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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 5

Six of the top eight teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout assess the upcoming round of fixtures.

League leaders Chelsea travel to Manchester City as the champions look to end Jose Mourinho’s 100% start to the season. Swansea City and Southampton square up at the Liberty Stadium, with the Saints seeking a third successive win, while Aston Villa entertain Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, as the Gunners attempt to breach a backline that has conceded just a single goal in their opening four Gameweeks.

Elsewhere, Manchester United face a testing trip to Leicester City, with Nigel Pearson’s side unbeaten in front of their own fans so far. Liverpool travel to West Ham United, as Brendan Rodgers’s side look to bounce back from last week’s home loss to Aston Villa, while Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will be optimistic of picking up the points from home clashes with Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion respectively.

Talking tactics

A change in formation helped Manchester United chalk up their first win of the season last weekend. Louis van Gaal switched from a 3-4-1-2 to a midfield diamond. With new boy Daley Blind stationed in front of the back-four, fellow midfielders Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata all grabbed a goal apiece in the 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Mata’s withdrawal midway through the second half saw Wayne Rooney drop into “the hole” behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, though, suggesting the Spaniard’s long-term pitch time may be in question as the Red Devils boss looks to accommodate the Colombian in his starting XI.

Daniel Sturridge’s injury absence forced Brendan Rodgers to operate with a lone striker system at home to Aston Villa last weekend. The Reds boss continued with the formation for the midweek Champions League clash with PFC Ludogorets Razgrad but his decision to revert to a midfield diamond, with Raheem sterling tucked in behind Mario Balotelli and substitute Fabio Borini, proved pivotal in earning a 2-1 win. With a trip to West Ham up next for the Merseysiders, Rodgers may well look to retain a forward pairing and keep Sterling stationed centrally as he attempts to recover from the shock defeat to Aston Villa.

Gus Poyet’s decision to omit Steven Fletcher from the Sunderland squad afforded Connor Wickham a central role against Tottenham last weekend. Previously utilised on the left flank by the Black Cats boss, Wickham was fielded as the lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation as Poyet handed loan signing Ricardo Alvarez a debut on the flank. With some favourable fixtures to follow, Wickham certainly looks one to monitor at a price of just 5.9.

By the numbers

After just four appearances for Chelsea this season, Diego Costa has already found the net on seven occasions. The summer signing’s arrival has been vital to Jose Mourinho and Fantasy managers alike and is now the most popular player in the game, with over 54% ownership. Bearing in mind all seven of Costa’s strikes have arrived from inside the area, The Scout takes a look at those players who have offered the greatest close-range threat over the first four rounds of fixtures.

Diego Costa (CHE) 13 14 7 10.8 54%
Graziano Pelle (SOU) 11 13 3 7.6 4%
Branislav Ivanovic (CHE) 10 11 2 7.2 24%
Sergio Aguero (MCI) 9 11 3 12.1 9%
Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT) 8 11 1 8.6 7%
Saido Berahino (WBA) 8 10 2 5.6 6%
Edin Dzeko (MCI) 8 9 0 8.4 8%
Nacer Chadli (TOT) 8 8 2 6.1 5%
Steven Caulker (QPR) 8 8 0 4.9 9%
Daniel Sturridge (LIV) 7 13 1 11.4 13%
Oscar (CHE) 7 11 0 8.4 3%
Wilfried Bony (SWA) 7 11 0 8.4 5%
Raheem Sterling (LIV) 7 10 2 8.8 46%
Scott Arfield (BUR) 7 10 1 5.0 1%
Nikica Jelavic (HUL) 7 8 2 6.0 3%
Leonardo Ulloa (LEI) 7 7 3 5.6 3%

As the statistics show, Costa’s stunning start to the season is no real surprise. The Spain international has produced more shots inside the box (13) than any other player and fired only one effort from distance. Chelsea team-mate Branislav Ivanovic also features highly – impressively, the right-back has delivered 10 goal attempts in the area, the third highest tally in the top-flight so far. Perhaps surprisingly, Oscar is the only featured midfielder from the league leaders in our analysis – the Brazilian has failed to find the net from 11 attempts, with seven arriving from inside the box.

Southampton’s Graziano Pelle is also prominent. The 7.6-priced striker has now notched three times in his last two league appearances and has fired 11 efforts in the area, with a total of 13 attempts just one less than Costa – with an ownership of 4%, he looks a real differential option right now.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has netted in three of his four appearances. The Argentine fired a total of 11 attempts, with nine efforts arriving from close-range in just 187 minutes on the pitch, yet has so far been snapped up by just 9% of Fantasy managers. Team-mate Edin Dzeko has also offered plenty of threat inside the box; the Bosnian, along with QPR centre-half Steven Caulker, is one of only two players to produce at least eight attempts without scoring this season.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Saido Berahino will be looking to further their goal tallies as they go head-to-head at White Hart Lane this weekend. Both have managed eight attempts inside the box thus far though the latter has been more prolific, scoring twice from 10 attempts on goal.

The most popular midfielder in the game, with over 46% ownership, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has mirrored Daniel Sturridge’s seven shots in the box and netted twice, compared to his injured team-mate’s single strike.

Burnley’s Scott Arfield is also on The Scout’s radar ahead of a kind run of fixtures. The Clarets midfielder has produce seven efforts in the area and 10 attempts in total – mirroring Sterling’s statistics – but despite a kind 5.0 price tag, is owned by just 1% of Fantasy managers to date.

Ones to Watch

Kieran Trippier – Burnley’s highly-rated right-back has the chance to pick up the Fantasy returns once again this weekend as The Clarets welcome Sunderland to Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s side have now produced a clean sheet in each of the last two Gameweeks and with 12 assists to his name in the Championship last season, Trippier offers points potential at both ends of the pitch.

Nacer Chadli – a peripheral figure for Tottenham last term, the Belgian has already made giant strides under new manager Mauricio Pochettino this term. Chadli has scored three times in as many appearances and with struggling West Brom set to pay visit, he looks poised to continue on the goal trail.

Kevin Mirallas – a goal against West Brom last weekend continued the Everton midfielder’s flourishing form. Mirallas has now netted in back-to-back matches and plays host to a Crystal Palace side that shipped three goals to Newcastle United on their previous road trip under Neil Warnock.

Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City’s summer signing took his tally to three goals in four appearances after grabbing the winner at Stoke City last weekend. Ulloa now faces a home clash against Manchester United this Saturday and, bearing in mind he’s already scored against Everton and Arsenal in front of his own fans, will be confident of continuing his scoring spree.

Abel Hernandez – Steve Bruce’s deadline-day signing made an instant impact by netting on his debut against West Ham United last Monday evening. Hernandez now rolls up to face a Newcastle side that have shipped three goals in each of their last two matches and looks in the mood to heap further pressure on the Magpies’ under-fire manager Alan Pardew.

  • Sergio Aguero
  • Nacer Chadli
  • Leonardo Ulloa

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 4

Diego Costa kept his Fantasy Premier League managers happy in Gameweek 4 by recording his first Barclays Premier League hat-trick in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory over Swansea City.

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City

3: Jack Wilshere (ARS)
2: Jesus Navas (MCI)
1: Sergio Aguero (MCI)

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere impressed the most at the Emirates in arguably his best performance of the season. The England international scored the Gunners’ first goal and provided the assist for their second. Wilshere also created two big chances, completed 10 dribbles and made 12 recoveries.

Spain international Jesus Navas, who completed 88% of his passes and made 12 recoveries, picked up a couple of BP after recording an assist for Manchester City’s first goal. Sergio Aguero, who scored that opening goal for the visitors, picked up BP for the third time in four Gameweeks.

Chelsea 4-2 Swansea City

3: Diego Costa (CHE)
2: Cesc Fabregas (CHE)
1: Jonjo Shelvey (SWA)

Spain forward Diego Costa was yet again the standout player of the Gameweek for Chelsea as he bagged his first Barclays Premier League hat-trick. The summer acquisition, who scored the winning goal, has earned BP in three out of the first four Gameweeks of the season.

Cesc Fabregas registered a further two assists at the weekend to earn a couple of BP. Chelsea’s midfielder completed 94% of his attempted passes, produced six key passes and recorded nine recoveries. Swansea City midfielder Jonjo Shelvey rounded off a solid display for his team with the final goal of the match at Stamford Bridge to register his first BP of the season.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Burnley

3: Julian Speroni (CRY)
2: Michael Duff (BUR)
1: Damien Delaney (CRY)

In a match full of strong defensive performances, Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni received maximum BP. The goalkeeper kept a clean sheet by making three crucial saves, including preventing Burnley’s Scott Arfield converting from the penalty spot.

Burnley defender Michael Duff produced a solid display at the back to keep a clean sheet for his side. Duff completed 16 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) and had an 83% pass completion rate. Palace defender Damien Delaney was a rock at the back as he registered a single BP following 17 CBI that helped the home side secure a clean sheet.

Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United

3: Graziano Pelle (SOU)
2: Ryan Bertrand (SOU)
1: Morgan Schneiderlin (SOU)

Graziano Pelle was twice on the score sheet as Southampton secured a comfortable victory at home to Newcastle United. The Italian, who ultimately scored the winning goal, has hugely impressed since signing in the summer and now has three Barclays Premier League goals to his name.

Saints defender Ryan Bertrand was rewarded with two BP thanks to an assist, a total of 16 CBI and recoveries, plus a 91% pass completion rate. Morgan Schneiderlin continued his early season form by grabbing a goal and completing 92% of his attempted passes to register a single BP.

Stoke City 0-1 Leicester City

3: Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)
2: Paul Konchesky (LEI)
1: Ben Hamer (LEI)

Leicester City forward Leonardo Ulloa continues to thrive in the Barclays Premier League as he scored again to give the visitors their first win of the season. Ulloa’s three completed dribbles and six recoveries accompanied the only goal of the match to register maximum BP.

Full-back Paul Konchesky provided the assist for Ulloa to earn his first BP of the season. The Leicester defender also made a total of 12 CBI and recoveries, alongside creating a big chance in the match. Ben Hamer replaced the injured Kasper Schmeichel in goal and impressed for the Foxes as they kept their first clean sheet of the season. Hamer’s clean sheet was helped by four saves and 11 recoveries.

Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

3: Christian Eriksen (TOT)
2: Nacer Chadli (TOT)
1: Adam Johnson (SUN)

Christian Erikson picked up maximum BP following an impressive display for Tottenham Hotspur in their draw at the Stadium of Light. Erikson, who successfully completed 91% of his passes and made nine recoveries, scored early in the second half to give Spurs a 2-1 lead.

Midfielder Nacer Chadli scored the opening goal of the match to give Spurs an early lead. The Belgium international also registered an 83% pass completion rate to grab a couple of BP. Adam Johnson earned a single BP after grabbing his first goal of the season for Sunderland.

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Everton

3: Leighton Baines (EVE)
2: Phil Jagielka (EVE), John Stones (EVE)

Everton full-back Leighton Baines produced a great all-round display to help his side claim victory and keep a clean sheet in the process. The England international provided the assist for Everton’s second goal and completed 86% of his attempted passes. Baines also made a total of 12 CBI and recoveries to shut out the West Bromwich Albion attack.

Fellow defenders Phil Jagielka and John Stones were both rewarded with two BP for their efforts in keeping a clean sheet. Jagielka ended the match with a 93% passing accuracy and made 17 CBI. Stones had a 96% pass completion rate and, while he made less CBI than Jagielka, the Everton defender did successfully complete more tackles and commit less fouls.

Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa

3: Gabriel Agbonlahor (AVL)
2: Nathan Baker (AVL)
1: Brad Guzan (AVL)

Aston Villa continued their unbeaten start to the Barclays Premier League campaign thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s strike in the first half. The Villa forward scored the only goal of the game to pick up his first maximum BP of the season.

Nathan Baker helped the visitors keep a clean sheet at Anfield thanks to a solid defensive display, which included 18 CBI, while goalkeeper Brad Guzan picked up the final BP after helping shut out the Liverpool attack with 11 recoveries.

Manchester United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers

3: Angel Di Maria (MUN)
2: Ander Herrera (MUN)
1: Wayne Rooney (MUN)

Angel Di Maria was the star of the show at Old Trafford as Manchester United registered their first win of the season. The Argentina midfielder ultimately scored the winning goal and produced an assist, as well as creating two big chances and making 12 recoveries.

Ander Herrera scored his first Barclays Premier League goal and completed 91% of his passes to pick up a couple of BP. Captain Wayne Rooney also got on the score sheet and achieved an 89% pass completion rate to round of a clean sweep of BP for the home team.

Hull City 2-2 West Ham United

3: Stewart Downing (WHU)
2: Enner Valencia (WHU)
1: Abel Hernandez (HUL), Mohamed Diame (HUL), Ahmed Elmohamady (HUL)

West Ham United midfielder Stewart Downing produced an influential display to earn the visitors a point at the KC Stadium. Downing provided the assist for West Ham's second equaliser, as well as adding six key passes and ending the match with a 95% pass completion rate.

New Hammers forward Enner Valencia grabbed his first Barclays Premier League in stunning fashion. The Ecuador international, who completed three dribbles and three recoveries, received two BP for his performance.

Three Hull City players registered one BP each for their FPL managers. Abel Hernandez marked his Hull debut with the opening goal of the match, while fellow debutant Mohamed Diame bagged his first goal of the season against his former club. Midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady recorded an assist and made a total of eight CBI and recoveries.

  • Diego Costa
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Graziano Pelle
  • Angel Di Maria

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 4

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

Amanda Harrison - Rubbish FC

Prognosis: Amanda has started her first season as a Fantasy Football manager slowly after opting to invest heavily in last term’s top two sides, Manchester City and Liverpool. With Daniel Sturridge sidelined due to a thigh injury and Yaya Toure struggling to find his form, Amanda is looking to introduce a few new faces to help turn her campaign around.

Treatment: Replacing Sturridge with Diego Costa up front is a definite starting point. The Chelsea forward has racked up seven goals in his four appearances and, as he’s shown so far, is a strong captaincy candidate in almost any given Gameweek. Although the Blues travel to champions Manchester City next week, Amanda should plan her transfers for the long-term and may consider bring in Costa’s team-mate Cesc Fabregas for Toure in the centre of the park – this trade would free up enough budget to then acquire Danny Welbeck for fellow Arsenal forward Yaya Sanogo up front.

Chances of Recovery: With Costa and Fabregas acquired, Amanda has the Premier League’s two in-form players on board - like Costa, Fabregas has made a sensational start for Jose Mourinho’s side and assisted six of their 15 goals to date. Welbeck’s arrival at the Emirates Stadium has pushed Sanogo down the pecking order and with matches against Aston Villa, Hull City, Sunderland and Burnley in the next six Gameweeks, has the chance to make a mockery of his current 7.0 price tag. In terms of tactics, Amanda should move away from a four-man defence and opt for three at the back, thus increasing her prospects of returns in the final third of the pitch – bringing Tottenham’s Erik Lamela off the bench could prove a canny move for next weekend’s home encounter against West Bromwich Albion.

Connor Curtis - Abcde FC

Prognosis: Connor sits just outside the top one million mark after the first four Gameweeks of the season and is ready to make changes in every position of his 15-man squad. He’s looking to part company with the stricken Daniel Sturridge, whilst Eden Hazard’s sluggish start to the campaign may see the Chelsea midfielder also make way.

Treatment: Southampton’s Graziano Pelle offers Connor a mid-price alternative to Sturridge. The Italian has now notched four times in his last three appearances in all competitions for Ronald Koeman’s side and, at a price of just 7.5, would free up the necessary budget to bring in Raheem Sterling for Victor Wanyama in the centre of the park. Bearing in mind he already has Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in his starting XI, Connor could swap out Hazard for Manchester United’s in-form Angel di Maria, while at the back, Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand is a strong replacement for Aston Villa’s injured skipper Ron Vlaar.

Chances of Recovery: All four of Connor’s new acquisitions have a kind run of fixtures to boost their points potential. Saints pair Pelle and Bertrand travel to Swansea City and have home clashes with Queens Park Rangers, Sunderland and Stoke City in the next five Gameweeks. Sterling has a trio of Anfield matches allied with trips to West Ham and QPR, while Di Maria will be confident of adding to his goal and assist against the R’s as he visits Leicester City before back-to-back home encounters with West Ham and Everton.

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