There could be goals at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon as Manchester United and Liverpool meet in Blank Gameweek 27.
That’s why a player from each of those two clubs has made it into our Scout Picks XI for the weekend.
After sifting through the Scout Squad submissions from Paul, Az, Neale and Peter, we have come up with a starting XI that comes in at £82.9m, just under our £83.5m budget.
Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) was overwhelmingly chosen as the best goalkeeper for Blank Gameweek 27 by our Scout Squad pundits. Az, Neale and Peter all selected the Newcastle shot-stopper in the number one slot ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to St James’ Park. Newcastle have recorded two clean sheets in their last three home matches while the Terriers have not scored an away goal since Gameweek 19.
Sead Kolasinac (£5.1m) gets another place in the Scout Picks after picking up top spot in each of our four Scout Squad selections. A home match against Southampton could potentially offer returns at both ends of the field for the Bosnian wing-back, who has three assists in his last six Premier League outings. Only one defender has recorded more touches in the penalty box than Kolasinac since Gameweek 23, which means he should take up more dangerous positions this weekend. Meanwhile, Southampton, are in the bottom five for goal attempts conceded in the box across the last four away matches, and only two clubs have mustered fewer shots of their own in that area of the pitch in such fixtures.
Ricardo Pereira (£5.3m) looks set for a long spell of competing for a place in the Scout Picks given Leicester’s fixtures, and he makes the cut ahead of a home clash with Crystal Palace. The only Scout Squad pundit not to pick him in second place among defenders was Az so the versatile right-sided player is already popular. Capable of playing on the right flank of Leicester’s attacking midfield, Pereira has a healthy balance of goal threat, creativity and bonus potential compared to his team-mates, as Members recently found out.
Fabian Schär (£4.6m) completes a Newcastle defensive double-up ahead of the visit of Huddersfield. We already know the clean sheet potential as covered above but the Swiss international can also offer attacking returns. In the last four Gameweeks, Schär has recorded two goals and an assist.
Mohamed Salah (£13.6m) may have just one goal against top-six opposition this season but Blank Gameweek 27 looks a good opportunity for him to get his second. Just three players have had more shots on target than the Egyptian in the last four Gameweeks, and he has attacking returns in five of his last seven on the road. Meanwhile, Manchester United are yet to keep a clean sheet at home since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December.
Son Heung-min (£9.0m) was by far the most popular midfield choice among our Scout Squad pundits for Blank Gameweek 27, with Paul, Az and Peter naming him as their first choice, Neale placing him second. It’s easy to see why the South Korean is such a fashionable asset right now, having averaged 8.9 points per appearance since Gameweek 13.
All four of our Scout Squad pundits selected Paul Pogba (£8.8m) in third place ahead of Manchester United’s big clash with Liverpool. The Frenchman is one of the top form players in the Premier League right now, with just one blank in the nine Gameweeks since Solskjaer’s arrival at Old Trafford. In the last four home matches, nobody can match Pogba’s 12 shots on target, buffed by eight key passes too. Meanwhile, Liverpool are currently on a run with just one clean sheet in three away matches.
Felipe Anderson (£7.2m) is our chosen representative from West Ham as they prepare to host a Fulham side that has conceded more goals than any other side this season. The Brazilian and his Hammers colleagues have had a tough time of it going forward recently but there is a glimmer of hope that they can get back to their free-scoring ways against the Cottagers. In the last four home matches, only three players have created more chances than Anderson’s 12, which should put him at the heart of any goals scored on Friday night.
We expect Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) to keep his place in the Arsenal team when Southampton come to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon. While he played 90 minutes against BATE Borisov on Thursday night, while Alexandre Lacazette sat out suspended, the nature of the Europa League tie should mean Aubameyang is in a good place fitness-wise. Having played each match of the festive schedule, this turnaround should be no problem for him. In his last four home matches, he is joint-top of the league for shots in the penalty box and has not blanked at the Emirates against non-top-six opposition since Gameweek 12.
Raúl Jiménez (£6.8m) has shown great value as a Fantasy option this season and, accordingly, has earned more price rises than any other player since Gameweek 1. Ahead of a trip to Bournemouth, the Wolves forward has four attacking returns in as many Gameweeks and travels to the Vitality Stadium offering the potential for both goals and assists. Since Gameweek 23, he has registered as many shots as Marcus Rashford and recorded more key passes than Pogba.
Josh King (£6.4m) gets his place in the Scout Picks after selections from three of our pundits. Paul, Neale and Peter all chose him in their Scout Squad submissions in time for this weekend. The Bournemouth forward has had 11 shots in the last four Gameweeks, nine of which were in the box and five were on target. Meanwhile, his role as the leader of the Cherries’ attack in the absence of Callum Wilson and David Brooks means he has also played five key passes in that team.
Sol Bamba (£4.6m) and the Cardiff defence could grind out a clean sheet against Watford on Friday night. The Hornets come to the Cardiff City Stadium with the lowest number of shots on target of any team over the last four away matches. Meanwhile, centre-back Bamba scored last time out against Southampton.
Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) was selected in three Scout Squad entries this week but just missed out on a place in the starting XI. If Bournemouth can get back to goal-scoring form at home, then Fraser is sure to be involved. Only three players have created more chances than the Scottish international this season.
Marko Arnautovic (£6.8m) has averaged 3.7 shots per game in his last four home matches, which bodes well for attacking returns against that woeful Fulham defence. Ultimately, what cost the Austrian a place in our starting XI was his security of starts. Arnautovic has featured from the beginning just once since Gameweek 23.
Representing the community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 27 is Pirlo’s Pen. They have opted for a 3-4-3 formation of: Dubravka; Lascelles, Schär, Maguire, Kolasinac; Son, F Anderson, Eriksen; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Arnautovic.
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 were victorious in Gameweek 26, beating Pep Pig by a 58-48 scoreline.
fclackless‘s winning margin of 33 points (77-44) in Gameweek 10 is the current target to beat.