The regular prelude to the Scout Picks article returns ahead of the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
In this piece, our four panelists each submit an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets (with the focus on the coming Gameweek) and elaborate on their notable inclusions/omissions.
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 £83m) ahead of the Gameweek 1 deadline at 19:00 BST on Friday evening.
We are making some slight tweaks to the way we do Scout Squad and Scout Picks this season.
Firstly, the primary panel this year will be Paul, David, Geoff and Neale, following on from the fine work of Joe, Az and Peter in previous seasons.
We have brought this article ‘in-house’ for 2019/20 as it is the frontline editorial staff who end up compiling the Scout Picks on a Friday anyway.
Secondly, we have placed stricter regulations on our panelists to better help the Fantasy managers using this website for advice.
These are requirements for at least one £4.5m goalkeeper, at least one £4.5m or cheaper defender, at least one midfielder priced £6.0m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.0m or lower.
As was the case last year, each
Finally, we will be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks this season – although the details of how this will work will be revealed on Friday.
|GK||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Jordan Pickford|
|Hugo Lloris||Nick Pope|
|Jordan Pickford||Tom Heaton||Kasper Schmeichel||Vicente Guaita|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||
|Kyle Walker-Peters||Oleksandr Zinchenko||Kyle Walker-Peters||Kyle Walker-Peters|
|Oleksandr Zinchenko||Seamus Coleman||Lucas Digne||Ricardo Pereira|
|Charlie Taylor||Ben Gibson||John Lundstram||Diego Rico|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Ryan Fraser||Kevin de Bruyne||Lucas Moura||Lucas Moura|
|Dwight McNeil||Leandro Trossard||Anthony Martial||Ayoze Perez|
|Callum Robinson||Callum Robinson||Leandro Trossard||Leandro Trossard|
|FW||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson|
|Josh King||Moise Kean||Josh King||Chris Wood|
|Glenn Murray||Chris Wood||Troy Deeney||Troy Deeney|
Most popular picks: Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane (four), Andrew Robertson, Kyle Walker-Peters, Leandro Trossard, Callum Wilson (three)
I’m backing Liverpool, Man City and Spurs at both ends of the pitch for the opening Gameweek of the new season.
In defence, Kyle Walker-Peters could be a standout differential with an ownership of just 3%.
The Spurs right-back averaged 4.7 points per match (PPM) last term, more than any defensive team-mate.
Walker-Peters made just four home appearances but still provided three assists.
Put into perspective, his fellow full-backs Danny Rose, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier managed one home assist between them.
Burnley’s Dwight McNeil is another overlooked option at home to Southampton.
Owned by a mere 0.4%, the winger averaged 4.5 points per home start in 2018/19.
McNeil was a major influence on the Clarets after securing a regular role in Gameweek 20.
From that point onwards, his total of 24 key passes ranked second for Burnley, while his 24 shots on goal placed third.
At a cost of £6.0m, Glenn Murray is another option in the cut-price bracket.
Having found the net on three occasions over pre-season, the veteran looks set to retain his start for Brighton’s trip to Watford.
The Seagulls look a different proposition under new manager Graham Potter, chalking up four wins in five this summer, including a 2-1 victory over Valencia last weekend.
As the focal point of their attack, Murray can enjoy a successful opening Saturday at Vicarage Road.
I trust that my inclusion of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson for a Gameweek 1 squad are obvious ones that need little explanation.
For me, Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne ahead of a match with West Ham are also important inclusions, in my opinion.
Instead, I will make a case for some of the cheaper options and why I think they will do well in Gameweek 1.
Leandro Trossard is the Brighton player I’m most excited about this season as he looks likely to start in the front-three of a 3-4-3 formation.
More importantly, he looks to be involved in the set pieces for Brighton, which could lead to joy at Watford on opening weekend.
The Hornets were in the bottom five for shots conceded from dead-ball situations in 2018/19.
Meanwhile, I’m taking a bit of a punt by including Callum Robinson in my selection.
He has been playing up front for Sheffield United during pre-season and was joint-top for goal involvements too (five).
A Gameweek 1 trip to Bournemouth could see him get in the goals as their defence still doesn’t fill me with confidence.
Jamie Vardy was afforded the joint-most big chances of any Premier League player during Brendan Rodgers’ time at Leicester last season, second only to Salah for shots on target too.
Therefore, I see him as the most likely to score against a Wolves side that has a 6,000-mile round-trip to Armenia just days before Gameweek 1.
Marcus Rashford I think should do well against Chelsea’s defence who hasn’t looked too strong in pre-season, while Chris Wood‘s summer form should see him come out on top against a Southampton backline I don’t really trust.
With cash hard to come by in Gameweek 1, Nick Pope is a solid option at home to Southampton.
Hugo Lloris is my first Spurs pick and here it’s largely about their opposition. I’m also backing Kasper Schmeichel against a well-travelled Wolves squad.
Kyle Walker-Peters should start at home to Aston Villa and comes in after the predictable Liverpool duo of Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
Lucas Digne has attacking potential and a Gameweek 1 double-digit haul is a possibility.
Little needs to be said to justify Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling as they both have excellent opening fixtures.
Lucas Moura could be primed for an explosive start to the season, particularly if he starts up front with Kane against newly-promoted Villa.
I don’t yet know what to make of Manchester United this season but after briefly debating the merits of including Marcus Rashford or young Mason Greenwood, I decided Anthony Martial is the one who could punish an uncertain Chelsea defence – and is also a nicely priced out-of-position midfielder.
After our Scoutcasters extolled the appeal of Leandro Trossard during pre-season, I think he will do well against Watford and expect his 0.6% ownership to grow after Gameweek 1.
I’m backing Harry Kane to perform either alone up front or paired with Moura, breaking his surprisingly long run of finishing Gameweek 1 without a goal.
I expect goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, playing for an Arsenal team who will struggle to defend and who might have to simply outscore their opponents in many games this season.
Both Callum Wilson and Joshua King make it onto my list despite injuries in other parts of the Bournemouth side. I expect them to take advantage of Sheffield United’s lack of Premier League experience, and do the same to Aston Villa in Gameweek 2.
Rounding out the squad is Troy Deeney. He is certainly a differential pick but I think he has what it takes to take away points at home to Brighton, who might struggle to keep a clean sheet in the first match under a new innovative manager.
At Selhurst Park on Saturday, a Crystal Palace side seemingly set to be without the talismanic Wilfried Zaha (who had a 44% FPL goal involvement last season) meets an Everton outfit with only three goals to their name in seven pre-season outings.
I’m backing clean sheets on both sides but with Lucas Digne as my first-choice Everton pick I’m also playing the odds and giving myself a chance of returns at the business end of the pitch.
Liverpool’s iffy pre-season showings at the back have veered me away from a defensive double-up and towards Roberto Firmino, who will, along with the widely backed Mohamed Salah, surely exploit a Norwich backline with injury problems, a dicey defensive record in the Championship and not a single clean sheet to boast of in pre-season.
West Ham have looked promising going forward over the summer, with that attack-minded midfield trio playing behind Sebastien Haller, so I fancy their chances of spoiling a City clean sheet – if not another resounding win for the reigning champions in east London.
Set-piece taker Leandro Trossard could prosper from a Watford defence that ranked in the bottom five for big chances conceded, opportunities allowed from set plays and headed attempts conceded last season, while Troy Deeney may be a beneficiary of any early VAR-influenced increase in spot-kick awards: Brighton conceded the most penalties (ten) in the top flight in 2018/19.
A 6,000-mile round-trip for Wolves on Thursday night may well work in Leicester’s favour with their high-energy game, so I’m backing Ayoze Perez to prosper given how seamlessly he has been assimilated into this exciting Foxes side in pre-season.
Brendan Rodgers even arranged a friendly against Atalanta last weekend to prepare for playing against a team with three at the back, so Leicester will be well positioned to face one of last season’s success stories – something that may not be true of Wolves after their trek to Armenia.
Chris Wood has more pre-season goals to his name than any Premier League player and I’d be amazed if he was the one to lose out in Burnley’s three-way tussle for two striking berths.
No player in the top flight recorded more shots from inside the six-yard box than Wood last season and I wonder if Burnley’s agricultural approach can counteract Ralph Hasenhuttl’s risky high press from the back and allow space for the New Zealander to exploit.
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 2019/20 will win a £100 Amazon voucher (currently we can only offer Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com vouchers).
The Community Champion for Gameweek 1 will be announced in our Scout Picks article on Friday.
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