We’ve included three attacking players from Liverpool and Manchester City for our final Scout Picks of the season.
The two title-chasing clubs may be the only ones with anything left on the line to play for other than proud, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be goals elsewhere.
Using the Scout Squad submissions by Paul, Neale, Az and Peter, and an analysis of the Fantasy Football Scout members data, we have come up with a XI for you.
For the last time in 2018/19, we line up in a 3-4-3 formation and at a total cost of £82.8m, we are £0.7m inside our budget.
Sergio Rico (£4.4m) finds himself in the Scout Picks at just the right time to make sure we didn’t go the whole season without including one of Fulham’s defensive assets. Name-checked by three of our pundits, and selected as the best option by Paul, the Cottagers’ shot-stopper faces a Newcastle attack that has managed just three big chances in their last six away matches, the worst of any team in that time. Meanwhile, no goalkeeper has more saves than Rico in their last six at home.
Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m) was an easy inclusion for the Gameweek 38 Scout Picks. Manchester City have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 12 Premier League outings and travel to Brighton on the final day of the season. The Seagulls are bottom of the league for shots on target, big chances and goal conversion over their last six at home. Laporte himself has added two attacking returns in the last six Gameweeks and his threat from set pieces is always in his favour.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.8m) is once again our chosen representative from the Liverpool defence. Price continues to be on the right-back’s side as well as his attacking potential. Compared to colleagues Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk, the England international has the superior minutes per chance and minutes per chance created in the last six home matches. In that time, Liverpool are in the top two for fewest shots allowed in the box and big chances conceded.
Luke Shaw (£5.0m) completes our three-man defence ahead of Cardiff’s trip to Old Trafford. Manchester United may not be in the best form right now but the Bluebirds have been sufficiently poor on their travels this season that we believe a clean sheet at least is on the cards. In their last six away matches, Cardiff have been in the bottom two for shots inside the box and big chances. Meanwhile, Shaw himself has created more big chances than any other defender in the last six matches.
Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) should be back in the Liverpool side on Sunday afternoon for the visit of Wolves following his concussion and he comes into Gameweek 38 as the Scout Squad’s unanimous best midfield option. The Egyptian remains on an incredible run of form that has seen him get at least one attacking return in each of his last six matches in a row – his longest stretch without a blank all season. In those fixtures, no player has registered more shots on goal, efforts in the box or shots on target than Salah either. Wolves might have a good record against the top-six but considering they rarely keep clean sheets, Liverpool’s Egyptian star certainly has what it takes to reward his owners in Gameweek 38.
Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) is our chosen Manchester City attacker for the trip to Brighton. In the last six away matches, none of his colleagues has managed more shots in the box or efforts on target, while he also has the best expected goals (xG) score among Manchester City players in that sample. That has translated to 11 attacking returns on the road this season, more than any of his team-mates in 2018/19.
Sadio Mané (£10.3m) has been one of the most reliable attacking options in home matches this season. The Liverpool man has 12 goals in his 11 Premier League outings at Anfield, which have come from some encouraging underlying statistics. In the last four at home he has the second-highest number of big chances among all players, as well as the second-best xG too. Just as is the case with Salah, Wolves’ have asked tough questions away at top-six sides in 2018/19 but are yet to keep a clean sheet.
Nathan Redmond (£5.5m) looks like one of the most appealing budget midfielder for Gameweek 38 as Southampton host Huddersfield on Sunday afternoon. The Terriers are bottom of the league for shots allowed in the box over the last six away matches, as well as for their 18 goals shipped. Meanwhile, Redmond currently ranks fourth for big chances and third for xG out of all players in their last four at home.
Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) looks set to enjoy the final day of the 2018/19 season. In the last four home matches, no player has registered shots inside the box, more efforts on target or more big chances. That has yielded five goals and an assist ahead of a meeting with Chelsea at the King Power Stadium. The Blues are still without a clean sheet on the road in 2019, will be without the injured N’Golo Kanté and Antonio Rüdiger while doubts hang over the fitness of Andreas Christensen too. Furthermore, Chelsea come to Leicester just a few days after playing 120 minutes against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, which will have almost certainly drained them physically and mentally.
After Bournemouth’s troubles on their travels earlier this season, Callum Wilson (£6.8m) has all of a sudden become the king of football on the road in the closing stages of the campaign. In the last four away matches, no fit player has been afforded more big chances or a higher xG score. Furthermore, in such games, Wilson is also second-best for shots on target, so he stands a good chance of converting his opportunities. His Gameweek 38 opponents Crystal Palace are in the bottom four for goal attempts conceded in the box over the last four home matches, are without centre-backs James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho while Scott Dann is now a doubt.
Shane Long (£4.7m) completes our Scout Picks team for Gameweek 38 as another option who gets to enjoy facing that travel sick Huddersfield side. We’ve already covered how vulnerable the Terriers will be when they come to Southampton, as Redmond also has decent points potential this week. Long himself has actually been afforded more big chances than the midfielder in his last four home matches, ranking third best in the whole league. His accuracy of 57% over that period suggests his chances of converted more big opportunities are quite high.
Budget man Yan Valery (£4.1m) gets a place on the bench for Gameweek 38 ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to Southampton. The Saints have not exactly been adept at keeping clean sheets under Ralph Hasenhüttl but their visitors on Sunday remain the division’s joint-lowest scorers on the road in 2018/19.
Like his colleague Wilson, Ryan Fraser (£6.3m) has been impressive on the road of late with six attacking returns in his last Premier League away trips. He will also get to play against a potentially makeshift Crystal Palace side who have struggled at home this season.
Marcus Rashford (£7.3m) is probably one of the few attacking Manchester United options we can be confident will get a start against Cardiff on Sunday afternoon. There is not a great deal of form to go on for the forward but given the Bluebirds are in the bottom three for shots conceded in the box over the last six away matches, he should get plenty of chances.
Representing the community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 38 is Karan14. He has opted for a 3-4-3 of Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Kompany, Laporte; Redmond, Bernardo Silva, Pogba; Wood, Mitrovic, Zaha
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.
It was a win for the Scout Picks over Greyhead in Gameweek 37 by a 46-45 scoreline. fclackless‘s winning margin of 33 points (77-44) in Gameweek 10 is still the current target to beat.