The Scout previews Gameweek 15
Four of the top six in the Barclays Premier League are on their travels in Gameweek 15 as The Scout takes a look at the upcoming schedule.
League leaders Manchester United are seeking their eighth win in the last nine matches as they roll up at Reading on Saturday evening. Everton have a testing trip to the Etihad Stadium on their hands against champions Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur take on Fulham at Craven Cottage and Chelsea square up to West Ham United at Upton Park, with the visitors still searching for their first goal under Rafa Benitez.
Elsewhere, Arsenal welcome Swansea City to the Emirates Stadium with the hosts looking to address a run of one victory in the last five Gameweeks, Liverpool will be keen to get back to winning ways as Southampton make their way to Anfield, while West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City square up in a midlands derby at the Hawthorns.
Fantasy managers have already felt the impact of Rafa Benitez’s arrival at Stamford Bridge. From a defensive point of view, the signs are positive – Chelsea had failed to register a clean sheet in their last seven under Roberto Di Matteo but they have now kept out their opponents in both of Benitez’s matches in charge. While this reignites the potential of the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole, the Blues’ attacking assets have suffered as a consequence. Chelsea had scored in every home match prior to Benitez’s appointment but have yet to find the net under their new manager – all the more frustrating given that Wednesday’s opponents Fulham had conceded in every away trip before the midweek goalless draw. Benitez’s penchant for rotation has already come into play, with Juan Mata dropping to the bench against the Cottagers and Marko Marin afforded his first league appearance of the season. The effect has clearly had an impact – Mata and Eden Hazard have suffered significant sales this week as Benitez makes tightening things up at the back a priority.
With 4 clean sheets and just 3 goals conceded in their last seven matches, Norwich City have racked up the defensive returns in recent weeks. A thigh injury to regular keeper John Ruddy has brought Mark Bunn onto The Scout’s radar this week – Ruddy limped off towards the end of the Gameweek 13 draw at Everton and is now set to undergo surgery which is expected to keep him sidelined for the next three months. His understudy Bunn, who is priced at just 4.0, is set to afford Fantasy managers a budget-friendly route into one of the league’s in-form defences, as their resilience under Chris Hughton goes from strength to strength.
Harry Redknapp’s first match in charge of Queens Park Rangers had an immediate impact at the back. The R’s had failed to register a single clean sheet on the road all season but Redknapp achieved this at the first attempt with a goalless draw at Sunderland on Tuesday evening, suggesting his cut-price defensive assets could be worth our consideration, should they maintain their current form. Elsewhere, The Scout also noticed a new role for Esteban Granero against the Black Cats. Typically fielded in central midfield by Mark Hughes, the former Real Madrid man was shifted to the role in “the hole” behind Djibril Cisse, with Redknapp clearly keen for the Spaniard to lend more weight to his side’s attacking forays.
By the numbers
With November’s matches now behind us, the fixture list picks up pace as we approach a hectic festive period. The Scout takes a look at the form players in the past calendar month ahead of a schedule that sees six Gameweeks take place over December.
|Marouane Fellaini (EVE)||8.4||42||7.6||35%|
|Luis Suarez (LIV)||6.6||33||10.4||30%|
|Jose Enrique (LIV)||6.6||33||5.9||6.5%|
|Javier Garrido (NOR)||6.4||32||4.8||5%|
|Joey O’Brien (WHU)||6.2||31||4.2||5.8%|
|Pablo Hernandez (SWA)||6||30||6.1||1.1%|
|Gareth Bale (TOT)||6||30||9.7||21.3%|
|Seb Bassong (NOR)||6||30||4.6||1.9%|
|Theo Walcott (ARS)||5.8||29||8.7||2.2%|
|David Silva (MCY)||5.8||29||9.4||6.6%|
|Peter Odemwingie (WBA)||5.8||29||6.9||2%|
Marouane Fellaini was the top Fantasy performer over November, racking up 42 points – all the more impressive bearing in mind he was suspended for one of Everton’s five fixtures. The Belgian produced double figures three times, with 4 goals, a pair of assists and 9 bonus points making a mockery of his current 7.6 price tag.
Luis Suarez and Jose Enrique both returned 33 points apiece for Liverpool. Suarez picked up 4 points more than any other forward, returning 4 goals and 7 bonus points, while Enrique’s move from defence to left of the front three has helped him produce a goal, an assist, 4 bonus points and a couple of clean sheets. With a strong run of fixtures to follow, the Reds’ duo are afforded plenty opportunity to maintain their impressive displays.
Javier Garrido and Seb Bassong have benefitted from Norwich’s resilient defensive displays. The Canaries racked up 3 clean sheets over November and conceded just 2 goals – Garrido also chipped in with a couple of assists and 5 bonus points, while Bassong notched a last-minute equaliser and 2 bonus points in the Gameweek 13 draw at Everton.
Pablo Hernandez has offered Fantasy managers an alternative to Michu in the Swansea midfield. The summer signing from Valencia produced a goal, 3 assists and 5 bonus points across his five November matches, averaging six points per game.
Gareth Bale and David Silva were two of the most consistent premium priced midfielders in the previous month. Bale returned blanks in his first couple of matches but has since found the net in each of his last three, with 5 bonus points also picked up. Silva produced a goal, 3 assists and 4 bonus points over his four appearances and, with just 6.6% ownership, offers an intriguing alternative to the likes of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, with midfield rotation less likely under Roberto Mancini.
Ones to watch
Jose Enrique – the full-back’s potential for points has been boosted by a move to the left of Liverpool’s front three in recent matches. With the Reds conceding just once in their last four matches at Anfield, a clean sheet could be on the cards against Southampton, while Enrique’s previous home match produced a goal and assist in Gameweek 12, highlighting his attacking potential.
Theo Walcott – the winger returned from a brief shoulder injury to fire Arsenal ahead away to Everton on Wednesday evening. Walcott has now returned 2 goals and 3 assist over his last three starts and, up against a Swansea side that have conceded in each of their last five on the road, could be set to prosper once again.
Adel Taarabt – with Mark Hughes now departed, Harry Redknapp faces an uphill task in his attempt to steer QPR to safety. The Loftus Road outfit are 8 points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa at the foot of the table and Taarabt’s creativity looks critical to their chances of survival – a home clash against Villa this weekend looks tailor-made for the maverick Moroccan to produce the Fantasy points.
Clint Dempsey – the US international is showing signs of consistency ahead of a trip to Fulham this weekend. Dempsey has produced an assist in each of his last couple of appearances and The Scout reckons he could be set to make his former club suffer as Tottenham roll up to Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
Shane Long – although he was rested to the bench for West Brom’s midweek loss at Swansea, The Scout fully expects Long to return to the starting XI for Saturday’s home derby with Stoke. The 6.3 priced forward has scored or assisted in all of his seven appearances at the Hawthorns and his contribution will be key as the Baggies look to recover from their Liberty Stadium defeat.
Related articlesThe Scout reviews Gameweek 14
The Scout is brought to you by Fantasy Football Scout