The Scout Preview - Gameweek 36
Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League hit the road this weekend as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 36 schedule.
Champions-elect Leicester City travel to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon looking for a win that would clinch the title. Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur face a testing trip to London neighbours Chelsea, Manchester City seek a fifth victory in six attempts away to Southampton, whilst West Ham United make their way to West Bromwich Albion as Slaven Bilic’s side step up their pursuit of a top-five finish.
Elsewhere, fourth-placed Arsenal welcome Norwich to the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners look to extend their seven-match unbeaten run. Newcastle United entertain former manager Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace and Liverpool travel to Swansea City just four days before the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.
Guus Hiddink tinkered with his tactics for Chelsea’s trip to AFC Bournemouth last weekend. The Dutchman started with the fit-again Eden Hazard and Pedro out wide, whilst Willian took up a central support role behind Diego Costa as Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s run of three straight starts came to an end. In his first appearance since Gameweek 29, Hazard - who started on the left flank before switching with fellow wide man Pedro at the break - grabbed a goal in each half of a 4-1 win at Dean Court, finding the net for the first time since Gameweek 6. With Willian and Pedro also bagging a goal apiece, and Cesc Fabregas supplying a trio of assists, the Blues’ midfield looks full of in-form options ahead of a schedule that sees them play four times in the final three rounds of fixtures.
Jurgen Klopp rolled out a midfield diamond for Liverpool’s home clash against Newcastle. Despite the absence of Divock Origi through injury, the Reds’ boss partnered Daniel Sturridge with Roberto Firmino up front, with Adam Lallana stationed in a central support role behind the front two. Whilst Sturridge and Lallana benefitted from Klopp’s decision by grabbing a goal apiece, owners of Philippe Coutinho will be reconsidering their options after he was handed a 20-minute cameo off the bench late on. The Brazilian has now started just one of the last four league matches as Klopp looks to manage his minutes ahead of the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.
Ronald Koeman freshened up his attack for Southampton’s trip to Aston Villa last weekend. After seeing his side score just 14 times in their first 17 away matches, the Dutchman benched in-form duo Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle against the relegated outfit and afforded the fit-again Jay Rodriguez a first start of the season alongside Dusan Tadic and Steven Davis behind lone striker Shane Long. With Tadic netting twice in a 4-2 win and Long chipping in with a goal and two assists, the Saints boss has food for thought ahead of the weekend visit of Manchester City, with Mane and Pelle, who have both netted four times in their last five appearances, both pushing for a first-team return.
By the numbers
Dele Alli owners could be on the lookout for a new midfielder after the Tottenham Hotspur star was charged with violent conduct for an incident in last Monday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom.
If found guilty, the 34%-owned Alli will receive a three-match ban that subsequently rules him out of his side’s final BPL fixtures – indeed, he has already been sold by over 29,000 Fantasy managers as we reconsider our options in the centre of the park.
As the search for a replacement intensifies, The Scout assesses those midfielders who have offered the greatest goal threat over their respective last four appearances.
In order to qualify for our analysis, each player must have started at least two of their sides’ last four league fixtures.
|Alexis Sanchez (ARS)||14||8||7||4||37|
|Christian Eriksen (TOT)||13||3||3||0||9|
|Dele Alli (TOT)||12||9||4||3||19|
|Dusan Tadic (SOU)||12||7||3||2||25|
|Robbie Brady (NOR)||11||4||5||1||10|
|Dimitri Payet (WHU)||11||2||4||1||12|
|Kevin de Bruyne (MCI)||10||6||6||1||11|
|Josh King (BOU)||10||9||4||2||27|
|Stephane Sessegnon (WBA)||10||7||2||1||16|
|Sadio Mane (SOU)||9||8||3||2||35|
|Marko Arnautovic (STO)||9||4||3||0||17|
|Manuel Lanzini (WHU)||9||4||2||1||12|
|Craig Gardner (WBA)||9||1||2||0||6|
Alexis Sanchez is the standout candidate across a number of key attacking areas. The Arsenal winger leads the way for attempts on goal (14), shots on target (seven) and touches inside the opposition box (37) in our analysis and has resultantly found the net on four occasions – more than any midfielder. Priced at 11.1, the Chilean looks a very strong captaincy option for home matches against Norwich and Aston Villa in Gameweeks 36 and 38 respectively.
Alli is joint-top along with Bournemouth’s Josh King for efforts inside the box, with nine apiece. The duo are also identical for shots on target (four), though the Spurs midfielder has been a little more clinical by three goals to two. Costing just 4.3, though, King has benefitted from a recent move up front and has found the net in four of his last seven appearances.
Alli’s team-mate Christian Eriksen is second only to Sanchez for total attempts (13 to 14) but his threat has mainly been restricted to long range, with only three shots inside the box. Although he’s failed to find the net over his last four league outings, the Dane has served up five assists for his 11% owners.
Chelsea duo Willian and Pedro have also impressed. Whilst the former edges his team-mate for total attempts by 12 to nine, Pedro has offered more threat from close-range (eight shots inside the box to seven) and has subsequently found the net on three occasions.
Norwich’s Robbie Brady has registered 11 attempts in his last four outings. The Republic of Ireland international has fired five shots on target and served up a goal, an assist and two bonus points, yet is owned by less than 1% of Fantasy managers. Brady has a pair of home fixtures in Gameweek 37 against Manchester United and Watford that may prove vital to the Canaries’ survival bid.
West Ham duo Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini have produced 11 and nine shots on goal respectively. Priced at 4.9 ahead of four fixtures in the final three Gameweeks, Lanzini betters his team-mate for attempts inside the box (four to two), though both players have found the net once. Payet has been far more consistent, however, and has scored or assisted in five of his last seven league outings.
Ones to watch
Marko Arnautovic – a home encounter with Sunderland affords Stoke the chance to bounce back from a three-match losing streak this weekend. Although the Black Cats have tightened up in recent weeks, they face a tough task to stop the Austrian, who has scored seven times in front of his own fans so far – second only to Newcastle’s Georginio Wijnaldum (nine) amongst midfielders.
Eden Hazard – the Belgian’s brace away to Bournemouth last time out suggests he’s finally rediscovered the form that served up 14 goals and ten assists in each of the two previous seasons. With Chelsea set to play four times in the final three Gameweeks, Hazard will be looking to build momentum as Spurs roll up to Stamford Bridge on Monday evening.
Moussa Sissoko – Newcastle’s new captain has stepped up his output since being shifted into a central support role by Rafa Benitez. At a price of 5.7, Sissoko has bagged a goal and assist in the last three fixtures and hosts a Crystal Palace side that may already have one eye on next month’s FA Cup final.
Andy Carroll – the West Ham frontman’s aerial threat looks a vital weapon for this weekend’s trip to West Brom. Having served up six goals and eight bonus points in his last five appearances, the 6.4-priced Carroll offers a bargain route into an attack that has scored at least twice in each of their previous six league matches.
Troy Deeney – a visit from relegated Aston Villa hands Watford the chance to recover from last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final exit to Crystal Palace. Available for 5.2, Deeney - who notched a spot-kick consolation in a 2-1 loss to the Eagles – looks an in-form alternative to strike partner Odion Ighalo and has produced double the number of shots on target (four to two) than the Nigerian over the last four matches.
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