The regular prelude to the Scout Picks returns ahead of Gameweek 37.
In this article, our four panelists each submit an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets with the focus chiefly on the coming Gameweek.
The 72 nominations listed below will then 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 19:00 BST on Friday evening.
This is our first Scout Squad article since Joe – a regular contributor to this feature – took ill over a week ago and we continue to wish our absent colleague and friend all the best in his recovery.
Peter, Paul, Az and Neale (deputising for Joe) expand on their notable inclusions and omissions in the article below.
|GK||Bernd Leno||Bernd Leno||Bernd Leno||Bernd Leno|
|David de Gea|
|Vicente Guaita||Jordan Pickford|
|Rui Patricio||Lukasz Fabianski||Jordan Pickford||Lukasz Fabianski|
|DF||Lucas Digne||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Luke Shaw||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Andrew Robertson||Lucas Digne||Aymeric Laporte|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Luke Shaw||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Aymeric Laporte||Matt Doherty||Andrew Robertson||Matt Doherty|
|Scott Dann||Cesar Azpilicueta||Scott Dann||Luke Shaw|
|MF||Eden Hazard||Eden Hazard||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Raheem Sterling||Richarlison||Mohamed Salah||Eden Hazard|
|Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Paul Pogba||Mohamed Salah|
|Richarlison||Son Heung-min||Diogo Jota||Diogo Jota|
|Ruben Loftus-Cheek||Diogo Jota||Son Heung-min||Nathan Redmond|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Alexandre Lacazette||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Romelu Lukaku|
|Marcus Rashford||Christian Benteke||Marcus Rashford||Wilfried Zaha|
|Wilfried Zaha||Marcus Rashford||Wilfried Zaha||Callum Wilson|
Most popular picks: Bernd Leno, Lucas Digne, Sergio Aguero, Raul Jimenez (four), Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard, Diogo Jota, Wilfried Zaha, Marcus Rashford (three)
Favourable home matches for both Man City and Chelsea means that Liverpool attackers could be overlooked in this week’s Scout Picks.
I’m hoping we can free up enough cash to find a place for Sadio Mane, as Mohamed Salah’s price tag is likely to be beyond us.
Alongside the usual Scout Squad suspects, Crystal Palace pair Scott Dann and Wilfried Zaha could thrive away to Cardiff.
The Welsh side need to win to stand a chance of avoiding the drop and that can play into Palace’s hands on the counter.
Zaha has scored eight of his nine goals away from home this season, the same number as the aforementioned Salah.
Injuries to Roy Hodgson’s regular centre-backs has promoted Dann to the Eagles’ teamsheet.
He has started the last three and recorded five efforts in the box, placing him second among defenders.
The Bluebirds’ weakness from dead-ball situations could be ideal for Dann’s aerial threat.
Neil Warnock’s men have conceded 156 shots from set-pieces, the second-worst record in the Premier League.
In midfield, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be worth a punt at home to Watford.
The Chelsea midfielder has started each of the last three at Stamford Bridge, producing a goal, two assists and 21 FPL points.
Over the Blues’ last four home matches, Loftus-Cheek’s total of ten shots on goal sits second along with Eden Hazard.
Watford, meanwhile, have struggled to keep out opponents and are without a clean sheet in their last ten matches.
A midweek rest for set-piece specialist Trent Alexander-Arnold solidifies the Liverpool right-back’s place at the top of my list of defenders.
Newcastle’s weaknesses at set plays and in the air are well documented, with the Magpies having conceded the most headed chances and opportunities from dead-ball situations of any Premier League club in 2018/19.
Seven of Brighton’s nine efforts on goal were headers in their Gameweek 36 draw with Rafael Benitez’s side – including Pascal Gross’s equaliser.
Sadio Mane also makes my 18-man squad as a consequence, with the Senegalese winger having had the most headed attempts on goal of any FPL midfielder this season.
Cardiff’s vulnerability to the high ball also prompts my leftfield selection in attack, with Christian Benteke likely making a one-and-only appearance in my Scout Squad list.
Palace have been excellent away from home this season and the Bluebirds’ need to win against Roy Hodgson’s side this weekend plays right into the hands of the counter-attacking Eagles.
No team has conceded more headed chances than Cardiff in the last six matches so Benteke, who nodded Palace in front against Arsenal a fortnight ago and claimed a headed assist for his team’s second goal at the Emirates, gets my vote over Wilfried Zaha.
Bernd Leno seems about the most secure route into the Arsenal defence ahead of the visit of a dismal Brighton forward-line, while Luke Shaw‘s attacking threat coupled with Huddersfield’s lack of goals means the United left-back features high up my wishlist.
The Terriers, indeed, have conceded the most chances from their right flank (United’s left) of any team when filtered by last six matches.
A double-up on Everton’s defence needs little explanation given how excellent the Toffees’ backline has been of late while I’ve also gone for Richarlison in attack, with Burnley without a clean sheet in their last six away days.
The Brazilian sits third among midfielders for shots in the box both in his last six matches and over the season as a whole.
Leicester’s superb form slightly puts me off a double-up on Manchester City’s premium twosome, so Sergio Aguero is my sole nomination from Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Foxes are yet to keep an away clean sheet under Brendan Rodgers and Aguero hit four goals against Leicester at home in 2017/18.
The Argentinean striker has delivered at least one attacking return in every single league match he has started at the Etihad this season.
Just two matches to go! I hope you are all on course to finish where you want in the rankings and win any mini-leagues to bring home some dollar or some respect.
The last two weeks certainly present some intriguing fixtures and working out which teams still have a spark about them – and which ones already have their cocktails and are sitting on the beach – will be crucial to making some shrewd, last-minute moves.
This week, there are some great fixtures to take advantage of. Liverpool and Man City continue to lock horns at the top of the table, ensuring motivation for the two best teams in the league.
The decision between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, as always, is a tough one – but Salah looks back to his best now and, with a second successive Golden Boot in his grasp, has that extra motivation to finish the season strongly.
For City, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling look primed to continue their fantastic seasons. The game against Leicester may be tricky, but if Aguero’s four goals last season against them is anything to go by, he looks a great captaincy option for this game when so much is on the line.
Elsewhere, I like the look of Palace away at Cardiff, Arsenal at home to Brighton and Wolves at home to Fulham. I’ve filled my boots with these players and would expect performances from these teams as they look to finish the season with a bang, not a whimper.
I’m looking forward to some intriguing match-ups this week, with in-form Leicester (13 points from a possible 18) carrying the support of many a Scouser as they seek to halt the City juggernaut, and Manchester United hoping to improve upon their dire recent run (seven points from 18) against a Terriers side which threw in the towel weeks ago.
Starting at the Etihad, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero top my respective midfield and striker selections – the pair has 12 goals from 21 shots on target in their last six homes matches and one or other is likely to be wearing the Triple Captain armband for many FPL managers who still have that chip in their back pocket.
Use of said Triple Captain chip in last Friday’s demolition of Huddersfield led to many three-figure Gameweek scores and confirmed that Liverpool assets remain a must for the title run-in. Newcastle are a much tougher proposition (with just five goals conceded in their last six home games, compared to Huddersfield’s 18 from their last six away days) and the Barcelona tie may prove a distraction. Nonetheless, I can’t look beyond a defensive double-up of Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Mohamed Salah edging out his Senegalese team-mate for the final spot.
I’m struggling to justify significant selections from the four sides immediately below the title contenders beyond the fact that they obviously have something to play for and have (to varying degrees) promising fixtures.
Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed more big chances (seven) in his last four games on the road but most of these (and his only two away goals during that period) came at Crystal Palace back at the end of February. However, targeting the terrible Terriers has been a viable strategy for many, so I’m gambling on the big Belgian, with Luke Shaw to provide the ammunition.
Eden Hazard’s blistering recent home form (four goals and two assists in his last four matches at the Bridge) suggests that he may take advantage of Watford’s poor defensive stats away from Vicarage Road (with only Huddersfield conceding more goals in their last four games away from home).
I’ve been going round in circles trying to predict the outcome of Spurs’ visit to the Vitality in Saturday’s early kick-off and have settled on Callum Wilson as my sole interest in that game, whilst acknowledging the recent Fantasy Football Scout article suggesting he may perform better on his travels.
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 biggest 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 Gameweek 36, Johannes lost out to our Scout Picks 85-72.
fclackless’s Gameweek 10 victory over the Scouts by a score of 77-44 remains the deficit to beat.
The Community Champion for Gameweek 37 will be announced in our Scout Picks article on Friday.