The Scout Preview - Gameweek 34
Four teams feature twice in the upcoming round of fixtures as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 34 schedule.
Manchester City face a testing trip to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool before hosting basement-dwellers Sunderland on Wednesday evening. Gus Poyet’s side are at home to Everton on Saturday afternoon prior to their Etihad Stadium excursion, whilst Crystal Palace welcome Aston Villa to Selhurst Park before paying visit to the Toffees in midweek.
Elsewhere, three of the bottom six sides in the Barclays Premier League play in front of their own fans. Fulham face Norwich City at Craven Cottage, with Felix Magath’s side seeking a third win in five Gameweeks, West Bromwich Albion go head-to-head with Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns, whilst Swansea City host Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium, with Garry Monk’s side looking to condemn their visitors to a third successive away defeat.
Fantasy managers should also be aware that Manchester United and Hull City are both without a Gameweek 34 fixture, due to the Tigers’ FA Cup semi-final duties.
Manuel Pellegrini faces a dilemma up front ahead of Manchester City’s pair of upcoming fixtures. The Chilean’s decision to move to a 4-2-3-1 formation in Sergio Aguero’s absence has seen his side drop just two points in their last six matches – David Silva has impressed in a central role behind Edin Dzeko, who has delivered four goals and a pair of assists in his last four appearances. With Aguero expected to return in time for Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, Pellegrini could switch back to his favoured 4-4-2 formation, partnering Aguero and the in-form Dzeko up front, and shifting Silva onto the flank once again, with Jesus Navas forced back onto the bench.
Roberto Martinez’ decision to shift Romelu Lukaku onto the right flank proved instrumental in Everton’s weekend win over Arsenal. The Belgian has featured through the middle in every appearance for the Merseysiders since arriving on loan last summer but was switched out wide, with Steven Naismith handed the central role in Martinez’ 4-3-3 formation. Both players found the net in the 3-0 triumph but, whilst Naismith has now notched in each of the last two Gameweeks, he looks likely to return to the Toffees’ bench for Saturday’s trip to Sunderland, with Lukaku leading the line once again.
A potential calf injury for Eden Hazard hands Jose Mourinho a dilemma in the attacking midfield positions for Chelsea’s trip to Swansea City this weekend. The Belgian has featured in all of his side’s matches thus far, starting 31 times and appearing off the bench on a couple of occasions, but may be set for a short spell on the sidelines after sustaining the problem in Tuesday evening’s Champions League win over Paris Saint Germain. With his side fighting for silverware on two fronts, Mourinho has plenty of options available should Hazard – owned by 39% of Fantasy managers – be ruled out. Mohamed Salah, who is ineligible for European duties, produced a goal and assist in his first league start in last weekend’s win over Stoke City, whilst Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Willian all offer alternatives for the roles behind a lone striker in the Blues’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
By the numbers
As the weekend deadline draws nearer, The Scout casts an eye over the four teams with a pair of fixtures on their respective agendas. We assess the players in form over the previous 30 days, with a minimum of two representatives per team listed below:
|Yaya Toure (MCY)||8.8||10.5||44 pts, 5 apps||47%|
|David Silva (MCY)||7.8||9.5||39 pts, 5 apps||9%|
|Edin Dzeko (MCY)||7.0||7.2||35 pts, 4 apps||14%|
|Romelu Lukaku (EVE)||6.8||9.0||34 pts, 5 apps||22%|
|Julian Speroni (CPL)||5.6||4.7||28 pts, 5 apps||4%|
|Seamus Coleman (EVE)||5.4||6.9||27 pts, 5 apps||39%|
|Kevin Mirallas (EVE)||5.2||7.6||26 pts, 4 apps||10%|
|Joel Ward (CPL)||5.2||4.4||26 pts, 5 apps||8%|
|Vito Mannone (SUN)||3.8||4.5||19 pts, 5 apps||9%|
|Adam Johnson (SUN)||3.6||6.5||18 pts, 5 apps||8%|
Manchester City trio Yaya Toure, David Silva and Edin Dzeko lead the way. The Ivorian has netted five times in as many matches – with three coming via the penalty spot – and, with an assist also delivered, has now been snapped up by over 47% of Fantasy managers; the most popular midfielder in the game. Silva has produced two goals and a trio of assists over the last month and with eight bonus points also accrued, has drawn a blank in only one of his five appearances.
Romelu Lukaku has grabbed three goals in his last five appearances for Everton. The Belgian has also provided a pair of assists for his Toffees team-mates and has subsequently received six bonus points, with double-figure hauls in two of the last three Gameweeks. Team-mate Kevin Mirallas has returned a goal and three assists, though has only started three of the last five matches, whilst 39%-owned right-back Seamus Coleman has served up a goal, five bonus points and a pair of clean sheets.
Crystal Palace keeper Julian Speroni has conceded just two goals in his last five appearances. The Argentine has delivered three clean sheets, a trio of save points and three bonus points for his 4% owners over the last 30 days, whilst the Eagles’ versatile defender Joel Ward has also earned three bonus points and an assist.
Sunderland stopper Vito Mannone has managed a single clean sheet over his last five appearances. The 4.5-priced Italian has earned save points in each of those matches, though, and has averaged more points per game (4.7) than any first-choice goalkeeper this term. Adam Johnson has played a part in two of his side’s three strikes over the period, with a goal and assist supplemented by a single bonus point.
Ones to watch
Leighton Baines – the defender has been crucial to a recent string of displays which has seen his side win each of their last six league fixtures. Baines has chipped in with a goal and two assists over that run and squares up to Sunderland and Crystal Palace this Gameweek – both opponents have struggled for goals of late, strengthening the prospect of points at both ends of the pitch for the Everton full-back.
Jason Puncheon – a double against fellow strugglers Cardiff bring the Crystal Palace wide man onto The Scout’s radar. Coming in at just 5.0, Puncheon faces Aston Villa before a tricky trip to Goodison Park and his direct running and eye for a long shot could serve up the points once again as Tony Pulis’ side look to clinch their survival.
Andre Schurrle – when handed the chance, the Chelsea midfielder has proven to be an explosive option, capable of producing huge points hauls. With Eden Hazard looking likely to be out for a couple of weeks, the 6.9-priced Schurrle could be set for a starting role as Jose Mourinho’s side make their way to Swansea – he’ll be looking to replicate the form that produced 20 points and 12 points against Fulham and Arsenal respectively last month.
Aaron Ramsey – finally recovered from a thigh injury, the Arsenal midfielder returned to action for the first time since Gameweek 18 last weekend. Ramsey was handed 25 minutes off the bench in last Sunday’s loss at Everton, but Arsene Wenger looks likely to turn to his drive and goal threat from the centre of the park against West Ham United next Tuesday as the Gunners look to get their bid for a fourth place finish back on track.
Sergio Aguero – the Argentine has missed Manchester City’s last eight matches but is expected to return in time for Sunday’s crunch encounter with Liverpool at Anfield. Aguero’s stint on the sidelines has seen his ownership dwindle to just 7% and with a home clash against Sunderland also on his agenda, he could be a canny differential this week, having served up 15 goals and nine assists in just 17 appearances for Manuel Pellegrini’s side thus far.