Fantasy Football Scout: Gameweek 32

Clive Rose

After a glut of midweek games Sunderland have to wait until Monday for yet another 'crunch clash', this time against West Ham

Adam Johnson was my Sunderland tip for our last two games - the winger played 70 minutes against Norwich without really being involved in the game before being dropped to the bench against Liverpool. However, he did manage to grab an assist when his corner was headed home by Ki Sung-Yeung; earning Johnson a total of six points over the two games. Liverpool's Luis Suarez was my other pick. Gus' best mate had a fantastic week, scoring a hat-trick against Cardiff before grabbing an assist when we played at Anfield. This brought him home a fantastic twenty-five points in total.

On the flip side of the coin, I advised avoiding Seb Larsson and Michel Vorm. Larsson came on during the first half of our dreadful performance at Norwich, but we weren't able to turn the game around and he gained just one point. He failed to even come off the bench as we were narrowly beaten by Liverpool on Wednesday. Vorm meanwhile conceded three as Swansea lost to Everton, and then two as they managed a draw against Arsenal. The end result of this was just three points from the two games for the Dutch keeper.

This weekend we have the latest in a long line of must win games as we host West Ham on Monday night. Meanwhile David Moyes faces a fight just to keep his job against Aston Villa, whilst Arsenal's woes look set to continue with a visit from title-chasing Manchester City.

Sunderland Player To Watch: Ki Sung-Yeung

Whilst Gus Poyet's formation tweak had Sunderland looking a lot more solid against Liverpool, it wasn't until the introduction of Adam Johnson and Ki Sung-Yeung in the second half that we actually looked a threat going forwards. Not only did Ki manage to get on the scoresheet, with a well-executed diving header, but he also looked like the Sunderland player most likely to create another chance as well. Playing much closer to the striker than he usually does seemed to suit the Korean, and hopefully Gus will give him a chance to play there from the start against West Ham on Monday night. If we're going to crack open a stubborn defence, then Ki will doubtless have to be at his most influential.

General Player To Watch: Adam Lallana

Southampton obviously have several players hopeful of a spot in England's squad for the World Cup, but surely there's no longer any doubt over whether their captain goes or not. Lallana has surely booked his place with his performances this season. Next up the Saints have a visit from a still managerless Newcastle, who have been pleasingly awful in recent weeks (which, to be fair, isn't much of a contrast from ourselves). It's hard to see much other than a home win here, and the England man will doubtless be a key factor in any win.

Sunderland Player To Avoid: Jozy Altidore

The debate over what the American offers to Sunderland has been raging all season. It has been pointed out that even though he isn't scoring he does offer other things to the side as a centre forward, but it's now getting to the point where it's hard to see how he's contributing to anything good Sunderland are doing. He isn't scoring, and nor do Sunderland ever particularly look like scoring when he's at the spearpoint of our attacks. Whether this is his fault or the fault of his team-mates is a moot point, it's a situation that can't be allowed to continue. Hopefully Monday night's game against West Ham will see Altidore dropped to the bench - Scocco and Wickham aren't necessarily better options, but the American has been given enough chances and it's time to try something different.

General Player To Avoid: Olivier Giroud

A clear trend this season for Arsenal has been their extremely disappointing performances against the sides around the top of the table. Surely a factor in this has been Giroud failing to score against the very best teams in the league. With the Gunners facing a visit from a Manchester City side who have regained their early season swagger, it seems likely that the Frenchman will face yet another fruitless afternoon.

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