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The Scout Preview - Gameweek 34

Four teams feature twice in the upcoming round of fixtures as The Scout assesses the Gameweek 34 schedule.

Manchester City face a testing trip to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool before hosting basement-dwellers Sunderland on Wednesday evening. Gus Poyet’s side are at home to Everton on Saturday afternoon prior to their Etihad Stadium excursion, whilst Crystal Palace welcome Aston Villa to Selhurst Park before paying visit to the Toffees in midweek.

Elsewhere, three of the bottom six sides in the Barclays Premier League play in front of their own fans. Fulham face Norwich City at Craven Cottage, with Felix Magath’s side seeking a third win in five Gameweeks, West Bromwich Albion go head-to-head with Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns, whilst Swansea City host Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium, with Garry Monk’s side looking to condemn their visitors to a third successive away defeat.

Fantasy managers should also be aware that Manchester United and Hull City are both without a Gameweek 34 fixture, due to the Tigers’ FA Cup semi-final duties.

Talking tactics

Manuel Pellegrini faces a dilemma up front ahead of Manchester City’s pair of upcoming fixtures. The Chilean’s decision to move to a 4-2-3-1 formation in Sergio Aguero’s absence has seen his side drop just two points in their last six matches – David Silva has impressed in a central role behind Edin Dzeko, who has delivered four goals and a pair of assists in his last four appearances. With Aguero expected to return in time for Sunday’s trip to Liverpool, Pellegrini could switch back to his favoured 4-4-2 formation, partnering Aguero and the in-form Dzeko up front, and shifting Silva onto the flank once again, with Jesus Navas forced back onto the bench.

Roberto Martinez’ decision to shift Romelu Lukaku onto the right flank proved instrumental in Everton’s weekend win over Arsenal. The Belgian has featured through the middle in every appearance for the Merseysiders since arriving on loan last summer but was switched out wide, with Steven Naismith handed the central role in Martinez’ 4-3-3 formation. Both players found the net in the 3-0 triumph but, whilst Naismith has now notched in each of the last two Gameweeks, he looks likely to return to the Toffees’ bench for Saturday’s trip to Sunderland, with Lukaku leading the line once again.

A potential calf injury for Eden Hazard hands Jose Mourinho a dilemma in the attacking midfield positions for Chelsea’s trip to Swansea City this weekend. The Belgian has featured in all of his side’s matches thus far, starting 31 times and appearing off the bench on a couple of occasions, but may be set for a short spell on the sidelines after sustaining the problem in Tuesday evening’s Champions League win over Paris Saint Germain. With his side fighting for silverware on two fronts, Mourinho has plenty of options available should Hazard – owned by 39% of Fantasy managers – be ruled out. Mohamed Salah, who is ineligible for European duties, produced a goal and assist in his first league start in last weekend’s win over Stoke City, whilst Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Willian all offer alternatives for the roles behind a lone striker in the Blues’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

By the numbers

As the weekend deadline draws nearer, The Scout casts an eye over the four teams with a pair of fixtures on their respective agendas. We assess the players in form over the previous 30 days, with a minimum of two representatives per team listed below:

Yaya Toure (MCY) 8.8 10.5 44 pts, 5 apps 47%
David Silva (MCY) 7.8 9.5 39 pts, 5 apps 9%
Edin Dzeko (MCY) 7.0 7.2 35 pts, 4 apps 14%
Romelu Lukaku (EVE) 6.8 9.0 34 pts, 5 apps 22%
Julian Speroni (CPL) 5.6 4.7 28 pts, 5 apps 4%
Seamus Coleman (EVE) 5.4 6.9 27 pts, 5 apps 39%
Kevin Mirallas (EVE) 5.2 7.6 26 pts, 4 apps 10%
Joel Ward (CPL) 5.2 4.4 26 pts, 5 apps 8%
Vito Mannone (SUN) 3.8 4.5 19 pts, 5 apps 9%
Adam Johnson (SUN) 3.6 6.5 18 pts, 5 apps 8%

Manchester City trio Yaya Toure, David Silva and Edin Dzeko lead the way. The Ivorian has netted five times in as many matches – with three coming via the penalty spot – and, with an assist also delivered, has now been snapped up by over 47% of Fantasy managers; the most popular midfielder in the game. Silva has produced two goals and a trio of assists over the last month and with eight bonus points also accrued, has drawn a blank in only one of his five appearances.

Romelu Lukaku has grabbed three goals in his last five appearances for Everton. The Belgian has also provided a pair of assists for his Toffees team-mates and has subsequently received six bonus points, with double-figure hauls in two of the last three Gameweeks. Team-mate Kevin Mirallas has returned a goal and three assists, though has only started three of the last five matches, whilst 39%-owned right-back Seamus Coleman has served up a goal, five bonus points and a pair of clean sheets.

Crystal Palace keeper Julian Speroni has conceded just two goals in his last five appearances. The Argentine has delivered three clean sheets, a trio of save points and three bonus points for his 4% owners over the last 30 days, whilst the Eagles’ versatile defender Joel Ward has also earned three bonus points and an assist.

Sunderland stopper Vito Mannone has managed a single clean sheet over his last five appearances. The 4.5-priced Italian has earned save points in each of those matches, though, and has averaged more points per game (4.7) than any first-choice goalkeeper this term. Adam Johnson has played a part in two of his side’s three strikes over the period, with a goal and assist supplemented by a single bonus point.

Ones to watch

Leighton Baines – the defender has been crucial to a recent string of displays which has seen his side win each of their last six league fixtures. Baines has chipped in with a goal and two assists over that run and squares up to Sunderland and Crystal Palace this Gameweek – both opponents have struggled for goals of late, strengthening the prospect of points at both ends of the pitch for the Everton full-back.

Jason Puncheon – a double against fellow strugglers Cardiff bring the Crystal Palace wide man onto The Scout’s radar. Coming in at just 5.0, Puncheon faces Aston Villa before a tricky trip to Goodison Park and his direct running and eye for a long shot could serve up the points once again as Tony Pulis’ side look to clinch their survival.

Andre Schurrle – when handed the chance, the Chelsea midfielder has proven to be an explosive option, capable of producing huge points hauls. With Eden Hazard looking likely to be out for a couple of weeks, the 6.9-priced Schurrle could be set for a starting role as Jose Mourinho’s side make their way to Swansea – he’ll be looking to replicate the form that produced 20 points and 12 points against Fulham and Arsenal respectively last month.

Aaron Ramsey – finally recovered from a thigh injury, the Arsenal midfielder returned to action for the first time since Gameweek 18 last weekend. Ramsey was handed 25 minutes off the bench in last Sunday’s loss at Everton, but Arsene Wenger looks likely to turn to his drive and goal threat from the centre of the park against West Ham United next Tuesday as the Gunners look to get their bid for a fourth place finish back on track.

Sergio Aguero – the Argentine has missed Manchester City’s last eight matches but is expected to return in time for Sunday’s crunch encounter with Liverpool at Anfield. Aguero’s stint on the sidelines has seen his ownership dwindle to just 7% and with a home clash against Sunderland also on his agenda, he could be a canny differential this week, having served up 15 goals and nine assists in just 17 appearances for Manuel Pellegrini’s side thus far.

  • Yaya Toure
  • Romelu Lukaku
  • Andre Schurrle

Fantasy Premier League Scout review – Gameweek 33

Manchester City 4-1 Southampton

Samir Nasri was rewarded for a decisive contribution in Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Southampton with maximum Bonus Points (BP). The France midfielder scored to put the hosts 2-1 ahead. He also created a big chance, produced an open play cross and completed 84% of his passes.

Man City duo Edin Dzeko and David Silva claimed a couple of BP apiece. Dzeko claimed a goal and an assist, while Silva provided an assist, made six key passes and eight recoveries.

Yaya Toure, who played the full 90 minutes and scored, missed out on BP after picking up a yellow card, while fellow goalscorer Stevan Jovetic only came on as a late substitute.

Aston Villa 1-2 Fulham

After scoring the dramatic late winner in Fulham’s 2-1 success against Aston Villa, forward Hugo Rodallega was given three BP. Rodallega also contributed a couple of key passes and created a big chance at Villa Park.

The other goalscorers, Villa forward Grant Holt and Fulham midfielder Kieran Richardson, picked up two BP each. Holt also completed two key passes, while Richardson chipped in with a tackle and an 83% pass completion rate.

Cardiff City 0-3 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon was the star of the show as the Eagles earned an impressive 3-0 win at Cardiff City. Puncheon claimed maximum BP after scoring twice, including a magnificent long-range strike, and completed 35 of his 41 passes (85%), which included three key passes.

Palace centre-back Adrian Mariappa, who assisted a goal and made 11 clearances, blocks or interceptions (CBI) to help the visitors preserve their clean sheet, collected two BP. Former Cardiff midfielder Joe Ledley was given a single BP after scoring.

Hull City 1-0 Swansea City

Liam Rosenior made key attacking and defensive contributions as Hull City defeated Swansea City at the KC Stadium, and gained maximum BP in the process. The Hull defender assisted George Boyd’s winning goal, while he also helped the Tigers keep a clean sheet with 11 CBI.

Goalscorer Boyd, who also put in four open play crosses, was awarded two BP. Hull defenders Curtis Davies and Maynor Figueroa were given one BP each. Davies made 22 CBI, while Figueroa contributed with eight recoveries.

Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata produced a virtuoso display against Newcastle United to pick up maximum BP. The Spain international scored twice, claimed an assist and finished with an 87% pass success rate.

After contributing a goal and an assist to the Red Devils’ cause, Mexico forward Javier Hernandez collected two BP. Man Utd midfielder Shinji Kagawa and defender Chris Smalling picked up one BP each. Kagawa claimed an assist, made a key pass and completed 89% of his passes, while Smalling had a 94% pass success rate and produced 14 CBI.

Adnan Januzaj, who also found the net for the visitors, didn’t gain BP after being tackled five times and completing less than 30 passes.

Norwich City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

A commanding performance from West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson was rewarded with three BP as the Baggies kept a clean sheet in a hard-fought 1-0 away win. Olsson produced an impressive 21 CBI to keep the Canaries at bay.

West Brom quartet Ben Foster, Liam Ridgewell, Youssuf Mulumbu and Morgan Amalfitano earned two BP apiece. Goalkeeper Foster made four saves, defender Ridgewell weighed in with 13 CBI and Mulumbu provided the assist for Amalfitano’s winning goal at Carrow Road.

Chelsea 3-0 Stoke City

Chelsea’s January signing Mohamed Salah gained maximum BP for the first time as he starred in the Blues’ comfortable home triumph against Stoke City. The Egypt winger scored, provided an assist, made three tackles and completed 88% of his passes at Stamford Bridge.

Powerful central midfielder Nemanja Matic was given a couple of BP after claiming an assist, making eight CBI, 11 recoveries and three key passes. Chelsea centre-back John Terry, who made nine recoveries, full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, who completed 11 CBI, and Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who saved Frank Lampard’s penalty, earned one BP each.

Lampard failed to earn any BP after committing three fouls and missing the penalty, despite scoring from the rebound, while fellow goalscorer Willian wasn’t rewarded because he was tackled five times.

Everton 3-0 Arsenal

Belgium international Romelu Lukaku inspired Everton to an impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park, and subsequently gained three BP. The Toffees’ forward scored a fine solo goal and assisted Steven Naismith’s all-important opener.

Goalscorer Naismith was rewarded with a couple of BP while defender John Stones, who made nine CBI and completed 39 of his 40 attempted passes (98%), collected a single BP.

West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool

Steven Gerrard kept Liverpool on top of the Barclays Premier League with two goals in a 2-1 success at West Ham United. The midfielder gained maximum BP after converting two penalty kicks, as well as completing 82% of his passes.

Despite being on the losing side at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham defender Guy Demel picked up two BP. Demel scored and completed 94% of his passes. Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan was given one BP after providing an assist, making eight CBI and earning an 87% pass success rate.

Luis Suarez, who also provided an assist, didn’t pick up any BP because he was fouled three times and missed the target on three occasions.

Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland

Emmanuel Adebayor was the top performer in Gameweek 33 of Fantasy Premier League after playing a starring role in Tottenham Hotspur’s emphatic win over Sunderland. The Togo striker picked up maximum BP after scoring twice, making four key passes and registering a 90% pass success rate.

After scoring, providing two assists, seven key passes and three big chances, Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen gained a couple of BP. Forward Harry Kane, who got on the scoresheet, and Nacer Chadli, who produced an assist and four key passes, earned one BP apiece.

  • Emmanuel Adebayor
  • Hugo Rodallega
  • Jason Puncheon
  • Juan Mata

The Scout Surgery - Gameweek 34

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Keerthan BS - Superfrankielampard

Prognosis: Keerthan has injury concerns over a trio of very popular players. Daniel Sturridge and Yaya Toure were both forced off during Liverpool’s win over Manchester City on Sunday, whilst Eden Hazard missed Chelsea’s win at Swansea City with a calf complaint sustained in the midweek Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

Treatment: Luckily for Keerthan, he has accumulated a substantial transfer budget over the course of the season to spend on potential replacements. With Toure ruled out for up to 14 days due to a groin problem, team-mate David Silva offers an ideal in-form alternative, having produced three goals and four assists in the last six matches. Bearing in mind Manchester City still have a double Gameweek 37 on their schedule, bringing in fit-again Sergio Aguero for Sturridge up front could prove a canny acquisition, whilst Manchester United’s Juan Mata offers a premium-priced replacement for former Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard.

Chances of Recovery: All three of Keerthan’s new arrivals have significantly less ownership than the players they will replace, thus increasing his prospects of gaining some ground over the run-in. The remaining schedule favours the two Manchester clubs; each play five times over the last four Gameweeks, with three very favourable home fixtures apiece. Silva and Aguero welcome West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium, whilst Mata entertains Norwich City, Sunderland and Hull City at Old Trafford as he looks to continue the form that has harvested 31 points in his previous two appearances.

Sagar Rajput - Net Busters

Prognosis: Like many Fantasy managers, Sagar has concerns over the 46%-owned Yaya Toure and he’s also awaiting news on Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who is currently nursing a toe problem. Furthermore, Sagar is looking to swap out Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, who has produced just a single assist in his last 12 appearances.

Treatment: With Toure unavailable for up to two weeks, Sagar – who already owns David Silva – could look at Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen. The Dane costs just 6.8 and has now delivered four goals, three assists and eight bonus points in the last four Gameweeks. This would free up budget and allow Sagar to bring in Sergio Aguero for Edin Dzeko up front or, alternatively, the Argentine could replace Rooney if the latter is sidelined. If Sagar is looking for a gamble in midfield, he may consider drafting in Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah for Barry – the young Egyptian has delivered two goals and an assist in the last three matches and is available for just 5.5.

Chances of Recovery: Bringing in Eriksen could prove a wise move, with the schedule smiling kindly on Tim Sherwood’s side. The Dane offers the perfect combination of form and fixtures, with Fulham, Stoke City, West Ham United and Aston Villa all still to play. Bearing in mind that Sagar doesn’t own Luis Suarez, Aguero’s acquisition would bring a genuine captaincy contender into his three-man frontline – the Argentine’s average of 7.3 points per game is second only to the Liverpool forward this season. Salah – who is ineligible for Champions League duties this season – has benefitted from Chelsea’s extended run in Europe with increased domestic minutes and, with Eden Hazard still struggling, has home matches against Sunderland and Norwich City in the next three Gameweeks.

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