League leaders Chelsea make their way to the Liberty Stadium, where Swansea City have tasted defeat just twice in front of their own fans. In-form Southampton visit Newcastle United, Manchester United face a Queens Park Rangers side that are unbeaten in their last seven matches at Loftus Road, whilst Arsenal and defending champions Manchester City go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium.
Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at Crystal Palace as Sunderland roll up to White Hart Lane. West Ham United play host to Hull City, with Sam Allardyce’s side seeking a seventh win at Upton Park, whilst Everton welcome West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park in the final match of the Gameweek.
Tony Pulis opted for a 4-4-2 formation in his first league match in charge of West Brom. The Baggies boss fielded Saido Berahino alongside Brown Ideye up front, with Stephane Sessegnon and Chris Brunt handed the wing roles in a 1-0 win over Hull at the Hawthorns. Pulis’ reshuffle saw Graham Dorrans – who had started all but one of the previous 20 Gameweeks – drop to the bench, whilst at the back, Chris Baird earned a third successive start as the midlands club earned their seventh shut-out of the season. Priced at just 3.9, Baird is certainly one to monitor if he can keep his place ahead of Sebastien Pocognoli at left-back.
Steve Bruce is facing a crisis up front after his first-choice strikers, Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez, were both ruled out for up to six weeks with injuries sustained during last week’s loss at West Brom. The lack of options could see either Sone Aluko or Thomas Ince – both classified as midfielders in the FPL game – lead the line away to West Ham this weekend and with the former struggling due to a calf complaint, Ince could be set for a rare start. With home clashes against Newcastle, Aston Villa and QPR in the subsequent four, The Scout is keeping a keen eye on Bruce’s weekend team sheet.
Angel di Maria was fielded up front on his first league start since limping off in Gameweek 17 with a hamstring injury. Louis van Gaal retained his 3-4-1-2 formation at home to Southampton and partnered Robin van Persie with the Argentine as loan signing Radamel Falcao dropped out of the squad altogether. Van Persie’s subsequent withdrawal due to an ankle complaint allowed Wayne Rooney to shift from central midfield into the front two. If the Dutchman fails to recover in time for this weekend’s trip to QPR, the Red Devils’ skipper could be afforded the opportunity to take his place up front.
By the numbers
After producing two goals and an assist in a 3-0 home demolition of Stoke City, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez rose to the summit of the Fantasy Premier League player standings last weekend.
The Chilean now sits in over 42% of sides and as the clamour for his signature continues, The Scout compares Sanchez’ goal threat to his fellow midfielders over the season so far. Listed below are the top ten for minutes per attempt on goal, with all players having started at least ten Premier League matches in order to qualify for our assessment.
|Angel di Maria (MUN)||24.2||40||15||13||3|
|Yaya Toure (MCY)||26.9||60||24||19||7|
|Alexis Sanchez (ARS)||27.7||64||37||29||12|
|Aaron Ramsey (ARS)||28.3||36||13||8||3|
|Kevin Mirallas (EVE)||28.7||32||8||9||5|
|Santi Cazorla (ARS)||30.2||56||24||19||4|
|Philippe Coutinho (LIV)||31.0||44||16||13||2|
|Christian Eriksen (TOT)||32.2||56||18||14||7|
|Riyad Mahrez (LEI)||32.5||39||18||17||2|
Manchester United’s Angel di Maria leads the way, with an effort every 24.2 minutes since arriving at Old Trafford. The 9.5-priced Argentine has produced 40 attempts but with only 15 of those arriving from inside the box, he’s found the net on just three occasions.
Chelsea’s Oscar has registered 26 efforts inside the opposition’s penalty box. With an attempt every 26.6 minutes, he’s notched four times, though has been somewhat wayward in his shooting, with only 12 of his 51 shots on target.
Arsenal are the only side with more than one player in our analysis. Sanchez has offered the most regular threat, firing an effort every 27.7 minutes, though crucially, 37 of his shots have arrived from close-range – as a result, he’s produced more attempts on target (29) and scored more goals (12) than any midfielder.
Sanchez’ team-mates Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla, with a shot every 28.3 and 30.2 minutes respectively, have also impressed. The 8.6-priced Ramsey has scored three times from 36 attempts, whilst Cazorla, at a cost of 8.2, has converted four of his 56 shots – both have excellent fixtures from Gameweek 23 onwards and could offer a double-up option alongside Sanchez in our five-man midfields.
Everton’s Kevin Mirallas has scored five times in just 917 minutes this season. The Belgian’s penchant for a long-range effort is obvious here – only eight of his 32 shots have arrived from inside the penalty area.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen has equaled north London rival Cazorla for total attempts (56 apiece) yet despite firing just 18 from close-range, he’s still managed to score with seven of his 14 attempts on target.
Ones to Watch
Jan Vertonghen – a home clash with Sunderland offers Tottenham the chance to bounce back from last weekend’s Selhurst Park defeat. With the Black Cats failing to score in seven of their ten road trips, Vertonghen could be poised to pick up a clean sheet, whilst his five-goal tally back in 2012/13 serves a reminder of the Belgian’s capabilities further up the field.
Leighton Baines – transferred out by over 90,000 Fantasy managers in the previous Gameweek, the Everton left-back grabbed a second assist in three appearances in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. Baines’ form is on the rise ahead of a home clash against West Brom and with Tony Pulis looking to tighten up defensively, a home clean sheet could be on the cards.
Jason Puncheon – the Crystal Palace winger needed little time to underline his impact under new manager Alan Pardew last weekend. After a frustrating time during Neil Warnock’s stint at the helm, Puncheon grabbed a goal and maximum bonus points in a 2-1 comeback win over Tottenham and will be looking to build that momentum as the Eagles visit a struggling Burnley side with a single clean sheet in the last ten Gameweeks.
Peter Crouch – the target man looks a real under the radar option this week as Stoke make their way to Leicester. The Foxes have conceded 56 aerial attempts this season – only Burnley have afforded their opponents’ more – and Mark Hughes will be keen utilise Crouch’s height in the box as the Potters attempt to recover from last week’s loss at Arsenal.
Andy Carroll – a home clash against Hull offers West Ham an ideal chance to get points on the board before the schedule takes a turn for the worse. With four goals and a pair of assists in the last eight Gameweeks, Carroll has played a part in six of the Hammers’ last 11 strikes and looks in top form as Sam Allardyce attempts to tame the Tigers.
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