The Scout Preview - Gameweek 4
Three of the top five teams in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels this weekend as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 4 schedule.
Second-placed Leicester City make their way to AFC Bournemouth, with the home side looking to build on last week’s 4-3 win at West Ham United. Manchester United face a tough task at in-form Swansea City, whilst Crystal Palace pay a visit to defending champions, Chelsea.
Elsewhere, league leaders Manchester City seek a fourth straight victory at home to Watford. Liverpool look to maintain their unbeaten start at home to West Ham, whilst Arsenal go head-to-head with Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Gameweek’s early kick-off.
Ronald Koeman’s change of formation helped Southampton chalk up their first clean sheet of the season. The Saints boss moved away from a 4-2-3-1 set-up and rolled out a 3-5-2, with Steven Caulker handed his first league start alongside Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshida in the heart of defence. Cedric Soares and Matt Targett were fielded as wing-backs, whilst Sadio Mane partnered Graziano Pelle up front in the goalless draw at Watford. Mane was forced off early on with a hip problem but, providing he recovers in time, could offer FPL managers with a viable option for this weekend’s home encounter with Norwich.
Tim Sherwood tinkered with his tactics during Aston Villa’s loss to Crystal Palace. Sherwood handed fit-again Jack Grealish and Rudy Gestede their first starts of the campaign, with Gabby Agbonlahor joining the duo on the right of a front three at Selhurst Park. The second-half introduction of Adama Traore saw Sherwood switch to a 4-4-2, though, with Grealish retaining his left flank role and the versatile Agbonlahor shifted into a central berth alongside Gestede. With his side looking to bounce back from consecutive losses, Sherwood may be mulling over a two-man frontline as struggling Sunderland roll up to the Midlands this weekend.
Brendan Rodgers rolled out a 4-3-3 formation for Liverpool’s trip to Arsenal last Monday. With Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana injured, the Reds manager fielded Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on either side of Christian Benteke in the goalless draw at the Emirates, as his side registered a third successive shut-out of the season. In spite of the impressive rearguard display, Rodgers is likely to be more attack-minded at home to suspension-hit West Ham this weekend. The Merseysiders could switch back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, allowing Coutinho to return to a central role again, with Firmino, Jordon Ibe and Lallana – if fit – battling it out for the wide berths as they look to take advantage of a defence that’s shipped six goals in the last two Gameweeks.
By the numbers
Chelsea’s new signing Pedro has Fantasy managers scrambling for his services after grabbing a goal, an assist and maximum bonus points on his debut against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
With over 250,000 new owners acquiring the 9.5-priced midfielder in light of his 13-point return, The Scout analyses those players who have offered the greatest goal threat from the centre of the park so far.
|Philippe Coutinho (LIV)||15||7||4||1||16|
|Memphis Depay (MUN)||14||5||3||0||18|
|Alexis Sanchez (ARS)||13||12||3||0||37|
|Riyad Mahrez (LEI)||13||9||6||4||21|
|Andre Ayew (SWA)||12||9||5||2||15|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA)||12||3||4||0||7|
|Ross Barkley (EVE)||10||4||5||2||6|
|Bradley Johnson (NOR)||9||5||1||0||8|
|Aaron Ramsey (ARS)||9||4||4||0||20|
|Matt Ritchie (BOU)||9||3||1||0||7|
|Yaya Toure (MCI)||9||2||4||1||7|
|Jonjo Shelvey (SWA)||9||1||3||0||5|
|Robbie Brady (NOR)||9||0||2||0||0|
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho has produced more attempts on goal (15) than any player in the BPL over the first three Gameweeks. Available for 8.1, the 20%-owned Brazilian has fired seven shots from inside the box and found the net on one occasion.
Manchester United’s summer signing, Memphis Depay, has managed 14 efforts. Only five of the Dutchman’s attempts have been from close-range, though, and, with just three shots on target, he’s yet to score for the Red Devils.
Arsenal wide man Alexis Sanchez has registered more shots inside the box (12) than any midfielder. The Chilean has also mustered more touches in the penalty area (37) than any player in the BPL, though just three of his 13 efforts have been on target. Team-mate Aaron Ramsey has fired more attempts on target (four), though, like Sanchez, has yet to get amongst the goals.
Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has produced more shots on target (six) and goals (four) than any other midfielder. Having risen in price from 5.5 to 6.0, he is second only to Sanchez in the centre of the park for touches inside the penalty area (21).
In-form Swansea supply our assessment with three players. Andre Ayew and Gylfi Sigurdsson have both fired 12 shots on goal, though the former has offered far greater close-range threat, with nine attempts inside the box to Sigurdsson’s three – as a result, he leads his team-mate by two goals to nil. Jonjo Shelvey – priced at 5.5 – has fired nine unsuccessful efforts.
Ones to watch
Aleksandar Kolarov – the Serbian’s impressive displays down the left flank have been pivotal to Manchester City’s three-match winning streak. After serving up a 15-point haul away to Everton, Kolarov welcomes a Watford side that’s failed to score in each of the last two Gameweeks.
Matt Ritchie – the Bournemouth playmaker has been a little unlucky not to pick up points so far. Now down to 5.9, Ritchie has fired nine attempts on goal and his threat down the right could come to fruition against a Leicester City defence that’s still searching for a first clean sheet of the season.
Nacer Chadli – with a goal and assist over the previous couple of matches, the Belgian has played a part in two of Tottenham’s last three strikes. Available for 7.0, Chadli hosts an Everton defence that’s conceded twice in two of the opening three Gameweeks.
Mame Biram Diouf – owned by just 4% of Fantasy managers, the Stoke striker looks a real differential ahead of a home derby with West Brom. Having notched in each of the last two matches, the 6.5-priced Diouf is an in-form option against a backline that’s been breached six times already.
Olivier Giroud – despite scoring just once so far, the Arsenal man has fired more shots from inside the box (12) than any other forward. Given that hosts Newcastle conceded 27 times at home last season – the joint-worst defensive record – Giroud could be back in the goals at St James’ Park.
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