The Scout Preview - Gameweek 38
Two of the bottom four clubs in the Barclays Premier League play at home this Sunday as the battle for survival goes down to the final Gameweek.
Newcastle United welcome West Ham United to St James’ Park, knowing that a win will seal their survival. Relegation rivals Hull City, meanwhile, must beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium and hope that the Magpies fail to clinch victory in order to avoid a drop into the Championship.
Elsewhere, the top three teams also play in front of their own fans. Champions Chelsea look to end the season undefeated at home as Sunderland roll up to Stamford Bridge. Arsenal entertain West Bromwich Albion, whilst Manchester City seeks a seventh straight home win as Southampton pay visit to the Etihad Stadium.
Alan Pardew opted for a 4-4-2 formation as Crystal Palace headed to Liverpool last weekend. The Eagles boss dropped the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray to the bench and handed Yannick Bolasie a role up front alongside Marouane Chamakh, with Jason Puncheon and Lee Chung-Yong handed the wide roles. Pardew switched back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 set-up later on in the match and with Zaha and Murray both grabbing a goal apiece as second-half substitutes, the pair look likely to return to the starting XI for this weekend’s visit of Swansea City.
Brendan Rodgers reverted to a 3-4-2-1 formation for Liverpool’s clash with the Eagles. The Reds boss moved away from his recent 4-2-3-1 system and handed Alberto Moreno and Jordon Ibe the wing-back berths, whilst Raheem Sterling led the line, with Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana tucking in behind. With a trip to Stoke up next, Rodgers may look to bring back Rickie Lambert’s physical presence up top – the former Southampton man had started each of the previous two before making way for Sterling in the advanced central role as the Reds succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield.
A goalless draw with Sunderland has all but sealed third place for Arsenal. The Gunners are now three points ahead of Manchester United and with a superior goal difference of +7, look poised to clinch the final automatic qualifying slot for next season’s Champions League. With the FA Cup final against Aston Villa set to take place on May 30, Arsene Wenger could now be tempted to ring the changes for the weekend home clash against West Bromwich Albion. The likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky have all earned pitch time in recent matches and offer Wenger options as he bids to keep his regulars fresh for the Wembley showdown.
By the numbers
With many mini-leagues still undecided, Fantasy managers are looking for some inspiration ahead of Sunday’s deadline. The Scout assesses the top ten scoring “differentials” of the season so far, with each of our featured players currently sitting in under 10% of sides.
|Sadio Mane (SOU)||135||6.2||1%|
|Juan Mata (MUN)||135||8.5||9%|
|Romelu Lukaku (EVE)||133||8.7||6%|
|Philippe Coutinho (LIV)||132||7.9||9%|
|Yaya Toure (MCI)||131||10.7||5%|
|Danny Ings (BUR)||130||5.5||4%|
Manchester United’s Juan Mata is owned by 9% of Fantasy managers ahead of the weekend trip to Hull. The Spaniard has produced nine goals and four assists this season and has found the net four times in the last eight Gameweeks.
Southampton winger Sadio Mane racked up a 23-point haul at home to Aston Villa last weekend. The Senegal international has scored 11 times in just 23 starts under Ronald Koeman and has proven great value at a price of 6.2.
Romelu Lukaku produced two goals and an assist over his last three appearances. The 8.7-priced Everton forward sits in just 6% of sides as he entertains a Tottenham side with just three clean sheets on their travels this season. Team-mate Seamus Coleman is seeking a fifth home shut-out in six attempts this weekend. The right-back has prospered at both ends of the pitch, earning three goals and four assists for his 5% owners.
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho has enjoyed his most impressive season to date. The Brazilian has delivered 132 points, courtesy of five goals, seven assists and 15 bonus points and sits second only to Alexis Sanchez amongst midfielders for total attempts (99) on goal ahead of a trip to Stoke.
Yaya Toure took his tally to ten strikes for the season with a weekend brace at Swansea. The Ivorian has now managed five sets of double-figures and plays host to a Southampton side that have picked up one point from their previous six road trips.
Burnley’s Danny Ings looks poised for a summer move after racking up ten goals and four assists in his first season in the top-flight. Having scored the winner against Hull last weekend, the 5.5-priced striker will be hoping to breach Aston Villa’s backline in what could be his final match for the relegated Clarets.
Ones to watch
Aleksandar Kolarov – the Manchester City left-back has been in fine form at both ends of the pitch since ousting Gael Clichy from the starting XI. Kolarov has delivered two goals, an assist and three clean sheets in his last five appearances and has produced double-figure hauls in each of the previous two home matches ahead of this Sunday’s visit of Southampton.
Jason Puncheon – a converted free-kick against Liverpool took the Crystal Palace midfielder’s tally to two goals in as many matches last weekend. Having also netted from a dead-ball against Manchester United, the 5.5-priced Puncheon will fancy his chances of scoring again as Swansea pay visit to Selhurst Park.
Papiss Cisse – with their survival on the line, Newcastle boss John Carver could well be set to gamble on the Senegal international’s fitness. Cisse has failed to start since Gameweek 28 due to a seven-match suspension but, having scored in two of his previous four appearances in the Magpies first XI, his eye for goal could be key at home to West Ham.
Nikica Jelavic – back in the Hull starting line-up for the first time since Gameweek 29, the Croatian also looks vital to his side’s survival bid. With the Tigers needing a win against Manchester United to stand any chance of beating the drop, Steve Bruce will be looking to Jelavic to add to his eight-goal haul and fire Hull to safety.
Leonardo Ulloa – a home clash against Queens Park Rangers affords the Argentine the chance to continue his fine recent form. Ulloa has produced three goals and an assist in his last four appearances at the King Power Stadium and faces a defence that has conceded more times on their travels than any other side.
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