The Scout Preview - Gameweek 16
Six of the top eight in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head as The Scout takes a look at the Gameweek schedule.
Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, with the hosts looking to retain the only 100% home record in the top-flight at the league leaders’ expense. Newcastle United play host to Southampton, as the Magpies seek a fourth successive win at St James’ Park, while the following day, Tottenham Hotspur entertain Liverpool at White Hart Lane, with both clubs searching for a third successive victory in the final fixture of the Gameweek.
Elsewhere, Chelsea and Everton attempt to extend their unbeaten home starts to the season – Jose Mourinho’s side welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge in an all-London affair, whilst the Toffees prepare for Fulham’s visit to Goodison Park.
James Chester’s recent recovery from a hamstring injury has seen Hull City revert to the 3-5-2 formation which earned promotion to the Premier League last season. With Curtis Davies back from suspension for Monday’s trip to Swansea City, Steve Bruce switched Maynor Figueroa from central defence to the left wing-back berth and dropped Robbie Brady to the bench for the 1-1 draw against Michael Laudrup’s side. Brady produced 40 points in the first six Gameweeks but has failed to deliver a goal or assist since – despite proving his fitness after undergoing hernia surgery, a lack of form suggests he’s no longer a guaranteed starter for the Tigers right now; a real concern for the 8.6% Fantasy managers currently holding the 5.1 priced midfielder.
Sam Allardyce has a midfield dilemma on his hands as West Ham United prepare to welcome Sunderland to Upton Park this weekend. The Hammers boss is without suspended skipper Kevin Nolan and Stewart Downing is expected to remain on the sidelines over the festive period after picking up an ankle injury in last week’s loss to Liverpool. Ravel Morrison is available for selection once again, having served a one-match ban at Anfield and looks the likeliest to tuck in behind lone forward Modibo Maiga in Nolan’s absence, whilst Joe Cole will be hoping for a recall on the right wing against the Black Cats, having scored in two of his four home appearances this season.
Alan Pardew’s decision to drop Shola Ameobi to the bench and switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 proved pivotal in Newcastle United’s win at Manchester United last weekend. The Magpies boss had fielded a front two for the previous five Gameweeks, with Ameobi partnering Loic Remy up top but switched to a lone forward system after his side were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at Swansea prior to their trip to Old Trafford. The Tyneside team welcome Southampton to St James’ Park this weekend and have dropped just two points in five home fixtures with Ameobi in the starting XI, suggesting the big target man may be poised for a recall against Mauricio Pochettino’s side on Saturday afternoon.
By the numbers
Over the last couple of months, many of the premium priced defences have failed to keep out their opponents as clean sheets become harder to come by. The past 10 Gameweeks have seen Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea all register just a single shut-out apiece, with attacking returns from the back becoming more crucial than ever. The Scout takes a look at those backline options that have proven the most impressive in terms of both creativity and close-range threat over the season to this point.
|Kyle Walker (TOT)||26||1||6.1||14.4%|
|Seamus Coleman (EVE)||17||1||5.9||33.9%|
|Patrice Evra (MUN)||16||2||6.3||9.9%|
|Davide Santon (NEW)||15||0||5.0||1.5%|
|Glen Johnson (LIV)||13||1||5.7||6.3%|
|John Terry (CHE)||12||2||6.6||17.2%|
|Branislav Ivanovic (CHE)||12||1||6.3||22.1%|
|Curtis Davies (HUL)||12||1||4.6||2.2%|
|Ryan Shawcross (STO)||12||1||5.4||9.3%|
Tottenham’s Kyle Walker has been the most creative defender in the Premier League across the first 15 Gameweeks. The 6.1 priced right-back, who also has a share of set-pieces and corner kicks, has teed up 26 chances for his team-mates, in addition to supplying a single assist.
Everton’s Seamus Coleman has provided 17 goalscoring opportunities and also earned an assist. The most popular defender in the game, with an ownership just under 34%, the full-back has scored twice for the Toffees and also earned 8 clean sheets – he has four home fixtures in the next six Gameweeks to bolster his attacking potential.
Patrice Evra has picked up a couple of assists so far and has found the net once. The Manchester United full-back has started all but one of the first 15 matches under David Moyes and has scored 29 points more than any defensive team-mate.
Liverpool’s Glen Johnson has created 13 chances over 10 appearances and collected a single assist, whilst Newcastle’s Davide Santon can count himself somewhat unlucky. The Italian has teed up 15 opportunities for his fellow Magpies yet, due to poor finishing from others, has yet to collect an assist.
Chelsea duo John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic have offered plenty threat in the opposition area. The duo’s aerial menace from set-pieces and corners has produced 12 shots apiece from inside the box, with Terry proving the more clinical, scoring twice to the Serbian’s solitary strike. Terry remains the costliest option, priced at 6.6 to the Serbian’s 6.3, though the latter is the more popular of the two, with an ownership in excess of 22%.
Hull City’s Curtis Davies has mirrored the Blues pair, with 12 efforts from close-range. The 4.6 centre-half has scored once and has helped Steve Bruce’s side collect 4 clean sheets so far. Stoke City skipper Ryan Shawcross has also found the net once from 12 attempts inside the area and has 5 clean sheets accrued, with 3 shut-outs arriving in the last five home fixtures.
Ones to watch
Ravel Morrison – after missing out through suspension last week, the budget midfielder is set to return to the fold for West Ham’s home clash with Sunderland. With 3 goals and a pair of assists to his name so far, Morrison has played a part in more goals that any Hammers player and he’ll be confident of picking up the points against a defence that have been beaten 14 times in seven road trips thus far.
David Silva – recovering from injury earlier in the week, the Spaniard grabbed a goal in Manchester City’s superb Champions League win over Bayern Munich. Silva looks poised for another start at home to Arsenal this weekend and, having averaged 6 points per game under Manuel Pellegrini, could be the key to unlocking a backline that has conceded just 5 goals on their travels this term.
Leroy Fer – after a slow start to his career at Norwich City, the Dutchman has picked up in form over the last few Gameweeks. Fer has now scored in three of the last five Gameweeks and looks the Canaries likeliest goal threat as Chris Hughton’s side welcome Swansea to Carrow Road.
Oscar – the Brazilian has fallen 0.3 in price over the past couple of Gameweeks after picking up an ankle problem against Southampton earlier this month. Having returned to the first-team squad for the midweek Champions League match with Steaua Bucharest, Oscar welcomes Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge and will be looking to add to a record that has seen him score in five of the first 13 matches prior to injury.
Gerard Deulofeu – snapping up the Everton youngster is something of a gamble but one which could certainly pay off. Classified as a forward and priced at a mere 5.4, Deulofeu has produced 2 goals and an assist in the last three Gameweeks and, having broken Arsenal’s resistance off the bench last Sunday, could well be poised for a return to the Toffees XI at home to a Fulham side that has shipped 9 goals in their last three road trips.