The Scout previews Gameweek 6
Four of last season's top six go head-to-head this weekend as The Scout runs the rule over the upcoming Gameweek.
Arsenal play host to league leaders Chelsea in Saturday's early kick-off, with both clubs seeking to extend their unbeaten starts in the Barclays Premier League, while Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson's side attempt to register their fifth consecutive win.
Elsewhere, Manchester City travel to Craven Cottage to face a Fulham side that has won both their home matches to date. In-form Everton entertain Southampton at Goodison Park, Aston Villa square up to West Bromwich Albion in Sunday's midlands derby, while Sunderland welcome Wigan Athletic to Wearside, with Steven Fletcher looking to extend his 100% scoring record for the Black Cats thus far.
Roberto Di Matteo rolled out a new-look attacking midfield trio for the visit of Stoke City last weekend. The Chelsea boss started Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata together for the first time in the 1-0 win, with the latter supplying the assist for Ashley Cole's last minute winner. A trip to Arsenal hands Di Matteo a dilemma, though; the attacking forays of Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs down the hosts' left flank could see Ramires handed a role on the right for the visitors, with the Brazilian's industrious style perhaps better suited to combat the threat.
Andre Villas-Boas may be set to reshuffle his defence with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Naughton both ruled out with injury at left-back. The Tottenham boss started Gareth Bale in defence against QPR last week but the decision dented his side's attacking threat and the home side went in at the break 1-0 down. A half-time switch saw Jan Vertonghen shifted out to left-back with Steven Caulker climbing off the bench to take his place at centre-half, while further up the field, Bale's return to the flank saw Clint Dempsey move centrally and Gylfi Sigurdsson subbed off. With the tactical tweak proving successful, Villas-Boas may well keep the same XI that finished last Sunday's match for the trip to Old Trafford this weekend.
Steve Clarke could be without the services of Liam Ridgewell for the trip to Aston Villa after the left-back limped out of West Brom's Capital One Cup clash against Liverpool on Wednesday evening. The Baggies defender, who has been drafted in by almost 92,000 Fantasy managers this term after returning 26 points in the opening five Gameweeks, was subbed off with a calf problem in the 2-1 home defeat and his possible absence hands his manager a real defensive quandary. With Steven Reid and Goran Popov also both doubts for the Villa Park trip, the Baggies have real concerns in the full-back areas right now. Clarke was forced to play centre-half Craig Dawson on the right of defence in midweek, while Billy Jones – a natural right-back – was switched to the opposite flank to cover for Ridgewell; the West Brom boss may have to keep faith in the pair if his regulars fail to recover in time for Sunday's Villa Park visit.
By the numbers
With five Gameweeks of the season already gone, it's perhaps no surprise to that Robin Van Persie leads the way for goals scored. The Dutchman has notched 5 times since moving to Manchester United this summer but, as The Scout discovers when analysing the league's top scorers thus far, some have been a lot more wayward in their finishing than the former Arsenal skipper:
|Robin Van Persie (MUN)||5||12||41%||13.5|
|Steven Fletcher (SUN)||4||5||80%||7.2|
|Rickie Lambert (SOU)||4||10||40%||6.1|
|Demba Ba (NEW)||4||16||25%||7.9|
|Jermain Defoe (TOT)||4||28||14%||7.7|
|Damien Duff (FUL)||3||7||42%||6.2|
|Bobby Zamora (QPR)||3||7||42%||6.4|
|Kevin Nolan (WHU)||3||14||21%||6.2|
|Carlos Tevez (MCY)||3||18||16%||9.9|
|Marouane Fellaini (EVE)||3||19||15%||7.2|
Van Persie has required just 12 opportunities to grab his 5 goals for Sir Alex Ferguson's side – a conversion rate of 41%. Six of his efforts have been off target, though, meaning the Dutchman has found the net with almost every effort on target so far. He has scored in all three of his starts for Manchester United, picking up bonus points (BP) every time he has been named in the first XI.
Steven Fletcher's extraordinary scoring rate is highlighted perfectly here. The Sunderland striker has netted in every match so far for his new side – with 4 goals coming from just 5 attempts, his conversion rate of 80% is head and shoulders above any player in the league. With the Black Cats struggling to create many chances for the Scot, though, Fletcher may need to maintain this incredible form if his scoring streak is to continue.
A brace from Southampton's Rickie Lambert against Aston Villa last Saturday has already helped his price rise by 0.1 this week. Indeed, Lambert and Swansea's Michu - with 8 goals between them and a conversion rate of 40% and 36% respectively – would set you back as much as Van Persie alone.
Jermain Defoe's propensity to fire off shots is shown by his low conversion rate. The Tottenham forward may have notched 4 times so far but he's been particularly wasteful; only 14% of his efforts have found the net, with 12 of his 28 shots failing to trouble the keeper at all.
Damien Duff and Kevin Nolan have both made strong starts in the mid-price midfield bracket. The Fulham man, in particular, has shown an impressive eye for goal – he has scored three times from just 7 attempts, earning him a conversion rate of 42%, twice as accurate as the West Ham skipper.
Ones to watch
Ciaran Clark – the centre-half welcomes West Brom to Villa Park in Sunday's midlands derby. While the Baggies have excelled at home, they've been far from impressive on their travels – Steve Clarke's side have scored once and conceded 4 times in their two away matches so far. The chances of a home clean sheet look good, then, and with the Villa defender already grabbing a goal this season, his attacking threat offers potential for points further up the pitch.
Jon Walters – a home clash with Swansea offers Stoke the chance to pick up their first win of the season. Tony Pulis' side have registered four draws and a loss so far but with the visitors looking distinctly out-of-sorts in their last couple of Gameweeks, Walters could be set to step up this weekend. Playing up front yet classified as a midfielder, the Irishman also has spot-kick duties in his locker and has averaged 4.8 points per game this season already.
Marouane Fellaini – playing in support of a lone striker, the towering Belgian has a sensational start to the season. Fellaini has already scored 3 times for Everton and has risen in price by 0.7 as a result. A home clash with Southampton looks hugely appealing and with the visitors particularly susceptible in the air at the back, the Toffees midfielder could be in line for another points haul this weekend.
Luis Suarez – Liverpool's enigmatic Uruguayan has had a relatively quiet start to the campaign. Suarez has found the net just twice so far but this weekend returns to Carrow Road – a ground where he bagged a superb hat-trick last term, including a 45-yard lob for the third. The Scout has a feeling that Saturday could be another prosperous day for the 9.4 priced forward as Brendan Rodgers looks for a win to take his side out of the bottom three.
Bobby Zamora – The Scout has been impressed with the QPR striker of late. Zamora was dropped for his side's opener against Swansea but has subsequently started the last four matches for Mark Hughes' side and found the net three times. Having scored against the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham already, Zamora will be in confident mood ahead of a home clash with former club West Ham.
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