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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 4

Three of last season’s top four teams in the Barclays Premier League face home comforts this weekend as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 4 schedule.

Arsenal welcome champions Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime as both sides attempt to bounce back from disappointing results last time out. Chelsea and Swansea City - the only teams with 100% records in the top-flight - go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge, whilst Liverpool welcome third placed Aston Villa to Anfield.

Elsewhere, big-spending Manchester United play at home to Queens Park Rangers, Everton search for their first win of the season at West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur face a testing trip to the Stadium of Light, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to recover from their home hammering at the hands of Liverpool in Gameweek 3.

Talking tactics

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could be set to hand a trio of new signings their debuts in Sunday’s home encounter with QPR. Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao all look poised to feature against Harry Redknapp’s side, though it remains to be seen whether the Dutchman will continue with his current 3-4-1-2 formation. While Rojo could slot into the back three and Blind may be fielded in the centre of the park, Falcao’s arrival hands Van Gaal a real dilemma up front, with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie also vying for a starting role. If the versatile Rooney is forced deeper to accommodate the Colombian, Juan Mata’s role in “the hole” behind a front two may well come under pressure as Van Gaal looks to engineer a first victory of the season.

The arrival of new winger Sadio Mane affords Ronald Koeman the chance to alter his tactics for Southampton’s home clash with Newcastle United on Saturday. The Saints boss has mainly fielded a three-man frontline over the first trio of fixtures, with Dusan Tadic on the left, though a shift to a 4-2-3-1 system would allow the Serbian to tuck in behind Graziano Pelle, with Mane and Shane Long handed the roles on the left and right of the attacking midfield three respectively.

A change of formation from Harry Redknapp helped QPR chalk up their first win of the campaign last time around. The R’s boss chose to drop his 3-5-2 system and returned to a four-man backline at home to Sunderland, with new boy Leroy Fer stationed behind Charlie Austin in a 4-4-1-1 set-up. Fer provided the assist for Austin’s solitary strike in the 1-0 triumph and with a clean sheet also accrued, Redknapp may well decide to retain the system as his side roll up to Old Trafford.

By the numbers

The Scout delves into the data and seeks out some of the most impressive defenders on display over the opening three Gameweeks. With every three clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) earning a point in the Bonus Points System, we assess the top 10 performers thus far.

Ryan Shawcross (STO) 50 40 5 5 5.6 10%
Wes Morgan (LEI) 45 31 8 6 4.5 1%
Winston Reid (WHU) 41 31 4 6 5.0 1%
Ashley Williams (SWA) 41 33 3 5 5.0 5%
Dejan Lovren (LIV) 39 30 1 8 5.5 28%
Steven Caulker (QPR) 37 24 4 9 4.9 10%
Phil Jones (MUN) 37 19 1 17 5.5 8%
Erik Pieters (STO) 37 29 1 7 5.0 1%
Curtis Davies (HUL) 36 31 1 4 5.0 4%
Marc Wilson (STO) 36 30 2 4 4.5 1%

Impressively, three of the Stoke back-four appear in our analysis. Potters captain Ryan Shawcross leads the way with 50 CBI – his 40 clearances are also more than any defender and with a goal and four bonus points (BP) to date, he’s risen to 5.6 in price. Left-back Erik Pieters has also picked up four BP and chipped in with an assist, yet sits in just 1% of squads, while Marc Wilson has also been vital to the resilience that has seen Mark Hughes’ side concede just twice so far. Wilson has earned a couple of BP, though at a price of just 4.5, is the cheapest option in the Stoke defence.

Leicester City skipper Wes Morgan has also led by example. Morgan has produced 45 CBI over the first three matches for Nigel Pearson’s side, with a total of eight blocks - more than any defender.

Swansea’s Ashley Williams has been key to the form that has seen his side serve up back-to-back clean sheets. The 5.0-priced centre-half has registered 41 CBI and has earned four BP in the last two Gameweeks for Garry Monk’s unbeaten side.

Dejan Lovren’s impact at new club Liverpool is obvious. The summer signing from Southampton has managed 39 CBI – more than any Reds’ defender – though has failed to pick up any bonus points for his 28% owners.

Manchester United’s Phil Jones has chalked up 17 interceptions in his first three appearances under Louis van Gaal – more than any defender. With 37 CBI so far, Jones picked up a couple of BP in the Gameweek 3 goalless draw at Burnley, with his contribution crucial to the visitors’ clean sheet.

Ones to Watch

Sadio Mane – the deadline-day signing arrives at Southampton on the back of an excellent record at former club Red Bull Salzburg. Mane produced 45 goals and 32 assists in just 87 appearances across all competitions for the Austrian outfit and is set to be unleashed against Newcastle at St Mary’s this weekend. Bearing in mind the Magpies conceded three at home in their previous match, the Senegal wide man will be confident of making an immediate impact for Ronald Koeman’s side.

Wilfried Zaha – emerging from the bench in the previous Gameweek, the on-loan midfielder grabbed a goal and fired in four attempts in Crystal Palace’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle. With Marouane Chamakh set to be sidelined for the Eagles’ home encounter with Burnley due to a hamstring injury, Zaha could be poised for a first start under Neil Warnock and, priced at just 5.4, looks a real value option.

Mario Balotelli – despite failing to score in his debut away to Spurs, Liverpool’s new forward turned in an impressive display in the 3-0 win. With major concerns over strike partner Daniel Sturridge’s fitness, Balotelli looks vital to the Reds’ prospects of ending Aston Villa’s unbeaten record at Anfield on Saturday evening and with a 3% ownership, is a real under the radar option.

Mame Biram Diouf – shifted to a more withdrawn role behind Peter Crouch last time around, Diouf grabbed the winner as Stoke upset the odds by defeating Manchester City at the Etihad. The only attacker to start all three matches under Mark Hughes so far, Diouf grabbed a goal for Senegal during the recent international break and will be brimming with confidence ahead of Leicester City’s arrival at the Britannia Stadium.

Nikica Jelavic – the Croatian has been quick to find his form for Hull this season. Jelavic has scored both the Tigers’ goals across the previous couple of Gameweeks and subsequently picked up three bonus points – at home to a West Ham side without a clean sheet over the first three matches, his contribution could make the difference for the hosts on Monday evening.

  • Radamel Falcao
  • Ryan Shawcross
  • Nikica Jelavic

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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