Just a couple of days after Gameweek 1 closed its doors, we’re bracing ourselves for another round of fixtures. Home comforts help Tottenham, Stoke and Everton supply us with a couple of starters apiece, while a pair of in-form Manchester-based frontmen get the nod ahead of tomorrow morning’s deadline:
We select Southampton stopper Artur Boruc between the sticks as he prepares for a home clash with Sunderland. A clean sheet against West Brom last weekend maintained the defensive resolve that saw the Saints concede just nine times in the final 10 Gameweeks of the season gone by – the Pole looks a solid cut-price option across the Fantasy games.
Rested for last night’s Europa League romp away to Dinamo Tblisi, Jan Vertonghen returns to the Tottenham fold for Sunday’s home game with Swansea. The centre-half kicked off his campaign with an eight-point haul thanks to a couple of bonus points and clean sheet at Palace – his eye for goal harvested five strikes last time out and could come to the fore once more as Michael Laudrup’s men make their way to the Lane.
Robert Huth gets the nod for Stoke’s home game against promoted Crystal Palace tomorrow afternoon. The big German offered plenty attacking threat against Liverpool last week and had more efforts on goal that any Potters player – Huth offers decent potential of points at both ends of the pitch as Mark Hughes looks to grab the points in his first match at the Britannia.
A goal, assist and maximum bonus points away to Norwich last week has earned Seamus Coleman an early-season bandwagon. As highlighted in this week’s Technical Area, Roberto Martinez’s 4-3-3 affords the right-back plenty opportunity to forage forward and provide width from deep, allowing Kevin Mirallas to drift into more central areas – a home clash with West Brom looks enticing for the Republic of Ireland international as Martinez gears up for his first game in charge of the Goodison faithful.
We double up on Everton’s assets by giving the nod to Kevin Mirallas. Joint-top scorer in pre-season with four goals to his name, the Belgian’s goal potential has taken a turn for the better under Martinez after being moved to the right of the Toffees front three – classified as a midfielder across the Fantasy games, Mirallas’ mid-price appeal could well be set to flourish against the out-of-sorts Baggies tomorrow.
He may have drawn a blank in last Saturday’s surprise home defeat by Villa but we hand Theo Walcott another chance to impress in this week’s Scout Picks. The Arsenal winger was in sparkling form on Wednesday evening, providing a pair of assists in the 3-0 Champions League win at Fenerbahce, and may be set to run riot against a Fulham side hit hard by injuries to Maarten Stekelenburg, Fernando Amorebieta and Kieran Richardson at the back.
He may have failed to deliver the goods against Stoke last time out but, as s highlighted in our recent Monitor article for Members,Philippe Coutinho showed plenty attacking endeavour. The Liverpool winger makes his way to the midlands to face a Villa side that have now conceded in each of their last 24 league fixtures – a home clean sheet looks far from likely at Villa Park, with every chance Coutinho will be the hosts’ chief tormentor.
Having missed a last-minute spot-kick in last week’s narrow Anfield defeat, Jon Walters has much to make amends for. Luckily for the Stoke midfielder, he’s been handed a plum home tie with Crystal Palace this weekend – the ideal platform for Mark Hughes to pick up the points in his first home match in charge at the Britannia.
Granted, there are fears over rotation up top at City but Edin Dzeko has surely done enough to retain his starting role with a superb showing against Newcastle on Monday evening. He may not have scored but the Bosnian had more goal attempts than any other forward in the Gameweek and looks full of confidence as City roll up to Championship winners Cardiff. With Manuel Pellegrini easing Sergio Aguero back into action with a 60-minute appearance against the Magpies and Stevan Jovetic a fitness worry, Dzeko looks in pole position to produce against the Bluebirds.
With a double in the Community Shield against Wigan followed by a two-goal haul away to Swansea, it’s business as usual for Robin Van Persie. Sir Alex Ferguson may have exited Old Trafford but the Dutchman remains as deadly as ever – a first home game of the season against Chelsea is by no means easy but we’re backing him to produce yet again.
Roberto Soldado warmed up for the visit of Swansea by bagging a brace in Tottenham’s Europa League romp at Dinamo Tblisi. With a spot-kick winner against Palace in Gameweek 1, the summer signing from Valencia has made an instant impact at the Lane and leads this week’s Captain Poll heading into tomorrow’s transfer deadline.
A home game against West Ham brings Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa onto the Scout Picks bench. With Steven Taylor suspended, the January signing will shift into centre-half alongside Fabricio Coloccini against the Hammers – granted, the Magpies were far from impressive at City but bearing in mind their visitors scored just 11 times on the road over the entirety of 2012/13, a home clean sheet may well be on the cards.
We’re backing Hatem Ben Arfa to deliver the goods and help lift the Tyneside gloom against the Hammers tomorrow. Fielded on the right of a front three against City, the Frenchman looked the most likely to threaten the Etihad clean sheet , firing more efforts at goal than any team mate – with a strong upcoming run of four fixtures (WHM, FUL, avl, FUL) on his agenda, Ben Arfa looks a viable mid-price contender over the short-term.
Having notched the winner on his international debut, Southampton’s Rickie Lambert opened his domestic account for the season with a last-minute spot-kick garnering the points at West Brom. A first game at St Mary’s see Sunderland pay visit this weekend and with his form flourishing, Lambert could be the difference as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to hand the Black Cats back-to-back defeats.