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Boufal steps up for injured Austin

The Scout 12 Dec 2016
Southampton v Middlesbrough - Premier League

Moroccan midfielder shines for Southampton to suggest that he has arrived as an FPL differential

The Bonus Points

A first Premier League goal for Sofiane Boufal (£6.8m) proved to be the difference as Southampton earned a 1-0 win against Middlesbrough, but it was Virgil van Dijk (£5.6m) who claimed the maximum bonus points.

The defender tallied a Fantasy Premier League Bonus Points System (BPS) score of 34, registering 14 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) and seven recoveries, while completing 87% of 53 passes.

Cuco Martina (£4.3m), who was handed a recall at right-back in place of the rested Cedric Soares (£5.0m), ranked next with a BPS tally of 27. He provided four open play crosses and was rewarded with two bonus points.

Goalscorer Boufal earned the remaining bonus point, scoring 26 in the BPS.

The Moroccan made ten recoveries, five successful dribbles and two key passes. But his BPS tally was reduced, having been tackled on eight occasions.

Southampton v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Virgil van Dijk has nine bonus points this season. Only Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta has more (10)

The ICT Index

Boufal edged top spot in the ICT Index thoughr, recording a total of 9.9.

The playmaker registered a Threat score of 33, thanks to his five penalty area touches and two goal attempts.

Recalled in place of the injured Charlie Austin (£6.7m), Jay Rodriguez (£6.3m) claimed the second highest Index score of 9.5.

Rodriguez recorded an impressive Threat tally of 80, the second highest score in Gameweek 15, firing four shots from inside the Middlesbrough penalty area.

The Scout Notes

With Austin thought to be ruled out for at least three months with a shoulder injury, there are now clear opportunities for both Rodriguez and Boufal.

The latter has been used sparingly to this point, but could now have the platform to flourish and emerge as an FPL differential.

Southampton's upcoming schedule is kind all the way up to Gameweek 25.

They face just two ties - Tottenham Hotspur at home (GW18) and Everton away (GW20) - over that period that record more than two in the Fixture Difficulty Rankings.

Middlesbrough v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Gaston Ramirez missed the Gameweek 15 defeat with a foot injury

With three clean sheets in the last four Gameweeks, those fixtures also promote the prospects of Southampton's defence.

Van Dijk provides the most secure option, having been ever-present to this point.

Middlesbrough arrived at St Mary's Stadium without the injured Gaston Ramirez (£5.3m) and Alvaro Negredo (6.3m).

Head coach Aitor Karanka will hope to have that pair back ahead of the Gameweek 16 visit of Liverpool.

His side have scored just six goals in the last eight Gameweeks.

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