The Scout Preview - Gameweek 8
Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels this weekend as The Scout casts an eye over the upcoming schedule.
League leaders Chelsea roll up to London neighbours Crystal Palace as Jose Mourinho’s side look for a seventh win in eight attempts. Manchester United make their way to basement-dwellers Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City head to Stoke City, whilst Tottenham Hotspur face a tough task against defending champions Manchester City at The Etihad.
Elsewhere, third placed Southampton look for a third straight home win as Sunderland come calling, Arsenal entertain Hull City and Everton go in search of their second win of the season against Aston Villa at Goodison Park.
A switch back to 3-5-2 helped Hull chalk up their first clean sheet since Gameweek 1 last time around. After conceding at least twice in each of the previous four Premier League matches, Steve Bruce re-installed James Chester to his defence and shifted Andrew Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady into the wing-back berths in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. With his side showing extra resilience, The Tigers boss is likely to maintain his current formation as he attempts to batten down the hatches ahead of a horrendous run of fixtures which pits Hull up against seven of last season’s top eight in the next nine Gameweeks.
Arsene Wenger is set to freshen up his midfield once again this weekend after Mesut Ozil was forced onto the sidelines with a knee injury. The Arsenal manager handed Alexis Sanchez his first start in three Gameweeks last time out, with the Chilean fielded on the left of a 4-1-4-1 and Ozil on the opposite flank. The German’s absence is likely to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain take up a role on the right, with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere taking the central roles in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Wenger has also welcomed Theo Walcott back to training in the last few days but the winger seems set for a bench role at best after being ruled out since January with a knee injury.
Nigel Pearson’s decision to opt for a 4-4-2 formation saw David Nugent drop to the Leicester City bench for the first time this term. The Foxes boss had previously utilised a 4-3-3 system, with Nugent and Jamie Vardy on either side of Leonardo Ulloa but his tactical switch allowed the latter two central roles up front, with Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp on the flanks. Both Mahrez and Schlupp grabbed a goal apiece in a 2-2 draw with Burnley and with the former also providing an assist, Pearson may retain the same set-up away to Newcastle this weekend. Priced at 4.5 and classified as a defender, Schlupp offers Fantasy managers an interesting option if he can retain the role on the left wing.
By the numbers
With a goal and assist in three of his five appearances, Angel di Maria has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving at Manchester United this summer. As Fantasy managers flock to snap up the Argentine, The Scout takes a look at his goal threat since arriving at Old Trafford from Real Madrid - listed below are the top 10 midfielders in terms of frequency of attempts on goal over the last five Gameweeks.
|Raheem Sterling (LIV)||26.9||15||11||6||2|
|Yaya Toure (MCY)||27.1||14||5||3||1|
|Niko Kranjcar (QPR)||27.9||13||2||4||1|
|Kevin Mirallas (EVE)||28.3||9||2||4||2|
|Angel di Maria (MUN)||30.0||14||5||4||3|
|Dusan Tadic (SOU)||31.5||14||6||6||0|
|Santi Cazorla (ARS)||32.1||9||4||1||0|
|Matt Phillips (QPR)||34.2||9||1||1||0|
|Jason Puncheon (CPL)||34.3||14||5||3||1|
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling is the standout candidate, with an attempt on goal every 26.9 minutes from Gameweek 3 onwards. The Liverpool midfielder has produced 15 shots, with 11 efforts arriving inside the box and earning him a couple of goals – underlining just why he’s the most popular midfielder in the game with over 53% ownership.
Yaya Toure is the next quickest in our analysis, firing a shot every 27.1 minutes. Intriguingly, both Toure and Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon have equaled Di Maria’s 14 attempts and five shots inside the box over the last five rounds of fixtures, though the former pair have been far less clinical, scoring just one goal apiece. Priced at just 5.9, Puncheon is clearly one to watch in the budget bracket.
Southampton’s summer signing Dusan Tadic has also fired 14 shots over the previous five, at an average of 31.5 minutes per attempt. The playmaker has mirrored Sterling’s six attempts on target but, in spite of his consistent threat, has yet to find the net.
Chelsea playmaker Oscar has also impressed. Available for 8.3 and owned by less than 3% of Fantasy managers, the Brazilian has registered seven shots inside the penalty area – bettered only by Sterling – and has netted once.
Queens Park Rangers duo Niko Kranjcar and Matty Phillips have offered a regular goal threat in recent weeks. As the statistics show, though, their efforts have mainly been restricted to long-range – despite firing a combined 22 attempts, the pair have managed just three shots inside the penalty box between them, with Kranjcar leading by two to one.
Ones to Watch
Leighton Baines – the Everton left-back will be hopeful of earning points at both ends of the pitch at home to Aston Villa this weekend. Baines has scored or assisted in four of the last five Gameweeks and with the visitors failing to notch in each of their last three, a clean sheet could also be on the cards.
James Milner – an injury to Samir Nasri has allowed the England international to cement a place in Manchester City’s starting XI in recent weeks. Milner has started each of the last four league fixtures and has created 16 goal scoring opportunities for his team-mates over that period – a tally matched only by West Ham’s Stewart Downing. Having earned a pair of assists and four bonus points for his recent displays, Milner - at a price of 5.3 – looks excellent value at home to Tottenham.
Eden Hazard – the Chelsea wide man rolls up to Crystal Palace on the back of his first double-figure haul of the season. A proven Fantasy performer, with 190 and 202 points over the last two seasons, Hazard is just seven points off the summit of the midfielder’s standings yet is owned by only 13% of Fantasy managers as the league leaders look for another victory at Selhurst Park.
Radamel Falcao – mainly overshadowed by fellow new boy Angel di Maria, the Manchester United forward is one to consider for Monday evening’s trip to The Hawthorns. Falcao has produced attacking returns in each of his last three and, having opened his account against Everton last time round, will fancy his chances of netting against West Brom.
Papiss Cisse – the striker’s return from long-term injury has been vital to Newcastle’s chances in recent weeks. Available for a mere 5.9, Cisse has bagged a pair of braces in three appearances for Alan Pardew’s side and entertains a Leicester side that has conceded at least twice in five of the first seven Gameweeks.
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