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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.

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 34

Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace trio Jason Puncheon, Joel Ward and Julian Speroni each claimed maximum Bonus Points as the Eagles picked up a third consecutive Barclays Premier League win.

Puncheon earned three BP after scoring the winning goal, producing three key passes and a couple of open play crosses. Defender Ward helped the hosts preserve their clean sheet with an 89% pass success rate and six recoveries, while goalkeeper Speroni pulled off three saves and made nine recoveries.

Fulham 1-0 Norwich City

Hugo Rodallega netted the winning goal in Fulham’s 1-0 triumph over relegation rivals Norwich City and he earned maximum BP as a result. The Colombian forward also contributed five key passes and created a big chance as the Cottagers boosted their hopes of securing safety.

After providing an assist and chipping in with nine recoveries and six tackles, tenacious midfielder Steve Sidwell claimed a couple of BP.

Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale and defenders Sascha Riether and Fernando Amorebieta were awarded one BP apiece. Stockdale made three saves and nine recoveries, Riether completed three key passes and Amorebieta contributed 10 clearances, blocks or interceptions (CBI) and three tackles.

Southampton 0-1 Cardiff City

Juan Cala struck the decisive blow and shone in central defence as Cardiff City earned an impressive win at St Mary’s Stadium. Cala gained three BP after firing in the winner and making 16 CBI and four tackles to preserve the visitors’ clean sheet.

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall claimed a couple of BP after making seven saves and 25 recoveries in a magnificent display. Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin picked up one BP after excelling despite the defeat. The Frenchman completed 84 of his 88 attempted passes (95%), made three key passes and 10 recoveries.

Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle United

Erik Pieters was rewarded for scoring his first Barclays Premier League goal with three BP. The defender scored the winner and also completed 83% of his passes as the Potters kept a clean sheet.

Stoke trio Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic claimed two BP apiece. Centre-back Shawcross produced 16 CBI, fellow defender Wilson completed 83% of his passes and midfielder Arnautovic provided the assist for the goal, made four key passes and completed 89% of his passes overall.

Sunderland 0-1 Everton

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard shone as the Toffees earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The United States international was given maximum BP after pulling off five saves and completing 10 recoveries.

Visiting defenders Leighton Baines, John Stones and Sylvain Distin picked up two BP each as Everton kept a clean sheet. Baines made three key passes and an open play cross, Stones contributed with 14 CBI, while Distin produced nine CBI and completed 73% of his passes.

Gerard Deulofeu, who was credited with an assist after his cross was turned in by Sunderland defender Wes Brown, didn’t gain any BP because he was tackled four times and finished with a pass success rate below 70%.

West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen collected maximum BP after rescuing a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Eriksen rifled in the equalising goal and he also provided four key passes during the match.

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster and striker Matej Vydra earned two BP each. Foster saved Emmanuel Adebayor’s first-half penalty and made six saves overall, while Vydra scored the Baggies’ opener.

West Brom midfielders Chris Brunt and Stephane Sessegnon didn’t earn BP because goals are less valuable to midfielders in the Bonus Points System, while Spurs goalscorer Harry Kane wasn’t rewarded after spurning a couple of big chances and missing the target twice.

Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City

Philippe Coutinho gained three BP as Liverpool won 3-2 in a thrilling encounter against title rivals Manchester City. Coutinho scored the winning goal, completed 80% of his passes and contributed defensively with 14 recoveries and four tackles.

Manchester City playmaker David Silva scored, provided an assist and finished with an 85% pass success rate, to pick up two BP. Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, who scored a glancing header, made 20 CBI and completed 86% of his passes, collected a single BP.

Raheem Sterling, who opened the scoring for the Reds, fell just short of earning BP after completing less than 30 passes.

Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea’s defence came out on top in a closely-contested encounter at the Liberty Stadium, and centre-back Gary Cahill subsequently collected three BP. The England international impressively completed 49 passes from 50 attempts (98%), made nine recoveries and three CBI as the visitors kept a clean sheet.

Match-winning goalscorer Demba Ba and Chelsea defenders John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic claimed two BP apiece. Ba scored the decisive goal, Terry registered a 94% pass success rate and Ivanovic completed a couple of open play crosses.

Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United

Lukas Podolski gained maximum BP after netting twice in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over London rivals West Ham United. As well as his two-goal haul, the Germany international also completed 90% of his passes and provided an open play cross.

Arsenal trio Olivier Giroud, Thomas Vermaelen and Santi Cazorla picked up two BP apiece. Giroud scored a superbly taken second goal for the home side, Vermaelen claimed an assist and weighed in with nine CBI, while Cazorla provided an assist, made three key passes and finished with a 91% pass success rate.

Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace

Jason Puncheon claimed maximum BP for the third match in succession after inspiring Crystal Palace’s 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park. The in-form winger, who gained six BP in Gameweek 34, scored and provided an assist.

Cameron Jerome, who scored the goal that proved to be the winner for Palace, and Everton midfielder Kevin Mirallas, who found the net and put in a couple of open play crosses, both picked up two BP.

Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland

Sunderland striker Connor Wickham was rewarded with three BP after earning his side a draw at the Etihad Stadium with two goals. In addition to his late double, Wickham provided a key pass and made a couple of recoveries.

Fernandinho, who netted the opening goal for Manchester City, had a 90% pass success rate and completed three key passes, picked up two BP. Fellow Man City goalscorer Samir Nasri impressively completed all 76 of his attempted passes, including five key passes, and subsequently gained one BP.

  • Lukas Podolski
  • Jason Puncheon
  • Juan Cala
  • Gary Cahill

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 34

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Keerthan BS - Superfrankielampard

Prognosis: Keerthan has injury concerns over a trio of very popular players. Daniel Sturridge and Yaya Toure were both forced off during Liverpool’s win over Manchester City on Sunday, whilst Eden Hazard missed Chelsea’s win at Swansea City with a calf complaint sustained in the midweek Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

Treatment: Luckily for Keerthan, he has accumulated a substantial transfer budget over the course of the season to spend on potential replacements. With Toure ruled out for up to 14 days due to a groin problem, team-mate David Silva offers an ideal in-form alternative, having produced three goals and four assists in the last six matches. Bearing in mind Manchester City still have a double Gameweek 37 on their schedule, bringing in fit-again Sergio Aguero for Sturridge up front could prove a canny acquisition, whilst Manchester United’s Juan Mata offers a premium-priced replacement for former Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard.

Chances of Recovery: All three of Keerthan’s new arrivals have significantly less ownership than the players they will replace, thus increasing his prospects of gaining some ground over the run-in. The remaining schedule favours the two Manchester clubs; each play five times over the last four Gameweeks, with three very favourable home fixtures apiece. Silva and Aguero welcome West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium, whilst Mata entertains Norwich City, Sunderland and Hull City at Old Trafford as he looks to continue the form that has harvested 31 points in his previous two appearances.

Sagar Rajput - Net Busters

Prognosis: Like many Fantasy managers, Sagar has concerns over the 46%-owned Yaya Toure and he’s also awaiting news on Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who is currently nursing a toe problem. Furthermore, Sagar is looking to swap out Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, who has produced just a single assist in his last 12 appearances.

Treatment: With Toure unavailable for up to two weeks, Sagar – who already owns David Silva – could look at Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen. The Dane costs just 6.8 and has now delivered four goals, three assists and eight bonus points in the last four Gameweeks. This would free up budget and allow Sagar to bring in Sergio Aguero for Edin Dzeko up front or, alternatively, the Argentine could replace Rooney if the latter is sidelined. If Sagar is looking for a gamble in midfield, he may consider drafting in Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah for Barry – the young Egyptian has delivered two goals and an assist in the last three matches and is available for just 5.5.

Chances of Recovery: Bringing in Eriksen could prove a wise move, with the schedule smiling kindly on Tim Sherwood’s side. The Dane offers the perfect combination of form and fixtures, with Fulham, Stoke City, West Ham United and Aston Villa all still to play. Bearing in mind that Sagar doesn’t own Luis Suarez, Aguero’s acquisition would bring a genuine captaincy contender into his three-man frontline – the Argentine’s average of 7.3 points per game is second only to the Liverpool forward this season. Salah – who is ineligible for Champions League duties this season – has benefitted from Chelsea’s extended run in Europe with increased domestic minutes and, with Eden Hazard still struggling, has home matches against Sunderland and Norwich City in the next three Gameweeks.

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