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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 2

Four of the current top six teams in the Barclays Premier League enjoy home encounters this weekend as The Scout casts an eye over the upcoming schedule.

Aston Villa entertain Newcastle United in Saturday’s lunchtime clash as the hosts look to build on their Gameweek 1 win at Stoke City. League leaders Chelsea face Championship winners Leicester City, Swansea City welcome Burnley to the Liberty Stadium in buoyant mood after defeating Manchester United last weekend, whilst champions Manchester City go head-to-head with Liverpool on Monday evening.

Elsewhere, two of last term’s top five square up at Goodison Park as Everton take on Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino faces his first home match as Tottenham Hotspur manager as they welcome Queens Park Rangers to White Hart Lane, while Sunderland will be looking to pile on the misery for Louis van Gaal at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

Talking tactics

A change of formation by Swansea City manager Garry Monk proved beneficial to Gylfi Sigurdsson last weekend. The Icelandic international had been fielded on the right flank in his side’s final two friendlies but was shifted to a central berth behind Wilfried Bony as the visitors switched from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1. Sigurdsson’s goal and assist helped the Welsh club to a 2-1 win and with three very favourable home matches in the next four Gameweeks, he’s become the hottest property in the game this week, enjoying a price rise as a result.

The sudden sale of Shane Long afforded Thomas Ince a place up front in Hull City’s win at QPR. Steve Bruce rolled out a 3-5-2 formation at Loftus Road, with Ince alongside Nikica Jelavic and Robert Snodgrass fielded as the most advanced central midfielder before the latter was forced off with a serious knee injury. Snodgrass’ subsequent absence could ensure Ince retains a starting berth for the Tigers, who now have four home clashes in the upcoming six rounds of fixtures.

Southampton’s new 4-3-3 formation under Ronald Koeman could bring James Ward-Prowse onto our Fantasy radars. The 5.0-priced midfielder was handed a role on the right of the Saints’ front three alongside new signings Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle for last weekend’s trip to Liverpool and seems poised to retain his starting berth for this weekend’s visit of West Bromwich Albion. With rumours of a possible move for Andros Townsend (6.5), though, Ward-Prowse is certainly one to monitor for now, as Koeman’s side prepare for a schedule which sees them face just one of last season’s top eight in the next 11 Gameweeks.

By the numbers

With the first round of fixtures now behind us, The Scout delves into the data to discover the players who posed the main goal threat over Gameweek 1.

SHOTS SOT GOALS COST OWNED
Wayne Rooney (MUN) 6 3 1 10.5 48%
Andre Schurrle (CHE) 5 1 1 7.5 8%
Aiden McGeady (EVE) 5 1 1 5.5 1%
Stevan Jovetic (MCI) 5 0 0 8.0 5%
Loic Remy (QPR) 5 3 0 7.5 6%
Charlie Austin (QPR) 5 1 0 6.0 1%
Ricardo Vaz Te (WHU) 5 1 0 4.5 3%
Aaron Ramsey (ARS) 4 2 1 9.0 40%
Danny Ings (BUR) 4 0 0 6.0 2%
Thomas Ince (HUL) 4 3 0 5.5 2%
Raheem Sterling (LIV) 4 3 1 8.6 35%
Marko Arnautovic (STO) 4 0 0 6.5 2%
Saido Berahino (WBA) 4 3 2 5.6 4%
Stewart Downing (WHM) 4 2 0 5.5 1%

The most popular player in the game, Wayne Rooney produced the most attempts on goal in the previous Gameweek. The Manchester United forward fired six shots, with three on target, and found the net with one of those efforts.

Queens Park Rangers strike pair Loic Remy and Charlie Austin were unlucky not to net in the 1-0 home loss to Hull City. Both managed five attempts apiece but were unable to find a way past Allan McGregor in the visitors’ goal, with Austin also missing a spot-kick. West Ham United pair Ricardo Vaz Te and Stewart Downing endured a similar Saturday, producing five and four shots without reward in the home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Aaron Ramsey and Raheem Sterling each managed four attempts on goal for Arsenal and Liverpool respectively. Both players also found the net and have been subject to major investment this week – indeed, they are now the two most popular midfielders in the game and currently sit in 40% and 34% of teams.

Midlands-based pair Marko Arnautovic and Saido Berahino had contrasting fortunes on the opening weekend. The duo fired four attempts on goal but while the former failed to manage a single attempt on target as Stoke lost to Aston Villa, Berahino struck both West Brom’s goals in the 2-2 home draw with Sunderland.

Ones to Watch

Curtis Davies – the Hull City defender looks a strong prospect for points at both ends of the pitch this weekend. Davies netted four times in all competitions for the Tigers last term and with visitors Stoke scoring a mere 18 times on their travels in 2013/14, Steve Bruce’s side will be optimistic of continuing the resilience that served up eight clean sheets at the KC Stadium in the previous campaign.

Andre Schurrle – selected on the right of Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 formation for Monday’s trip to Burnley, the German was amongst the goals in an impressive 3-1 win. Schurrle fired more shots than any team-mate in the Turf Moor match and, available for just 7.5, looks a very appealing option for the weekend home encounter with Leicester.

Dusan Tadic – snapped up as a replacement for Adam Lallana, Southampton’s summer signing earned an assist on his league debut in a narrow loss to Liverpool. Tadic arrives on the back of 16 goals and 14 assists for Dutch side FC Twente last term and his contribution in the final third looks vital for Ronald Koeman’s side as they welcome West Brom to St Mary’s.

Emmanuel Adebayor – handed the lone forward role by Mauricio Pochettino away to West Ham last weekend, the forward’s attacking potential was reined in early on after his side were reduced to 10 men. Adebayor seems poised to lead the line for Tottenham’s first home match of the season against QPR and with a mere 3% ownership, looks a deadly differential for Gameweek 2.

Wilfried Bony – the interest in Gylfi Sigurdsson has kept the Swansea forward under Fantasy radars this week. After a slow start to his debut campaign, Bony notched 13 times in the final 18 Gameweeks of 2013/14 and with a home showdown against promoted Burnley on his agenda, looks poised to open his account for the season.

  • Wayne Rooney
  • Andre Schurrle
  • Dusan Tadic

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 2

Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle United

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini picked up the maximum three Bonus Points (BP) as he kept a clean sheet at Villa Park. The defender’s clean sheet was helped by six recoveries, as well as a 90% pass completion rate.

Fellow Newcastle defenders Daryl Janmaat and Paul Dummett picked up the other BP. Holland international Janmaat registered two BP after his clean sheet and an 84% successful pass rate. Dummett received one BP for his hard-working defensive display that included six clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) as Aston Villa’s attacks were thwarted.

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic produced a fantastic all-round display that led to him collecting maximum BP. The Serbia international produced an assist and completed 91% of his attempted passes to go alongside a clean sheet and eight CBI.

Cesar Azpilicueta grabbed himself two BP thanks to five successful tackles without being tackled once. The Spanish full-back capped a fine performance with a 91% pass completion rate and eight CBI. Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard picked up the final BP following seven key passes, six successful dribbles and an 89% successful pass rate.

Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham United

Stewart Downing earned maximum BP despite not completing 90 minutes. The West Ham United midfielder scored the winning goal, made 9 recoveries and produced an 82% pass completion rate at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace forward Marouane Chamakh scored his team’s only goal of the match and made 14 recoveries to bag himself two BP as a result. Mauro Zarate’s stunning volley finish provided the West Ham forward with his first goal for the club and resulted in him securing one BP.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble narrowly missed out on a BP despite delivering an assist and recovering the ball 12 times.

Southampton 0-0 West Bromwich Albion

There were plenty of clean sheet points available in the goalless draw between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, but it was seven CBI in a faultless 90-minute display that gave Saints defender Jose Fonte all three BP.

Two BP were given to both Southampton defender Maya Yoshida and West Brom full-back Andre Wisdom for solid defensive performances. Japan international Yoshida shut out the West Brom attack with five CBI alongside completing 85% of his attempted passes. Wisdom produced six recoveries and four CBI with his clean sheet and would have taken all three BP if he had not been tackled three times without completing a successful tackle.

Swansea City 1-0 Burnley

Swansea City started their home Barclays Premier League campaign with three points, largely thanks to a terrific 90-minute display from defender Ashley Williams. Williams was a rock at the back with 15 CBI and seven recoveries to go with his clean sheet. A 91% pass completion rate wrapped up a maximum BP performance.

Nathan Dyer’s winning goal earned the midfielder two BP. Swansea’s midfielder completed 89% of his attempted passes before being substituted after 65 minutes. Two BP also went to Wales defender Neil Taylor after an assuring performance led him to finishing with seven CBI and a 90% pass completion rate.

Everton 2-2 Arsenal

Steven Naismith’s early season form continued at Goodison Park with another fine performance. The Scotland international scored Everton’s second goal late into the first half, which was enough to earn the forward three BP.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey started the Arsenal comeback with a finish from inside the six-yard box. The Welshman’s goal, alongside completing 83% of attempted passes, meant he registered two BP. Nacho Monreal also earned himself two BP when he was rewarded with an assist and finished the match with seven CBI.

Everton midfielder Gareth Barry was just shy of earning BP. At the final whistle, Barry registered one assist, but that was not enough and he finished one point behind Ramsey and Monreal on the Bonus Points System (BPS).

Hull City 1-1 Stoke City

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross produced a battling performance to help his club grab a late point against Hull City. Shawcross, who scored the equaliser, made 14 CBI and seven recoveries to register maximum BP.

Nikica Jelavic scored the opening goal of the match, which earned him two BP. The Croatia forward battled hard after Hull City were reduced to 10 men and was rewarded for his efforts.

Four players all tied on the BPS to receive one BP each. Hull defender Paul McShane produced 15 CBI in a hard-working 90 minutes, while midfielder Tom Huddlestone got his BP thanks to his assist. Stoke defenders Phil Bardsley and Ryan Wilson were also rewarded. Bardsley made 10 CBI and an assist, and would have received more BP if he did not get booked. Wilson's efforts produced 17 CBI and an 80% pass completion rate.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Queens Park Rangers

Emmanuel Adebayor was in majestic form as Tottenham Hotspur secured a comfortable home win against Queens Park Rangers. The forward picked up three BP for scoring a goal, creating an assist, playing four key passes and completing 93% of attempted passes.

Summer signing Eric Dier and midfielder Nacer Chadli both secured two BP. Dier has finished with BP in consecutive Gameweeks thanks to another clean sheet, four successful net tackles and a passing accuracy rate of 88%. Chadli produced a dominant midfield display that saw him record two goals, including the winning goal, but missed out on all three BP after a succession of tackles, fouls and no passing accuracy points on the BPS.

Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

There were just two points on the BPS separating the three BP on offer at the Stadium of Light, but it was Spain international midfielder Juan Mata who received the maximum BP for an 88% pass completion rate alongside his opening goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Antonio Valencia just got ahead of Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell for two BP. The Ecuador captain provided the assist for Mata’s goal and recovered the ball 12 times, while Rodwell scored Sunderland’s equaliser on his home debut for the club.

Manchester United defender Phil Jones was not far from being rewarded at least one BP following an assured defensive display that included 15 CBI.

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool

Stevan Jovetic scored highest on the BPS (64) across Gameweek 2 to take away all three BP to go along with a crucial three points for Manchester City. The forward scored the first and winning goal, plus completed 88% of his attempted passes before being substituted in the second half.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was awarded two BP for his efforts on Monday night. Gerrard rarely misplaced a pass with a 93% passing accuracy and recovered the ball for his side 13 times during another fine 90-minute display for the former England international. Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri and forward Sergio Aguero picked up one BP. Nasri got an assist, played three key passes and achieved a 90% pass completion rate. Aguero, who scored Manchester City’s third goal picked up a BP for a second consecutive Gameweek despite appearing in both games as a second half substitute.

  • Stevan Jovetic
  • Branislav Ivanovic
  • Stewart Downing
  • Emmanuel Adebayor

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 2

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Nick Frost - Scared Shotless

Prognosis: Nick is looking to replace Everton’s Ross Barkley, who is sidelined with a knee injury, whilst he also has concerns up front heading into Gameweek 3. With two of his current trio of strikers – Peter Crouch and Rickie Lambert – far from certain starters, he needs to scour the market for reliable options for his 15-man squad.

Treatment: Newcastle United’s Siem de Jong looks a strong replacement for the stricken Barkley. Owned by just 1% of Fantasy managers, the Dutchman scored 10+ goals in four of his last five seasons with former club Ajax and recovered from a minor foot problem to feature off the bench at Aston Villa. In attack, Nick could draft in Steven Naismith for Lambert to free up budget – available for just 5.1, the former has benefitted from Barkley’s absence and scored in each of his first two matches. This would also allow Nick to acquire Manchester City’s in-form Steven Jovetic, who bagged a brace in Monday’s win over Liverpool.

Chances of Recovery: De Jong’s upcoming schedule looks promising for points returns, as Newcastle entertain Crystal Palace, Hull City and Leicester City in the next six Gameweeks and also travel to Southampton and Swansea City. Up front, Naismith has some mixed fixtures but has the form to prevail, with matches against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace in the next three boosting his appeal. Jovetic’s display against Liverpool underlines his value at 7.9 as a route into Manuel Pellegrini’s attack, with a plum home clash against Stoke City next on his agenda.

Steffan Evans - The Welsh Wizards

Prognosis: Steffan is reconsidering his options at the back after one of his premium defenders has struggled to deliver the Fantasy returns. Whilst Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic has more than merited the investment, Steffan is somewhat concerned by Everton’s Leighton Baines, who has picked up a single point in two appearances. In midfield, he also needs to plot an exit route for injured Arsenal skipper, Mikel Arteta.

Treatment: With 3.5 currently in the bank, Steffan has plenty of options available. Drafting in Newcastle’s Paul Dummett for Baines would save a further 3.0 – the former looks set to hold onto the Magpies’ left-back berth until Davide Santon returns from injury around November. This would allow Steffan to swap out Arteta for team-mate Aaron Ramsey and also leave enough spare cash to facilitate a move for Tottenham’s in-form Erik Lamela in the centre of the park, with West Brom’s Chris Brunt the man to make way.

Chances of Recovery: With Chelsea pair Ivanovic and Gary Cahill already installed at the back, Steffan could alternate Dummett and Sunderland defender John O’Shea on a home/away basis. This would allow him to take advantage of a promising set of fixtures and play three in defence. Back-to-back goals in his first two appearances highlights Ramsey’s form and the Welshman could become a permanent fixture in Steffan’s starting XI, whilst Lamela’s pair of assists in his first home match under Mauricio Pochettino suggest the Argentine is set for a turnaround in fortunes under the guidance of his compatriot.

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