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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 36

Three of the top five teams in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels this week as The Scout assesses the upcoming schedule.

Second placed Chelsea make their way to league leaders Liverpool, with Jose Mourinho’s side looking to avoid the defeat that would put paid to their title bid. Manchester City face a testing trip to Crystal Palace, as Tony Pulis’ in-form outfit go in search of a sixth successive victory, whilst Everton look to keep their Champions League hopes on track as they travel to Southampton.

Elsewhere, eight of the bottom nine clubs go head-to-head as the relegation battle intensifies. Sunderland entertain Cardiff City at the Stadium of Light, with Gus Poyet’s side looking to build on last week’s stunning win over Chelsea, Fulham welcome Hull City to Craven Cottage, Swansea City and Aston Villa square up at the Liberty Stadium and West Bromwich Albion welcome West Ham United to The Hawthorns.

Talking tactics

Jose Mourinho faces a defensive dilemma for Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. Whilst Mark Schwarzer is set to replace Petr Cech after the latter was ruled out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder, the likely absence of John Terry is set to force Mourinho into a reshuffle of the visitors’ backline. The Blues boss may hand David Luiz a chance alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of defence, though also has the option of shifting Branislav Ivanovic into the centre and switching Cesar Azpilicueta into the right-back berth, thus allowing Ashley Cole a first league start since Gameweek 21, as Chelsea look to avoid defeat and remain in the title race.

The recent return to action of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil looks vital to Arsenal’s chances of clinching a fourth place finish. In his first start since Gameweek 18 last weekend, Ramsey was stationed alongside Mikel Arteta in the double-pivot in the Gunners’ 4-2-3-1 formation and produced 16 points in the 3-0 win at Hull, his biggest haul of the season. Ozil’s installation to Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up for the first time since Gameweek 26 saw the German handed the role in “the hole” and, with Santi Cazorla moving to the right and Lukas Podolski retaining his spot on the opposite flank, Tomas Rosicky’s run of nine successive start came to an end, with the Czech international dropping to the bench in order to accommodate the Gunners’ record signing.

Sergio Aguero’s recovery from injury has allowed Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to revert to his favoured 4-4-2 formation. The Chilean mainly utilised a 4-2-3-1 in Aguero’s absence, with Edin Dzeko leading the line and David Silva in “the hole” behind a lone striker, but the Argentine’s return from a hamstring injury has seen Pellegrini alternate Alvaro Negredo and Dzeko as Aguero’s strike partner against Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion respectively in the last two matches. With Silva expected to miss out against Crystal Palace this weekend, Pellegrini looks likely to continue with a front two as he looks to get his side’s title bid back on track by going on the offensive.

By the numbers

With just three rounds of fixtures remaining, The Scout casts an eye over the league’s in-form forwards. Analysing the most impressive performers over the past 30 days, it’s intriguing to see that six of the top 10 frontmen currently sit in less than 7% of Fantasy teams, highlighting the numerous differential options available.

Lukas Podolski (ARS) 8.8 7.8 44 pts, 5 apps 2%
Luis Suarez (LIV) 6.2 13.4 31 pts, 5 apps 52%
Romelu Lukaku (EVE) 5.8 9.0 35 pts, 6 apps 28%
Edin Dzeko (MCY) 5.7 7.2 34 pts, 6 apps 14%
Wilfried Bony (SWA) 5.6 7.2 28 pts, 5 apps 6%
Rickie Lambert (SOU) 5.5 7.5 22 pts, 4 apps 13%
Harry Kane (TOT) 5.2 4.4 21 pts, 3 apps 1%
Matej Vydra (WBA) 4.8 5.1 19 pts, 4 apps 1%
Hugo Rodallega (FUL) 4.8 5.0 19 pts, 3 apps 1%
Steven Naismith (EVE) 4.7 4.7 28 pts, 6 apps 2%

Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski has produced 44 points in his last five appearances. Despite being fielded on the left of the Gunners’ attacking midfield three, the German has still managed to produce five goals, an assist and nine bonus points (BP) as Arsene Wenger’s side strengthen their bid for a fourth place finish – priced at 7.8, Podolski is owned by less than 3% of Fantasy managers heading into the weekend deadline.

Luis Suarez has delivered attacking returns in each of his last five matches for Liverpool. The Uruguayan has chipped in with a couple of goals, four assists and two BP, averaging 6.2 points per game over the time frame.

Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith have scored two and three goals respectively over Everton’s last six fixtures. Impressively, the latter, who is owned by just 2% of Fantasy managers, achieved this in just 359 minutes compared to his team-mate’s 535 minutes, though Lukaku also produced a trio of assists and six bonus points for his 24% of Fantasy owners.

Edin Dzeko and Wilfried Bony – both priced at 7.2 – have each scored three times in the past 30 days. The former has also chipped in with a pair of assists and five BP in six appearances for Manchester City, whilst the Swansea frontman has supplied an assist and six BP in five matches, yet is owned by only 6% of Fantasy managers.

Southampton’s Rickie Lambert has scored twice and also provided an assist for his owners over the last four matches, whilst both Harry Kane and Matej Vydra have impressed as budget options. The former – available for only 4.4 – has played three of Tottenham’s four matches over last 30 days and scored on each occasion, whilst the 5.1-priced Vydra has scored or assisted in three of his last four starts for West Brom.

Ones to watch

Laurent Koscielny – a recent spell on the sidelines persuaded many Fantasy managers to part company with the Arsenal centre-half. Now down to just 6% ownership, the fit-again Koscielny entertains a Newcastle side that have scored two goals in their last seven Gameweeks – further points could be on the cards, given that he has earned bonus points on each of the last seven occasions the Gunners have registered a clean sheet.

Marko Arnautovic – available for just 5.1, the Austrian looks a real in-form option as Stoke welcome Tottenham to the Britannia Stadium. Arnautovic has produced two goals, a trio of assists and four bonus points in his last six appearances and could be in the points once again as the Potters look for a tenth win in front of their own supporters.

Morgan Amalfitano – the Frenchman’s contribution looks key this weekend as West Brom host West Ham at the Hawthorns. Amalfitano – priced at a mere 4.2 – has fired two goals and an assist in the last four matches and with a win set to take the Baggies within a single point of their opponents, Pepe Mel’s side are sure to go on the attack.

Fabio Borini – a home clash against fellow strugglers Cardiff City looks promising for the Italian’s Fantasy prospects this weekend. Whilst Connor Wickham has outscored his fellow forward in the last couple of matches away to Manchester City and Chelsea, Borini has been a far more consistent threat for the Black Cats and his eye for goal could well come to fruition against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s porous defence on Saturday afternoon.

Hugo Rodallega – a home clash with Hull City affords the Fulham forward the chance to get amongst the goals once again. Rodallega has scored the winner for Felix Magath’s side in two of the previous three Gameweeks and with a victory over the Tigers potentially helping the hosts climb out of the bottom three, his predatory instincts may prove invaluable this weekend.

  • Lukas Podolski
  • Harry Kane
  • Fabio Borini

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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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.

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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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