Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 27

Paul Thomas

Simon's tips for last weeks suffered from the weather almost as much as Somerset did...

Last week Simon advised a look at Vito Mannone for Sunderland, and Tom Ince for Crystal Palace. Whilst Vito Mannone did technically go the ninety minutes at the Etihad without conceding a goal, this was more because of the havoc wreaked by Megastorm 2K14 than his usual cat-like reflexes. Likewise Palace's game at Everton was called off due to bad weather. Similarly although Simon correctly predicted Nacho Scocco would fail to get minutes against Manchester City, it's hard to blame the Argentinian when the game was called off. However he did tip Nemanja Vidic to have a game to forget at Arsenal, and whilst the game was certainly one to forget the Serbian was actually rather impressive and was rewarded with six points for helping earning Manchester United a clean sheet.

This weekend Sunderland face a visit to the Emirates, hoping to find a tired and demoralised Arsenal after their Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, whilst Everton head to Stamford Bridge as they look to stay on the heels of Liverpool in the all-unimportant battle for fourth place.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Adam Johnson

Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs was forced to limp off midway through the first half against Bayern Munich, and his replacement Nacho Monreal hardly impressed. If the Englishman remains sidelined for our game at the Emirates this weekend then hopefully Adam Johnson will have a proper chance to show Roy Hodgson and the England staff what he is capable of after Wes Brown's red card rather ruined his audition against Hull. With Sunderland likely to sit back deep, cede possession and then break at Arsenal, Johnson's trickery could be a key attribute if we're to get anything from the game. Laurent Koscielny is also happily exactly the kind of centre-back prone to hacking down a winger in the penalty area if he's tormented him all game.

General Player To Watch: Julian Speroni

Manchester United are frankly just a bit rubbish, ground-breaking I know. They've long gone past being a bad Manchester United side, and are now just a bad side altogether. Crystal Palace meanwhile have Tony Pulis and his magic cleansheet making hat. At home to United I fancy them to frustrate the champions and either get a 0-0 or even snatch a 1-0 win. The key man in all this? Their goalkeeper. Why? Mainly just because I love the idea of a Premier League footballer called Julian.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Lee Cattermole

Catts was absolutely immense against Southampton, and I'd be very interested to see if Gus Poyet could find a way to use both the ex-captain and Liam Bridcutt in the same midfield, but he's just not a points-scorer in fantasy football terms. Yet to score for Sunderland, and only very rarely even bagging an assist, even if Cattermole has a fantastic game he won't bring back the bacon for a fantasy manager I'm afraid.

General Player To Avoid: Lewis Holtby

"I wouldn't have a problem if Van Gaal came in. After all, I've survived Felix Magath too." Those were Lewis Holtby's words after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked at Spurs, now just a few months later he finds himself out on loan at Fulham and playing under Felix Magath. Time for round two, Lewis, and I wouldn't be expecting an easy ride in training as one of your countryman's old muckers...

The Roker Report League

John Downing's top of the tree on 1652, with Paul Morrison second on 1625, and James Ridley third on 1604. Making up the top five, Rosli Mohamed has 1597 points, whilst fifth is Luke Taylor on 1577. All of our writers mostly seem to be doing so awfully it's almost too depressing to trawl through to find them. In fact, it actually is, so I won't.

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