Scout Notes

Arnautovic scores again as Pochettino faces midfield headache

Marko Arnautovic was on the scoresheet for the fourth match in a row as he continued as the spearhead in the West Ham attack, while Diogo Jota demonstrated his eye for goal with a strike in Wolves’ 2-1 defeat at Derby County.

Christian Eriksen was given another start in Tottenham Hotspur’s encounter with Barcelona in Los Angeles, while Southampton kept their first clean sheet of pre-season in a 2-0 win over Dijon.

Newcastle United produced a backs-to-the-wall performance to draw 0-0 with Porto, meanwhile.

Our latest instalment of Scout Notes rounds up the goals, assists, team news, injuries and tactical talking points from the five remaining pre-season friendlies contested over the weekend.

Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham United

  • Goals: Felipe Anderson (£7.0m), Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m)
  • Assists: Ryan Fredericks (£5.0m), Sead Haksabanovic

It’s five goals in four pre-season friendlies for Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m), who already features in over a quarter of Fantasy Premier League squads despite his positional reclassification.

Unlike Wilfried Zaha, another midfield star of 2017/18 who has been listed as an FPL forward for the coming season, Arnautovic has featured as an out-and-out striker in all of his appearances over the summer and led the line again at Portman Road over the weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI looked near to full-strength, with Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko (both £7.0m) flanking Arnautovic in attack and Jack Wilshere (£5.0m) once again playing in the central midfield trio.

Anderson opened his West Ham account after just three minutes of the match in Suffolk, the Brazilian bundling home a teasing Ryan Fredericks (£5.0m) cross.

Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena (both £4.5m) looked shaky at the heart of the West Ham defence and were dissected far too easily for Ellis Harrison’s equaliser.

The two centre-backs were bystanders again shortly afterwards when an unmarked Harrison headed against the post.

Arnautovic’s winner was all of his own making, the Austrian collecting a Sead Haksabanovic pass in midfield and surging through the Ipswich defence to prod the ball past home goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m) made his debut for the Hammers between the sticks.

Declan Rice (£4.5m), listed as a defender in FPL, once again impressed in central midfield after replacing the mediocre Pedro Obiang (£4.5m) in the second half and is an “out of position” asset to monitor in the Hammers’ two remaining pre-season friendlies – albeit not one who would likely offer much by the way of attacking threat.

Yarmolenko was switched to a “number 10” role after the introduction of Robert Snodgrass at half-time.

WEST HAM UNITED (4-3-3): Fabianski; Fredericks, Ogbonna, Balbuena (Diop 71′), Masuaku (Zabaleta 71′); Obiang (Rice 71′), Kouyate (Snodgrass 46′), Wilshere (Noble 46′); Yarmolenko (Martinez 60′), Anderson (Haksabanovic 60′), Arnautovic (Cullen 81′)

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Barcelona (3-5 penalties)

  • Goals: Son Heung-min (£8.5m), Georges Kevin-N’Koudou
  • Assists: Christian Eriksen (£9.5m), Anthony Georgiou

Mauricio Pochettino assuaged fears of an injury crisis in his midfield after the International Champions Cup match with Barcelona at the weekend.

Already without Dele Alli (£9.0m), Eric Dier (£5.0m) and Mousa Dembele (£5.0m) after their participation in the World Cup, Pochettino was devoid of the services of Erik Lamela (£6.5m) and Victor Wanyama (£5.0m) for Sunday’s match in Los Angeles and lost Moussa Sissoko (£5.0m) to a hamstring injury midway through the first half.

Speaking of Sissoko’s early withdrawal, Pochettino told the club’s own media channel:

Yes, I think it’s minor. Maybe he was a little bit tired, but I think it’s not a big issue. We will wait… the next few days to see what happened.

Erik (Lamela) was, after the game against Roma, a minor muscle injury, that’s why he’s here with us and we hope he can play against AC Milan.

Victor (Wanyama) has gone back with Tashan (Oakley-Boothe) to London to see the doctor. I think it was the same problem as last season in his knee. We will assess him in the next few days and see what happens.

Sissoko had originally lined up in central midfield with youngster Luke Amos, with Christian Eriksen (£9.5m) starting in front of the pair in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.

The withdrawal of Sissoko on 35 minutes forced winger Lucas Moura (£7.0m) inside, with substitute Georges Kevin-N’Koudou being stationed on the flank. The versatile Moura was to play as Spurs’ central striker in the second half after the exit of Fernando Llorente (£6.0m) at half-time.

Ben Davies (£6.0m) started his second successive match at centre-back and, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen (both £6.0m) also yet to return from their post-Russia break, there is a strong chance the Welshman could line up at centre-half in the Gameweek 1 encounter with Newcastle United. Davinson Sanchez (£6.0m), at least, returned as a substitute in this match after his World Cup exertions.

With Davies’ FPL appeal rooted in his ability to couple an attacking threat with clean sheet returns (no defender created more chances than Davies last season), his deployment at centre-back would perhaps strengthen the case of right-back Serge Aurier (£6.0m) as an early-season route into the Spurs backline.

Eriksen went close with two free-kicks – striking the woodwork with one of them – as Spurs fought back from 2-0 down to take the match to penalties. Both of the Lilywhites’ goals came from blocked shots as Son Heung-min (£8.5m) and N’Koudou followed up efforts from Eriksen and youngster Anthony Georgiou.

Georgiou missed the decisive kick in the penalty shoot-out as Barcelona ran out 5-3 winners.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga (Vorm 62′); Aurier, Carter-Vickers, Davies, Walker-Peters (Sanchez 46′); Amos, Sissoko (N’Koudou 35′); Son, Eriksen, Moura (Georgiou 62′); Llorente (Skipp 46′)

Derby County 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

  • Goal: Diogo Jota (£6.5m)
  • Assist: Ruben Neves (£5.0m)

Diogo Jota (£6.5m) ended Wolves’ three-match run without a goal but couldn’t help his team to a first win in five, as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat at Pride Park.

The match saw Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) make his Wolves debut alongside Ruben Neves (£5.0m) in central midfield and the new arrival seems set to share set-piece duties with his fellow Portugal international on the basis of what we saw at Derby over the weekend.

Barry Douglas was, of course, a prominent figure at dead-ball situations last season but his shock departure for Leeds United in midweek has had a ripple effect elsewhere in the squad; his replacement, versatile debutant Jonny, is no stranger to playing in Douglas’s position but is predominantly right-footed and doesn’t offer that same teasing delivery from the left flank in open play.

Moutinho’s deployment in the centre of midfield saw Romain Saiss (£4.5m) drop back to centre-half, where he has featured on umpteen occasions for Morocco.

Jota’s strike, sandwiched by goals for Derby’s David Nugent and Mason Mount, came after Neves had struck the bar with a trademark long-range shot. Neves – who had 90 attempts on goal from outside the box last season – had earlier whistled an effort from distance just past the post.

Leo Bonatini (£5.0m) and Raul Jimenez (£5.5m) both got 45 minutes as the spearhead of the Wolves attack, with Jota and Helder Costa (£5.0m) stationed either side.

Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.5m) was Wolves’ only notable absentee this weekend and was said to have missed out with a knock – although speculation remains rife of a possible move away from Molineux for the Portuguese winger.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (3-4-3): Patricio (Norris 61′); Saiss (Bennett 61­’), Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 45′), Jonny (Giles, 61′); Costa, Bonatini (Jimenez 45′), Jota (Enobakhare 73′)

Dijon 0-2 Southampton

  • Goals: Shane Long (£5.0m), Manolo Gabbiadini (£6.0m)
  • Assists: Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m), Charlie Austin (£6.0m)

Angus Gunn (£4.5m) has been promised further pitch-time by manager Mark Hughes after the young goalkeeper made his Saints debut in the 2-0 win over Dijon FCO at the weekend.

Speaking to the club’s website after their week-long training camp in France came to an end, Hughes said:

He’s (Gunn) going to get more minutes in the next two games as well. I think that’s important. He’ll experience St Mary’s, and that will be a box ticked for him.

Southampton entertain Celta Vigo and Borussia Moenchengladbach this week in their final two pre-season fixtures, with Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) seemingly still in pole position to start 2018/19 as the Saints’ number one – although Fantasy eyes will be on the respective minutes the two goalkeepers are given in the two forthcoming matches at St Mary’s.

Cedric Soares and Maya Yoshida (both £4.5m) are yet to feature in pre-season following their World Cup exploits, although budget defender Jan Bednarek (£4.0m) did return to the Saints’ side after his own participation in Russia with Poland.

Sam McQueen, another £4.0m-rated defensive asset, began on the right flank in Cedric’s absence.

Having featured at centre-back in Southampton’s previous three July friendlies, Ryan Bertrand (£5.0m) returned to a more familiar left wing-back role and set up Shane Long (£5.0m) for the Saints’ opener.

Long was replaced by Charlie Austin (£6.0m) at the break and the former Queens Park Rangers striker collected a fortuitous assist for Southampton’s second after his sliced volley fell into the path of Manolo Gabbiadini (£6.0m), who prodded home from close range.

That Hughes seems keen on fielding two recognised forwards in this 3-5-2 set-up would seemingly bode well for Austin’s chances of a Gamweek 1 start, but it was the Saints’ first-half strike partnership that the Welshman reserved his praise for:

I thought it was important to get Shane back involved. He’s missed a little bit through injury, so it was good that he came back in. I thought Shane and Gabbi in the first half were really bright in their work and caused them a number of problems.

Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) began the match as the furthermost forward central midfielder, with Mohamed Elyounoussi (£6.5m) and Nathan Redmond (£5.5m) trialled in “the hole” in the second half.

SOUTHAMPTON (3-5-2): McCarthy (Gunn 46′); Hoedt, Vestergaard, Bednarek (Stephens 46′); Bertrand (Targett 75′), Romeu (Ward-Prowse 66′), Hojbjerg (Davis 46′), Armstrong (Elyounoussi 46′), McQueen (Reed 66′); Long (Austin 46′), Gabbiadini (Redmond 66′)

Porto 0-0 Newcastle

Florian Lejeune‘s (£4.5m) season could be over before it has even begun. The severity of the French centre-half’s knee injury was confirmed by manager Rafael Benitez after the 0-0 draw with Porto at the weekend:

The reality is we have lost Lejeune – he has a cruciate ligament injury, so we will lose him for a while. He will need an operation, and he will need some time. We needed a centre-back before [Lejeune’s injury] and still we need maybe another one. It’s bad news about Lejeune but to see Fabian Schar doing well is important; he will give us this extra option we didn’t have.

Schar (£4.5m) could be the main beneficiary of Lejeune’s prolonged absence, having joined the Magpies from Deportivo La Coruna last week. The Swiss defender made his debut as a 62nd-minute substitute for Ciaran Clark (£4.5m), who will also have designs on that second centre-back spot alongside Jamaal Lascelles (£5.0m).

Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) produced a heroic display between the sticks as the Newcastle goal led a charmed life, with Porto hitting the woodwork on two occasions.

Dwight Gayle (£6.0m) could be set for the exit at St James’ Park, meanwhile. Joselu (£5.0m) started his third successive friendly as the Magpies’ lone striker, with Gayle once again being completely overlooked – as he had been at Hull City last weekend – by Benitez.

United are only awaiting a work permit before a deal to bring Mainz striker Yoshinori Muto to the club can be finalised, while speculation is rife that West Bromwich Albion’s Salomon Rondon is bound for the north-east in a cash-plus-player swap with Gayle.

Paul Dummett (£4.5m) made his first start of pre-season in what was something approaching Benitez’s first-choice side, although Kenedy (£5.0m) was missing once again after the birth of his child.

NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1): Dubravka (Darlow 72′); Yedlin (Sterry 62′), Clark (Schar 62′), Lascelles, Dummett (Manquillo 46′); Diame (Hayden 72′), Shelvey (Ki 62′); Ritchie (Roberts 72′), Perez (Longstaff 72′), Murphy (Atsu 72′); Joselu (Armstrong 72′)

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1,993 Comments Post a Comment
  1. falafel
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 29 days ago

    A- Richarlison and Cedric
    B- Bailly and 5,5 midfielder (for now Deulofeu, if you have any other options instead of him i appreciate some tips)

    1. cpo001
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 months, 28 days ago


  2. Bruised Shins
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 29 days ago


    Fabianski - Leno (if he starts)

    AWB - Lovren - Bailly - Ogbonna (or Diop) - Bellerin

    Salah - Sane - Son - Neves - Kenedy

    Zaha - Arnie - Auba

    1. cpo001
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 months, 28 days ago

      Man U defence uncertain? Spurs got some difficult fixtures with half a team on extended World Cup leave and is there not suggestion Son will have to go play in Asia? Would go for another 5mil midfielder over Kenedy - fixtures are awful for Newcastle.

  3. cpo001
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 months, 28 days ago

    RMT please! Thanks!

    Auba/Arnie/Bobby Reid

    0.5m ITB.


    1. cpo001
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 months, 28 days ago

      RMT please! Thanks!

      Auba/Arnie/Bobby Reid

      0.5m ITB.

      Cheers (sorry, double post)

  4. Mcgugan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Best 3 midfield options for 8.5m or below? Include value options if you think they are better than the 7-8m range...?

    1. Dthinger
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 28 days ago

      milkhitarian or Oezil, Siggurdson, Gross, maybe?

  5. Bielsa's Binoculars
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Choose two of these options...

    A) Richarlison

    B) Jota

    C) Pedro

    D) Sessegnon

    E) Gudmondson

    F) Schuurle

    1. Kim Jong Kün
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 28 days ago

      B + C for me.

  6. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Mahrez or Eriksen?

    1. Isaac.m94
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 28 days ago


  7. Bielsa's Binoculars
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Thoughts on this team?

    Azpi / Coleman / Robertson
    Salah / Eriksen / Richarlison / Jota / Pedro
    Auba / Zaha

    Bench: Button / Boly / Kamara / Wan B

    1. Right back Atsu
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 28 days ago

      Nice, maybe Eriksen to Mane.

  8. Having a Laugh
    8 months, 28 days ago

    A bit too heavy in midfield?

    Tomkins Boly Robertson
    Salah KDB Eriksen Richarlison
    Arnie Zaha Firmino

    4.0 Cedric AWB Stephens

    1. Tauruspt
      • 1 Year
      8 months, 28 days ago

      I’m looking at bulking out the Midfield due to being the higher scorers in the past

      Salah sane eriksen miki schurlle atm

  9. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Just read BBC Gossip late today... the first line is a clinker:

    “Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's mood during the club's tour of the USA is exhausting his players and unsettling staff. (Mail)”

    Baby Jeebus wept, how much of an absolute tool is José Mourinho?

    1. XabiAlonso
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 28 days ago

      Overrated translator

  10. FCAliDaei
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 28 days ago

    Your views?

    DDG / Boruc
    Aurier / Mendy / Moses / Schlupp / Wan-Bissako
    Mane / Martial / Moura / B. Silva / Sigurdsson
    Aguero / Arnautovic / Wood

    Moses / Schlupp I'm not too sure about out of obvious reasons.

    1. Gally 123
      8 months, 28 days ago

      Only guarenteed starters are Mane, Wood Arnie

  11. Gally 123
    8 months, 28 days ago


    Trent, David Luiz, Shaw
    Salah, Sane, Cairney, Ozil
    King, Firmino, Aguero