963
Scout Notes

Salah scintillating on return as Mahrez vs Sane debate continues

Mohamed Salah has made a flying start to his pre-season campaign in his attempts to justify a £13.0m price-tag and 50 percent ownership in Fantasy Premier League.

The Egyptian only has 30 mintues under his belt but hugely impressed in Liverpool’s win over Manchester City.

Meanwhile, the defending champions continue to get through their summer programme using mostly young players, and we were given a little more information to help us differentiate between Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sané – but not much.

In another Scout Notes article we talk about how some more pre-season goals, assists and line-ups could affect our plans for Gameweek 1.

MANCHESTER CITY 1-2 LIVERPOOL

  • Goals: Leroy Sané (£9.5m) | Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Sadio Mané (£9.5m)
  • Assists: Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) | Rafael Camacho, Dominic Solanke (£5.0m)

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) returned to Liverpool action with a bang as the Reds beat Manchester City in New York. Coming on as a second-half substitute the Egyptian had scored within a minute, hit the bar and could have had a hat-trick in just 30 minutes of football. While it’s still early days, such enthusiasm upon his return to the side will go some way to justifying the 50 percent ownership for Salah in spite of his new price of £13.0m. Once he has started a pre-season match for Liverpool we should learn even more about how ready he is to follow up his record-breaking FPL performance of last season.

Sadio Mané (£9.5m), also a second-half substitute, got started on improving on his 12 percent ownership by scoring Liverpool’s late winner. He netted from the penalty spot after Dominic Solanke (£5.0m) had been brought down but had plenty of chances to score earlier in the match, twice the Senegalese was put through but missed golden opportunities. If he continues to make the same attacking runs, though, he should rack up a healthy collection of goals before Gameweek 1 and will have a strong case for investment given Liverpool’s fixtures.

In the ongoing discussion about who could replace an injured Joel Matip (£5.0m) and an absent Dejan Lovren (£5.0m) in central defence, Joe Gomez (£5.0m) got the nod alongside Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) for this one, although he played the same number of minutes as Ragnar Klavan (£4.5m) who replaced him at half-time. Also of note was that van Dijk took a direct free-kick for Liverpool in the first-half, although his effort was deflected wide by the wall.

Manchester City deployed the 3-5-2 formation that Pep Guardiola used before Benjamin Mendy’s (£6.0m) injury last season, although there was just one change to the side that lost to Borussia Dortmund, Cameron Humphreys replacing Douglas Luiz.

For those struggling to choose between Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) and Leroy Sané (£9.5m) at the start of the season, this encounter proved even more of a puzzle than before. Once again Sané was named on the bench instead of in the starting line-up, while Mahrez was deployed up front. However, it was still the German who impressed slightly more, getting City’s only goal of the match in the second-half. He was sent clear by Bernardo Silva (£7.5m), a great potential alternative investment for the early weeks, and his pace allowed him to collect past van Dijk and score. To confuse things further, Pep Guardiola said of Sané after the match: “He needs more minutes and he needs to regain his principles in terms of playing without the ball. He has the talent to do that and we are happy that he scored. Still, he is far away from his best.”

MANCHESTER CITY XI (3-5-2): Bravo (Hart 45’); Humphreys, Denayer (Gomes 45’), Garcia; Zinchenko, Harrison, Foden, Diaz (B Silva 45’), Bolton; Mahrez (Dele-Bashiru 45’), Nmecha (Sané 45’)

LIVERPOOL XI (4-3-3): Karius (Kelleher 45’); Robertson (Moreno 62’), van Dijk (Phillips 62’), Gomez (Klavan 45’), Clyne (Camacho 60’); Fabinho (Chirivella 62’), Milner (Grujic 62’), Wijnaldum (Solanke 45’); Jones (Salah 60’), Sturridge (Mané 45’), Lallana (Woodburn 45’).

ROTHERHAM UNITED 2-1 CARDIFF CITY

  • Goals: Josh Murphy (£5.0m)
  • Assists: Greg Cunningham (£4.5m)

Winger Josh Murphy (£5.0m) is beginning to emerge as Cardiff’s key attacking asset ahead of 2018/19, although the Bluebirds remain to be fully tested in pre-season. The former Norwich City man added his fourth goal in as many summer matches against Rotherham, but Neil Warnock’s men still tasted defeat against Championship opposition.

The Bluebirds did create some chances in the first-half with Bobby Reid (£5.5m), stationed on the opposite flank of the front three to Murphy, looking his usual lively self. His early cross was a good one but striker Kenneth Zohore (£5.0m) couldn’t get on the end of it.

Murphy’s fellow new signing Greg Cunningham (£4.5m) provided the assist for his goal in the 13th minute, crossing in for him to finish. That was the third goal set up by the former Preston left-back this summer, although he’s not a guaranteed starter by any means yet, Joe Bennett (£4.5m) playing 38 times for Cardiff in 2017/18 and starting three of a possible four pre-season matches.

Frustratingly for Fantasy managers it’s hard to get an accurate fix on the level of quality within this Cardiff squad. Their pre-season exploits so far have seen them take on two tenth tier non-league sides from the South West Peninsula League, relatively local to Warnock’s Cornwall home, and now Rotherham, a former club of his. In their most recent outing, they were largely poor.

Warnock experimented with a 3-4-3 formation in this match, although the suggestion from local media is not to read too much into that in terms of Warnock’s tactical preference. Instead, the theory is that he deployed that system, and used youngster James Waite in the middle of the pitch, to send a message to those upstairs that he needs a new midfield signing. As ever, the former Sheffield United boss was very forthright on his transfer plans after the match, with him keen on bringing Liverpool defensive midfielder Marko Grujic back to south Wales on loan.

“If not Marko, (we want) somebody like that. We’re still optimistic and we should know within the next few days on that one. I’m constantly in touch with him (Grujic), still optimistic but we’ve also found a back-up as well, which we’re trying to hold onto for another few days, just in case. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get Marko but it won’t be the end of the world. We could do with them both really. I’ll be having a chat with Mehmet (Dalman) and Ken (Choo) and Vincent (Tan) in the next few days. I’m looking at a permanent deal and I’m also looking at the loan market. But I want Marko first.”

Matt Palmer’s header made it 1-1 before half-time and Michael Smith scored one of Rotherham’s many second-half chances to win the game.

Aaron Gunnarsson (£4.5m) came on at the interval for his first match action of the summer, since returning late as a result of Iceland’s involvement in the World Cup.

CARDIFF CITY XI (3-4-3): Etheridge (Smithies 45’); Morrison (Connolly 67’), Manga, Cunningham; Bennett (Bamba 45’), Waite (Gunnarsson 45’), Ralls (Paterson 61’), Richards (Hoilett 45’); J. Murphy (Mendez-Laing 61’), Zohore (Madine 61’), Reid (K.Harris 70’).

HUDDERSFIELD 3-1 LYON

  • Goals: Terence Kongolo (£4.5m), Laurent Depotire x2 (£5.5m)
  • Assists: Philip Billing x2 (£4.5m)

In a 3-1 pre-season win over Lyon, Terence Kongolo (£4.5m) went some way to furthering his case for inclusion in Huddersfield’s starting line-up when they host Chelsea in Gameweek 1. The centre-back has now played more minutes in that position over the summer (300) than any of his colleagues with Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen (£4.5m) still not involved in match action despite a return to training this week. Furthermore, Kongolo added a goal in the second-half stabbing home from a Philip Billing (£4.5m) knock-down.

Christoper Schindler (£4.5m) has only 255 minutes to his name so far this off-season but the club captain missed some time due to a slight injury, which he has recovered from now. He is almost certain to start 2018/19 at centre-back with either one of Michael Hefele (285 minutes) or Jon Stanković (240 minutes) the main competitors for Kongolo if Zanka looks to be unavailable for a short time. However, it’s worth noting that Huddersfield are still with just one clean sheet in seven pre-season matches.

Further up the pitch, there was a first start for Ramadan Sobhi (£5.0m) on the left flank of attacking midfield and Aaron Mooy (£5.5m) featured in the first XI from the beginning for the first time since returning from World Cup leave.

Laurent Depoitre (£5.5m) put on a good performance in his challenge to wrestle the starting centre-forward role back from Steve Mounié (£6.0m) as he scored a second-half brace. Alex Pritchard (£5.0m)’s chipped ball into the box resulted in a close-range effort from the Belgian to be saved and converted on the rebound. Billing’s excellent dribbling allowed him the space to put Depoitre through again in the 88th minute, he took a touch away from the defender and guided his shot into the net for 3-1.

The Terriers have been short on goals in the summer so far, the three scored at the John Smith’s Stadium only the third time they’ve found the net in seven matches. Depoitre himself has become the club’s top-scorer of pre-season in just one performance so Fantasy managers should keep an eye on whether he can start to pull starts away from Mounié.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN XI (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Löwe (Malone 45’), Schindler (Kongolo 45’), Stanković (Hefele 45’), Hadergjonaj (Smith 45’); Sabiri (Billing 45’), Mooy (Hogg 45’); Sobhi (van La Parra 45’), Kachunga (Pritchard 45’), Diakhaby (Quaner 54’); Mounié (Depoitre 45’).

AKHISARSPOR 0-0 LEICESTER CITY

  • Goals: None.
  • Assists: None.

Demarai Gray (£5.5m) led the line for Leicester as they eked out a largely uneventful 0-0 draw with Akhisarspor in Austria, but the FPL midfielder is not expected to hold down that position come the start of the season. This looks to be the last pre-season match in which Gray will be used in a central role now that attacking reinforcements are slowly filtering back from World Cup leave. As we discovered in our recent statistical analysis of Leicester, the 22-year-old has some work to do before he can be considered for Fantasy investment in 2018/19 – although he was easily the biggest goal threat on Wednesday night.

There was another start at centre-back for Wes Morgan (£4.5m) and Jonny Evans (£5.0m) furthering the belief that they will be the route into Leicester defence early on this season with Harry Maguire (£5.5m) still not back from World Cup duty. Nevertheless, the England man still has 22.4 percent ownership compared to Morgan’s 1.0 and Evans’ 1.4.

New signing Danny Ward (£4.5m) was the star of the show for the Foxes. He made a string of impressive saves in the first-half to earn the praise of local press watching on, the Leicester Mercury claiming he may well provide decent competition for Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m), who was watching from the stands amid transfer speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea.

He was one of six World Cup players to have rejoined the Leicester squad now, including Adrien Silva (£5.0m), Wilfried Ndidi (£5.0m), Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m), Yohan Benalouane (£4.0m), although none of them have been involved in matches yet. But Claude Puel revealed they will probably feature against Udinese on Saturday. The only ones still absent from the squad are Maguire, Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) and Shinji Okazaki (£5.0m).

“We will see all the players against Udinese because we need to give game-time and improve with other players. We will see if we can give them (the World Cup player) some game time in the second game. We need to manage all this with a good balance.”

LEICESTER CITY XI (4-3-3): Ward (Jakupovic 45’); Chilwell (Fuchs 62’), Morgan (Johnson 62’), Evans (Knight 62’), Amartey (Ndukwu 62’); Elder, Mendy (Choudhury 62’), Iborra (King 62’); Diabaté (Kapustka 62’), Gray (Slimani 62’), Maddison (Ulloa 62’).

Read more with Scout

Visit our PRE-SEASON PAGE to get the latest pointers from pre-season friendlies and read scout reports on new players by CLICKING HERE.

Pick your FPL team for 2018/19 using our list of best available players, sorted for your convenience by position and price:

Goalkeepers | Defenders: Budget | Defenders: Mid-Price and Premium | Midfielders: Budget | Midfielders: Mid-Price | Midfielders: Premium

Also check out our detailed statistical analysis articles on every team comparing data for the last two seasons to highlight the players to sign and the players to avoid:

Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Cardiff City | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Tottenham Hotspur

Read them all in one place

Become a Member and access our data

Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the pre-season price of just £12.50. This will increase to the regular price of £15 after the first Gameweek of the season.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 130+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A FANTASY FOOTBALL SCOUT MEMBER

963 Comments Post a Comment
  1. stat
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 19 days ago

    Foster - Ryan
    Robertson - PvA - Mendy - Peltier - WanB
    Salah - Ramsey - Sanchez - Eriksen - Richarlison
    Arnie - Tosun - Kamara

    Aside from the weak bench and the lack of Sane/Mahrez (Sanchez -> KDB is an easy switch in a few GWs), would you change anything?

    Not tempted by any premium strikers as Aguero is a rotation risk and Auba's first two fixtures are terrible. I don't really want to start the season off with Ramsey either but at 7.5 I can't find a much better nailed on option.

    1. Victor6359
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 19 days ago

      I like it although not convinced on Sanchez for the price so would downgrade him and upgrade one of your strikers.

      1. stat
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 19 days ago

        His first two fixtures are decent (LEI bha) and he should be playing OOP while on pens as well. At 10.5 it only takes 1 transfer to switch him to literally any other mid (except Sterling), so I'm willing to take the gamble for the first 2 GWs seeing as Auba's first two games are mci and CHE.

        1. Victor6359
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 19 days ago

          Sounds like a plan 🙂

    2. Victor6359
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 19 days ago

      Prefer Mkhitaryan for 0.5 less than Ramsey

      1. stat
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 19 days ago

        I think Ramsey is the more threatening player and he's less likely to be dropped / subbed off early.

    3. dilksymatey
      3 months, 19 days ago

      I think Sigurdsson is a better 7.5 than Ramsey because I'm not sure Ramsey is gonna start.

      If I was you I'd do this:

      Ramsey > Sigurdsson
      Richarlison > Pedro

      1. stat
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 19 days ago

        I don't see why Ramsey won't start - he is one of our most important players.

        Ramsey -> Sigurdsson could be worth it though since Siggy is on set pieces and might be on pens, and his fixtures are much better.

        Pedro is also one to monitor. Cheers.

    4. Brosstan
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Gross is a good nailed option to Ramsey

      1. stat
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        Not the best fixtures though

  2. Victor6359
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 19 days ago

    A: Robertson and Firmino

    B: 4.5 and Auba

    Cheers

    1. stat
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 19 days ago

      A

      1. Victor6359
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 19 days ago

        Cheers

    2. dilksymatey
      3 months, 19 days ago

      Definitely A

  3. dilksymatey
    3 months, 19 days ago

    Who are the two best 4.5 strikers? There isn't much to choose from...

    1. Homo Neanderthalensis
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Doesn’t really matter.. they will be on the bench surely?

      1. Homo Neanderthalensis
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        I’ve just reread your post.... your having TWO 4.5m strikers? That’s a bad decision.

        1. dilksymatey
          3 months, 18 days ago

          I'm playing 4-5-1 with a defender as my first sub. I've seen loads of people do it.

          1. Homo Neanderthalensis
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 18 days ago

            It will be extremely hard to shift funds into your forwards once the season has started going that route in my opinion.

            What if you want to get Kane, Aguero, Aubameyang, Lukaku etc in as a second striker if they are on fire at the start of the season?
            I think from what you’ve told me your team financial balance will make things hard for you with regards to transfers and switching your structure.

  4. Blaves
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 19 days ago

    Hey guys, been tinkering with not starting Salah thinking he was too much, until his performance last night just reinforced the fact that he is a must have.

    Allison (Fabianski)

    Bailly - Shaw - van Aanholt - Jagielka (Wan-Bissaka)

    Salah - Mkhi - Lamela (Jota, Cairney)

    Aubameyang - Firmino - Zaha

    Cheers for your time guys!!

    1. dilksymatey
      3 months, 19 days ago

      Midfield is too weak.

      1. Homo Neanderthalensis
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        This

      2. F_Ivanovic
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        Price you have to pay for having Salah + 2 premium strikers. My midfield is equally weak

    2. Homo Neanderthalensis
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Shaw looks terrible in preseason.

  5. Homo Neanderthalensis
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Which do you think would be more profitable:

    A) Cairney (benched) & Tosun
    B) Mkhitaryan & 5m forward (benched)

  6. goldensock
    3 months, 18 days ago

    RMT
    Ryan
    Coleman. Mendy. Robertson. Ward
    Salah. Richarl. Sane. Mkhi.
    Kane. Arnie.
    Bench.
    Button. Kamara. Wan biss. Neves

    1. Homo Neanderthalensis
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Weak goalkeepers.
      Rest looks alright I suppose.

  7. PhattyPatty
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    First draft. What do you guys think?

    Fabianski/Foster
    Mendy Shaw / Daniels Dunk Wan-Bissaka
    Mane Mahrez Mkhi Gross / Neves
    Kane Firminho Arnautovic

    I got 0.5 in the bank. Should I upgrade Shaw -> Baily?

    1. Homo Neanderthalensis
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Yea. Shaw looked terrible in the last preseason game.

  8. Zebblox
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Bottomed.

    Ederson / Fabianski
    Robertson / Mendy / Bailly
    Salah / Pogba / Richarlison / Mhki
    Aubs / Arnie / Zaha

    Fabianski / Kelly / Peltier / Cairney

    Not 100% sold on the defence so that may need a tweak but pretty happy with the rest.

    1. F_Ivanovic
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      looks ok but you can save 0.5 and get a 4.0 keeper in as Ederson can just play every game?

  9. DJDave1979
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Pope injury should settle the goalkeeper argument. Maybe they will have a shoulder injury job share.

  10. Glory Glory Man Utd.
    3 months, 18 days ago

    What do you think about my formation below?

    Fabianski

    Azpilicueta-Otamendi-Davies-Alonso

    Sane-Eriksen-Salah-Gross

    Arnautovic-Zaha

  11. willscarter
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Team with £1m ITB

    Fabianski

    Coleman-Robertson-Tomkins

    Salah-Jota-Eriksen-Richarlison

    Arnautovic-Perez-Laca

    Bench: Etheridge, Boly, Mili, Daniels

    Not too bothered over 2nd keeper but definitely think I'd need an upgrade on Perez. Unwilling to take a gamble on City or United due to Jose/Pep rotation. Suggestions welcome. Mainly a team for GW1-GW3 before returning players settle in once again and changes will inevitably happen.