Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 31

Tim Keeton

With a large number of Premier League sides facing two games in a week, there's a great chance to pick up a good haul this week...

To no-one's surprise last week's game against Crystal Palace was a rather dour affair, with neither side managing to get themselves on the score sheet. This at least played into my prediction, with Vito Mannone picking up 10 points for a clean sheet plus assorted bonuses. My other tip was Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge; again my prediction for the game as a whole was correct with Liverpool thumping Manchester United 3-0 (wouldn't it be lovely to beat your local rivals 3-0?), but it was in fact Steven Gerrard who was the star as he scored two penalties (though he did miss one) with Luis Suarez grabbing the other goal. However, Sturridge did manage to get an assist for the Uruguayan's goal earning him four points in total.

In an unusually astute week of tips, my advice on who to avoid was proven to be on the right track as well as strikers Steven Fletcher and Roberto Soldado continued to show a complete lack of form. Surprisingly picked to lead the line for Sunderland, Fletcher was subbed off with a knock at half time and earned just one point from the match. Soldado somehow managed to be even worse, a late substitute as Spurs searched for an equalising goal, the Spaniard's only contribution of note was a late tackle that earned him a yellow card. This meant that despite appearing in the game, Soldado still managed to earn zero points.

This week half of the teams in the league, including Sunderland, face two fixtures. Both of these games will fall under the header of Gameweek 31, so trying to bring in players from the teams playing twice is a good bet this week as it offers double the opportunity to accumulate points. We face two away clashes, with the first a proverbial must-win at Norwich, and the second probably a dead rubber at Brendan 'OK' Rodgers' Fortress Anfield. Away from the lads, there are two derbies with Chelsea facing Arsenal and Manchester United meeting Manchester City.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Adam Johnson

It's fair to say we've been better away from home this season where there is less of an onus on us to break teams down. Against a Norwich side who are under just as much pressure as we are, hopefully there will be space for in behind for us to exploit on the break. With this being the case, I'm optimistically going to back one of our attacking players to produce the goods. At the moment our most in-form attacker is surely Fabio Borini, and hopefully he will spearhead our attack against the Canaries, but as he is ineligible for the second game of the week against his parent club Liverpool I'm putting my backing behind Adam Johnson. The former England winger has criticised the national side's predilection for only selecting players from the top eight sides this week, so I'm hoping he'll back his strong words up with the sort of performance which shows the folly of ignoring players from "lesser" clubs.

General Player To Watch: Luis Suarez

I honestly didn't want to have to pick a Liverpool player for this, but having looked through all the teams playing twice Liverpool have by far the most attractive games with an away fixture at Cardiff followed up by the lads at Anfield. Whilst Daniel Sturridge has been stealing the limelight of late with his goals, Suarez has still be playing excellently and his boundless energy tied to his ability to dance his way past defenders could well see him come out of the double-header with an impressive points haul.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Seb Larsson

It seems a very long time ago that teams were so scared of Larsson's set piece ability that they would seemingly prefer to give away a penalty than foul outside the box and risk the Swede arrowing home a freekick. These days, in central midfield, he is still capable of some good performances, but these mostly come in a reactive role against the top sides. Away at Norwich, if he players, I just can't see Larsson being the man in the midfield who'll be capable of unlocking their defence or produce a moment of magic. Likewise against Liverpool I'm afraid I can't see anything but a comfortable victory for the home side, with little in the way of points to be earned by any Sunderland players.

General Player To Avoid: Michel Vorm

Swansea do have two games this week, but neither looks to hold much hope for Gary Monk's ugly ducklings. Away trips to Everton and then Arsenal seem to hold little hope for the Swans with both having seemingly recovered some of their early season form in recent weeks. Last week as they lost to West Brom, I thought that Michel Vorm should have done much better with Mulumbu's shot - the Dutchman looked to be stranded and seemingly made no movement towards the shot despite it being relatively slow and not suffering from any kind of deflection. If the games go as expected, Vorm may spend more time picking up the ball from the net than picking up points.

The Roker Report League

John Downing is back in first place on 1,859, with Paul Morrison down to second on 1,834. In third Rosli Mohamed has 1,812, then James Ridley is in fourth on 1809 and Luke Taylor fifth on 1805. I don't think anyone really needs to know how poorly our writers are doing - can only destroy what little respect we already receive.

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