The Scout Squad panel are putting their faith in Liverpool and Manchester City in Gameweek 8.
They are back yet again with their nominations for which players they believe should end the week in the esteemed Scout Picks selection.
Paul, Joe, Az and Peter, all with excellent Fantasy Premier League records, have given their thoughts on their choices.
We will be whittling down their 72 nominations into an XI-man side on Friday restricted to a budget of £83m and with no more than three players from the same club.
|GK||Rui Patricio||Ederson||Alisson||Rui Patricio|
|Asmir Begovic||Rui Patricio||Rui Patricio||Martin Dubravka|
|Martin Dubravka||Alisson||Martin Dubravka||Asmir Begovic|
|DF||Benjamin Mendy||Benjamin Mendy||Benjamin Mendy||Andrew Robertson|
|Matt Doherty||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Benjamin Mendy|
|Andrew Robertson||Matt Doherty||Matt Doherty||Matt Doherty|
|Michael Keane||Lucas Digne||Aymeric Laporte||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|DeAndre Yedlin||DeAndre Yedlin||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Eden Hazard||Mohamed Salah|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson||Gylfi Sigurdsson||Mohamed Salah||Eden Hazard|
|Ryan Fraser||Eden Hazard||Ryan Fraser||Richarlison|
|Josh Murphy||Aaron Ramsey||Richarlison||Ryan Fraser|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette|
|Callum Wilson||Jamie Vardy||Aleksandar Mitrovic||Callum Wilson|
|Raúl Jiménez||Aleksandar Mitrovic||Roberto Firmino||Raúl Jiménez|
|Aleksandar Mitrovic||Callum Wilson||Marko Arnautovic||Aleksandar Mitrovic|
Most popular picks: Rui Patricio, Benjamin Mendy, Andrew Robertson, Matt Doherty, Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero, Alexandre Lacazette, Aleksandar Mitrovic (four), Martin Dubravka, Eden Hazard, Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson (three)
“The fitness of Mohamed Salah and Ryan Fraser is certain to play a significant part in shaping our final XI.
“Both are obvious picks for our midfield at either end of the price scale, with Fraser an ideal enabler at home to Southampton.
“As usual, though, I will highlight a couple of overlooked picks that merit some consideration.
“Everton’s Michael Keane could be a handy differential for the visit of Crystal Palace.
“The centre-half is owned by 1.3%, yet has averaged 4.7 points per match and already has a goal and assist in six league outings.
“That attacking threat is underlined by the statistics; Keane is the leading defender for efforts in the box, with a total of 12.
“Crucially, all of those attempts have been headers from set-pieces, and with Gylfi Sigurdsson on free-kicks and corners, Keane’s aerial threat will be a big danger to The Eagles at Goodison Park.
“It’s something of a rarity to back the Cardiff attack but a visit from Fulham’s obliging defence bodes well for Josh Murphy.
“Since returning to the teamsheet in Gameweek 7, the left winger’s total of nine shots on goal in the last two rounds of matches is ranked second overall.
“Murphy also scored The Bluebirds’ only goal in those matches and now faces the only side yet to record a clean sheet.
“Fulham’s weakness on the right can also work to his advantage – only two teams have conceded more chances down that side of the pitch.”
“The first week back after an international break can be a tricky for Fantasy managers as injuries conspire to destroy best laid plans.
“Doubts over Ryan Fraser’s fitness mean I have turned instead to his team-mate Callum Wilson for Bournemouth attacking coverage against a Southampton side that has shipped 14 goals and has the second worst record for conceding big chances (21).
“Mohamed Salah is another injury doubt, but I’m willing to bet he’ll feature for the Reds’ easy road trip to Huddersfield, who have conceded 17 times.
“Elsewhere I’m banking on a goal fest at The Emirates on Monday when Leicester visit Arsenal. Over their last two encounters 11 goals have been scored, which sees each of their key attackers, Alexandre Lacazette for the Gunners and Jamie Vardy for the Foxes, take two of my forward spots.
“I’d like to see both selected alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who squares up to a Burnley side that has shipped a league high 161 shots.
“With the Clarets backline proving so obliging I’ve named Raheem Sterling as my top choice midfielder. As discussed on this week’s Scoutcast, he is not only equalling his goal threat of last season but also proving far more creative this term.
“Everton assets also figure prominently, at home to Crystal Palace outfit that has scored just five times this season. I’m backing Toffees left back Lucas Digne to prosper. Since nailing down a starting berth in Gameweek 4 he is ranked second for chances created and fourth for shots among defenders. His seven corners over that spell also add to his appeal. The Merseysiders’ set piece specialist Gylfi Sigurdsson also earns a place as he chases his third double-digit FPL points haul in a row.”
“There are two standout games this week for arguably the best two teams in the league. Man City host Burnley while Liverpool travel to Huddersfield and I think both sides will register big wins.
“For me, Man City have the best chance of a whitewash, which puts their assets at the top of my defenders, midfielders and forwards lists.
“Liverpool have struggled slightly of late and, while you can argue that they have played some of the top sides, the chances they have missed are causes for concern.
“They just don’t seem to be as confident as they were at the start of the season, and I wonder if Huddersfield, against all odds, can frustrate them on Saturday.
“Injury doubts to some of their top players and the form of replacement options such as Shaqiri and Sturridge mean that, in my own team, I am going without Liverpool attacking coverage – and I am okay with that.
“Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah do make my Scout Squad list. If Salah plays, of course, he can deliver returns but he will need a couple of goals at least to justify his price. Firmino looks a safer option as he’s about the only player who hasn’t picked up an injury.
“Outside of these games, Bournemouth have a good looking match against Southampton, and Wolves play Watford who were soundly beaten before the international break. They will also be without Jose Holebas, reducing their threat.
“Comfortable home wins for Bournemouth and Wolves also seem likely so the main men of Matt Doherty and Ryan Fraser seem like great picks this week.
“Cardiff host Fulham, in a game that will surely feature goals aplenty. I’m a happy Aleksandar Mitrovic owner going into this one, after his goals for Serbia over the international break.
“I’ve also found space for Marko Arnautovic as I think West Ham will cause Spurs some problems.
“The Hammers will be keen to make up for their poor result against Brighton from Gameweek 8, even if it feels like a lifetime ago.
“Lots of Fantasy managers are moving for Alexandre Lacazette, and I do wonder if I am guilty of overlooking him as I replace Harry Kane with Sergio Aguero in my own team. The Arsenal man’s Monday night game against Leicester has the potential to feature goals at both ends of the pitch.”
“With form and fixtures in their favour, there’s some familiar names from my Liverpool and Manchester City contingents this week, as well as triple-ups from a couple of “’esser‘ lights. I’ve also included a handful of yellow-flagged players in the hope that we will receive definitive news either way on their international break ‘injuries’ prior to the deadline.
“Burnley have apparently faced the toughest opening eight Gameweeks, particularly when burdened with a brief European adventure too, but it is hard to ignore that they rank bottom for goal attempts conceded and face the team ranked top for efforts. I’ll have a Citizen from each position, please, in the form of forgiven man Benjamin Mendy, the increasingly popular Raheem Sterling and the well-rested Sergio Agüero. Aymeric Laporte seems a safe bet for anyone unwilling to gamble upon Mendy’s security of start.
“Mohamed Salah clearly hasn’t punished non-owners recently, or indeed generally this season. He is still getting and creating the chances though and the Terriers (who have already haemorrhaged 17 goals this season) could be the fall guys for the Egyptian’s return to the points this week, assuming he is passed fit. I’ve backed the second meanest defence to keep out the side with the worst Expected Goals figures in the league by selecting Andrew Robertson alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold. As with City, people may favour the safety of a centre-half (Virgil van Dijk) over the potential of the fullback (Alexander-Arnold).
“I somehow managed to bench Callum Wilson’s haul last week and, despite the fact that past points don’t guarantee future performance, that probably influences his selection this week. Ryan Fraser (if fit) will be looking to supply the ammunition against a Saints side which has conceded more big chances this season (21) than every side bar Fulham (25). My confidence in Bournemouth’s home form is reflected in the fact that Asmir Begović completes my Cherries’ trio albeit as my third choice keeper.
“As a Forest fan, I witnessed Wolves tear up the Championship last year and, so far, they are more than meeting pre-season expectations of stepping up to the higher level. Defensively, Nuno’s men have looked particularly impressive, ranking in the top four for most of the key defensive statistics and prompting me to bring in Rui Patrício and the marauding Matt Doherty this week. Raúl Jiménez has been ticking over nicely in the budget bracket recording consistent, if not explosive, returns over the last four Gameweeks and the Mexican lines up against a reshuffled Watford defensive due to suspensions for José Holebas and Christian Kabasele and with Daryl Janmaat side-lined through injury.”
The Community Champion
This week’s champion is FPL Mountaineer, who has finished inside the top 100k in two of his last three campaigns, and currently ranks 442,082 in the world.
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).
Gameweek 8’s champion, Hazard is an FPL legend (ConteClub), lost out to our Scout Picks 53-44 with his 5-3-2 line-up of De Gea (3); Trippier (7), Rose (6), Smalling (1), Shaw (0), Alonso (6); Hazard (14), Pereyra (2); Kane (1), Vardy (2), Deeney (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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