The Scout Preview - Gameweek 5
Six of the top eight teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout assess the upcoming round of fixtures.
League leaders Chelsea travel to Manchester City as the champions look to end Jose Mourinho’s 100% start to the season. Swansea City and Southampton square up at the Liberty Stadium, with the Saints seeking a third successive win, while Aston Villa entertain Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, as the Gunners attempt to breach a backline that has conceded just a single goal in their opening four Gameweeks.
Elsewhere, Manchester United face a testing trip to Leicester City, with Nigel Pearson’s side unbeaten in front of their own fans so far. Liverpool travel to West Ham United, as Brendan Rodgers’s side look to bounce back from last week’s home loss to Aston Villa, while Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will be optimistic of picking up the points from home clashes with Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
A change in formation helped Manchester United chalk up their first win of the season last weekend. Louis van Gaal switched from a 3-4-1-2 to a midfield diamond. With new boy Daley Blind stationed in front of the back-four, fellow midfielders Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata all grabbed a goal apiece in the 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers. Mata’s withdrawal midway through the second half saw Wayne Rooney drop into “the hole” behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, though, suggesting the Spaniard’s long-term pitch time may be in question as the Red Devils boss looks to accommodate the Colombian in his starting XI.
Daniel Sturridge’s injury absence forced Brendan Rodgers to operate with a lone striker system at home to Aston Villa last weekend. The Reds boss continued with the formation for the midweek Champions League clash with PFC Ludogorets Razgrad but his decision to revert to a midfield diamond, with Raheem sterling tucked in behind Mario Balotelli and substitute Fabio Borini, proved pivotal in earning a 2-1 win. With a trip to West Ham up next for the Merseysiders, Rodgers may well look to retain a forward pairing and keep Sterling stationed centrally as he attempts to recover from the shock defeat to Aston Villa.
Gus Poyet’s decision to omit Steven Fletcher from the Sunderland squad afforded Connor Wickham a central role against Tottenham last weekend. Previously utilised on the left flank by the Black Cats boss, Wickham was fielded as the lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation as Poyet handed loan signing Ricardo Alvarez a debut on the flank. With some favourable fixtures to follow, Wickham certainly looks one to monitor at a price of just 5.9.
By the numbers
After just four appearances for Chelsea this season, Diego Costa has already found the net on seven occasions. The summer signing’s arrival has been vital to Jose Mourinho and Fantasy managers alike and is now the most popular player in the game, with over 54% ownership. Bearing in mind all seven of Costa’s strikes have arrived from inside the area, The Scout takes a look at those players who have offered the greatest close-range threat over the first four rounds of fixtures.
|Diego Costa (CHE)||13||14||7||10.8||54%|
|Graziano Pelle (SOU)||11||13||3||7.6||4%|
|Branislav Ivanovic (CHE)||10||11||2||7.2||24%|
|Sergio Aguero (MCI)||9||11||3||12.1||9%|
|Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT)||8||11||1||8.6||7%|
|Saido Berahino (WBA)||8||10||2||5.6||6%|
|Edin Dzeko (MCI)||8||9||0||8.4||8%|
|Nacer Chadli (TOT)||8||8||2||6.1||5%|
|Steven Caulker (QPR)||8||8||0||4.9||9%|
|Daniel Sturridge (LIV)||7||13||1||11.4||13%|
|Wilfried Bony (SWA)||7||11||0||8.4||5%|
|Raheem Sterling (LIV)||7||10||2||8.8||46%|
|Scott Arfield (BUR)||7||10||1||5.0||1%|
|Nikica Jelavic (HUL)||7||8||2||6.0||3%|
|Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)||7||7||3||5.6||3%|
As the statistics show, Costa’s stunning start to the season is no real surprise. The Spain international has produced more shots inside the box (13) than any other player and fired only one effort from distance. Chelsea team-mate Branislav Ivanovic also features highly – impressively, the right-back has delivered 10 goal attempts in the area, the third highest tally in the top-flight so far. Perhaps surprisingly, Oscar is the only featured midfielder from the league leaders in our analysis – the Brazilian has failed to find the net from 11 attempts, with seven arriving from inside the box.
Southampton’s Graziano Pelle is also prominent. The 7.6-priced striker has now notched three times in his last two league appearances and has fired 11 efforts in the area, with a total of 13 attempts just one less than Costa – with an ownership of 4%, he looks a real differential option right now.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has netted in three of his four appearances. The Argentine fired a total of 11 attempts, with nine efforts arriving from close-range in just 187 minutes on the pitch, yet has so far been snapped up by just 9% of Fantasy managers. Team-mate Edin Dzeko has also offered plenty of threat inside the box; the Bosnian, along with QPR centre-half Steven Caulker, is one of only two players to produce at least eight attempts without scoring this season.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Saido Berahino will be looking to further their goal tallies as they go head-to-head at White Hart Lane this weekend. Both have managed eight attempts inside the box thus far though the latter has been more prolific, scoring twice from 10 attempts on goal.
The most popular midfielder in the game, with over 46% ownership, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has mirrored Daniel Sturridge’s seven shots in the box and netted twice, compared to his injured team-mate’s single strike.
Burnley’s Scott Arfield is also on The Scout’s radar ahead of a kind run of fixtures. The Clarets midfielder has produce seven efforts in the area and 10 attempts in total – mirroring Sterling’s statistics – but despite a kind 5.0 price tag, is owned by just 1% of Fantasy managers to date.
Ones to Watch
Kieran Trippier – Burnley’s highly-rated right-back has the chance to pick up the Fantasy returns once again this weekend as The Clarets welcome Sunderland to Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s side have now produced a clean sheet in each of the last two Gameweeks and with 12 assists to his name in the Championship last season, Trippier offers points potential at both ends of the pitch.
Nacer Chadli – a peripheral figure for Tottenham last term, the Belgian has already made giant strides under new manager Mauricio Pochettino this term. Chadli has scored three times in as many appearances and with struggling West Brom set to pay visit, he looks poised to continue on the goal trail.
Kevin Mirallas – a goal against West Brom last weekend continued the Everton midfielder’s flourishing form. Mirallas has now netted in back-to-back matches and plays host to a Crystal Palace side that shipped three goals to Newcastle United on their previous road trip under Neil Warnock.
Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City’s summer signing took his tally to three goals in four appearances after grabbing the winner at Stoke City last weekend. Ulloa now faces a home clash against Manchester United this Saturday and, bearing in mind he’s already scored against Everton and Arsenal in front of his own fans, will be confident of continuing his scoring spree.
Abel Hernandez – Steve Bruce’s deadline-day signing made an instant impact by netting on his debut against West Ham United last Monday evening. Hernandez now rolls up to face a Newcastle side that have shipped three goals in each of their last two matches and looks in the mood to heap further pressure on the Magpies’ under-fire manager Alan Pardew.