Scout Squad

The Scout Squad for FPL Blank Gameweek 31

This regular precursor to the Scout Picks returns ahead of Blank Gameweek 31.

In this article, our four regular panellists each submit an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets, with the focus exclusively on the coming Gameweek.

The 72 nominations listed below will be narrowed down to a squad of 14 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.5m) ahead of the forthcoming deadline at 14:00 GMT on Saturday afternoon.

Paul, Peter, Joe and Az expand on their notable selections and omissions in the article below.

 PaulJoeAzPeter
GKArtur BorucLukasz FabianskiLukasz FabianskiLukasz Fabianski
 Kepa Arrizabalaga

Artur Boruc

Artur BorucArtur Boruc
 Tom HeatonJordan PickfordKepa ArrizabalagaTom Heaton
DFTrent
Alexander-Arnold
Andrew RobertsonTrent
Alexander-Arnold
Trent
Alexander-Arnold
 Aaron CresswellCesar AzpilicuetaDeclan Rice

Declan Rice

 Lucas DigneDavid LuizDavid LuizHarry Maguire
 James TarkowskiDeclan RiceNathan AkeJames Tarkowski
 Ricardo PereiraHarry MaguireEmerson PalmieriLucas Digne
MFMohamed SalahMohamed SalahMohamed SalahMohamed Salah
 Sadio ManeSadio ManeSadio ManeSadio Mane
 Ryan FraserEden HazardJames MaddisonEden Hazard
 Eden HazardRyan FraserEden HazardRyan Fraser
 Gylfi SigurdssonJames MaddisonDavid BrooksManuel Lanzini
FWCallum WilsonCallum WilsonCallum WilsonCallum Wilson
 Jamie VardyAshley BarnesJamie VardyJamie Vardy
 Gonzalo Higuain

Jamie Vardy

Marko ArnautovicAshley Barnes
 Ashley BarnesSalomon RondonAshley BarnesGonzalo Higuain
 Javier HernandezMarko ArnautovicSalomon RondonSalomon Rondon

Most popular picks: Artur Boruc, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Eden Hazard, Callum Wilson, Ashley Barnes, Jamie Vardy (four), Lukasz Fabianski, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Ryan Fraser, Salomon Rondon (three)

Paul said…

There is an obvious nucleus of form players for Gameweek 31’s reduced fixture list.

Five of my squad – Eden Hazard, Jamie Vardy and Sadio Mane, as well as Bournemouth pair Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson – all delivered double-digit returns last weekend.

Along with Mohamed Salah, they are likely to populate many Free Hit squads, which raises the importance of seeking out differentials.

Aaron Cresswell, James Tarkowski and Gonzalo Higuain are all under 6% ownership in FPL and could be standout overlooked picks.

In Cresswell’s case, it’s more about the opposition, with West Ham set to host travel-sick Huddersfield.

The Terriers seem to have a particular weakness on Cresswell’s flank since moving to a midfield diamond in Gameweek 27.

Huddersfield sit in the bottom two for both chances conceded and crosses conceded down their right-hand side over the last four Gameweeks.

Cresswell, meanwhile, is second only to Robert Snodgrass for crosses (20 to 30) in the Hammers’ last six and should be given license to roam forward on Saturday afternoon.

Tarkowski has already found the net on three occasions ahead of Burnley’s home clash with Leicester.

The Clarets’ centre-back also boasts some strong recent numbers – no other defender bettered his five attempts in the box in the last four Gameweeks.

Given that ten of Burnley’s 34 goals have been headers, Tarkowski’s contribution could be key against the Foxes.

With managers rushing to Wilson and Vardy up front, and Hazard’s appeal on the rise after his late leveller at home to Wolves, Higuain has mainly been ignored.

Yet since arriving at Stamford Bridge, his total of 25 shots on goal is more than any other player.

Indeed, only Sergio Aguero – and marginally, at that – has surpassed his efforts in the box, by 18 to 17, over the last six Gameweeks.

Away to an Everton defence that fell apart spectacularly at Newcastle, Higuain can add to his three-goal haul on Sunday afternoon.

Joe said…

Despite the reduced fixture list there are still plenty of options across all positions this week – well, except among goalkeepers that is. Between the sticks there are really only two options this week, West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski and Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc.

The Hammers man has two clean sheets in his last four home matches and hosts a Huddersfield side that has mustered a mere eight goals on the road.

Meanwhile, the Cherries stopper takes on Newcastle at home and also has a pair of shutouts over the same timeframe in front of his own fans.

Tripling up on Liverpool and Chelsea, who travel to Fulham and Everton respectively, looks vital this week. But a key consideration for the Scout Picks committee will be whether to double up on their assets in attack or defence.

I marginally favour an attacking double-up of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to exploit Fulham’s awful defensive form, particularly at home. Over their last four Craven Cottage run-outs, they have conceded a record 65 shots and 48 close-range efforts.

In contrast, I’m backing a defensive double-up for Chelsea given Everton’s far better home form, with two clean sheets in their last four Goodison Park encounters. The Blues erratic attack of late is also a concern. While they recently beat Spurs 2-0, they worryingly laboured to a 1-1 draw against Wolves last time out.

With three assists, two clean sheets and four bonus over his last five matches, Cesar Azpilicueta offers an excellent range of points for our selection.

David Luiz also gets the nod, with a goal and bonus over the same timeframe and three double-digit hauls this season. The Brazilian is also among the top five defenders over their last quartet of matches in terms of shots in the box.

Top of that list is Harry Maguire, with five close-range efforts. While I expect Leicester to concede when they travel to Burnley, the England centre-back’s aerial threat at set-pieces could be key given the Clarets’ frailty at dead-ball situations.

Elsewhere, Callum Wilson and Ashley Barnes top my forward selection having scored three in their last four home matches.

Az said…

A limited selection of players this week but I still think there are some decent differentials out there for anyone looking to close the gap on mini-league leaders or who are seeking a boost in the rankings. My advice is get in the ‘core’ players (who sit high on my list) and have a bit of a punt on a couple of low-owned players who could deliver this Gameweek.

Of all the games, it’s Liverpool versus Fulham which looks the most plum fixture for the highly owned players. Owners of three Liverpool players are surely licking their lips at the prospect of seeing their men go up against Fulham, who ship goals for fun. The question is, who looks set to prosper?

I’ve gone for set-piece taker Trent Alexander-Arnold, the red-hot Sadio Mane and the a-bit-out-of-sorts Mohamed Salah, who I’ve picked top of my list but do have some doubts about after Wednesday’s game – as I’m sure many of you do, too.

James Maddison and Marko Arnautovic look like good punts for anyone willing to roll the dice. Maddison is creating chances for fun and Arnautovic should hopefully lead the line after a very poor Hammers performance against Cardiff. These guys can go alongside your West Ham defenders and Jamie Vardy, all of whom you’ve got in your teams already, right?

The one player I really wouldn’t want to be without this week is Callum Wilson, who erupted back on the scene last week. I think he’s a better pick than Ryan Fraser, who has been poor recently. I reckon Wilson is the stand-out option for any brave managers who aren’t planning on giving a Liverpool player the armband this week.

Peter said…

With apologies to any fans of the Terriers and the Lillywhites, I’m writing your sides off even in this truncated Gameweek, which gives me just eight teams to work with and also some inevitable conflicts of interest, with defensive selections up against attacking choices in some cases.

It’s also worth reminding readers that we’re limited to a maximum of three selections per team, so it’s not simply a case of listing, say, the likely first XI for Liverpool.

There is a strong English core to my defensive choices (assuming that Declan Rice completes his “switch” to Gareth Southgate’s side over the next month), with Lucas Digne joining from across the Channel and my selections are supported by compelling statistics from the excellent recent Free Hit article on defenders.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning rate of creating chances (ten in the last four Gameweeks) sees him top of the bill.

Meanwhile, Leicester’s visit to Turf Moor is a tough one to call but both Harry Maguire and James Tarkowski are top of the (active) defenders list for shots in the box with five apiece recently. The pair also tie with three goals and one assist for the season, although Leicester are (perhaps surprisingly) bottom of the table for goals scored from corners.

Rice carries a slight goal threat in his “OOP” midfield role, but the main reason for doubling up on the Hammers defensive pair of the youngster and Łukasz Fabiański is, of course, the abject away form of Huddersfield, with Jan Siewert’s men failing to get on the scoresheet in any of their last five road trips.

Those of us with both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané will have to make our own peace with our captaincy choice this week, assuming we rely on the consistent failing of Fulham’s obliging defence, which has conceded at least two goals in all ten of their league matches in 2019 and last kept out the aforementioned Huddersfield, back in December.

The Egyptian’s recent struggles in front of goal are well documented but it’s also worth highlighting Mane’s Jekyll and Hyde home and away form, with over 80% of his goals coming at Anfield. Perhaps, then, we should be open to a differential option when we peruse this week’s Captain Sensible article?

Callum Wilson returned with a goal and assist this week and boasts a points per match score of 5.7 over the season, level with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and just behind Harry Kane and a certain Argentine who plies his trade at the Etihad.

Wilson’s impressive link-up play with Ryan Fraser ensured double-digit hauls for the pair of them against Huddersfield and, although the Magpies are likely to prove a tougher nut to crack, the fact that this weekend’s clash occurs at the Vitality Stadium should not be overlooked. Twenty-six of the Cherries’ 41 goals have been scored on their own turf, with only title-chasing Liverpool and Manchester City and, er, Southampton, denying them.

And let’s not forget Ashley Barnes, a stalwart in my own team since Gameweek 23 who, like the cartoon The Cat Who Came Back, has found himself rejected and maligned but generally finds a way to return and who has helped himself to five goals and one assist in that time.

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).

Last week, Bøss star narrowly beat our Scout Picks 68-67 with a 3-4-3 line-up of Guaita (1); Alexander-Arnold (2), Chilwell (2), Robertson (1); Anderson (1), Brooks (3), Sterling (21), Mane (14); Vardy (16), Aguero (5), Zaha (2).

fclackless’s Gameweek 10 victory over the Scout Squad crew by a score of 77-44 remains the deficit to beat.

The Community Champion for Gameweek 31 will be announced in our Scout Picks on Friday.

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788 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Pablo Fornication
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 11 days ago

    Two reasons to wait for as late as possible before making any transfers. The deadline is 2pm Saturday.

    1) It's highly likely we'll get a leaked 'predicted' West Ham team at around 1.45pm from exwhuemployee on Twitter or TheWestHamWay.co.uk. This predicted team is almost always correct.

    2) There's a good chance we'll know who's progressing in the FA Cup out of Watford or Palace as their cup tie kicks off at 12.15pm so it'll be in the dying minutes as deadline hits. This is helpful as it means we could know if Palace or Newcastle play gw33 and you'll be in a better position to weigh up any potential hits. e.g if you've 2 defenders for gw31 but 3 for gw33 if AWB plays, would it be worth a -4 just for 1 gw.

    1. Mo Mané Mo Problems
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 11 days ago

      Would be funny if people base decisions on 2) at 1-0 or something and then that team loses.

    2. Amey
        6 months, 11 days ago

        Imagine missing deadline watching Watford-Palace QF 😀
        Jokes apart, this is good advice mate 🙂

      • Netters2018
          6 months, 11 days ago

          If watford lose do they play fulham in gw33?

          1. Pablo Fornication
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            Yes.

      • Snevitz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        6 months, 11 days ago

        Burnley vs Leicester:
        Would you start Pereira or McNeil?

        1. Amey
            6 months, 11 days ago

            McNeil

        2. droginexile
          • 8 Years
          6 months, 11 days ago

          Quick question to a really unimportant question please. In my Under 5% owned team, Im wondering if Tielemans is a better option that Harvey Barnes, he has seemed pretty involved over the last few weeks and is a better footballer than Barnes. Any ideas or suggestions?

          1. Snevitz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            I'd go with Tielemans out of the two although Barnes does look like scoring a few at some point.

        3. King Kun Ta
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 11 days ago

          My team atm....

          Fab/Boruc
          Pereira Robbo Clyne
          Mane Salah Fanderson Rich
          Vardy Barnes Wilson

          Digne Pogba Bennett

          0 FT and 3.4 ITB

          Q1 Fab or Boruc? (have Clyne playing)

          Q2 Pogba -> Haz to bench Rich for -4? Will loose 0.5 on Pogba considering getting him back next GW with FHchip.

          Thanks for the feedback!

        4. The Overthinker
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 11 days ago

          Where is mark these days?

          1. Flapjack ✅
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            Resigned as director in January 2019 according to companies house

            Probably enjoying free time and dominating fpl for fun.

            1. The Overthinker
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Miss his preambles .
              There was something about him on the scoutcast too.

            2. The Rumour Mill
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Thats interesting, didn't know that. Think he's still involved to an extent as David was mentioning he'd spoke to him on the Scoutcast, that could just be a whatsapp chat though for all I know haha.

              I do miss him on the scoutcast, the man has such an unmatched burning passion and enthusiasm for the game and that really came across well on the scoutcast, led to some fascinating discussions. Thats not to say the current incumbents aren't doing a great job too though, they are.

              Mark has his reasons for taking a step back though, I believe his health was a factor, so I hope thats improved just as much as his FPL rank has! 🙂 Think he goes top of the FFS hall of fame this week too.

              I noticed in his team he has held Salah, Hazard and Sterling since about GW9, through thick and thin. There's probabaly a lesson in there somewhere to us all haha.

              1. Geoff
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • Has Moderation Rights
                • 6 Years
                6 months, 10 days ago

                Despite the rumours he's still quite active! We speak with him all the time about FFS and FPL and he's still working behind the scenes.

            3. Back on the horse
              • 9 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              He's probably selling FFS.

          2. Viper
            • 9 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            He's 829 😉

          3. Snevitz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            He must still be lurking - how could he possibly achieve such a high rank if he didn't spend his days reading RMTs on here?

            1. Mo Mané Mo Problems
              • 5 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Correlation confirmed. Less FFS, better rank.

              1. Amey
                  6 months, 11 days ago

                  *logs out
                  😀

            2. Geoff
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 6 Years
              6 months, 10 days ago

              He's around! We chat with him behind the scenes almost daily but he's got a lot going on so he hasn't been on site, or in videos too much

          4. Viper
            • 9 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            A. Bednarek - > Ake. Field 9

            B. Doherty & Jimenez - > Azpilicueta & Wilson (-4). Field 10

            Id lose 1.2m in total with Doherty & Jimenez. Time to be aggressive?

            1. The Overthinker
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Attack is the best def.

          5. Brooksy86
            • 3 Years
            6 months, 11 days ago

            Arnie or Higuain?

            1. Amey
                6 months, 11 days ago

                If Pellegrini says Arnie starts definitely, Arnie for me
                Otherwise Higuain

                1. Brooksy86
                  • 3 Years
                  6 months, 11 days ago

                  Ta. Will look out for the presser.

                  1. Kun, Ayew Nigerian?
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    6 months, 11 days ago

                    Arnie ?

              • scubasmithy
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                6 months, 11 days ago

                Vardy

            2. Michelle Davin
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              A) Vardy & Fraser
              Or
              B)Wilson & Madisson

              1. Pompel
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                6 months, 11 days ago

                A for me

              2. davidmcnamara
                • 3 Years
                6 months, 10 days ago

                A

            3. Sting in the Tail
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              If Wolves make the semis there's got to be a major chance that players will be rested in the 2nd game of the double . Same goes for Watford.

            4. Rupert The Horse
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Ha!
              Salah, the most popular captain choice on here, is about to fall in price.

              1. g40steve
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                6 months, 11 days ago

                Yes i remember last time he left my team after a few low scoring weeks, the 42 points destoyed my month.

            5. The Overthinker
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Felipe Anderson's last shot on target was on January 2nd (GW21 v Brighton)

              It's GW31 and he is still in my team 🙂

              1. Rupert The Horse
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                6 months, 11 days ago

                JESUS

              2. Laurel and Vardy
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                6 months, 11 days ago

                The "31/33 preparation" curse. Many brave warriors fell in that trap....

            6. BEEZUS
              • 5 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Pogba and Kiko to Fraser and Cresswell for a -4?

            7. yer old da
              • 9 Years
              6 months, 11 days ago

              Taken a 4 point hit to get this full XI for the GW:

              Fabianski
              Robbo, Luiz, TAA, Pereira
              Salah(c), Hazard, Fraser, Hayden
              Higuain, Vardy

              Question is whether it’s worth another 4 point hit to swap Jiminez for Wilson and start him instead of Hayden? Gives me a sub. Basically will Wilson outscore Hayden by more than 4 points over GWs 31&33? I’d lose 0.5m on Jiminez though if I wanted him back, but surely it’s more about points at this stage and Bournemouth have a kind run of fixtures.