The Scout Preview - Gameweek 17
Three of the top five teams in the Barclays Premier League are handed home comforts this weekend as The Scout analyses the Gameweek 17 schedule.
Champions Manchester City seek a sixth successive league win at home to Crystal Palace. West Ham United look to extend their four-match unbeaten run as basement-dwellers Leicester City roll up to Upton Park, whilst Southampton host Everton at St Mary’s Stadium.
Elsewhere, in-form Manchester United travel to Aston Villa. League leaders Chelsea make their way to Stoke City, north east duo Newcastle and Sunderland go head-to-head at St James’ Park, whilst Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester City are facing a striker crisis for this weekend’s visit of Crystal Palace. With Sergio Aguero already sidelined for six weeks, Manuel Pellegrini has conceded that both Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko are unlikely to return before New Year due to hamstring and calf complaints respectively. The Chilean will trial David Silva, Samir Nasri and James Milner as a deep-lying forward in training this week and is likely to field one of the trio as a “false nine” as he restructures his side to cope with the absence of his first-team forwards against the Eagles.
Raheem Sterling has been handed a central role up front in each of Liverpool’s last couple of matches as Brendan Rodgers trials a 3-4-3 formation. Sterling was flanked by Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana against both Manchester United and Bournemouth and scored twice against the latter in the midweek Capital One Cup win. With Mario Balotelli struggling due to a groin problem once again, Sterling’s display on Wednesday suggests Rodgers may keep him in the middle at home to Arsenal.
Wayne Rooney was shifted into a central midfield berth for Manchester United’s home clash against Liverpool last weekend. Fielded up front alongside Robin van Persie in the Gameweek 15 win at Southampton, Rooney dropped deeper as James Wilson was handed the role alongside the Dutchman, with Juan Mata tucked in behind the front two. Although the Red Devils skipper still managed to get on the scoresheet for the third time in four appearances, his 19% owners will be somewhat concerned by his new position as Van Gaal continues to shuffle his pack.
By the numbers
A home goal against Hull maintained Diego Costa’s stunning start to life in the Premier League. The Chelsea striker grabbed his twelfth goal in 13 appearances for the league leaders but failed to earn bonus points (BP) for finding the net, frustrating those Fantasy owners who handed him the captain’s armband for the Tigers’ showdown.
In spite of his goal scoring exploits, Costa has collected just nine BP all season – almost half Sergio Aguero’s 17, for example. With this in mind, The Scout casts an eye over the top ten forwards for BP over the opening 16 Gameweek thus far.
|Sergio Aguero (MCY)||17||14||15||9||9|
|Papiss Cisse (NEW)||12||7||10||4||4|
|Diafra Sakho (WHU)||11||6||10||6||5|
|Steven Naismith (EVE)||11||5||13||5||4|
|Graziano Pelle (SOU)||10||7||16||5||5|
|Wilfried Bony (SWA)||9||8||16||7||6|
|Robin van Persie (MUN)||9||7||15||6||5|
|Diego Costa (CHE)||9||12||13||9||4|
|Charlie Austin (QPR)||9||8||14||7||4|
|Peter Crouch (STO)||9||5||14||4||3|
Aguero’s loss to Fantasy managers is obvious. The Argentine has earned more BP than any other forward after scoring 14 times in 15 appearances – crucially, he has earned BP in all nine matches he has scored in.
Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse is next in line, with 12 BP. The 5.8-priced striker has found the net in four of his ten appearances and has collected maximum bonus on each occasion, scoring seven times to date.
Diafra Sakho has been more consistent than his compatriot Cisse. The West Ham frontman has netted in six of his ten matches and collected BP in all but one of those occasions.
Swansea’s Wilfried Bony and QPR’s Charlie Austin have both received 9BP thus far. Whilst the pair have both scored in seven of their appearances, Bony has been looked upon more favourably and received BP on six of those occasions compared to Austin’s four.
Costa and Robin van Persie have also collected 9 BP, though the Chelsea forward has outscored the Dutchman by 12 goals to seven. Despite mirroring Aguero by scoring in nine of his Premier League outings, Costa has, however, only been awarded BP on just four occasions.
Ones to Watch
Samir Nasri – after a slow start to the season, the Manchester City midfielder has sprung into life in the last few weeks. Nasri has produced an assist in two of the last three Gameweeks and also bagged a goal and assist in his side’s recent Champions’ League win over Roma. With problems surrounding the champions’ strikers, his form in the final third looks key as Crystal Palace roll up to the Etihad Stadium.
Leroy Fer – the Queens Park Rangers midfielder welcomes West Brom in strong home form this weekend. Available for just 5.5, Fer has scored in each of his last two appearances at Loftus Road and is set to pose the Baggies problems aplenty as Harry Redknapp’s side look for a third successive win in front of their own fans.
Diafra Sakho – fully recovered from a back problem, the West Ham frontman returned to first-team duties for last weekend’s trip to Sunderland. Having scored in five of his six home appearances this term, Sakho will fancy his chances of extending that streak against a Leicester City side with a single clean sheet in the last 12 Gameweeks.
Harry Kane – handed a sixth successive start in Tottenham’s trip to Swansea last Sunday, Kane needed just four minutes to get his name on the scoresheet in a 2-1 triumph. The 5.1-priced striker was back in the goals in a 4-0 midweek cup win over Newcastle United and now plays host to a Burnley backline that has conceded in all but one of their road trips to date.
Papiss Cisse – a home derby with fierce rivals Sunderland hands the Newcastle striker the chance to continue his excellent season. Cisse’s minutes continue to be managed by Alan Pardew due to an ongoing knee complaint but, as his two-goal salvo off the bench against Chelsea in the Magpies’ previous home encounter highlighted, he needs little time to make an impact. Having missed the midweek cup loss at Tottenham due to illness, he’s expected to recover in time for Sunday’s derby.
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