The regular prelude to the Scout Picks is back ahead of Double Gameweek 35.
In this article, our four panelists each submit an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets, with the focus chiefly on the coming Gameweek.
As expected, players with two fixtures in Double Gameweek 35 dominate our panel’s thoughts.
The 72 nominations listed below will next be narrowed down to a squad of 14 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.5m) ahead of the upcoming deadline at 11:30 BST on Saturday morning.
Peter, Joe, Paul and Az expand on their notable inclusions and omissions in the article below.
|GK||Ben Foster||Ben Foster||Ben Foster||Ben Foster|
|Angus Gunn||Hugo Lloris|
|Angus Gunn||Bernd Leno||Rui Patricio||Angus Gunn|
|DF||Matt Doherty||Aymeric Laporte||Andrew Robertson||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Jan Vertonghen||Matt Doherty||Aymeric Laporte||
|Laurent Koscielny||Maya Yoshida||Kieran Trippier||Matt Doherty|
|Craig Cathcart||Jan Vertonghen||Nacho Monreal||Andrew Robertson|
|Maya Yoshida||Andrew Robertson||Matt Doherty||Maya Yoshida|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Christian Eriksen||Son Heung-min||Eden Hazard|
|Christian Eriksen||Aaron Ramsey||Diogo Jota||Son Heung-min|
|Diogo Jota||Nathan Redmond||Sadio Mane||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Paul Pogba||Diogo Jota||Gerard Deulofeu||Sadio Mane|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez|
|Raul Jimenez||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Callum Wilson||Alexandre Lacazette|
|Danny Ings||Callum Wilson||Jamie Vardy||Callum Wilson|
|Andre Gray||Fernando Llorente||Marcus Rashford||Marcus Rashford|
Most popular picks: Ben Foster, Angus Gunn, Matt Doherty, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Raul Jimenez (four) Andrew Robertson, Maya Yoshida, Diogo Jota, Callum Wilson, Marcus Rashford (three)
The recent upturn in rotation has influenced many managers’ planning for Gameweek 35.
Picking players who are expected to start two matches over the Double Gameweek looks a wise decision, which means there is no place for Son Heung-min or any Arsenal attackers in my Scout Squad.
Up against Spurs and Man United, Gameweek 35 could be a decisive one in Man City’s bid for the title.
The form of their rivals, Liverpool, means that Pep Guardiola’s men may well have to win all five of their remaining matches to retain the crown.
I’d look to double up on their attack, then, with Kevin De Bruyne’s influence growing by the Gameweek.
The Belgian has successive 11-point hauls and could be a key armband differential – under 4% have voted for De Bruyne in our Gameweek 35 Captain Poll.
As the only side with two home matches, Wolves can also enjoy a productive Gameweek.
Diogo Jota looks a big differential against Brighton and Arsenal’s porous defences. The pair arrive with just one away clean sheet apiece this season.
Owned by just 6.7 %, Jota has produced six of his seven goals and four of his seven assists at Molineux.
Rotation also plays a big part in my defensive selection, with Craig Cathcart one of four centre-halves included.
Priced at just £4.5m, he appears to offer the safest route into the Watford rearguard against Huddersfield and Southampton.
Cathcart has scored a reasonable three goals and recorded 12 shots in the box, more than any other Hornets defender.
Last week, I tentatively predicted that Gameweek 34 would be one of the worst all-time double set of fixtures. Sadly, as a Shane Duffy captainer, I was right.
This time around, with eight teams playing twice, I’m hoping for far better returns.
My selection is dominated by Manchester City and Spurs assets, with a representative in all three outfield positions.
They meet in a historically high-scoring match-up, with 14 goals across their last four Premier League encounters – and seven at the Etihad on Wednesday.
For City, I’ve had one eye on budget and opted for Aymeric Laporte instead of Kevin De Bruyne. With 36 points across his previous two Double Gameweeks, I’m hoping he’ll once again prove to be a profitable pick.
Sergio Aguero’s nine goals in 13 matches in all competitions against his other opponents this week, Manchester United, and ten in 14 games against Spurs make him a shoo-in and possible captaincy shout. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling’s three successful strikes in as many league appearances against Spurs make him an enticing option.
For Spurs, Christian Eriksen gets my vote, due to his broad spread of points, with 16 shots and 20 chances created over his last four run-outs. A clean sheet looks likely for Jan Vertonghen when Brighton drop by for the north Londoners’ second game.
Meanwhile, there could be further cash to be saved if Spurs’ £5.1m-priced Fernando Llorente makes the cut. Over his last four matches, he has a better shots in the box rate than any of his teammates, firing off a close-range effort every 17.8 minutes. With Harry Kane sidelined, I’m expecting him to notch significant minutes.
Elsewhere, visits from Brighton on Saturday and Arsenal on Tuesday evening make Wolves look a key team to invest in, especially their striker Raul Jimenez. As Adam Hopcroft pointed out on this week’s Scoutcast, the Mexican has a phenomenal track record in evening kick-offs against top six teams. Given Brighton have just shipped seven goals combined against Cardiff and Bournemouth, Wolves assets should prosper in that fixture as well.
Aaron Ramsey looks a great differential, especially if his minutes in the Europa League are curtailed this week. The Juventus-bound midfielder is joint-top for shots among his teammates over their last four league matches.
After one of the most disappointing Gameweeks in living memory, we move on to the main event: Double Gameweek 35.
I’ve got concerns with my own team and holding Brighton defenders for two tough away trips doesn’t sit right. There could also be rotation in other spots as many people look to play their Bench Boost chips.
I’ve kept faith in the ‘template’ players that I’m seeing in a lot of teams. City have a double, and despite the games looking quite tricky on paper, I’ve gone for three of their players. If they can navigate these choppy waters, they’ll surely win the title, so I think their key players are going to be vital for the next two games.
Wolves, I think, have the best fixtures on paper and have shown amazing home form this season, so Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty will be carrying the hopes and dreams of many FPL managers as they go up against two sides (Brighton and Arsenal) with dire away records.
Quite a few single Gameweek players also come into consideration in my team.
Liverpool play Cardiff, so a defender and at least one attacker seem certain to make it into the final picks.
Bournemouth against Fulham could also be profitable for Callum Wilson, as well as Ryan Fraser, who doesn’t quite make it into my selection.
Jamie Vardy is also a player who I think will do well this week. West Ham are very different to Newcastle in the way they set up and this could play into the hands of a counter-attacking Leicester side. I don’t think West Ham will be able to live with them, especially as the home crowd will be roaring them on to attack – I’m sure there will be goals in this one.
This should be the easiest selection ever, right? Endless hours tormenting over our Wildcard squads last week with Gameweek 35 in mind left this week’s fixtures imprinted indelibly in our minds together with a handy shortlist of, say, 18 optimum players.
But then Gameweek 34 came along and reminded us that some (Liverpool) but not all (Leicester) in-form single Gameweek teams are still worthy of consideration and that not every team with something to play for (Brighton) will inevitably triumph against supposed beach-dwellers (Bournemouth).
The majority of defenders who have carried the most attacking threat recently do not have the benefit of a double. In all honesty, I’d be amazed if the final Scout Squad formation is neither 3-4-3 nor 3-5-2 but I’ve called up Maya Yoshida as my cheap and nailed Southampton cover in a sandwich which also features two Liverpool full-backs and a pair of Wolves as the bread.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (11 chances created in his last six matches) and Andrew Robertson (nine chances in an equivalent period) have the capacity to match Double Gameweek scores, whilst Matt Doherty and Willy Boly surely won’t have a better chance to pick up at least one clean sheet at home against an abject Brighton team and an Arsenal side which couldn’t break down ten-man Watford in midweek.
It’s relatively slim pickings in attack, so deciding my quintet here informs midfield selection. Sergio Aguero and Raul Jimenez are shoo-ins and I still favour Alexandre Lacazette over his Gabonese teammate. At this point, the midfield conundrum plays a part as I’ll be pulling a number of heavy hitters there and so Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford are back in favour. Wilson has five attacking returns in as many games since coming back from injury, although Rashford is somewhat of a punt given his poor form and fixtures.
In all honesty, a midfield double-up from any of Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs is entirely viable, whilst Watford, Wolves, Bournemouth and Saints offer more budget-friendly options. I’ve aimed to bankrupt FFScout by calling up five of the ten most expensive midfield maestros in the form of Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard, Son Heung-min, Kevin De Bruyne and Sadio Mané. If only goals in Europe counted towards FPL, eh?
The Community Champion
Before most Gameweeks, we nominate a Fantasy manager to challenge our Scout Picks with a starting XI of their own.
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).
In Blank Gameweek 34, Jazz beat our Scout Picks 63-58 with a line-up of Ryan (1); Duffy (1), Dunk (1), Morrison (16), Vertonghen (5); Moura (21), Son (4), Martial (5), Sané (5), Sigurdsson (2); Lukaku (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 35 is TopMarx.