The Scout previews Gameweek 38
Three of the top five in the Barclays Premier League face home comforts in the final Gameweek of the 2012/13 campaign.
Manchester City entertain Norwich City in their first match at the Etihad Stadium since the dismissal of Roberto Mancini. Rafa Benitez and David Moyes bid farewell to Chelsea and Everton respectively as the Toffees make their way to Stamford Bridge, while Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to keep their Champions League bid on track as Sunderland roll up to White Hart Lane.
Elsewhere, Manchester United travel to the Hawthorns in Sir Alex Ferguson's last match in charge of the champions, Arsenal attempt to clinch a top four finish away to Newcastle United, while FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic host Aston Villa before dropping down into the Championship.
Brendan Rodgers tinkered with Liverpool's formation for the first-half of last weekend's 3-1 win over Fulham. A move to 3-5-2 allowed Philippe Coutinho a central role behind Daniel Sturridge up front for the first 45 minutes, with Glen Johnson and Stewart Downing handed the wide roles in a five-man midfield before Rodgers reverted to his default 4-3-3 after the break. With a home clash against Queens Park Rangers this Sunday, Rodgers may continue to experiment with his first-team options, potentially affording Coutinho further chance to dictate matters once again.
Paolo Di Canio also changed tactics in Sunderland's vital home draw against Southampton in the previous Gameweek. The Black Cats boss began the match with his usual 4-4-1-1 system, with Adam Johnson fielded in “the hole” behind Danny Graham, but Di Canio's switch to 4-4-2 after the break allowed fit-again Connor Wickham to partner Graham up top as Johnson shuffled out to the left flank. With the Wearsiders now safe from relegation, Di Canio may choose to keep faith in Wickham at Tottenham this weekend as he assesses his attacking options for next season's campaign.
Arsene Wenger has a dilemma up front ahead of Arsenal's trip to Newcastle. Lukas Podolski was handed the chance to impress as the lone frontman over the last three matches as a result of Olivier Giroud's suspension and bagged a brace in Tuesday's evening's home win over Wigan. However, with the Frenchman's ban now over, Podolski could find himself forced back onto the bench. A calf injury to Mikel Arteta may prove advantageous to Podolski, however. The Spaniard is regarded as a major doubt for the St James' Park clash and his absence could see Tomas Rosicky drop deeper alongside Aaron Ramsey, allowing Santi Cazorla to move to a central role behind Giroud, with Podolski shifting to the left flank.
By the numbers
As Fantasy managers line up their final transfers of the season ahead of Sunday morning's deadline, The Scout casts an eye over the top form players over the last 30 days.
|Daniel Sturridge (LIV)||10.8||7.3||13.0%|
|Robin Van Persie (MUN)||9.0||13.7||38.0%|
|Gabby Agbonlahor (AVL)||7.8||6.8||0.9%|
|Gareth Bale (TOT)||7.8||11.0||37.6%|
|Theo Walcott (ARS)||7.0||9.2||16.7%|
|Sylvain Distin (EVE)||6.2||5.4||2.2%|
|Per Mertesacker (ARS)||6.2||5.5||10.1%|
|Jordan Henderson (LIV)||6.2||4.7||2.3%|
|Jonathan Walters (STK)||6.0||6.3||6.1%|
|Clint Dempsey (TOT)||5.8||8.9||1.6%|
|Philippe Coutinho (LIV)||5.8||6.9||6.7%|
|Leighton Baines (EVE)||5.8||7.8||23.1%|
|Laurent Koscielny (ARS)||5.8||5.3||2.2%|
Daniel Sturridge has been in sensational form in recent matches for Liverpool. Since climbing off the bench after the break in the Gameweek 34 clash with former club Chelsea, Sturridge has produced 6 goals, 2 assists and 7 bonus points (BP) in just four appearances and has been snapped up by over 100,000 Fantasy managers ahead of Sunday's home showdown with QPR.
Robin Van Persie has racked up 5 goals, a pair of assists and 10 BP in his last five matches. The Dutchman is 17 points clear of Gareth Bale at the top of the overall standings and looks primed to retain his position as top scoring Fantasy player for the second successive season.
Gabby Agbonlahor has been key to Aston Villa's successful bid for survival. The 6.8 priced forward has produced 3 goals, a couple of assists and 5 BP in his last four appearances and with Christian Benteke suspended for this week's trip to Wigan, Agbonlahor may shift from his regular role on the left to a more central position to fill in for the Belgian.
Theo Walcott has now found the net in each of his last three appearances and has mirrored his most consistent scoring streak of the season as Arsenal make their way to Newcastle on Sunday. Elsewhere in north London, Gareth Bale has racked up 3 goals, a couple of assists and 8 BP over the last five Gameweeks, producing double figures on three occasions for his 37% owners.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have picked up points at both ends of the pitch. The Arsenal centre-halves have each registered 3 clean sheets; Mertesacker has supplemented this with a goal and 3 BP, while Koscielny has produced a pair of assists and 4 BP. Everton pair Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines have benefitted from a run of 4 clean sheets in the last five Gameweeks and have also earned 5 BP and 3 BP respectively.
Ones to watch
Philippe Coutinho - along with Daniel Sturridge, the young Liverpool playmaker has more than atoned for the enforced absence of Luis Suarez with a series of dazzling displays. Coutinho has delivered 4 assists and a couple of bonus points in the three matches since the Uruguayan was handed a 10-match ban and with a home clash against QPR to see out the season, he's received more transfers in than any midfielder this week so far.
Frank Lampard - Chelsea's record goalscorer served a reminder of his uncanny ability to find the net with a brace against Aston Villa last weekend. The Europa League winners will be looking to spoil David Moyes' final match in charge of Everton and with a win needed to ensure third place, there's no one more reliable than Lampard for Rafa Benitez's side.
Kevin Nolan - a home clash with relegated Reading affords the West Ham skipper the chance to maintain his recent upturn in form in front of his own fans. Nolan has produced a goal and 5 bonus points over his last two appearances at Upton Park and, bearing in mind the visitors have conceded in every road trip this term, he'll be confident of finishing the season with a flourish.
Sergio Aguero - having found the net in Manchester City's 2-0 win over Reading on Tuesday, the Argentine has now scored 3 goals in his last five appearances. Aguero welcomes Norwich City to the Etihad Stadium this weekend and, as the hosts look to draw a line under a disastrous season, he'll be hoping to replicate his final day exploits of the 2011/12 campaign and steer his side to victory.
Emmanuel Adebayor - there's no denying the Tottenham forward can be a hugely frustrating player but when he's in the mood, Adebayor can be devastating. With 3 goals, a couple of assists and 7 bonus points in his last four starts for the north London outfit, he looks in top form ahead of a vital home clash with out-of-sorts Sunderland.
Rickie Lambert - a hugely impressive debut season in the Barclays Premier League has stuttered to a halt in recent weeks but The Scout has a feeling the Southampton forward is set to produce the points this weekend. Lambert welcomes Stoke City to St Mary's Stadium and, having already produced a 15 point return against Tony Pulis' side earlier in the season, Lambert will be confident of breaching the Potters' backline once again.
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