There’s a smaller pool of players for our Scout Squad panel to choose from this week as Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Brighton are without a league fixture in Gameweek 27 due to the clash with the EFL Cup final.
The long-list of Fantasy assets below will be subsequently considered for our regular Scout Picks feature, which will be published on Friday before the next round of Premier League matches.
The 72 nominations listed will be narrowed down to a squad of 14 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.5m) ahead of the earlier-than-usual Gameweek 27 deadline of 18:45 GMT on Friday.
Az, Peter, Paul and Neale (in for the unavailable Joe) expand on their notable selections and omissions in the article below.
|GK||Neil Etheridge||Martin Dubravka||Martin Dubravka||Martin Dubravka|
|Martin Dubravka||Lukasz Fabianski||Vicente Guaita||Lukasz Fabianski|
|Bernd Leno||Hugo Lloris||Lukasz Fabianski||Neil Etheridge|
|DF||Sead Kolasinac||Sead Kolasinac||Sead Kolasinac||Sead Kolasinac|
|Ricardo Pereira||Kieran Trippier||Ricardo Pereira||Ricardo Pereira|
|Fabian Schar||Ben Chilwell||Kieran Trippier||Fabian Schar|
|Patrick van Aanholt||Fabian Schar||DeAndre Yedlin||Sol Bamba|
|Sol Bamba||Jonny||Sol Bamba||Matt Doherty|
|MF||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Felipe Anderson||Son Heung-min|
|Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Son Heung-min||Felipe Anderson|
|Paul Pogba||Paul Pogba||Paul Pogba||Paul Pogba|
|Ryan Fraser||James Maddison||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane|
|Felipe Anderson||Miguel Almiron||Ryan Fraser||Ryan Fraser|
|Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette||Pierre-Emerick
|Joshua King||Marko Arnautovic||Marko Arnautovic||Salomon Rondon|
|Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez||Joshua King||Joshua King|
|Salomon Rondon||Troy Deeney||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez|
Most popular picks: Martin Dubravka, Sead Kolasinac, Son Heung-min, Paul Pogba, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raul Jimenez (four), Lukasz Fabianski, Ricardo Pereira, Fabian Schar, Sol Bamba, Felipe Anderson, Ryan Fraser, Alexandre Lacazette, Marko Arnautovic, Joshua King (three),
My five-man midfield is stocked full of pretty obvious names for the slightly reduced Gameweek 27.
Instead, I’ve looked to the forwards in my usual quest for differentials, with Josh King and Marko Arnautovic prominent names.
Crucially, they not only play at home to porous defences this weekend, but the pair also offer Fantasy managers a fixture in both Gameweeks 31 and 33.
Grabbing them now – depending on your plan for FPL chips – could help get ahead of the curve.
King has 24 points in his last two at the Vitality and hosts a Wolves defence with one clean sheet in their last ten road trips.
Digging into the statistics, the Norwegian has tended to find top form in the second half of the season.
King scored a combined five goals between Gameweek 1-19 over the last two domestic campaigns. Yet over Gameweek 20-38 during that period, he found the net on 19 occasions.
Arnautovic has been a huge source of frustration in recent weeks, with injuries and a possible January transfer move ensuring his ownership – similar to King – sits under 7% in FPL.
When on the pitch, the Austrian has been involved in 53% of West Ham’s goals, compared with the 38% of Felipe Anderson.
A visit from Fulham – who have conceded more goals on the road (32) than any other side – seems the ideal opportunity for Arnautovic to get back on the scoresheet.
A reduced set of fixtures reduces the pool of available players for us to choose from. There’s also a really tough fixture to call, in Manchester United v Liverpool, and potentially two easier ones in Newcastle v Huddersfield and Arsenal v Southampton.
I fancy Newcastle to grind out a 1-0 win at St. James’ Park, hence the double-up on their goalkeeper and defender and a cheeky punt on record signing Miguel Almiron, who impressed against Wolves.
I think clean sheets are going to be hard to come by this week (bar Newcastle) so I’ve filled my defence up with attacking players. An injury doubt for Matt Doherty means Jonny makes my shortlist and I fancy Kieran Trippier on set pieces against an improved, but still leaky, Burnley defence.
Sead Kolasinac looks a certainty for the Scout Picks this week: he is creating more chances than any other Arsenal player and while his defending is, shall we say, questionable, his attacks down the left are vital to Arsenal at the moment.
I’ve also gone for Ben Chilwell over the more popular Ricardo Pereira. He doesn’t score very often but looks good for assist potential and bonus if Leicester can keep a clean sheet.
Son Heung-min‘s my captain this week, as he cannot stop scoring. I don’t need to defend the selections of Mohamed Salah and Paul Pogba either – who knows what’s going to happen in this game – but both could profit as these two titans clash.
Up front, I’ve gone for the Arsenal striker double-up. Alexandre Lacazette ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might raise a few eyebrows but with pretty much guaranteed gametime and as a player who does well when deployed centrally with Aubameyang out wide, he’s my preferred pick.
It was a toss-up between a Felipe Anderson/Salomon Rondon double-up but instead, I’ve gone for an Almiron/Marko Arnautovic combination, which is a bit riskier but I think has a higher ceiling.
Raul Jimenez and Troy Deeney make up my final two picks. Jimenez blanked (of course) as soon as I bought him and Deeney is a pretty uninspiring choice but plays Cardiff, who are always susceptible to a few goals against them despite looking quite impressive at home recently.
Slim pickings this week and I suspect there’ll be a lot of overlap among the Scout Squad selection, given the dearth of attractive options available and the fact that Manchester United face Liverpool on Sunday.
That meeting of fourth versus second at Old Trafford is enough for me to overlook Mohamed Salah, who has scored one goal in seven league matches against the “big six” this season (a penalty against Arsenal).
Felipe Anderson gets high priority for me, despite having only registered one attacking return in the last seven Gameweeks. The underlying statistics show that Fulham are particularly susceptible to conceding chances down their right flank of late and the Cottagers are the only Premier League club without a clean sheet in 2019, having conceded two or more goals in each of their last six league matches.
Only five clubs have shipped fewer goals than Newcastle United this season, so I’m backing Rafael Benitez’s dogged outfit to shut out a Huddersfield Town side that have scored on just two occasions in the last seven Gameweeks. The Terriers are particularly weak down their left flank at the moment (only Watford have conceded more chances from that zone of the pitch in the last six Gameweeks) so I’ve plumped for wing-back DeAndre Yedlin, who has created eight chances in his last six appearances.
Though they’ve improved drastically in recent weeks, Burnley are also susceptible down their left flank and I think Kieran Trippier is long overdue an attacking return based on his rate of chances created over the last six Gameweeks and indeed the season.
The Hornets’ aerial weakness and fallibility at set plays prompt my selection of Sol Bamba, meanwhile. Cardiff have kept seven clean sheets against non-“big six” sides this season, while Watford have only found the back of the net twice in the last four Gameweeks.
Suffering a wretched sequence of results on the road, Bournemouth are a different prospect when back on the south coast: the Cherries have recorded three clean sheets in their last four home matches. That’s enough for me to keep the Wolves assets at a minimum, with the best-value striker in FPL – Raul Jimenez – making the cut mostly due to a lack of convincing options elsewhere.
By overlooking Salah I’ve given us the option of doubling up on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. I’m not expecting a goal bonanza at the Emirates like some are but it would be remiss to overlook the Arsenal pair and they are arguably the best two striking options in isolation this week: Aubameyang averages 9.5 points per game in his last six home matches, while Sergio Aguero is the only FPL forward to have scored more goals than Lacazette in 2019.
With a reduced fixture list this week and some fairly damp squibs in amongst those matches that do go ahead, there’s a fair few bets being hedged in terms of my squad selection this week. Also, at the time of writing, I was unable to access Fantasy Football Scout’s statistics properly, so apologies to those of you who appreciate more in-depth number-crunching.
On paper, the fixtures at the London Stadium, St. James’ Park and the Emirates look like home bankers and eight of my selections hail from the Hammers, the Magpies and the Gunners.
My double-up on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette has paid dividends previously and I’m also willing to overlook Sead Kolasinac’s last-minute, heart-breaking howler against Huddersfield and instead find promise in his return of four assists in the last nine matches.
I’m not thrilled to find Salomon Rondon as my third striker but his selection is in keeping with the predatory tactic of targeting the hapless Terriers. In contrast, I’m very confident in Martin Dubravka and Fabian Schar to keep out a Huddersfield attack with just one goal in its last five away fixtures.
Another budget-friendly defensive double-up comes at the Cardiff Stadium, where Cardiff have shut out the aforementioned Huddersfield and also Bournemouth in their last two home games. I suspect that Watford may carry a bigger threat when they roll up in Wales on Friday night but Neil Etheridge and Sol Bamba both provide excellent value. I also fancied the Ivory Coast man to add to his goal tally even before his strike against Southampton and he is riding surprisingly high in the list of defenders for bonus, so has the potential to gain points from various sources.
I can’t help but feel that the stage is set for goals at Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth entertain Wolves. Raul Jimenez and Josh King each have three goals and one assist in their last four matches and could profit on Saturday. In truth, for all the attacking midfielders on show from both teams, the Wolves creators probably have the better form, but I’ve gone back to an old favourite, Ryan Fraser, to give a bit of balance, with Matt Doherty also sneaking in.
The Community Champion
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).
This week’s contender will be announced in the Scout Picks on Friday.
Last weekend, Pep Pig lost to our Scout Picks 48-58 with a team of Ryan (0), Duffy (7), Kolasinac (2), Koscielny (3), Martial (12), De Bruyne (3), Son (6), Salah (8), Aubameyang (0), Firmino (5), Murray (2).
fclackless’s Gameweek 10 victory over the Scout Squad crew by a score of 77-44 remains the deficit to beat.
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