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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 3

Four teams are looking to maintain their 100% starts to the season as The Scout assesses the upcoming round of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League.

Champions Manchester City welcome Stoke City to the Etihad Stadium as the hosts look to kick on from last week’s win over Liverpool. Chelsea face a testing trip to Everton on Saturday evening, Swansea City entertain West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium, whilst Tottenham Hotspur’s strong start under new manager Mauricio Pochettino will come under scrutiny as Liverpool make their way to White Hart Lane.

Elsewhere, promoted Burnley host out-of-sorts Manchester United, Neil Warnock takes his Crystal Palace side away to Newcastle United, while Arsenal travel to Leicester City in the final match of the Gameweek.

Talking tactics

Bojan Krkic was dropped to the bench for Stoke City’s first away match of the season last week. One of the most popular budget forwards around, the Spaniard made way for Steve Sidwell as the Potters rolled up to the KC Stadium and, despite the hosts being reduced to 10 men within quarter of an hour, was only introduced on 41 minutes after an injury forced Glenn Whelan out of the proceedings. Mark Hughes is clearly looking to gradually introduce the summer signing into his starting XI, particularly on the road, and with a trip to Manchester City up next, Bojan’s 13% of Fantasy owners may be forced to look elsewhere.

A shoulder injury to Kevin Nolan allowed West Ham United’s Mauro Zarate his first start of the season last week. Handed a support role behind Carlton Cole, the Argentine dazzled on his debut and was instrumental in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, after opening the scoring for the visitors. With Nolan expected to be sidelined for six weeks, Zarate looks set to continue in a central position once again as the Hammers welcome Southampton to Upton Park.

The arrival of Mario Balotelli could result in a change of formation for Liverpool this weekend. Brendan Rodgers has mainly utilised a 4-2-3-1 system this term, with Philippe Coutinho positioned behind Daniel Sturridge up front, but the Reds boss may decide to revert to last season’s midfield diamond as he looks to bounce back from Monday’s loss to Manchester City. This could allow Balotelli and Sturridge to lead the line, with Raheem Sterling moving from the flank to the tip of the diamond, forcing Coutinho into a more withdrawn berth against Mauricio Pochettino’s in-form hosts.

By the numbers

After a couple of appearances for new club Chelsea, the creativity of Cesc Fabregas has already proved significant. The Spaniard, who has provided at least 10 assists in each of his last eight seasons, has already teed up three goals for his team-mates thus far.

With this in mind, The Scout takes a look at some of the Premier League’s standout creators over the first couple of Gameweeks, with all of the featured players below having played at least 100 minutes in the first two rounds of fixtures.

Joey Barton (QPR) 18.9 10 0 5.0 1%
Eden Hazard (CHE) 19.8 9 0 10.0 18%
Santi Cazorla (ARS) 23.4 4 1 8.4 3%
Alexis Sanchez (ARS) 23.5 5 1 10.4 15%
Cesc Fabregas (CHE) 26.9 4 3 9.2 34%
Marko Arnautovic (STK) 30.2 5 0 6.4 1%
Stewart Downing (WHU) 31.0 6 0 5.5 1%
Remy Cabella (NEW) 31.7 6 0 7.5 2%
Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT) 32.6 4 1 8.5 4%
Samir Nasri (MCI) 34.8 4 1 8.5 5%

Joey Barton has provided more chances than any other player in the top-flight so far. The QPR midfielder has teed up a total of 10 goal scoring opportunities, at an average of one every 18.9 minutes, yet some poor finishing from team-mates means he has failed to pick up any assist returns. With home matches against Sunderland and Stoke City in the next three Gameweeks, though, the 5.0-priced Barton could soon be profiting.

Eden Hazard been more creative than team-mate Fabregas without reaping reward. The Belgian has produced nine key passes at an average of 19.8 minutes – quicker than Fabregas’ 26.9 minutes, though the Spaniard has chalked up three assists in addition to creating four chances.

Arsenal duo Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez have also been quicker than former Gunners’ skipper Fabregas. Both have earned an assist apiece, with Sanchez also creating five opportunities to Cazorla’s four – with Aaron Ramsey scoring in each of the first two Gameweeks, though, the former two have suffered a price drop already as Fantasy managers turn to the prolific Welshman instead.

Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic may have failed to pick up any returns so far but the Austrian is showing signs of returning to the form that served up 10 assists last season. The 6.4-priced midfielder has created five chances without success but once this weekend’s trip to Manchester City, he has the schedule to finally prosper.

Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor is the only forward to feature. Along with Manchester City’s Samir Nasri, he has created four chances and picked up a single assist – despite a favourable 8.5 price tag, Adebayor currently sits in just 5% of teams after producing a 12-point return in his previous fixture.

Ones to Watch

Alan Hutton – a peripheral figure for Aston Villa last season, the right-back has grabbed his opportunity with both hands this time round. Available for just 4.1, Hutton has helped Paul Lambert’s side register back-to-back clean sheets and his raids down the flank look set to pose visitors Hull City plenty of problems this weekend.

Siem de Jong – back in contention after recovering from a foot problem, the Newcastle United midfielder could be set for his first start at home to Crystal Palace. De Jong has a proven scoring record and netted at least 10 times in four of his last five seasons with Ajax and could be the answer to the Magpies’ goal drought.

David Silva – the little Spaniard has been quick to find his form and was amongst the goals in Manchester City’s Gameweek 1 win at Newcastle. A plum home clash against travel-sick Stoke now awaits Manuel Pellegrini’s side and Silva’s twinkling toes could be set to run amok against the Potters’ backline.

Mesut Ozil – the German has been mainly overlooked by Fantasy managers so far, with team-mates Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez proving far more popular picks. The Arsenal playmaker rolls up to Leicester City this Sunday and given that Nigel Pearson’s side have conceded over 10 shots per match inside the box, Ozil’s creativity could wreak havoc.

Loic Remy – a home clash with Sunderland affords the Frenchman the chance to open his goal account for the season. Remy may have failed to find the net so far but, with seven attempts on goal in his opening couple of appearances, is offering plenty of threat for Harry Redknapp’s side.

  • Cesc Fabregas
  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Siem de Jong

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 2

Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle United

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini picked up the maximum three Bonus Points (BP) as he kept a clean sheet at Villa Park. The defender’s clean sheet was helped by six recoveries, as well as a 90% pass completion rate.

Fellow Newcastle defenders Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett picked up the other BP. Holland international Janmaat registered two BP after his clean sheet and an 84% successful pass rate. Dummett received one BP for his hard-working defensive display that included six clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) as Aston Villa’s attacks were thwarted.

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic produced a fantastic all-round display that led to him collecting maximum BP. The Serbia international produced an assist and completed 91% of his attempted passes to go alongside a clean sheet and eight CBI.

Cesar Azpilicueta grabbed himself two BP thanks to five successful tackles without being tackled once. The Spanish full-back capped a fine performance with a 91% pass completion rate and eight CBI. Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard picked up the final BP following seven key passes, six successful dribbles and an 89% successful pass rate.

Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham United

Stewart Downing earned maximum BP despite not completing 90 minutes. The West Ham United midfielder scored the winning goal, made 9 recoveries and produced an 82% pass completion rate at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace forward Marouane Chamakh scored his team’s only goal of the match and made 14 recoveries to bag himself two BP as a result. Mauro Zarate’s stunning volley finish provided the West Ham forward with his first goal for the club and resulted in him securing one BP.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble narrowly missed out on a BP despite delivering an assist and recovering the ball 12 times.

Southampton 0-0 West Bromwich Albion

There were plenty of clean sheet points available in the goalless draw between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, but it was seven CBI in a faultless 90-minute display that gave Saints defender Jose Fonte all three BP.

Two BP were given to both Southampton defender Maya Yoshida and West Brom full-back Andre Wisdom for solid defensive performances. Japan international Yoshida shut out the West Brom attack with five CBI alongside completing 85% of his attempted passes. Wisdom produced six recoveries and four CBI with his clean sheet and would have taken all three BP if he had not been tackled three times without completing a successful tackle.

Swansea City 1-0 Burnley

Swansea City started their home Barclays Premier League campaign with three points, largely thanks to a terrific 90-minute display from defender Ashley Williams. Williams was a rock at the back with 15 CBI and seven recoveries to go with his clean sheet. A 91% pass completion rate wrapped up a maximum BP performance.

Nathan Dyer’s winning goal earned the midfielder two BP. Swansea’s midfielder completed 89% of his attempted passes before being substituted after 65 minutes. Two BP also went to Wales defender Neil Taylor after an assuring performance led him to finishing with seven CBI and a 90% pass completion rate.

Everton 2-2 Arsenal

Steven Naismith’s early season form continued at Goodison Park with another fine performance. The Scotland international scored Everton’s second goal late into the first half, which was enough to earn the forward three BP.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey started the Arsenal comeback with a finish from inside the six-yard box. The Welshman’s goal, alongside completing 83% of attempted passes, meant he registered two BP. Nacho Monreal also earned himself two BP when he was rewarded with an assist and finished the match with seven CBI.

Everton midfielder Gareth Barry was just shy of earning BP. At the final whistle, Barry registered one assist, but that was not enough and he finished one point behind Ramsey and Monreal on the Bonus Points System (BPS).

Hull City 1-1 Stoke City

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross produced a battling performance to help his club grab a late point against Hull City. Shawcross, who scored the equaliser, made 14 CBI and seven recoveries to register maximum BP.

Nikica Jelavic scored the opening goal of the match, which earned him two BP. The Croatia forward battled hard after Hull City were reduced to 10 men and was rewarded for his efforts.

Four players all tied on the BPS to receive one BP each. Hull defender Paul McShane produced 15 CBI in a hard-working 90 minutes, while midfielder Tom Huddlestone got his BP thanks to his assist. Stoke defenders Phil Bardsley and Ryan Wilson were also rewarded. Bardsley made 10 CBI and an assist, and would have received more BP if he did not get booked. Wilson's efforts produced 17 CBI and an 80% pass completion rate.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Queens Park Rangers

Emmanuel Adebayor was in majestic form as Tottenham Hotspur secured a comfortable home win against Queens Park Rangers. The forward picked up three BP for scoring a goal, creating an assist, playing four key passes and completing 93% of attempted passes.

Summer signing Eric Dier and midfielder Nacer Chadli both secured two BP. Dier has finished with BP in consecutive Gameweeks thanks to another clean sheet, four successful net tackles and a passing accuracy rate of 88%. Chadli produced a dominant midfield display that saw him record two goals, including the winning goal, but missed out on all three BP after a succession of tackles, fouls and no passing accuracy points on the BPS.

Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

There were just two points on the BPS separating the three BP on offer at the Stadium of Light, but it was Spain international midfielder Juan Mata who received the maximum BP for an 88% pass completion rate alongside his opening goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Antonio Valencia just got ahead of Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell for two BP. The Ecuador captain provided the assist for Mata’s goal and recovered the ball 12 times, while Rodwell scored Sunderland’s equaliser on his home debut for the club.

Manchester United defender Phil Jones was not far from being rewarded at least one BP following an assured defensive display that included 15 CBI.

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool

Stevan Jovetic scored highest on the BPS (64) across Gameweek 2 to take away all three BP to go along with a crucial three points for Manchester City. The forward scored the first and winning goal, plus completed 88% of his attempted passes before being substituted in the second half.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was awarded two BP for his efforts on Monday night. Gerrard rarely misplaced a pass with a 93% passing accuracy and recovered the ball for his side 13 times during another fine 90-minute display for the former England international. Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri and forward Sergio Aguero picked up one BP. Nasri got an assist, played three key passes and achieved a 90% pass completion rate. Aguero, who scored Manchester City’s third goal picked up a BP for a second consecutive Gameweek despite appearing in both games as a second half substitute.

  • Stevan Jovetic
  • Branislav Ivanovic
  • Stewart Downing
  • Emmanuel Adebayor

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 2

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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.

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Nick Frost - Scared Shotless

Prognosis: Nick is looking to replace Everton’s Ross Barkley, who is sidelined with a knee injury, whilst he also has concerns up front heading into Gameweek 3. With two of his current trio of strikers – Peter Crouch and Rickie Lambert – far from certain starters, he needs to scour the market for reliable options for his 15-man squad.

Treatment: Newcastle United’s Siem de Jong looks a strong replacement for the stricken Barkley. Owned by just 1% of Fantasy managers, the Dutchman scored 10+ goals in four of his last five seasons with former club Ajax and recovered from a minor foot problem to feature off the bench at Aston Villa. In attack, Nick could draft in Steven Naismith for Lambert to free up budget – available for just 5.1, the former has benefitted from Barkley’s absence and scored in each of his first two matches. This would also allow Nick to acquire Manchester City’s in-form Steven Jovetic, who bagged a brace in Monday’s win over Liverpool.

Chances of Recovery: De Jong’s upcoming schedule looks promising for points returns, as Newcastle entertain Crystal Palace, Hull City and Leicester City in the next six Gameweeks and also travel to Southampton and Swansea City. Up front, Naismith has some mixed fixtures but has the form to prevail, with matches against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace in the next three boosting his appeal. Jovetic’s display against Liverpool underlines his value at 7.9 as a route into Manuel Pellegrini’s attack, with a plum home clash against Stoke City next on his agenda.

Steffan Evans - The Welsh Wizards

Prognosis: Steffan is reconsidering his options at the back after one of his premium defenders has struggled to deliver the Fantasy returns. Whilst Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic has more than merited the investment, Steffan is somewhat concerned by Everton’s Leighton Baines, who has picked up a single point in two appearances. In midfield, he also needs to plot an exit route for injured Arsenal skipper, Mikel Arteta.

Treatment: With 3.5 currently in the bank, Steffan has plenty of options available. Drafting in Newcastle’s Paul Dummett for Baines would save a further 3.0 – the former looks set to hold onto the Magpies’ left-back berth until Davide Santon returns from injury around November. This would allow Steffan to swap out Arteta for team-mate Aaron Ramsey and also leave enough spare cash to facilitate a move for Tottenham’s in-form Erik Lamela in the centre of the park, with West Brom’s Chris Brunt the man to make way.

Chances of Recovery: With Chelsea pair Ivanovic and Gary Cahill already installed at the back, Steffan could alternate Dummett and Sunderland defender John O’Shea on a home/away basis. This would allow him to take advantage of a promising set of fixtures and play three in defence. Back-to-back goals in his first two appearances highlights Ramsey’s form and the Welshman could become a permanent fixture in Steffan’s starting XI, whilst Lamela’s pair of assists in his first home match under Mauricio Pochettino suggest the Argentine is set for a turnaround in fortunes under the guidance of his compatriot.

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