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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 5

Six of the top eight teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout assess the upcoming round of fixtures.

League leaders Chelsea travel to Manchester City as the champions look to end Jose Mourinho’s 100% start to the season. Swansea City and Southampton square up at the Liberty Stadium, with the Saints seeking a third successive win, while Aston Villa entertain Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, as the Gunners attempt to breach a backline that has conceded just a single goal in their opening four Gameweeks.

Elsewhere, Manchester United face a testing trip to Leicester City, with Nigel Pearson’s side unbeaten in front of their own fans so far. Liverpool travel to West Ham United, as Brendan Rodgers’s side look to bounce back from last week’s home loss to Aston Villa, while Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will be optimistic of picking up the points from home clashes with Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion respectively.

Talking tactics

A change in formation helped Manchester United chalk up their first win of the season last weekend. Louis van Gaal switched from a 3-4-1-2 to a midfield diamond. With new boy Daley Blind stationed in front of the back-four, fellow midfielders Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata all grabbed a goal apiece in the 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Mata’s withdrawal midway through the second half saw Wayne Rooney drop into “the hole” behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, though, suggesting the Spaniard’s long-term pitch time may be in question as the Red Devils boss looks to accommodate the Colombian in his starting XI.

Daniel Sturridge’s injury absence forced Brendan Rodgers to operate with a lone striker system at home to Aston Villa last weekend. The Reds boss continued with the formation for the midweek Champions League clash with PFC Ludogorets Razgrad but his decision to revert to a midfield diamond, with Raheem sterling tucked in behind Mario Balotelli and substitute Fabio Borini, proved pivotal in earning a 2-1 win. With a trip to West Ham up next for the Merseysiders, Rodgers may well look to retain a forward pairing and keep Sterling stationed centrally as he attempts to recover from the shock defeat to Aston Villa.

Gus Poyet’s decision to omit Steven Fletcher from the Sunderland squad afforded Connor Wickham a central role against Tottenham last weekend. Previously utilised on the left flank by the Black Cats boss, Wickham was fielded as the lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation as Poyet handed loan signing Ricardo Alvarez a debut on the flank. With some favourable fixtures to follow, Wickham certainly looks one to monitor at a price of just 5.9.

By the numbers

After just four appearances for Chelsea this season, Diego Costa has already found the net on seven occasions. The summer signing’s arrival has been vital to Jose Mourinho and Fantasy managers alike and is now the most popular player in the game, with over 54% ownership. Bearing in mind all seven of Costa’s strikes have arrived from inside the area, The Scout takes a look at those players who have offered the greatest close-range threat over the first four rounds of fixtures.

Diego Costa (CHE) 13 14 7 10.8 54%
Graziano Pelle (SOU) 11 13 3 7.6 4%
Branislav Ivanovic (CHE) 10 11 2 7.2 24%
Sergio Aguero (MCI) 9 11 3 12.1 9%
Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT) 8 11 1 8.6 7%
Saido Berahino (WBA) 8 10 2 5.6 6%
Edin Dzeko (MCI) 8 9 0 8.4 8%
Nacer Chadli (TOT) 8 8 2 6.1 5%
Steven Caulker (QPR) 8 8 0 4.9 9%
Daniel Sturridge (LIV) 7 13 1 11.4 13%
Oscar (CHE) 7 11 0 8.4 3%
Wilfried Bony (SWA) 7 11 0 8.4 5%
Raheem Sterling (LIV) 7 10 2 8.8 46%
Scott Arfield (BUR) 7 10 1 5.0 1%
Nikica Jelavic (HUL) 7 8 2 6.0 3%
Leonardo Ulloa (LEI) 7 7 3 5.6 3%

As the statistics show, Costa’s stunning start to the season is no real surprise. The Spain international has produced more shots inside the box (13) than any other player and fired only one effort from distance. Chelsea team-mate Branislav Ivanovic also features highly – impressively, the right-back has delivered 10 goal attempts in the area, the third highest tally in the top-flight so far. Perhaps surprisingly, Oscar is the only featured midfielder from the league leaders in our analysis – the Brazilian has failed to find the net from 11 attempts, with seven arriving from inside the box.

Southampton’s Graziano Pelle is also prominent. The 7.6-priced striker has now notched three times in his last two league appearances and has fired 11 efforts in the area, with a total of 13 attempts just one less than Costa – with an ownership of 4%, he looks a real differential option right now.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has netted in three of his four appearances. The Argentine fired a total of 11 attempts, with nine efforts arriving from close-range in just 187 minutes on the pitch, yet has so far been snapped up by just 9% of Fantasy managers. Team-mate Edin Dzeko has also offered plenty of threat inside the box; the Bosnian, along with QPR centre-half Steven Caulker, is one of only two players to produce at least eight attempts without scoring this season.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Saido Berahino will be looking to further their goal tallies as they go head-to-head at White Hart Lane this weekend. Both have managed eight attempts inside the box thus far though the latter has been more prolific, scoring twice from 10 attempts on goal.

The most popular midfielder in the game, with over 46% ownership, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has mirrored Daniel Sturridge’s seven shots in the box and netted twice, compared to his injured team-mate’s single strike.

Burnley’s Scott Arfield is also on The Scout’s radar ahead of a kind run of fixtures. The Clarets midfielder has produce seven efforts in the area and 10 attempts in total – mirroring Sterling’s statistics – but despite a kind 5.0 price tag, is owned by just 1% of Fantasy managers to date.

Ones to Watch

Kieran Trippier – Burnley’s highly-rated right-back has the chance to pick up the Fantasy returns once again this weekend as The Clarets welcome Sunderland to Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s side have now produced a clean sheet in each of the last two Gameweeks and with 12 assists to his name in the Championship last season, Trippier offers points potential at both ends of the pitch.

Nacer Chadli – a peripheral figure for Tottenham last term, the Belgian has already made giant strides under new manager Mauricio Pochettino this term. Chadli has scored three times in as many appearances and with struggling West Brom set to pay visit, he looks poised to continue on the goal trail.

Kevin Mirallas – a goal against West Brom last weekend continued the Everton midfielder’s flourishing form. Mirallas has now netted in back-to-back matches and plays host to a Crystal Palace side that shipped three goals to Newcastle United on their previous road trip under Neil Warnock.

Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City’s summer signing took his tally to three goals in four appearances after grabbing the winner at Stoke City last weekend. Ulloa now faces a home clash against Manchester United this Saturday and, bearing in mind he’s already scored against Everton and Arsenal in front of his own fans, will be confident of continuing his scoring spree.

Abel Hernandez – Steve Bruce’s deadline-day signing made an instant impact by netting on his debut against West Ham United last Monday evening. Hernandez now rolls up to face a Newcastle side that have shipped three goals in each of their last two matches and looks in the mood to heap further pressure on the Magpies’ under-fire manager Alan Pardew.

  • Sergio Aguero
  • Nacer Chadli
  • Leonardo Ulloa

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 5

Jamie Vardy racked up the most Fantasy Premier League points of the season so far, as the Leicester City forward contributed to all five goals in their thrilling comeback victory against Manchester United.

Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Stoke City

3: Peter Crouch (STK)
2: Steven Caulker (QPR), Niko Kranjcar (QPR)

Stoke City forward Peter Crouch played a part in both of his team’s goals as he assisted in the first and scored the second. Crouch’s eight recoveries and one big chance created, to add to the goal and assist, earned him maximum Bonus Points (BP).

Steven Caulker scored the first Queens Park Rangers goal and made a total of 10 recoveries and clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) to pick up a couple of BP. QPR midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who completed five dribbles, scored a spectacular free-kick late in the match to earn the home team a point.

Aston Villa 0-3 Arsenal

3: Danny Welbeck (ARS)
2: Mesut Ozil (ARS)
1: Kieran Gibbs (ARS)

Danny Welbeck netted his first goal in an Arsenal shirt during an explosive three minutes in the first half that produced all of the goals. The England striker also registered an assist alongside a 97% pass completion rate in a rewarding display for his Fantasy Premier League managers.

Mesut Ozil picked up two BP after producing his best display of the season, which saw him grab the opening goal of the match and provide the assist for Welbeck’s strike. Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, who had a passing accuracy of 87%, kept a clean sheet and was credited with an assist for the away team’s third goal to grab a single BP.

Burnley 0-0 Sunderland

3: Wes Brown (SUN)
2: Jason Shackell (BUR), Kieran Trippier (BUR), Vito Mannone (SUN)

Both sides kept a clean sheet at Turf Moor, but it was Sunderland defender Wes Brown that registered maximum BP for his FPL managers. The centre-back made 14 CBI, six recoveries and successfully completed 93% of his attempted passes.

Burnley defenders Jason Shackell and Kieran Trippier were rewarded with two BP for their efforts in shutting out Sunderland’s attack. Shackell produced 15 CBI and had a pass completion rate of 86%, while Trippier recorded 12 recoveries and a mixture of dribbles, key passes and open play crosses. Vito Mannone was on top form in Sunderland’s goal to give the visitors a point. Mannone saved six times and recovered the ball 16 times to also take a share of two BP.

Newcastle United 2-2 Hull City

3: Papiss Cisse (NEW)
2: Yoan Gouffran (NEW)
1: Mohamed Diame (HUL)

Papiss Cisse produced an inspiring display off the bench as he helped Newcastle United come from two goals down against Hull City to earn a point. The forward scored twice in the 22 minutes he was on the pitch to collect maximum BP.

Newcastle midfielder Yoan Gouffran contributed to the comeback by recording an assist and a passing accuracy of 91%. Hull midfielder Mohamed Diame grabbed his second goal in as many matches for his new team to take the single BP.

Swansea City 0-1 Southampton

3: Victor Wanyama (SOU)
2: Jose Fonte (SOU), Nathaniel Clyne (SOU)

Another substitute that played only 22 minutes registered maximum BP in the fixture at the Liberty Stadium. Southampton’s Victor Wanyama scored the decisive goal 10 minutes from time against Swansea City. In his brief spell on the pitch, Wanyama also had a 98% pass completion rate to add to his goal.

Defenders Jose Fonte and Nathaniel Clyne both recorded a couple of BP for their FPL managers. Fonte made sure he kept Swansea’s attacks at bay with a total of 21 CBI and recoveries, while Clyne helped string together the attacks from the back with a passing accuracy of 92% and a couple of key passes and open play crosses.

West Ham United 3-1 Liverpool

3: Diafra Sakho (WHU), Raheem Sterling (LIV)
1: Mark Noble (WHU)

Maximum BP was shared for the first time this season in the match between West Ham United and Liverpool. Diafra Sakho led a new look West Ham United frontline as he scored the winning goal at the Boleyn Ground. Sakho showed great skill in delivering a fine performance for the Hammers, but also helped at the back with eight CBI. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling grabbed Liverpool’s only goal of the match and also registered enough successful passes to be rewarded the same BP as the West Ham forward.

Mark Noble picked up a single BP after captaining the London team to their first home win of the season, which was helped by an assist from the Hammers midfielder. Stewart Downing was excellent in the West Ham attack, but missed out on BP despite an assist due to not completing as many passes as Noble and being tackled three times.

Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United

3: Jamie Vardy (LEI)
2: Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)
1: Angel Di Maria (MUN)

Jamie Vardy was the standout player of the Gameweek as he helped Leicester City gain a 5-3 win over Manchester United. Vardy scored the winning goal of the match and provided four assists in an inspirational performance at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester forward Leonardo Ulloa continued his fine start to the Barclays Premier League season. Ulloa netted the Foxes’ first goal and sealed the match in the last 10 minutes from the penalty spot. Argentina international Angel Di Maria scored his second goal for Manchester United, while the midfielder also registered an assist and four key passes.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

3: James Morrison (WBA)
2: Chris Brunt (WBA)
1: Joleon Lescott (WBA), Sebastien Pocognoli (WBA)

James Morrison scored the only goal of the game to stun White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon. The West Bromwich Albion midfielder, who completed 89% of his passes, struck in the second half to give the Baggies their first victory of the season.

West Brom captain Chris Brunt registered two BP due to supplying the assist for Morrison’s goal, making six CBI and recording eight recoveries. The Baggies defence held strong with Joleon Lescott and Sebastien Pocognoli receiving a single BP each for their efforts. Lescott completed 13 CBI on his way to a clean sheet, while Pocognoli made six CBI but his performance consisted of less errors than his defensive partner.

Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace

3: Leighton Baines (EVE)
2: Romelu Lukaku (EVE)
1: Mile Jedinak (CRY), Fraizer Campbell (CRY)

Despite not being on the winning side, Everton defender Leighton Baines secured maximum BP for his Fantasy Premier League managers. Baines scored a penalty in the second half, recorded a passing accuracy of 91% and successfully completed three dribbles.

Romelu Lukaku, who completed over 80% of his attempted passes, gave Everton the lead in the first half. Crystal Palace fought back thanks to goals from midfielder Mile Jedinak and forward Fraizer Campbell. Jedinak also produced nine CBI, while Campbell picked up a BP for a display that consisted of very few errors along with his first goal of the campaign.

Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

3: James Milner (MCI)
2: Eden Hazard (CHE)
1: Nemanja Matic (CHE)

Manchester City midfielder James Milner played in a number of positions against Chelsea and produced an outstanding performance throughout the match. Milner set up Man City’s equaliser late in the second half, while the England international also failed to complete only two of his 69 attempted passes. The midfield maestro recorded four key passes, a couple of open play crosses, three dribbles and eight recoveries.

Belgium international Eden Hazard registered two BP thanks to an assist, completing seven dribbles and recording a passing accuracy of 95%. Fellow Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic picked up a BP for efforts in breaking down the home team’s attacks. Matic successfully completed five tackles, made a total of 15 CBI and recoveries, and ended the match with a 90% pass completion rate.

  • Jamie Vardy
  • Peter Crouch
  • Danny Welbeck
  • Papiss Cisse

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 4

Get expert tips and advice on your Fantasy Premier League team exclusively from The Scout.

Fill out the form below explaining why you need to ‘see’ The Scout and if you’re chosen, you'll get your diagnosis and treatment on this page. The Scout will examine your squad, identify the source of your discomfort, present his case notes and then recommend treatment to help get your team fighting fit for the Gameweeks ahead.

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.

Make an appointment

Amanda Harrison - Rubbish FC

Prognosis: Amanda has started her first season as a Fantasy Football manager slowly after opting to invest heavily in last term’s top two sides, Manchester City and Liverpool. With Daniel Sturridge sidelined due to a thigh injury and Yaya Toure struggling to find his form, Amanda is looking to introduce a few new faces to help turn her campaign around.

Treatment: Replacing Sturridge with Diego Costa up front is a definite starting point. The Chelsea forward has racked up seven goals in his four appearances and, as he’s shown so far, is a strong captaincy candidate in almost any given Gameweek. Although the Blues travel to champions Manchester City next week, Amanda should plan her transfers for the long-term and may consider bring in Costa’s team-mate Cesc Fabregas for Toure in the centre of the park – this trade would free up enough budget to then acquire Danny Welbeck for fellow Arsenal forward Yaya Sanogo up front.

Chances of Recovery: With Costa and Fabregas acquired, Amanda has the Premier League’s two in-form players on board - like Costa, Fabregas has made a sensational start for Jose Mourinho’s side and assisted six of their 15 goals to date. Welbeck’s arrival at the Emirates Stadium has pushed Sanogo down the pecking order and with matches against Aston Villa, Hull City, Sunderland and Burnley in the next six Gameweeks, has the chance to make a mockery of his current 7.0 price tag. In terms of tactics, Amanda should move away from a four-man defence and opt for three at the back, thus increasing her prospects of returns in the final third of the pitch – bringing Tottenham’s Erik Lamela off the bench could prove a canny move for next weekend’s home encounter against West Bromwich Albion.

Connor Curtis - Abcde FC

Prognosis: Connor sits just outside the top one million mark after the first four Gameweeks of the season and is ready to make changes in every position of his 15-man squad. He’s looking to part company with the stricken Daniel Sturridge, whilst Eden Hazard’s sluggish start to the campaign may see the Chelsea midfielder also make way.

Treatment: Southampton’s Graziano Pelle offers Connor a mid-price alternative to Sturridge. The Italian has now notched four times in his last three appearances in all competitions for Ronald Koeman’s side and, at a price of just 7.5, would free up the necessary budget to bring in Raheem Sterling for Victor Wanyama in the centre of the park. Bearing in mind he already has Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in his starting XI, Connor could swap out Hazard for Manchester United’s in-form Angel di Maria, while at the back, Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand is a strong replacement for Aston Villa’s injured skipper Ron Vlaar.

Chances of Recovery: All four of Connor’s new acquisitions have a kind run of fixtures to boost their points potential. Saints pair Pelle and Bertrand travel to Swansea City and have home clashes with Queens Park Rangers, Sunderland and Stoke City in the next five Gameweeks. Sterling has a trio of Anfield matches allied with trips to West Ham and QPR, while Di Maria will be confident of adding to his goal and assist against the R’s as he visits Leicester City before back-to-back home encounters with West Ham and Everton.

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