The Scout Preview - Gameweek 13
Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 13 schedule.
Second-placed Southampton face a tough task to maintain their five-match unbeaten run as defending champions Manchester City roll up to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The previous day, West Ham United entertain a Newcastle United side that are seeking a sixth straight win after seeing off Queens Park Rangers last time around.
Elsewhere, league leaders Chelsea travel to Sunderland, with Jose Mourinho’s side determined to end their hosts’ three-match unbeaten run. Manchester United welcome Hull City to Old Trafford, Liverpool play host to Stoke City, whilst two of last term’s top six, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, go head-to-head at White Hart Lane.
With a number of his first-team regulars missing out against Everton last weekend, Sam Allardyce started with a 3-5-2 formation and handed Andy Carroll his first start of the season. The West Ham manager fielded Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson as wing-backs at Goodison Park and clearly looked to utilise Carroll’s aerial abilities, with the visitors delivering 45 crosses in the 2-1 defeat. Allardyce is hoping to welcome back first-choice pairing Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia this weekend and with Stewart Downing also optimistic of a return, a switch back to a midfield diamond boosts their chances of earning the points, with Carroll perhaps poised to return to the bench.
Louis van Gaal also rolled out a three-man backline last weekend as Manchester United won on their travels for the first time this term. Moving away from a recent 4-1-4-1 set-up, the Red Devils manager rolled out a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Wayne Rooney tucked in behind Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria. With Marcos Rojo still injured and Luke Shaw limping off at the Emirates due to an ankle problem, Van Gaal has real concerns at left-back and could continue with the same tactics, potentially retaining Di Maria in a more advanced central role when Hull pay visit to Old Trafford.
Arsene Wenger also changed his tactics for last Sunday’s encounter. The Gunners boss moved from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-2-3-1 and shifted Alexis Sanchez to the flank, with Danny Welbeck handed the lone forward role against his former club. After scoring five times in the previous three Gameweeks in a central position, Sanchez will be pushing for a return to the middle for this weekend’s trip to West Brom, though, and with Olivier Giroud grabbing a goal off the bench, Welbeck, who is an injury doubt, could be shifted to the left or even preserved on the bench.
By the numbers
A first-half strike against West Bromwich Albion took Diego Costa onto 11 goals for the season last weekend. The Chelsea striker sits just one behind Sergio Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot, yet has fired only half the number of attempts on goal this term, producing 32 efforts to the Argentine’s 64.
Delving into the data, The Scout assesses the top ten regular forwards in terms of frequency of attempts, highlighting those who have offered the most consistent threat over the opening 12 Gameweeks.
|Sergio Aguero (MCY)||14.5||64||52||30||12|
|Mario Balotelli (LIV)||20.3||35||15||12||0|
|Graziano Pelle (SOU)||23.4||48||41||13||6|
|Charlie Austin (QPR)||24.0||41||26||15||6|
|Wilfried Bony (SWA)||24.3||33||22||12||5|
|Diafra Sakho (WHU)||25.2||27||25||8||6|
|Enner Valencia (WHU)||25.4||27||15||6||3|
|Diego Costa (CHE)||26.8||32||30||21||11|
|Lukas Jutkiewicz (BUR)||27.1||30||20||8||0|
|Romelu Lukaku (EVE)||27.6||36||21||14||5|
Aguero leads the way for each of the key goal statistics. Averaging an attempt on goal every 14.5 minutes, the Manchester City frontman has registered 52 shots inside the box, with 30 of his efforts on target.
Southampton’s Graziano Pelle is second only to Aguero for shots (48) and attempts inside the penalty box, with 41 over his 12 appearances. Despite his close-range menace, the summer signing has managed only 13 on target and found the net on six occasions.
Charlie Austin has excelled as a budget option for Queens Park Rangers. Priced at just 5.9, he’s fired an effort every 24 minutes and has scored six of his side’s 11 goals to date.
West Ham new boys Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia have both registered 27 efforts on goal since arriving in the top-flight. Sakho is the greater close-range threat, though – he’s fired 25 attempts inside the box to Valencia’s 15 and has resultantly scored double the number of goals, by six strikes to three.
Costa’s predatory nature inside the box is underlined by the statistics. With 30 of his 32 shots arriving from close-range, the Chelsea striker rarely attempts a speculative effort – as a result, he’s scored with 34% of his attempts this season, the most clinical record in the top-flight.
Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli has fired 35 shots – three more than Costa – at an average of 20.3 minutes per attempt. The Italian, along with Burnley’s Lukas Jutkiewicz – has been woefully off-form, however; the duo have produced a total of 65 shots between them yet have failed to manage a single goal.
Ones to Watch
Kieran Trippier – the Burnley right-back looks a strong contender for returns at both ends of the pitch this weekend. Trippier’s assist and clean sheets in the Clarets’ previous home encounter served up a 12-point return and, with visitors Aston Villa scoring just twice in the last eight Gameweeks, the 4.8-priced defender could be in the points again.
Jefferson Montero – having started each of the last four Gameweeks, the Swansea summer signing looks to have cemented a place in Garry Monk’s starting XI. Montero has provided an assist in each of his two home appearances over that period and looks poised to torment Crystal Palace at the Liberty Stadium this weekend. At a price of 5.7 and owned by less than 1% of Fantasy managers, he offers an alternative to the more popular Gylfi Sigurdsson in the Swans’ midfield.
Rickie Lambert – it took the Liverpool forward less than 90 seconds to get amongst the goals in last week’s defeat at Selhurst Park. With Mario Balotelli struggling for form and fitness, the 6.9-priced Lambert, who also notched on midweek Champions League duties, seems set to retain the lone forward role as the Reds entertain Stoke City. The Potters have conceded in each of the last six Gameweeks.
Wayne Rooney – the Manchester United skipper looks to be finding his form just in time for the festive period. Owned by just 14% of Fantasy managers, Rooney grabbed a goal and maximum bonus points in last Sunday’s win at Arsenal will fancy his chances of delivering once again as Hull roll up to Old Trafford.
Olivier Giroud – finally recovered from an ankle injury, the Arsenal striker made an immediate impact off the bench last time around. Giroud’s late consolation against the Red Devils strengthened his case for a first-team spot and with Danny Welbeck continuing to misfire through the middle, the Frenchman could be set for a leading role as the Gunners travel to the Hawthorns.
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