Four teams supply our Scout Picks squad with a couple of players this weekend. Chelsea and Norwich feature twice in our starting XI, with plum home games against Stoke and West Brom on their respective agendas, whilst we also call upon a pair of options from City and Cardiff for their clashes with Southampton and Palace:
John Ruddy is our chosen stopper as Norwich prepare to face West Brom. The Canaries have conceded just once in their last six at Carrow Road, whilst the Baggies have blanked in two of the previous four – with Liverpool and Arsenal their final two visitors, tomorrow looks more crucial than ever for Chris Hughton’s side.
We welcome John Terry into the back-three as Chelsea prepare for the visit of Stoke. The Blues have toiled on their travels in recent matches but in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful it’s been a different matter, with five successive clean sheets accrued. Terry’s ability to bring home the bonus, allied with his threat in the opposition area, keeps him ahead of his fellow Chelsea defenders in our estimations.
Three goals in his last four appearances brings Steven Caulker into this week’s Scout Picks. Cardiff have been anything but resilient at the back under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but a home game against fellow-strugglers Crystal Palace suggests a clean sheet could be on the cards – Tony Pulis’ side have scored once in their previous six road trips.
Villa skipper Ron Vlaar comes into consideration ahead of a home clash with Fulham. The Dutchman has earned bonus points (a total of 12) in six of the eight occasions his team have registered a clean sheet this term and, priced at a mere 4.3, is a budget-friendly option against a Cottagers side with plenty of problems in attack.
Eden Hazard is a nailed-on option for Chelsea’s home game with Stoke. The Belgian – who has delivered five double-figure hauls in front of his own fans – has benefitted from spot-kick duties in recent matches and notched in three of his last four appearances at the Bridge; as Jose Mourinho looks for a response to back-to-back defeats on the road, Hazard seems the one reliable option for the London outfit.
David Silva may have stepped up in form for City but he has a long way to go before matching Yaya Toure’s relentless Fantasy season. Tomorrow’s visitors Southampton may put up a stubborn test but the Ivorian’s owners will be confident of further returns – he’s delivered 10+ hauls in three of the last four at the Etihad, and with Sergio Aguero still sidelined, has penalty duties in addition to set-pieces to help deliver the goods.
Back in the frame after a brief stint on the bench, Christian Eriksen served up a reminder of his talents in Tottenham’s previous home match with a brace and assist against Southampton. The Dane is handed the chance to pick up the points in front of his own fans once again as Sunderland come calling on Monday evening – at 6.5 and owned by less than 4%, he could be a deadly mid-price differential this week.
There’s no doubt Robert Snodgrass will be key to Norwich’s hopes of getting the better of West Brom this weekend. The in-form playmaker has scored or assisted in each of his last three at Carrow Road – picking up 26 points over that trio of fixtures – and faces a Baggies backline that has conceded in every match under Pepe Mel.
Luis Suarez earns his usual spot in the Scout Picks as Liverpool prepare for a trip to West Ham. The Uruguayan has already plundered a 15-point haul against Sam Allardyce’s side earlier in the season and, having delivered double-figure returns in each of his last three away appearances, there’s no surprise to see Suarez’ irresistible form has earned him top spot in this week’s Captain Poll once again.
Having bagged a brace in two of his three appearances since Robin van Persie picked up a knee injury, Wayne Rooney is starting to hit top form. With the Dutchman still stricken, Rooney looks likely to retain the advanced forward role once again, and with spot-kick duties furthering his appeal, he pays visit to an injury-hit Newcastle side that have conceded seven times in the last two Gameweeks.
Three goals and an assist in five appearances since returning from injury highlights Romelu Lukaku’s impact for Everton. Granted, a home game with Arsenal is far from straightforward and the Belgian hardly did himself any favours by blanking against Fulham last weekend, but with the Gunners still devoid of Laurent Koscielny and shipping goals at an alarming rate, Lukaku has the platform to pick up the points and bring himself into many a Fantasy plan for double Gameweek 34.
Hull’s home game with Swansea brings Curtis Davies onto the bench. The Tigers’ centre-half has notched four times in all competitions this term, and with attacking returns in each of his last two at the KC Stadium, he looks key to the hosts’ chances of clinching the win that would see them climb above Garry Monk’s side tomorrow.
With three sets of double figures in the last four Gameweeks, Jordan Mutch is more than a little unlucky only to make the bench. If Cardiff are to breach a Crystal Palace backline that has just kept Chelsea at bay, the 4.8-priced midfielder seems likely to play a part.
Edin Dzeko is also squeezed out of the Scout Picks starting line-up for City’s home game against Southampton. With Sergio Aguero still sidelined and Alvaro Negredo suffering a real form slump, the Bosnian’s three goals and an assist in his last three league appearances bode well for his prospects against a defence that has conceded three times in two of their last three road trips.
*Please Note – Since this article was written, United have confirmed that Wayne Rooney is carrying a toe injury which seemingly makes him a major doubt for the weekend trip to Newcastle*