The Scout

Gameweek4 Review Staurday and Sunday

Dimitar Berbatov dazzles on his home debut as Fulham see off West Brom at the Cottage. Robin Van Persie is handed a late second-half sub role as United hammer Wigan, Gervinho moves up front and scores twice against Southampton. West Ham rack up another clean sheet in a goalless draw at Norwich. Jermain Defoe is at the double as Spurs register their first win under Andre Villas-Boas at the fourth attempt. Gareth Bale opens his account for the season in a 3-1 win at the Madejski, though the visitors’ clean sheet is ruined late on thanks to a strike from Hal Robson-Kanu.

Dimitar Berbatov
In a Gameweek that has so far failed dismally for many, the Bulgarian delivered big time, especially as he was named captain for The Next Big Thing. Handed his first start for the Cottagers alongside Hugo Rodallega up front, Berbatov bagged a double as Fulham swept aside previously unbeaten West Brom.

Certainly, Berbatov appeared at ease on his Fulham debut and, speaking post-match, he emphasised the importance of being assured starts…

“It was my first performance at home and I felt good because I was on the pitch playing. When I’m happy great things happen, like today. I scored and played with a smile on my face. Most important for me is playing every game and when I can do that I give my best performances.”

Martin Jol followed up with his own glowing praise of Berbatov, admitting he was in no way surprised at the Bulgarian’s immediate impact…

“I feel that he [Berbatov] is no different from when he was scoring goals at Spurs and Manchester United. Luckily enough he did the same for us today….Dimitar was top scorer even when he was not playing at Manchester United. Wherever he has played he has been one of the top scorers in England. Even last year when he didn’t play all the games he had 20 or 21 goals.”

Alex Kacaniklic also served a reminder of his cut-price potential with a pair of assists in the 3-0 win but with Jol admitting post-match he had nine injured players with few options available, it still remains to be seen as to whether the Swede can nail down a regular role for the Cottagers this term.

Gervinho Through the Middle
Arsene Wenger made the surprise decision to field Gervinho as the lone frontman in Arsenal’s 6-1 win over Southampton yesterday. The Arsenal boss admitted he dropped Olivier Giroud after he felt the forward was under too much pressure, having failed to score in his first three matches. Gervinho boosted his chances of continuing in the role after bagging a brace in the rout before making way for the Frenchman late in the second-half. Wenger singled out Gervinho in his post-match analysis, explaining his decision to move him to a central attacking role…

“You know we transform all wingers into central strikers and all the strikers into wingers! I decided that during our tour of Asia when I tried to play Gervinho there against Man City in that position. I liked what he did and it was in the back of my mind. It is interesting because he is such a great mover and he is so quick so when he is central, once he gets ahead of the central defender it is difficult to catch him back.”

Significantly, Lukas Podolski started wide left once again, with Wenger revealing that he had considered playing him through the middle but feels the team shape is better with the German on the flank…

“He is physically strong and he is a fantastic finisher. I had a little hesitation today to play him at centre forward because I had played him only once there. He gives us a balance on the left and I didn’t want to destroy that because he did well at Liverpool.”

It’s not clear how long Gervinho can maintain this new attacking role but, certainly, it’s providing a tempting proposition for Fantasy managers. Olivier Giroud can obviously be expected to return to the fray soon but Wenger stressed post-match that, right now, he is looking to protect the Frenchman…

“I felt that he is under much pressure at the moment and sometimes to get a little breather is good. What I will do on Tuesday I honestly don’t know. I just felt that the time has come for him to not be under too much pressure.”

The Gunners boss also indicated that he is considering Theo Walcott, scorer from the bench in the 6-1 rout, in a central attacking role…

“Walcott can play up front as well. We work on it with him. He was sick the whole week, he only had one training session.”

Jermain Defoe
A fourth start of the season saw the striker score twice to earn the points for Spurs. In spite of Tottenham’s toils, Defoe has now provided three goals and an assist; his strong start looks to have kept him in pole position for the lone forward role right now, with Emmanuel Adebayor left to warm the bench. Many had expected Adebayor to automatically be installed into the first XI as soon as his fitness is fine but, at the moment, it seems like the spot is Defoe’s to lose – with four home games in the next six, including (QPR, AVL, WIG) he could well be set to plunder the points once again.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

The Cameroon international could be set for a shprt-term spell on the sidelines, according to Villas-Boas…

“Benoit has a small fragment in his knee that makes it swell a lot. He has played through pain in the last couple of games. His knee may have to be washed out and if that happens we are looking at a four-week absence.”

If Assou-Ekotto is indeed sidelined, Kyle Naughton looks set to benefit. The youngster filled in at left-back yesterday and offers a cut-price route into the Tottenham defence.


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