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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 17

Three of the top five teams in the Barclays Premier League are handed home comforts this weekend as The Scout analyses the Gameweek 17 schedule.

Champions Manchester City seek a sixth successive league win at home to Crystal Palace. West Ham United look to extend their four-match unbeaten run as basement-dwellers Leicester City roll up to Upton Park, whilst Southampton host Everton at St Mary’s Stadium.

Elsewhere, in-form Manchester United travel to Aston Villa. League leaders Chelsea make their way to Stoke City, north east duo Newcastle and Sunderland go head-to-head at St James’ Park, whilst Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Talking tactics

Manchester City are facing a striker crisis for this weekend’s visit of Crystal Palace. With Sergio Aguero already sidelined for six weeks, Manuel Pellegrini has conceded that both Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko are unlikely to return before New Year due to hamstring and calf complaints respectively. The Chilean will trial David Silva, Samir Nasri and James Milner as a deep-lying forward in training this week and is likely to field one of the trio as a “false nine” as he restructures his side to cope with the absence of his first-team forwards against the Eagles.

Raheem Sterling has been handed a central role up front in each of Liverpool’s last couple of matches as Brendan Rodgers trials a 3-4-3 formation. Sterling was flanked by Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana against both Manchester United and Bournemouth and scored twice against the latter in the midweek Capital One Cup win. With Mario Balotelli struggling due to a groin problem once again, Sterling’s display on Wednesday suggests Rodgers may keep him in the middle at home to Arsenal.

Wayne Rooney was shifted into a central midfield berth for Manchester United’s home clash against Liverpool last weekend. Fielded up front alongside Robin van Persie in the Gameweek 15 win at Southampton, Rooney dropped deeper as James Wilson was handed the role alongside the Dutchman, with Juan Mata tucked in behind the front two. Although the Red Devils skipper still managed to get on the scoresheet for the third time in four appearances, his 19% owners will be somewhat concerned by his new position as Van Gaal continues to shuffle his pack.

By the numbers

A home goal against Hull maintained Diego Costa’s stunning start to life in the Premier League. The Chelsea striker grabbed his twelfth goal in 13 appearances for the league leaders but failed to earn bonus points (BP) for finding the net, frustrating those Fantasy owners who handed him the captain’s armband for the Tigers’ showdown.

In spite of his goal scoring exploits, Costa has collected just nine BP all season – almost half Sergio Aguero’s 17, for example. With this in mind, The Scout casts an eye over the top ten forwards for BP over the opening 16 Gameweek thus far.

Sergio Aguero (MCY) 17 14 15 9 9
Papiss Cisse (NEW) 12 7 10 4 4
Diafra Sakho (WHU) 11 6 10 6 5
Steven Naismith (EVE) 11 5 13 5 4
Graziano Pelle (SOU) 10 7 16 5 5
Wilfried Bony (SWA) 9 8 16 7 6
Robin van Persie (MUN) 9 7 15 6 5
Diego Costa (CHE) 9 12 13 9 4
Charlie Austin (QPR) 9 8 14 7 4
Peter Crouch (STO) 9 5 14 4 3

Aguero’s loss to Fantasy managers is obvious. The Argentine has earned more BP than any other forward after scoring 14 times in 15 appearances – crucially, he has earned BP in all nine matches he has scored in.

Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse is next in line, with 12 BP. The 5.8-priced striker has found the net in four of his ten appearances and has collected maximum bonus on each occasion, scoring seven times to date.

Diafra Sakho has been more consistent than his compatriot Cisse. The West Ham frontman has netted in six of his ten matches and collected BP in all but one of those occasions.

Swansea’s Wilfried Bony and QPR’s Charlie Austin have both received 9BP thus far. Whilst the pair have both scored in seven of their appearances, Bony has been looked upon more favourably and received BP on six of those occasions compared to Austin’s four.

Costa and Robin van Persie have also collected 9 BP, though the Chelsea forward has outscored the Dutchman by 12 goals to seven. Despite mirroring Aguero by scoring in nine of his Premier League outings, Costa has, however, only been awarded BP on just four occasions.

Ones to Watch

Samir Nasri – after a slow start to the season, the Manchester City midfielder has sprung into life in the last few weeks. Nasri has produced an assist in two of the last three Gameweeks and also bagged a goal and assist in his side’s recent Champions’ League win over Roma. With problems surrounding the champions’ strikers, his form in the final third looks key as Crystal Palace roll up to the Etihad Stadium.

Leroy Fer – the Queens Park Rangers midfielder welcomes West Brom in strong home form this weekend. Available for just 5.5, Fer has scored in each of his last two appearances at Loftus Road and is set to pose the Baggies problems aplenty as Harry Redknapp’s side look for a third successive win in front of their own fans.

Diafra Sakho – fully recovered from a back problem, the West Ham frontman returned to first-team duties for last weekend’s trip to Sunderland. Having scored in five of his six home appearances this term, Sakho will fancy his chances of extending that streak against a Leicester City side with a single clean sheet in the last 12 Gameweeks.

Harry Kane – handed a sixth successive start in Tottenham’s trip to Swansea last Sunday, Kane needed just four minutes to get his name on the scoresheet in a 2-1 triumph. The 5.1-priced striker was back in the goals in a 4-0 midweek cup win over Newcastle United and now plays host to a Burnley backline that has conceded in all but one of their road trips to date.

Papiss Cisse – a home derby with fierce rivals Sunderland hands the Newcastle striker the chance to continue his excellent season. Cisse’s minutes continue to be managed by Alan Pardew due to an ongoing knee complaint but, as his two-goal salvo off the bench against Chelsea in the Magpies’ previous home encounter highlighted, he needs little time to make an impact. Having missed the midweek cup loss at Tottenham due to illness, he’s expected to recover in time for Sunday’s derby.

NEW Scout Extra

Exclusive to The Scout is now writing two new weekly features. Both are available here:

GW17 Scout Extra: Man City tactical switch opens up possibilities

GW17 Scout Extra: Carroll on song for festive schedule

  • Papiss Cisse
  • Samir Nasri
  • Harry Kane

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 16

Olivier Giroud doubled his Barclays Premier League goal tally for the season as Arsenal cruised to victory against Newcastle United in Gameweek 16. The France international’s performance resulted in maximum Bonus Points for the first time in this campaign.

Burnley 1-0 Southampton

3: Tom Heaton (BUR)
2: Ashley Barnes (BUR)
1: Kieran Trippier (BUR)

Tom Heaton was the hero at Turf Moor as the Burnley goalkeeper saved a Dusan Tadic penalty with the scores level in the second half. A further three saves and a maintained clean sheet gave Heaton his first maximum Bonus Points (BP) of the season.

Ashley Barnes scored the only goal of the match after the penalty save, which resulted in the Burnley forward collecting a couple of BP. Burnley defender Kieran Trippier helped the home team keep a clean sheet by producing 10 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI), six recoveries and a combination of dribbles, key passes and open play crosses.

Chelsea 2-0 Hull City

3: Eden Hazard (CHE)
2: John Terry (CHE)
1: Branislav Ivanovic (CHE)

Eden Hazard had a hand in both Chelsea goals as the midfielder netted the opener before registering an assist for the second. The Belgium international also completed 91% of his attempted passes and successfully dribbled past an opponent four times.

Chelsea captain John Terry grabbed two BP after helping his team keep a clean sheet. Terry recovered the ball nine times, produced eight CBI and ended the match with a passing accuracy of 92%. Branislav Ivanovic earned a single BP due to a clean sheet, four successful dribbles and a passing accuracy above 80%.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Stoke City

3: Peter Crouch (STK)
2: James McArthur (CRY)
1: Geoff Cameron (STK)

Stoke City forward Peter Crouch scored his fourth goal of the Barclays Premier League season to give the visitors a point at Selhurst Park. Crouch’s right-footed effort levelled the match in the first half and earned the frontman maximum BP.

James McArthur gave Crystal Palace the lead after 11 minutes and narrowly missed out on three BP because of Crouch earning more scoring points as a forward. The midfielder still grabbed two BP as a result of his goal. Stoke defender Geoff Cameron was rewarded with a single BP following 15 recoveries and nine CBI.

Leicester City 0-1 Manchester City

3: Eliaquim Mangala (MCI)
2: Vincent Kompany (MCI), Gael Clichy (MCI)

Manchester City centre back Eliaquim Mangala earned his first maximum BP of the season with a terrific defensive display. Mangala produced 13 CBI, two tackles, four recoveries and completed 85% of his attempted passes in keeping a clean sheet.

Vincent Kompany and Gael Clichy also helped the visitors shut out any Leicester City attacks and both received two BP as a result. Kompany completed 12 CBI and two dribbles to take his BP tally to five. Meanwhile, Clichy produced seven CBI, six recoveries and two dribbles to send his BP total to 13 for the season.

Frank Lampard scored the only goal of the match, but missed out on BP due to being substituted after 59 minutes and not completing enough passes.

Sunderland 1-1 West Ham United

3: Stewart Downing (WHU)
2: Jordi Gomez (SUN)
1: Kevin Nolan (WHU)

West Ham United midfielder Stewart Downing scored his third goal of the Barclays Premier League season to help achieve maximum BP in Gameweek 16. Downing additionally made five key passes, produced two open play crosses and ended the match with a pass completion rate of 87%.

Sunderland midfielder Jordi Gomez, who completed seven recoveries, scored from the penalty spot to put the hosts in front at the Stadium of Light. Kevin Nolan registered an assist for Downing’s equalising goal, as well as completing two tackles and 84% of his attempted passes.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Aston Villa

3: Andre Wisdom (WBA)
2: Joleon Lescott (WBA)
1: James Morrison (WBA)

West Bromwich Albion defender Andre Wisdom collected maximum BP for his performance in a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. Wisdom’s clean sheet was helped by seven CBI, four recoveries, two tackles, as well as a 92% pass completion rate.

Fellow club defender Joleon Lescott earned two BP following a clean sheet that consisted of 11 recoveries and eight CBI. James Morrison’s single BP came courtesy of a passing accuracy of 89%, four tackles, eight recoveries and the West Brom midfielder created a big chance.

Craig Gardner scored the only goal of the match, but did not receive any BP due to not completing enough passes.

Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle United

3: Olivier Giroud (ARS)
2: Santi Cazorla (ARS)
1: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)

Olivier Giroud scored twice in Arsenal’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium. The France international headed in after 15 minutes and neatly finished off a well worked move shortly before the hour mark to collect maximum BP for the first time this season.

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla also scored twice to register two BP, but missed out on all three as Giroud scores higher for each goal due to being a forward and the Spaniard missed the target on one occasion. Alexis Sanchez recorded two assists for a 17th BP of the season.

Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool

3: Juan Mata (MUN)
2: Robin van Persie (MUN)
1: Antonio Valencia (MUN)

Spain international Juan Mata received three BP for scoring and assisting a goal in a 3-0 victory over Liverpool. The Manchester United midfielder additionally created a big chance and completed 92% of his passes.

Robin van Persie netted once and registered an assist to collect two BP and take his tally to nine for the season. Antonio Valencia recorded an assist, made three dribbles, recovered the ball eight times and had a passing accuracy of 92%.

Swansea City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

3: Christian Eriksen (TOT)
2: Harry Kane (TOT)
1: Wilfried Bony (SWA)

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen was another Fantasy player to score and register an assist in Gameweek 16. Eriksen’s winning goal came in the final moments of the match at the Liberty Stadium and earned the Denmark international his 17th BP of the campaign.

Harry Kane, who successfully completed four dribbles, scored the first goal of the fixture to give Spurs the lead shortly after the match had started. Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony found the net for an eighth time this season to collect the final BP on offer.

Everton 3-1 Queens Park Rangers

3: Steven Naismith (EVE)
2: Ross Barkley (EVE)
1: Kevin Mirallas (EVE)

Everton forward Steven Naismith scored his first goal since Gameweek 7 on his way to maximum BP. The Scotland international additionally registered an assist, three successful tackles and seven CBI to help the Toffees move into the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

Ross Barkley earned his first BP of the season after striking from outside the box and also adding four successful dribbles, two key passes and eight recoveries. Fellow Everton midfielder Kevin Mirallas grabbed the single BP after scoring from a free kick and completing five dribbles.

  • Olivier Giroud
  • Eden Hazard
  • Christian Eriksen
  • Steven Naismith

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 16

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

James Findlay - Soccer 6

Prognosis: James is looking to freshen up his squad over the festive period as the battle for his mini-league intensifies. His tactic of tripling up on the Southampton defence needs to be reassessed after the Saints conceded in each of their last five matches, whilst the pitch time of Nacer Chadli and Leonardo Ulloa also gives him cause for concern.

Treatment: At the back, James could draft in Tottenham Hotspur’s Ben Davies and Queens Park Rangers’ Yun Suk-Young for Southampton full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne. Available for just 4.4 and 3.9 respectively, Davies and Suk-Young have nailed down regular roles at left-back in recent weeks and their acquisition will free up budget to strengthen further up the field. James could then turn to Manchester City’s in-form Samir Nasri for Chadli in midfield and also has the cash left over to draft in QPR’S Charlie Austin for Ulloa up front. Austin has now served a one-match suspension in Gameweek 16 and has delivered six goals and a pair of assists in his last seven outings.

Chances of Recovery: Crucially, all four of James’ new additions have the festive fixtures in their favour. Davies – who has a clean sheet and assist in the last two – faces Burnley, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Sunderland in the next six Gameweeks. Nasri entertains Crystal Palace, Burnley, Sunderland and Arsenal and also travels to West Bromwich Albion as Manuel Pellegrini’s side step up their title bid. Both Suk-Young and Austin also face four home matches between Gameweek 17-22. West Brom, Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Manchester United are all set to arrive at Loftus Road and, having averaged 6.5 points per appearance in front of his own fans, Austin looks poised for a prosperous festive period.

Rylan Commin - Fearless Sean United

Prognosis: Rylan is looking to replace Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who is sidelined for up to six weeks with a knee injury. With plenty of cash left over from the Aguero trade, he could look to strengthen his backline, where all five of his defenders are firmly in the budget bracket.

Treatment: Rylan could bring in Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony for the stricken Aguero. The top-flight’s form forward, Bony - who comes in at a price of 8.6 - has scored eight goals in his last 10 appearances. At the back, Rylan should transfer out Hull City’s Paul McShane, who has played just twice since Gameweek 3. Drafting in Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic looks a wise move – the Blues have conceded just once in the last five Gameweeks as Jose Mourinho tightens up defensively. With enough budget remaining in the bank, Rylan could acquire Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta for Newcastle defender Paul Dummett as the Magpies’ fixtures stiffen.

Chances of Recovery: With Ivanovic and Zabaleta on board, Rylan can switch to a three-man backline and alternate his remaining defenders alongside the pair of big-hitters. Ivanovic now faces Stoke City, West Ham, Southampton, Tottenham, Newcastle and Swansea in the next five fixtures, whilst Zabaleta’s above-mentioned schedule bodes well, given that the champions have conceded just once in the last four Gameweeks. Bony’s chances of firing Rylan up the rankings are boosted by Swansea’s next four matches, which see Garry Monk’s side face Hull, Aston Villa, Liverpool and QPR’s porous defences.

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