The Scout Preview - Gameweek 9
Four of the top six teams in the Barclays Premier League go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout assesses the upcoming round of fixtures.
League leaders Chelsea make their way to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, where Louis van Gaal’s side have won each of the last three matches in front of their own supporters. On Saturday, West Ham United face a tough task as defending champions Manchester City roll up to Upton Park on the back of three successive victories.
Elsewhere, in-form Southampton play host to Stoke City. Liverpool are seeking a third straight win at home to Hull City, Everton travel to struggling Burnley, whilst visitors Arsenal will be looking to heap further misery on Sunderland, after the Black Cats were hit for eight at St Mary’s last time around.
Hatem Ben Arfa was handed his first start for Hull City last weekend. The Newcastle United loanee was given the support role behind a lone striker, with Abel Hernandez replacing the injured Nikica Jelavic before kick-off. With Jelavic now set for four-to-six weeks on the sidelines, the 5.7-valued Ben Arfa looks likely to be handed the chance to cement a central berth for Steve Bruce’s side over the next few Gameweeks.
A change of formation saw Edin Dzeko drop to the bench as Manchester City swept aside Tottenham last Saturday. The Bosnian had started each of the last three alongside Sergio Aguero but with Manuel Pellegrini opting for a 4-2-3-1 set-up, Aguero was handed the lone forward role as David Silva tucked in behind, with James Milner and Jesus Navas fielded on the flanks. As the focal points of his team’s attacks, Aguero fired 11 shots and notched all of the champions’ goals in a 4-1 victory and the manner of the performance may well persuade Pellegrini to retain the same system for this weekend’s trip to West Ham.
Manchester United also opted for a 4-2-3-1 system for Monday night’s trip to West Brom. Louis van Gaal moved away from a midfield diamond and dropped Radamel Falcao to the bench against the Baggies, with Robin van Persie leading the line, whilst Angel di Maria and Adnan Januzaj were handed the wide roles in the 2-2 draw. Substitute Marouane Fellaini earned his manager’s praise after emerging from the bench to fire the visitors’ first and with Ander Herrera forced off with a recurrence of a rib injury, the big Belgian’s physical presence in the centre of the park could be key as Chelsea pay visit.
By the numbers
With eight Gameweeks of the season behind us, The Scout takes a look at those players who have offered Fantasy managers the best value for money to this point.
|Ryan Bertrand (SOU)||8.0||43||5.4||16%|
|Saido Berahino (WBA)||8.0||45||5.6||8%|
|Nathaniel Clyne (SOU)||7.6||42||5.5||27%|
|Diafra Sakho (WHU)||7.3||41||5.6||3%|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA)||7.1||48||6.8||46%|
|Hugo Lloris (TOT)||7.0||39||5.6||12%|
|Mohamed Diame (HUL)||6.9||38||5.5||2%|
|Nacer Chadli (TOT)||6.9||44||6.4||11%|
|Leonardo Ulloa (LEI)||6.9||41||5.9||20%|
|Steven Naismith (EVE)||6.9||36||5.2||26%|
Southampton full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne are amongst the top performers. The Saints pair have both delivered four clean sheets and served up a goal, an assist and four bonus points apiece, though the former is owned by just 16% of Fantasy managers compared to Clyne’s 27%.
West Ham United’s Diafra Sakho has made a stunning start to life in the top-flight. After making his debut as a substitute in Gameweek 2, the Senegal international has racked up 40 points in his subsequent five appearances – despite averaging eight points per start, the 5.6-priced Sakho resides in just 3% of Fantasy teams.
Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris is the top scoring goalkeeper in the game. The Frenchman has accumulated 39 points to date – six more than any other stopper – thanks to four clean sheets and 29 saves, including a penalty stop. His team-mate Nacer Chadli sits just four points off the top of the midfield rankings after producing four goals and an assist for the north London outfit, yet sits in just 11% of sides.
Mohamed Diame has been a revelation since moving to Hull from West Ham in the summer. Handed a central role by Steve Bruce, the 5.5-priced midfielder has scored in four of his five starts for the Tigers, averaging six points per appearance in the process.
Steven Naismith and Leonardo Ulloa are amongst the most popular forwards in the game. Sitting in 26% and 20% of Fantasy sides, the duo’s early-season form has started to fade in recent weeks, though – Naismith has scored just once in the last five Gameweeks, whilst Ulloa has drawn blanks in each of the last three.
Ones to Watch
Ross Barkley – the youngster was in the points on his first appearance of the season last weekend. Finally recovered from a knee injury, Barkley served up an assist in Everton’s home win over Aston Villa and, at a price of 6.7, looks a tempting midfield option as The Toffees roll up to struggling Burnley.
Aaron Ramsey – back in the frame after a recent hamstring injury, the Arsenal midfielder pays visit to a Sunderland side that shipped eight to Southampton last time around. The Gunners will be looking to take advantage of their beleaguered hosts and Ramsey’s ability to arrive late in the box could prove the undoing of Gus Poyet’s Black Cats.
Christian Eriksen – after a slow start to the season, Tottenham’s midfield maestro is picking up in form. Eriksen’s consolation strike at Manchester City took his tally to three goals in the last five Gameweeks and with a plum home clash against a Newcastle backline with a single shut-out in the previous six, he looks in line to pick up the points again.
Wilfried Bony – the Swansea striker is another who is beginning to reproduce last term’s heroics. A converted spot-kick against Stoke last Sunday means Bony has notched in back-to-back matches for the first time this season – up next is a home clash against a Leicester City side that has kept out their opponents just once to this point.
Saido Berahino – West Brom’s cut-price frontman was amongst the goals once again in Monday evening’s home draw with Manchester United. Berahino has now scored five goals in four appearances in front of his own supporters and, at a cost of just 5.6, looks great value as Crystal Palace arrive at The Hawthorns.
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