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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.

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 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 7

Steven Fletcher returned to goalscoring form as he helped Sunderland record a first win of the season, which saw the Scotland international register the most amount of points by any player in Gameweek 7.

Hull City 2-0 Crystal Palace

3: Andrew Robertson (HUL)
2: Mohamed Diame (HUL)

1: Curtis Davies (HUL)

Andrew Robertson provided an instrumental all-round performance to register maximum Bonus Points (BP) for the first time this season. The Hull City defender recorded an assist, created one big chance and strung together three key passes in attack. In defence, Robertson had a plus four tackle rate, six recoveries and six clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) to help produce a clean sheet.

Mohamed Diame continues to impress for his new club and the Hull midfielder picked up a couple of BP after scoring his third goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign. Curtis Davies, who earned one BP, helped the home team keep a clean sheet thanks to 18 CBI and a passing accuracy of 96%.

Leicester City 2-2 Burnley

3: Riyad Mahrez (LEI)

2: Scott Arfield (BUR)
1: Ritchie de Laet (LEI), Ross Wallace (BUR)

Leicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez had a hand in both of the home team’s goals in the match between two of the promoted clubs. Mahrez set up the opening goal for Leicester, before netting his first of the season.

Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield produced a great performance to earn two BP, grabbing an assist and making 12 recoveries, while the single BP was shared between two players. Leicester defender Ritchie de Laet completed 23 CBI and recoveries in total, while Burnley’s second half substitute Ross Wallace scored an added time equaliser.

Liverpool 2-1 West Bromwich Albion

3: Jordan Henderson (LIV)
2: Adam Lallana (LIV)

1: Steven Gerrard (LIV)

England international Jordan Henderson scored the winning goal at Anfield to register three BP for his Fantasy Premier League managers. Henderson also produced four key passes and created a big chance.

Adam Lallana scored his first Barclays Premier League goal in a Liverpool shirt to receive two BP. Lallana also successfully completed four dribbles and made nine recoveries. Steven Gerrard was as accurate as ever to collect one BP. The Liverpool captain completed 95% of his attempted passes and produced five key passes.

Sunderland 3-1 Stoke City

3: Steven Fletcher (SUN)
2: Connor Wickham (SUN)
1: Charlie Adam (STK)

Steven Fletcher scored the highest amount of FPL points in Gameweek 7 thanks to playing a part in all three of Sunderland’s goals. The Scotland international forward set up the opening goal of the match before netting twice either side of half time.

Fellow Sunderland striker Connor Wickham received two BP after opening the scoring at the Stadium of Light, before turning provider for one of Fletcher’s goals. Charlie Adam, who had a pass completion rate of 86%, equalised for Stoke City to earn one BP.

Swansea City 2-2 Newcastle United

3: Papiss Cisse (NEW)
2: Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA)

1: Wayne Routledge (SWA)

Newcastle United came from behind twice to take away a point from the Liberty Stadium, with Papiss Cisse grabbing both of the goals and collecting maximum BP for the second time in three Gameweeks.

Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson assisted both of the home team’s goals in another impressive performance. The Iceland international completed 87% of his passes and completed four dribbles. Wayne Routledge gave Swansea the lead for a second time in a display that was rewarded with a single BP.

Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City

3: Yaya Toure (MCI)
2: Vincent Kompany (MCI)

1: Sergio Aguero (MCI), James Milner (MCI)

Yaya Toure produced his best performance of the season so far, which was capped by a superb finish that ultimately gave the visitors all three points. The Manchester City midfielder completed 90% of his attempted passes and made six recoveries to reward his faithful Fantasy Premier League managers with three BP.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany picked up a couple of BP for a solid defensively display, which was courtesy of a 95% pass completion rate, three successful tackles and 12 CBI and recoveries. Sergio Aguero sealed the victory late on to collect the final BP alongside James Milner, who registered an assist and created a big chance.

Manchester United 2-1 Everton

3: Angel Di Maria (MUN)
2: Steven Naismith (EVE)

1: Radamel Falcao (MUN)

Another home win for Manchester United saw Angel Di Maria impress once again for the Red Devils. Di Maria scored the opening goal of the match, before being rewarded with the assist for the winning goal. The Argentina international also created a further two big chances, produced five key passes, crossed from open play four times and successfully completed four dribbles.

Everton forward Steven Naismith, who recorded a passing accuracy of 85%, racked up BP for the third time this season after grabbing a goal at Old Trafford. Radamel Falcao earned the final BP after registering his first Barclays Premier League goal.

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

3: Eden Hazard (CHE)

2: Branislav Ivanovic (CHE)
1: Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE)

Chelsea came out on top in the match between the two unbeaten teams thanks to an influential display from Eden Hazard. The Belgium international midfielder was brought down in the penalty box after a solo run and confidently put the penalty away, which helped him collect maximum BP in Gameweek 7.

Branislav Ivanovic registered two BP after he helped prevent Arsenal from getting back in the match. The Chelsea defender’s clean sheet was helped by 11 CBI and seven recoveries in a near faultless display. Fellow defender Cesar Azpilicueta, who completed a total nine CBI and recoveries, also produced a solid defensive performance to earn himself the final BP.

Chelsea duo Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa missed out on BP despite both contributing an assist and a goal, respectively. The pair were successfully tackled numerous times and fouled the opposition players on too many occasions.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Southampton

3: Christian Eriksen (TOT)

2: Hugo Lloris (TOT)
1: Younes Kaboul (TOT)

Christian Eriksen scored the only goal of the match to give Tottenham Hotspur a first home win since August. Eriksen produced a fine display and completed more than 80% of his attempted passes to accompany his second goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kept Southampton at bay thanks to three saves and 11 recoveries, while newly appointed captain Younes Kaboul completed 12 CBI to help keep a clean sheet.

West Ham United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers

3: James Tomkins (WHU)
2: Diafra Sakho (WHU), Stewart Downing (WHU), Winston Reid (WHU)

West Ham United defender James Tomkins collected maximum BP after contributing to a 2-0 victory at the Boleyn Ground. Tomkins provided the assist for the second goal of the match and then continued to produce a solid display at the back, with 15 CBI completed.

A trio of West Ham players shared two BP. Diafra Sakho got his name on the scoresheet once again, while Stewart Downing registered an assist and recovered the ball 12 times. Winston Reid was the third player to collect a couple of BP after making a total of 18 CBI and recoveries, and completing over 80% of his attempted passes.

  • Steven Fletcher
  • Jordan Henderson
  • Papiss Cisse
  • Angel Di Maria

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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