The Scout Preview - Gameweek 25
Four of the top seven teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head as The Scout takes a look at the Gameweek 25 schedule.
Manchester City welcome league leaders Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium, with a win set to take the hosts to the top of the table. Later on Saturday evening, Southampton look for a fourth straight home victory as West Ham United roll up to St Mary’s.
Elsewhere, Liverpool welcome Sunderland to Anfield. Arsenal attempt to end a four-match winless streak at AFC Bournemouth, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur entertain Watford and Chelsea face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the final match of the Gameweek.
Ronald Koeman ditched his recent 3-5-2 formation for Southampton’s trip to Arsenal on Tuesday evening. The Dutchman moved to a 4-3-3 set-up, with Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares fielded as the full-backs, whilst Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane flanked lone striker Shane Long up front. This saw the 3.8-priced Matt Targett – who had previously started each of the previous three Gameweeks at left wing-back – drop to the bench. Although the Saints chalked up a fourth successive clean sheet, the change in tactics could force a re-think from Koeman. The Saints conceded 20 shots inside their penalty area, with their keeper Fraser Forster denying the Gunners with 10 saves – prior to that match, they had allowed their opponents just five efforts in the box in the previous three league fixtures.
Sam Allardyce opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation for Sunderland’s home encounter with Manchester City. The Black Cats boss handed a first start to new boys Lamine Kone and Jan Kirchhoff, with Kone partnering John O’Shea in central defence and former Bayern Munich player Kirchhoff stationed in a holding midfield role in front of the back-four. Although the Wearsiders narrowly lost 1-0, Allardyce’s men restricted City to just three attempts inside the box on Tuesday evening, suggesting that their current run of 10 matches without a clean sheet could come to an end very soon.
Manuel Pellegrini rolled out a 4-4-2 set-up for City’s trip to the Stadium of Light. With Kevin de Bruyne sidelined for up to 10 weeks with a knee injury, the Chilean moved away from his usual 4-2-3-1 and fielded Jesus Navas and David Silva on the flanks, whilst Kelechi Iheanacho was rewarded for an FA Cup hat-trick against Aston Villa with a place up front alongside Sergio Aguero. Despite a raft of injuries in the final third, Raheem Sterling failed to make the starting line-up for the third successive Gameweek, though a second-half hamstring injury to Navas could see the former Liverpool man return to contention at home to Leicester this Saturday lunchtime.
By the numbers
As we head towards the second round of fixtures within the first week of February, The Scout looks back at the form players in the BPL over the previous 30 days.
|Wayne Rooney (MUN)||9.3||10.0||37 pts||10%|
|Christian Eriksen (TOT)||9.0||8.4||36 pts||7%|
|Sergio Aguero (MCI)||8.8||13.5||35 pts||29%|
|Roberto Firmino (LIV)||8.8||8.0||35 pts||10%|
|Enner Valencia (WHU)||8.3||5.9||33 pts||1%|
|Harry Kane (TOT)||7.5||10.0||30 pts||36%|
|Matt Targett (SOU)||7.5||3.8||30 pts||9%|
|Fraser Forster (SOU)||7.5||4.8||30 pts||1%|
|Andre Ayew (SWA)||7.3||6.8||29 pts||14%|
|Charlie Daniels (BOU)||7.3||4.6||29 pts||4%|
|Robert Huth (LEI)||7.3||4.4||29 pts||3%|
|Christian Fuchs (LEI)||7.3||4.8||29 pts||2%|
Wayne Rooney played a part in six of Manchester United’s seven goals over the last four Gameweeks. The Red Devils skipper netted four times and also chipped in with two assists and seven bonus points (BP), yet is owned by just 10% of Fantasy managers.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen served up two goals and three assists. The playmaker also collected seven BP but remains relatively overlooked and resides in just 7% of squads. His team-mate Harry Kane chipped in with four goals and an assist, with a 13-point haul at Norwich his fifth double-figure tally of the season.
Sergio Aguero has returned to form with a bang. The 13.5-priced frontman has registered five goals, an assist and five BP, earning him 35 points over the featured period.
West Ham’s Enner Valencia has proven real value for money. Available for 5.9, the frontman produced two 13-point returns in the previous four Gameweeks, thanks to two goals and maximum BP hauls against both Bournemouth and Manchester City.
Swansea midfielder Andre Ayew has provided two goals and a pair of assists. The Ghana international has benefitted from a role up front and with four BP also collected, has moved up to fifth in the midfield standings.
Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs have helped league leaders Leicester register three clean sheets in the last four matches. Available for 4.4, Huth also returned a goal and four BP, whilst the 4.8-priced Fuchs chipped in with an assist and six BP.
Ones to watch
Kevin Wimmer – an injury to Jan Vertonghen has afforded the Austrian a rare opportunity in the heart of the Tottenham defence. Priced at just 4.6, Wimmer has started the last two across all competitions and helped Spurs chalk up a clean sheet at Norwich in midweek. His chances of further returns are boosted by the weekend visit of a Watford side that have failed to score in each of their last two road trips.
Roberto Firmino – with four goals and an assist in his last four appearances, the Brazilian has thrived in a “false nine” role under Jurgen Klopp. Having bagged braces against the likes of Arsenal and Norwich in recent weeks, Firmino now hosts a Sunderland side that have conceded more goals on their travels than any other side.
Andros Townsend – handed an immediate start in the midweek loss to Everton, the Newcastle winger looks in line for a home debut against West Brom this weekend. With the Magpies desperate for a win, Townsend’s trickery out wide could torment a Baggies backline that’s failed to keep an away clean sheet since Gameweek 10.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – the Swansea playmaker has stepped up his consistency since the departure of Garry Monk. Sigurdsson’s midweek strike at West Brom means he has now scored in four of the last five Gameweeks and he’ll fancy his chances of condemning visitors Crystal Palace to a sixth straight defeat this weekend.
Charlie Austin – after missing the midweek trip to Arsenal with a minor knock, the Southampton striker is expected to be passed fit to face West Ham this Saturday. Having emerged from the bench to grab the winner at Old Trafford in Gameweek 22, the 7.0-priced Austin has been quick to serve a reminder of the talents that produced 18 goals for relegated Queens Park Rangers in 2014/15.
Exclusive to premierleague.com, The Scout's latest weekly feature is available here: