Just when we’re getting into the swing of things, along comes another international break. As the Premier League steels itself for a fortnight’s hibernation, we’ve assembled the Scout Picks squad for Gameweek 3 and, for the first time this season, roll out a 4-4-2 ahead of tomorrow’s kick-off…
Michel Vorm gets the nod between the sticks ahead of Swansea’s home clash with Sunderland at the Liberty tomorrow. Racking up back-to-back clean sheets in the opening couple of Gameweeks, he has also registered an extra save point in both matches – the perfect safety net if Michael Laudrup’s side finally concede.
We have faith in the Newcastle defence ahead of the Magpies’ home showdown with Villa. Paul Lambert’s side arrive at the Sports Direct Arena having succumbed to defeat in both their matches thus far and with just a single goal to their name – the hosts look a decent bet for a clean sheet here and we’ve opted for the attacking threat and FPL bonus potential of Steven Taylor as a route into Alan Pardew’s backline.
A home clash with QPR earns Vincent Kompany a place in the Scout Picks. City have yet to register a clean sheet this season but with Mark Hughes’ side failing to gel after numerous summer signings, Kompany’s consistency of selection under Roberto Mancini gets our vote for Saturday evening’s showdown.
We highlighted the merits of Emmerson Boyce in a Watchlist article earlier this week and back up our faith in his abilities by handing the Wigan man a place at the back ahead of a home clash with Stoke. The Potters’ woeful away form saw them score a mere 11 goals on the road in the previous campaign and only have an Adam Federici error to thank for a single goal accrued over two matches so far –Boyce’s right flank raids offer the chance of both at both ends of the pitch tomorrow.
A trip to unbeaten West Brom fails to deter our faith in Leighton Baines. With Everton quick out the blocks this season, the left-back has instantly settled as a Fantasy force and has already supplemented an assist and clean sheet with five FPL bonus points. Baines’ left flank partnership with Steven Pienaar goes from strength to strength and, with set-pieces and spot-kicks in his locker, is impossible to overlook.
The trickery of Hatem Ben Arfa looks crucial to unlocking the Villa defence this weekend. The Frenchman has dazzled since being installed as a first-team regular in the latter part of last season – Ben Arfa has already produced in Newcastle’s home game with Spurs and, having been rested for his side’s Europa League exertions on Thursday evening, will arrive refreshed for Sunday’s match.
He may have failed to deliver the Fantasy points so far but our faith in Gareth Bale remains unmoved. A home game with Norwich affords the Welshman the perfect opportunity to finally get off the mark and with the Canaries shipping five in their only away game of the season, Bale could well be a decent armband contender as Andre Villas-Boas looks to grab his first league win since arriving at the Lane this summer.
An instant hit since moving from Dortmund this summer, Shinji Kagawa makes his Scout Picks debut for United’s trip to Southampton. Playing in “the hole”, the Japanese star netted on his home debut last weekend and squares up to a Saints side still licking their wounds after back-to-back defeats. Kagawa’s creativity is sure to play a part as United look to close the gap on Chelsea to three points at the top ahead of the international break.
As his ownership across the Fantasy games continues to escalate, Michu’s home game with Sunderland looks set to afford the midfielder another chance to maintain his superb start to the season. Netting three times in his first couple of matches for the Swans, the midfielder has swept aside any doubts as to whether he could replicate his La Liga goal-scoring form and, so far, he sits third in the Captain Poll – a sign of our confidence in the Spaniard right now.
Runaway leader in the Captain Poll with over 50% of the votes, Carlos Tevez is afforded another chance to impress as QPR roll up to the Etihad. While Mario Balotelli and Eden Dzeko struggle for form and fitness, the Argentine has stepped up for City in light of Sergio Aguero’s absence and, having notched in back-to-back Gameweeks, we’re backing him to continue his scoring spree tomorrow.
Robin Van Persie is another automatic choice. We selected the Dutchman last time round and were rewarded with a goal against Fulham – with Wayne Rooney sidelined for four weeks at least, the former Arsenal skipper seems nailed-on ahead of the trip to St Mary’s and, with spot-kicks at least temporarily in the bag, offers a real armband alternative to Tevez.
Guy Demel is our cut-price choice at the back with an Upton Park match against Fulham on his agenda. Having already returned a home clean sheet in Gameweek 1, the right-back offers a decent chance of defensive points against a side that scored just 12 times on the road in 2011/12.
Kevin Nolan also earns a place on the bench ahead of the Cottagers’ clash. With former Newcastle sidekick Andy Carroll set to be installed to Sam Allardyce’s attack, Nolan’s potential for replicating his goal return in the home opener with Villa looks that little bit stronger.
Danny Graham is the final Scout Pick this weekend. The Swansea man is unlucky not to make the first XI; he followed up his goal against West Ham last weekend by netting in the Capital One Cup win over Barnsley on Tuesday and looks a viable alternative to Michu as Michael Laudrup’s side go for their third straight league win at home to Sunderland.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
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|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
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|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby