Double investment in Liverpool’s midfield is advised in Gameweek 12’s edition of the Scout Picks.
We have painstakingly gone over the squad of players chosen by our panel of Paul, Joe, Az and Peter earlier this week to find a final XI.
After making some tough choices we have a side that comes in at £81.70m, with some room to spare within our budget of £83m.
Mat Ryan (£4.5m) gets the goalkeeper jersey this week after being tipped by three of our pundits. Peter was the only one not to name-check the Brighton shot-stopper. Ryan was only chosen as the best option by Az, with Lukasz Fabianski actually receiving the highest number of top picks, but we’ve decided to cover the West Ham defence elsewhere.
Andrew Robertson was selected as the best defender by three of our panel this week, with Az opting for Joe Gomez instead of the Scot. However, with reports in the media suggesting that Robertson has been training on his own and not with the main group we’ve decided to go for a Liverpool defender more assured of a start in Virgil van Dijk (£5.9m). The Reds have conceded just one goal at Anfield all season and this week they face a Fulham attack that has found the net just twice in their last four away matches.
Ben Chilwell (£5.1m) gets the nod ahead of Leicester’s big home match against Burnley. It is the Foxes’ first at the King Power Stadium since the tragic passing of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha last month. Only Manchester City and Liverpool have allowed fewer chances than Leicester in home matches so far this season while Burnley rank bottom of the league for shots on target in the last four Gameweeks. Furthermore, Chilwell has some exciting offensive potential with two assists in his last three matches.
Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) is chosen as the West Ham cover this week as Manuel Pellegrini’s men travel to face goal shy Huddersfield Town. The Terriers have scored just one home goal all season and still have none from open play in front of their supporters. Meanwhile, Balbuena himself ranks third best among defenders for shots in the box so far this season so carries some goal threat.
Kiko Femenia (£4.2m) goes into our Scout Picks XI primarily to save us the money for particularly lavish spending in the attacking areas. However, Watford defence was still well-represented amongst our pundits with three of them selecting Ben Foster and two choosing Jose Holebas for their squads. The Hornets travel to a Southampton side with just one goal in their last six Premier League matches.
Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) was unanimously chosen as the best midfield option by our panel this week. It’s easy to see why as Liverpool host Fulham on Sunday, the side with the division’s worst defence so far this season. The Egyptian is streaks ahead on our current captain poll for Gameweek 12, having averaged 8.4 points per game at Anfield in 2018/19.
Alongside Salah is his colleague Sadio Mané (£9.8m) as our Scout Squad panel encouraged double Liverpool offensive coverage. Such is their faith in the Fulham defence which has conceded more goals than any other side season (29), having allowed more shots on target than every Premier League club apart from Burnley in the first 11 matches. Meanwhile, Mané may have struggled of late but is still averaging eight points per game at Anfield.
Eden Hazard (£11.3m) should be back in the starting line-up for Chelsea this weekend after getting a 62-minute run-around in the Europa League on Thursday night. Even though he has featured as a substitute twice at Stamford Bridge this season, Hazard has attacking returns in all but one of his displays in front of his own set of fans in 2018/19. For that reason, we are backing him to deliver once again, especially considering that Everton are averaging 1.8 goals conceded per away match so far.
David Brooks (£5.1m) was not actually mentioned by our Scout Squad panel but he has been selected by his namesake as an enabler. With so many premium assets squeezed into the squad, we needed a cheap midfield option with decent form and a fixture to boot. Brooks fits that bill quite nicely with three goals in his last five appearances and a trip to Newcastle in Gameweek 12, who have allowed the third worst number of big chances in home matches so far this season. Also, with Josh King still a doubt for Bournemouth, there’s every chance the Welshman could feature up front again.
Such is the quality of Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) that he has made it into the Scout Picks XI despite facing a fixture that might look tougher on paper than it may prove in reality. For starters, the Manchester City forward is yet to blank at home this season and has seven goals in his last eight Premier League meetings with Manchester United. Aguero should get the full 90 minutes in this match after completing the 6-1 win over Southampton, and he is going up against a United defence with just one clean sheet this season. That’s why he got the top pick from Az and Peter while being tipped as the second-best choice by Joe.
Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) rounds off our starting XI by earning himself a second consecutive appearance. He rewarded our faith last week with a 12-point haul in the win over Burnley and we feel he will be on the scoresheet when West Ham travel to Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon. Alvaro Morata is the only player to have recorded more shots on target than the Austrian in the last four Gameweeks. Furthermore, on his last visit to the John Smith’s Stadium, Arnautovic came away with a goal and two assists.
Kieran Trippier (£6.3m) nearly made an appearance in the Scout Picks selection after receiving backing from all four of our pundits. The Tottenham right-back has shown great consistency this season, recording one of either defensive or attacking returns in seven of his 10 Premier League appearances since Gameweek 2. This week Spurs travel to face a Crystal Palace side with just two goals in five home matches so far. However, he was a little too expensive to fit in and we worry a little about the Spurs defence after a shaky finish at Molineux in Gameweek 11.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m) has three goal involvements in as many away matches for Burnley and seems the most likely to do well for them in Gameweek 12. His set-piece responsibilities underpin his appeal and his style of play means he does well for bonus too, collecting five in his last five matches.
Joe’s man Danny Ings (£5.5m) rounds off our list of substitutes given his impressive individual figures over recent weeks. The Southampton man has actually had more shots in the box and efforts on target than Salah and is the only Saint to have actually scored in the last six Gameweeks. A home match against a Watford side with just one away clean sheet thus far seems the perfect opportunity for Ings to continue his run.
Representing the community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 12 is Sam Goddard aka Boleyn Boy. He has opted for a 3-4-3 formation of Schmeichel; Bellerin, Rudiger, Mendy; J. Murphy (Cardiff), Salah, Ozil, Anderson; Ings, Kane, Firmino.
The community member who beats our picks by the biggest margin over the campaign will win a £100 Amazon Voucher and a place in our Contributors and Moderators League for the following season.
The Scouts have won seven and lost four so far, with Mince n Tatties losing out 50-37 in Gameweek 11.
fclackless‘s winning margin of 33 points (77-44) in Gameweek 10 is the current target to beat.
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