The Scout Squad crew return to offer their long-list of candidates to be considered for our regular Scout Picks selection on Friday.
The 72 nominations will be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding £83m and no club represented by more than three players) ahead of the Gameweek 4 deadline at 11:30 BST on Saturday.
The man with three top 300 finishes to his name – Peter Kouwenberg – joins our regular panel of Scoutcast/site contributors Paul, Joe and Az to expand on their notable selections and omissions in the article below.
Our quartet have unanimously nominated two assets apiece from both Manchester City (Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy) and Chelsea (Marcos Alonso and Eden Hazard), with Crystal Palace pair Wilfried Zaha and Wayne Hennessey also backed across the board. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another prominent name in the Scout Squad, meanwhile.
Liverpool representation has taken something of a tumble, though Mohamed Salah has our panel’s united support.
Despite being benched for the trip to Anfield last weekend, Pascal Gross is back in their thoughts with Brighton on home soil in Gameweek 4.
|Goalkeepers||Mathew Ryan||Jordan Pickford||Ederson||Jordan Pickford|
|Wayne Hennessey||Lukasz Fabianski||Jordan Pickford||Wayne Hennessey|
|Lukasz Fabianski||Wayne Hennessey||Wayne Hennessey||Rui Patricio|
|Defenders||Marcos Alonso||Marcos Alonso||Benjamin Mendy||Benjamin Mendy|
|Benjamin Mendy||Benjamin Mendy||Marcos Alonso||Marcos Alonso|
|Andrew Robertson||Nacho Monreal||Hector Bellerin||Andrew Robertson|
|James Tomkins||Shane Duffy||Seamus Coleman||Hector Bellerin|
|Hector Bellerin||Aaron Wan-Bissaka||Aaron Wan-Bissaka||Aaron Wan-Bissaka|
|Midfielders||Mohamed Salah||Eden Hazard||Eden Hazard||Mohamed Salah|
|Eden Hazard||David Silva||Mohamed Salah||Dele Alli|
|Pascal Gross||Mohamed Salah||Theo Walcott||Eden Hazard|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson||Pascal Gross||Lucas Moura||David Silva|
|Luka Milivojevic||Henrikh Mkhitaryan||Pascal Gross||Theo Walcott|
|Forwards||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Gabriel Jesus||Harry Kane||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Wilfried Zaha|
|Marko Arnautovic||Marko Arnautovic||Wilfried Zaha||Aleksandar Mitrovic|
|Wilfried Zaha||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Aleksandar Mitrovic||Raul Jimenez|
|Glenn Murray||Wilfried Zaha||Gabriel Jesus||Callum Wilson|
Most Popular Picks: Wayne Hennessey, Benjamin Mendy, Marcos Alonso, Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Wilfried Zaha (four), Jordan Pickford, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Pascal Gross (three)
Chelsea and Man City’s home matches offer their big-hitters an obvious chance to maintain early-season momentum.
I’ve avoided the City midfield in order to keep to the three-players-per-club quota. Instead, I’m backing Gabriel Jesus to return to Pep Guardiola’s teamsheet in a 3-2-3-2 formation at home to Newcastle.
The Brazilian equalled Sergio Aguero’s six efforts in the box in their previous match at the Etihad, the 6-1 win over Huddersfield, though was overshadowed by his fellow forward’s treble.
With no City presence, I’ve opted for a trio of midfielders with dead-ball duties, Pascal Gross, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Luka Milivojevic.
The first two face defences that sit in the bottom five in terms of big chances conceded.
Gross’ visitors Fulham have shipped at least two goals in each of the first three Gameweeks.
All seven of his goals and six of his eight assists were recorded at home last season.
Sigurdsson has been overlooked in the rush to acquire Theo Walcott for Everton’s home clash with Huddersfield.
Only four players have created more chances than the Icelandic international, whose opponents place bottom for big chances conceded.
At the back, James Tomkins and Hector Bellerin offer the chance of points at both ends of the pitch.
Tomkins, admittedly, is uncertain to feature for Palace’s home clash with Southampton due to injury concerns.
His addition here, along with team-mate Milivojevic, is mainly to pinpoint their visitors’ frailties. The Saints sit in the bottom three for attempts conceded from both set-pieces and headers.
This Gameweek is all about Manchester City for me. With 14 goals in their last three home league games against this weekend’s opponents, Newcastle, I’m advocating a Sky Blues triple-up with Sergio Aguero leading the charge.
The Argentine has scored an eye-popping nine times across that trio of matches to make him as near to essential as it can possibly get for a Fantasy asset. David Silva’s two strikes against the Magpies at home over that period also make him a shoo-in for me. The Spanish magician looks set to start once again, with his craft required in the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne.
Benjamin Mendy is another Pep Guardiola charge that demands selection, given he is averaging nine points a game so far.
I’m expecting Chelsea to provide a source of points at home to a Bournemouth side that conceded 31 times on the road last season. Fantasy Premier League top scorer Marcos Alonso is another required pick, as is Eden Hazard, who has five goals in as many games against the Cherries, even though only one was at Stamford Bridge. If money is tight I’d also look to Pedro as a back-up; the Spaniard is thriving under Chelsea’s new management with two goals.
Elsewhere, there is money to be saved via south-east rivals Brighton and Crystal Palace. The Seagulls host a newly promoted Fulham outfit that has shipped seven goals so far. Pascal Gross and Shane Duffy get the nod for me among Chris Hughton’s troops, with the former accruing seven goals and six assists last term.
For the Eagles’ home clash with Southampton, Wilfried Zaha’s two goals make the £7.1m forward great value. At the back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka saves even more cash, priced at £4.1m and with a 12-point return already this campaign.
There are a couple of standout fixtures this week for me. Arsenal look set to put Cardiff to the sword and the fact that the Bluebirds are yet to score propels Hector Bellerin high up my list, despite Arsenal looking pretty shaky at the back. In attack, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been sold in droves, but I fancy him to bag his first goal of the season this weekend.
Man City go up against Newcastle who had the worst away record in terms of clean sheets last season, and we all know how much Sergio Aguero loves to punish them. He’ll be heavily backed to inflict some major damage, and may even get a high percentage of triple captaincy chips played on him – I know I am tempted. Benjamin Mendy and Ederson are my defensive duo, I can’t see Newcastle scoring in this one, particularly if they set up like they did against Chelsea. I’ve also backed Gabriel Jesus to start up front alongside Aguero.
Chelsea should also score a couple against Bournemouth, although I do feel that the Cherries will bite back, so it will have to be some more attacking points for Marcos Alonso if he is going to please his 230,000 new owners. Eden Hazard is poised to flourish, and I am jealous of those on a Wildcard who have found a way to bring him in.
Elsewhere, I’d be amazed if Aaron Wan-Bissaka didn’t find his way into most people’s starting XI this week, as he plays a goal-shy Southampton side and will be expected to maraud down the right-hand side and cause Ryan Bertrand all kinds of problems.
Everton against Huddersfield should be a comfortable victory for the home team, but I do worry how an injury to Michael Keane and the suspension for Richarlison will affect them. Theo Walcott is in great form though and it would be silly not to include him. I don’t think this will be the mauling that some are predicting though.
Fulham’s visit to Brighton looks an entertaining prospect but is difficult to call. Pascal Gross has been used quite sporadically and got a surprise start in the Carabao Cup, but I believe he will feature against the Cottagers and play his part in the goals.
Eye, knee and gut tend to guide my selections most weeks, for better and often worse. This week, I have actually scratched the statistical surface a bit, though the outcome is familiar.
Man City representation is, of course, mandatory against a Newcastle team which one would imagine is likely to repeat its ultra-defensive tactics as against Chelsea. Benjamin Mendy unsurprisingly is in the top three defenders for both chances and big chances created, while David Silva has managed to carve out nine chances with limited game-time. Sergio Aguero smashed in a hat-trick in his last Etihad outing and has a great history against the Magpies, for those who ascribe to the “favoured opposition” belief.
Three Citizens but only two Reds this week as I keep faith in Mohamed Salah, the man who has created more chances and had more goal attempts than any other midfielder. Creativity runs right through this Liverpool team, with Andrew Robertson top for both chances created and big chances created and playing in a defence which has yet to concede and facing a Leicester side still missing the suspended Jamie Vardy.
In my view, the underlying statistics don’t really find value in Harry Kane or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which is certainly a risk, so my only North London “coverage” comes in the form of Dele Alli (who is the sole midfielder able to match Salah’s six shots on target match) and Hector Bellerin (two big chances created and up against a Cardiff side yet to trouble the scorers).
I nearly left another big London-based player, Eden Hazard, out too (having brought Marcos Alonso and his chance every 38 minutes into what would be a four or possibly five-man defence) but I’m expecting an entertaining game at the Bridge this weekend, so include both Blues players with a Cherry on top with the form player Callum Wilson.
The Community Champion
Representing the Community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 4 will be AA33, who finished with an overall rank of 322,390 last season.
The Community Champion who has the best lead over the Scouts during 2018/19 will win a £100 Amazon voucher (currently we can only offer Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com vouchers).
Last week’s champion, Rasping Drive, lost out to our Scout Picks 46-61 with a 3-5-2 line-up of Fabri (0); Mendy (4), Alexander-Arnold (5), Hadergjonaj (6); Salah (8), Hazard (8), Sterling (2), Walcott (7), Brooks (2); Aubameyang (2), Ings (2).
Eden Wizard’s Gameweek 2 victory over the Scout Squad crew by a score of 77-68 remains the deficit to beat.
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