Another double Gameweek is upon us yet again, with Liverpool and Swansea understandably playing a major part in our Scout Picks selections. Strong home games for Chelsea, Stoke and Norwich also play a part in our final XIV, with a couple of Canaries warming the bench ahead of the visit of Fulham. Here’s who we have for you this time round:
Asmir Begovic gets the nod between the sticks for Stoke’s home clash with Reading. Seven games without a clean sheet is hardly inspiring form but, having tightened up in a narrow defeat at the Emirates last weekend, Tony Pulis’ side will be confident of picking up the defensive returns and curtailing their visitors’ recent rise up the table.
We’ve opted for Glen Johnson as our Liverpool defender for the pair of home games against West Brom and Swansea. At the back, the Reds have been outstanding at Anfield – seven clean sheets and four goals conceded in the last nine in front of their own fans highlights their resolve. Fellow full-back Jose Enrique has yet to play 90 minutes since returning from a hamstring injury; reason enough for Johnson to get the nod, then, with the duo identical for both goals and assists so far this term.
Ben Davies’ recent displays make his selection a straightforward one ahead of Swansea’s home clash with QPR and trip to Anfield. While Michael Laudrup’s side have conceded in each of their last five at the Liberty, the young left-back has more than atoned and has scored or assisted in three of those matches. Factor in four clean sheets and three goals against in the last seven on the road and he has offered a greater potential for points at both ends of the pitch than any other Swansea defender of late.
Having recovered from an ankle problem to turn out for Brazil in midweek, David Luiz is handed a chance to impress as Chelsea entertain Wigan at the Bridge. With John Terry ruled out due to a knee problem, Luiz’s chances of a return to action look more than likely, given Rafa Benitez’s rotation policy – with a share of set-pieces also in the bag, he looks a decent shout for points at both ends of the pitch against a Latics side with a mere five points from their last seven on the road.
The consistency of Steven Gerrard has earned the Liverpool skipper huge numbers of new investors for the double. With attacking returns in 10 of his last 12, there’s been few players able to match his recent level of Fantasy performance – Gerrard is now up to second in the FPL midfield standings and with his last four home scores reading (9, 17, 10, 9) he’s made a persuasive captaincy case.
With goals in each of his last two, Gareth Bale’s return to form has been aided by a move to the role in “the hole”. The Welshman has thrived in a central berth and looks in the mood to dent Newcastle’s recent revival as the Magpies make their way to the Lane tomorrow – Alan Pardew’s side have a single clean sheet on the road all season and could struggle to contain Bale in the Gameweek’s early kick-off.
Behind the scenes, the debate over a Chelsea midfielder raged all week but ultimately, Juan Mata got the nod over the returning Eden Hazard. While there’s the possibility the Spaniard could be benched in light of next week’s European schedule, we simply felt it was too much of a risk to omit him – an average of 6.8 points per game has proven the equal of a certain Dutchman at Old Trafford this season and highlights just why we cannot overlook Mata for the visit of Wigan.
Michu gets the nod despite a run of six games without a goal. With Danny Graham now gone to Sunderland, the Spaniard may well be tasked with leading the line and will be looking to replicate his opening day brace against QPR at the Liberty this weekend before the following Sunday’s trip to Anfield. With 13 goals to his name so far, we’re not willing to write off his chances just yet.
Despite Gerrard’s endeavours, it’s Luis Suarez who is the runaway leader in this week’s Captain Poll. The Uruguayan has almost double the number of votes cast and has scored or assisted in six of his last eight – he has notched in each of the previous three at Anfield and has registered (8, 16, 9) over that trio of fixtures in front of his own fans.
Back-to-back blanks have convinced some to part company with Robin Van Persie but, as always, our faith in his abilities remains resolute. Somewhat overshadowed by Wayne Rooney in the last couple of matches, the Dutchman now has spot-kicks in his locker and, having been afforded just 45 minutes in his nation’s midweek friendly draw with Italy, will be fully refreshed ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Everton as the league leaders look to avenge their Gameweek 1 defeat at the hands of David Moyes’ side.
A trip to Southampton affords Edin Dzeko the opportunity to continue the form that has harvested five goals and a pair of assists in the last six Gameweeks. There may be slight reservations over his starting berth but with five first-team appearances in the previous six, the Bosnian is starting to look more of a regular under Roberto Mancini – our view is that even if he’s handed game time from bench, Dzeko is more than capable of producing.
Seb Bassong is our sub defender as Norwich prepare for the visit of Fulham. With three goals in their last six away trips, the Cottagers’ dire away form suggests a home clean sheet could well be on the cards, while Bassong’s potential for points at both ends of the pitch has already seen him score three times this term.
Our faith in Norwich continues with the selection of Robert Snodgrass. With four lots of double figures to his name already, the Canaries playmaker also has set-pieces and corners in his locker and could well prove the difference against a side that have registered a single clean sheet in the road all season.
Peter Crouch is our final selection as Stoke play host to Reading. Having edged his way back into Tony Pulis’ first-team at the expense of Kenwyne Jones, he’ll be looking to continue the strong Britannia form that has seen him score or assist in five of his eight home starts this term.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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