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.
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.