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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 35

Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League all face home comforts as The Scout assesses the upcoming round of fixtures.

Manchester City search for a fifteenth win in 17 attempts in front of their own fans as West Bromwich Albion arrive at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening. Chelsea entertain basement-dwellers Sunderland at Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho’s side look to maintain the last unbeaten home record in the top-flight, Tottenham Hotspur face London neighbours Fulham at White Hart Lane, whilst Everton welcome former manager David Moyes and Manchester United to Goodison Park.

Elsewhere, league leaders Liverpool roll up to struggling Norwich City in search of an eleventh successive victory, Arsenal travel to Hull City and West Ham United face Crystal Palace at Upton Park, with the hosts looking for the win that would take them onto the 40-point mark.

Talking tactics

Norwich City’s Neil Adams opted for a new formation for his first match in charge last weekend. The Canaries caretaker manager rolled out a midfield diamond for the trip to Fulham and handed Roberto Snodgrass a central role behind a front two, with Ricky Van Wolfswinkel partnered by winger Nathan Redmond up front. With matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal remaining, Norwich face a tough task to beat the drop but it’s clear than Adam is looking for a more offensive approach in order to pick up the points over the last four Gameweeks.

Alan Pardew trialled a new 3-5-2 system for Newcastle United’s trip to Stoke City. The Magpies’ manager looked to address a run which had seen his side fail to score or pick up a point in the previous three matches and drafted in Steven Taylor to the back-three, with Paul Dummett afforded a role on the left of midfield and Shola Ameobi partnering Papiss Cisse up front against the Potters. The Tyneside team fell to a fourth successive defeat but with St James’ Park showdowns against Swansea City and Cardiff City in the upcoming three Gameweeks, Pardew may choose to retain a front two in order to go on the attack in the final home matches of the season.

Brendan Rodgers is facing a tactical dilemma this weekend. With Jordan Henderson set to serve a three-match ban and Daniel Sturridge an injury worry, Liverpool could be without two key first-team players for their trip to Norwich. Henderson’s absence should allow Joe Allen or Lucas to slot into the centre of the midfield diamond, though both may be drafted in if Sturridge is also ruled out, with Rodgers possibly shifting to a 4-3-3 formation and handing Philippe Coutinho a more advanced role in the front three alongside Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling.

By the numbers

Fantasy managers are looking to replace the most popular midfielder in the game this week after Yaya Toure was ruled out for a couple of weeks with a groin injury sustained in Manchester City’s loss at Liverpool. The Ivorian currently sits in over 44% of teams but, with his ownership quickly dropping, The Scout assess the most in-form midfielders over the past 30 days as the transfer market goes into overdrive.

FORM PTS/APPS COST OWNED
Christian Eriksen (TOT) 11.0 44 pts, 4 apps 6.8 7%
Juan Mata (MUN) 9.2 37 pts, 4 apps 9.2 8%
Jason Puncheon (CPL) 8.8 44 pts, 5 apps 5.2 6%
Jordan Mutch (CAR) 7.8 31 pts, 4 apps 5.0 10%
Nemanja Matic (CHE) 6.8 27 pts, 4 apps 6.0 1%
Steven Gerrard (LIV) 6.8 34 pts, 5 apps 9.6 15%
David Silva (MCY) 6.2 37 pts, 5 apps 9.9 14%
Adam Lallana (SOU) 6.2 25 pts, 4 apps 8.0 32%
Mohamed Salah (CHE) 6.0 24 pts, 4 apps 5.5 1%
Philippe Coutinho (LIV) 6.0 30 pts, 5 apps 8.5 4%

Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen has played a part in seven of his side’s 11 goals over the last four Gameweeks. The Dane has found the net on four occasions and, with a trio of assists also accrued, has earned eight bonus points and offered outstanding value at a mere 6.8.

Manchester United’s Juan Mata has benefitted from a recent move to the centre. The Spaniard has served up three goals, a pair of assists and five bonus points in his last couple of matches, yet remains in just 8% of Fantasy teams.

At 5.0 and 5.2 respectively, Jordan Mutch and Jason Puncheon have been the pick of the budget midfielders over the last 30 days. The former has produced three goals and an assist for Cardiff City, whilst Puncheon has found the net four times in five appearances, with his goals helping Crystal Palace to four successive victories.

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard continues to pick up the Fantasy returns in spite of a deep-lying role. The 9.6-priced midfielder has delivered three goals and an assist over his last five appearances and has also earned six bonus points for his contribution.

Chelsea’s central midfielder Nemanja Matic has provided four assists in as many matches and also picked up four bonus points – at 6.0, he currently resides in only 1% of Fantasy teams. Southampton skipper Adam Lallana - the second most popular midfielder in the game with 32% ownership – has scored twice and also chipped in with an assist and three bonus points from Gameweek 31 onwards.

Ones to watch

Mohamed Salah – the young Egyptian has now started back-to-back Gameweeks and looks in line to retain his place for this weekend’s home clash with Sunderland. Salah has scored in each of his last two appearances at Stamford Bridge and, priced at only 5.5, could be poised to take advantage of the Black Cats’ porous backline.

Philippe Coutinho – the Liverpool midfielder travels to Norwich this weekend as Brendan Rodgers looks to replicate December’s 5-1 victory over the Canaries. With a goal in two of the last three Gameweeks, Coutinho is finding his form just at the right moment for the Merseysiders and his contribution at Carrow Road could be key.

Andy Carroll – yet to score in front of his own fans since returning from injury, West Ham’s home showdown with Crystal Palace affords their target man the perfect opportunity to deliver. With skipper Kevin Nolan struggling due to a hamstring problem, Carroll’s aerial threat will be vital against Tony Pulis’ resilient defence as the Hammers look for the win that would all but secure their top-flight survival.

Harry Kane – handed his first league start by Tim Sherwood in Gameweek 33, the young forward has not disappointed. Flourishing alongside Emmanuel Adebayor, Kane has netted in each of the last two matches and, ahead of a home clash with struggling Fulham, looks a bargain at just 4.4.

Peter Odemwingie – a return to former club Cardiff affords the Nigerian a chance to maintain his recent run of form. Odemwingie has scored four times in the last five Gameweeks and will fancy his chances of delivering once more as Stoke pay visit to a Bluebirds side that has conceded 14 goals in the last four in front of their own supporters.

  • Christian Eriksen
  • Philippe Coutinho
  • Peter Odemwingie

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 35

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham

Playmaker Christian Eriksen proved to be the catalyst as Tottenham Hotspur secured a 3-1 win against London rivals Fulham. The Denmark international earned maximum Bonus Points (BP) after he provided two assists, created a couple of big chances, completed five key passes and two open play crosses.

Spurs duo Paulinho and Harry Kane claimed two BP apiece. Brazil midfielder Paulinho scored, made nine recoveries and five tackles, while forward Kane also got on the scoresheet with what proved to be the winning goal.

Aston Villa 0-0 Southampton

Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte was given three BP after putting in a commanding display in a hard-fought goalless draw at Villa Park. Fonte produced nine clearances, blocks or interceptions (CBI) and had a pass success rate of 83%.

Fellow Saints defender Luke Shaw was awarded two BP after completing 91% of his passes, making five tackles and creating a big chance.

Aston Villa trio Brad Guzan, Nathan Baker and Ron Vlaar, and Southampton’s Artur Boruc, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren all picked up a single BP. The hosts’ goalkeeper Guzan made two saves and 13 recoveries, Villa defenders Baker and Vlaar made nine and eight CBI respectively. For the visitors, shot stopper Boruc produced a save and 10 recoveries, centre-back Lovren contributed eight CBI and right-back Clyne completed 79% of his passes.

Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City

Cardiff City midfielder Peter Whittingham was the star performer in an evenly contested encounter with Stoke City. The midfielder scored the Bluebirds’ equaliser, completed four key passes and made eight recoveries.

After giving Stoke the lead and weighing in with two open play crosses and 34 completed passes from 42 attempts (81%), midfielder Marko Arnautovic gained a couple of BP. Fellow Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan, who completed 93% of his passes and made nine CBI, collected one BP.

Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City

Wilfried Bony’s decisive double was rewarded with maximum BP as Swansea City snatched a last-gasp win against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. The Ivory Coast striker’s brace included a stoppage time penalty to seal the three points for the visitors.

Swansea defender Ben Davies, who provided the assist for Bony’s first goal and completed 84% of his passes, picked up two BP. Newcastle frontman Shola Ameobi was also given a couple of BP after scoring for the hosts and providing two key passes.

West Ham United 0-1 Crystal Palace

Australia midfielder Mile Jedinak was the match winner as Crystal Palace earned their fifth Barclays Premier League victory in a row. Jedinak gained three BP after scoring the decisive penalty in emphatic style at the Boleyn Ground. He also chipped in with 15 CBI, nine recoveries and three tackles.

Crystal Palace duo Julian Speroni and Joel Ward collected two BP apiece. Goalkeeper Speroni made nine recoveries and four saves, while defender Ward produced 17 CBI as the visitors preserved their clean sheet.

Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland

Despite being on the receiving end of a shock 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Sunderland, Chelsea midfielder Willian picked up maximum BP after a fine individual performance. Willian provided the assist for Samuel Eto’o’s goal, impressively completed nine key passes and registered an 89% pass success rate overall.

Sunderland forward Connor Wickham gained a couple of BP after scoring the leveller for the Black Cats, while Chelsea goalscorer Eto’o picked up a single BP.

Fabio Borini, who scored the winning penalty for Sunderland, missed out on BP because he was tackled six times and made a couple of fouls.

Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool

Raheem Sterling gained three BP as free-scoring Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League with an entertaining win at Carrow Road. The 19-year-old midfielder scored twice, provided an assist and completed 79% of his passes.

Having scored Liverpool’s second goal and finished with an 82% pass success rate, Luis Suarez earned a couple of BP. Norwich forward Gary Hooper was awarded a single BP after scoring for the Canaries. Fellow Norwich goalscorer Robert Snodgrass wasn’t given BP because he was booked and tackled nine times.

Hull City 0-3 Arsenal

In-form Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski gained maximum BP for the second consecutive Gameweek as the Gunners defeated FA Cup final opponents Hull City 3-0 at the KC Stadium. Podolski scored twice and completed 84% of his passes during the match.

Aaron Ramsey capped off his first league start of 2014 with a goal and two assists. The Wales midfielder also had an 87% pass completion rate and contributed with 10 recoveries as he picked up two BP. Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was awarded a single BP after helping to preserve the visitors’ clean sheet with 20 CBI, eight recoveries and an 88% pass success rate.

Everton 2-0 Manchester United

Leighton Baines excelled at both ends of the pitch as Everton earned an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park. The left back collected maximum BP after scoring the opening goal, completing 85% of his passes and contributing to the home side’s clean sheet with 13 CBI and four tackles.

On the right hand side of Everton’s defence, Seamus Coleman was given two BP. The Republic of Ireland international claimed an assist, made five key passes and produced a couple of open play crosses in an impressive attacking display.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who made nine recoveries and three saves, and midfielder Kevin Mirallas, who netted their second goal and provided three key passes, gained one BP apiece.

Manchester City 3-1 West Bromwich Albion

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and West Bromwich Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans shared maximum BP after both getting on the scoresheet in style at the Etihad Stadium. Aguero rifled in Man City’s second goal from range and provided an assist, while Dorrans fired home after a magnificent piece of skill, completed 94% of his passes and made eight CBI.

City centre-back Vincent Kompany gained a single BP after getting an assist, registering a 91% pass success rate and making eight CBI, 10 recoveries and three tackles.

Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta, who both scored for the hosts, missed out on BP after not registering enough CBI, recoveries or tackles to be rewarded. Demichelis was also booked while Zabaleta was tackled twice.

  • Lukas Podolski
  • Peter Whittingham
  • Wilfried Bony
  • Raheem Sterling

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 35

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David O’Neill - Acoma Green

Prognosis: David is looking to part company with Daniel Sturridge after the Liverpool forward missed Sunday’s trip to Norwich City with a hamstring injury. He’s also keen to freshen up his midfield options for the remaining three Gameweeks and has earmarked Everton’s Kevin Mirallas as the man most likely to make way.

Treatment: With enough budget already in the bank, David could draft in Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney for the stricken Sturridge, who has scored twice in his last seven appearances and now welcomes title rivals Chelsea to Anfield next weekend. Swapping out Mirallas for Sunderland’s Adam Johnson looks a wise move, with the latter set for a double Gameweek 37 to boost his points potential, whilst David could also use his remaining budget to replace Liverpool’s suspended midfielder Jordan Henderson with Samir Nasri, thus taking advantage of Manchester City’s kind remaining schedule, which sees them play four times in the final three Gameweeks.

Chances of Recovery: Crucially, all three of the new arrivals have an extra fixture on their respective agendas. Both Rooney and Johnson have three home matches still to play, with the former looking a strong captaincy contender in Gameweek 37, where Sunderland and Hull City arrive at Old Trafford, whilst Johnson, at just 6.4, will be vital to the Black Cats’ survival prospects as fellow-strugglers Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City arrive at the Stadium of Light. Nasri has now notched twice in his last four appearances and, with David Silva and Yaya Toure struggling to overcome injuries, looks the safest option amongst Manuel Pellegrini’s midfielders at the moment.

Rachel Byrne - Exposed All Stars

Prognosis: Having tumbled down the rankings in each of the last four Gameweeks, Rachel is looking to transfer out a trio of premium-priced players. With Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge all injury concerns ahead of the weekend, she has plenty of budget available to restructure her 15-man squad for the final three rounds of fixtures.

Treatment: Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey offers an in-form replacement for Hazard in the centre of the park. Available for only 7.2, the fit-again Welshman produced a goal and two assists in his first start since Gameweek 18 last weekend and has averaged 6.4 points per game this season – second only to Toure amongst midfielders. The Ivorian, who continues to be hampered by a groin problem, could make way for Manchester United’s Juan Mata, who has produced three goals and a trio of assists in his last three matches – these two transfers would free up the budget to swap out Sturridge for Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who delivered a goal and assist in Monday’s win over West Bromwich Albion.

Chances of Recovery: Drafting in Mata and Aguero ensures that Rachel has coverage of both Manchester clubs ahead of their upcoming schedules. Aguero squares up to Everton and Aston Villa in double Gameweek 37 and offers a strong captaincy option, with a home clash against West Ham in the final day of the season also boosting his potential. Whilst Ramsey plays only three times in the final three Gameweeks, his 16-point return in last weekend’s win over Hull was his highest haul of the season and, with home clashes against West Brom and Newcastle preceding a trip to Norwich, he looks poised to pick up the points and help Arsenal’s push for a fourth place finish.

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