The Fantasy Football Scout editorial team have chosen what they believe to be the best XI for Gameweek 1.
Also, for the first time, the Scout Picks will have an official captain this season, just like a normal Fantasy side.
We’ll have more detail on how the skipper is to be chosen each week later in the article.
The 11-man line-up is chosen by comparing our Scout Squad submissions from earlier the week, which included teams from editor David Munday, deputy editor Neale Rigg, head of content Paul McKinnon and community manager Geoff Dance.
After much deliberation and compromise, we have assembled a team influenced by all four pundits which we hope will do well in Gameweek 1.
We have hit our £83m budget on the head and line up in a 4-4-2 formation.
Nick Pope (£4.5m) was chosen as the best goalkeeper for Gameweek 1 by three of our pundits this week, with Neale still selecting him in second place. The return of 2017/18’s save-machine is welcome news for Fantasy managers, his place in the side assured by Tom Heaton’s departure to Aston Villa. More importantly, Burnley appeared to have rediscovered their imposing defensive form at home towards the end of 2018/19. In their last six home matches, they gave up just seven big chances, the same number as Liverpool.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) is our chosen representative from the Liverpool defence for Gameweek 1. He was the overwhelming favourite among our panellists, earning the top spot in this position from all four of us. Between Gameweeks 21 and 38 last season, Alexander-Arnold created more chances than Andrew Robertson and outscored him by 111 points to 104. While the left-back is more nailed on in the side, we think Alexander-Arnold’s position/game-time is only at risk from the more defence-minded Joe Gomez in matches against big sides. Norwich
Lucas Digne (£6.0m) makes it into the Scout Picks after backing from two members of our panel. There is plenty of interest in the Everton defence right now with Neale touting Jordan Pickford and David originally selecting Coleman, before being put off by the signing of Djibril Sidibé. Digne’s involvement in set-pieces should stand him in good stead to supplement his clean sheet potential for Gameweek 1. Everton kept eight clean sheets in their last 11 matches of 2018/19, although that was achieved with Kurt Zouma and Idrissa Gueye, both no longer at the club. However, Crystal Palace had the joint-lowest goal tally in home matches of sides that survived relegation last season (19).
Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5m) is our Manchester City defender of choice ahead of Manchester City’s trip to West Ham. The reigning champions kept more clean sheets than any other side in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign and we’d expect to retain that defensive potential in Gameweek 1. Zinchenko started 10 of the last 11 matches of last season and played more minutes than new signing Angeliño in pre-season while Benjamin Mendy is not expected back until September.
The £4.5m defender category is a tough one this season, with a real dearth of exciting options. We’ve gone with Martin Montoya (£4.5m) as our enabler for some of the extravagant spending elsewhere in the Scout Picks XI. The right-back has been used as a wing-back in Graham Potter’s 3-4-3 system at Brighton this summer.
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) was an incredibly easy choice for the Scout Picks panel this week. Ahead of the Gameweek 1 meeting with Norwich, the Egyptian was too of the pile for midfield selections, chosen as the best option in this position by all four of us. Salah was the highest points-scorer last season and faces a Norwich defence that had defensive issues last season as well as injuries at centre-back ahead of Gameweek 1.
Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) was the unanimous second choice asset in midfield. The last time he went to the London Stadium in the Premier League he came away with a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win. Manchester City have scored at least four times in each of their last four trips to West Ham.
Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) was one of the most popular of our mid-price midfielders in the Scout Squad submissions with David, Geoff and Neale all including him. The Brighton midfielder has been deployed in the front three of that 3-4-3 formation Potter has been using this summer and was on set pieces too, providing three assists. More importantly, no Premier League team allowed more chances from dead-ball situations than Watford in 2019.
The £5.5m bracket is a little bit of a tricky one at the start of 2019/20 but we think that there’s potential for Callum Robinson (£5.5m) to do well in Gameweek 1. The FPL midfielder has been playing as a centre-forward for Sheffield United in pre-season and was involved in the joint-highest number of goals across their six matches than any of his colleagues (five). Meanwhile, Bournemouth’s defence remains untrustworthy. Last season, the only teams to conceded more goals than the Cherries (70) were Huddersfield (76) and Fulham (81), who were both relegated.
Harry Kane (£11.0m) was widely seen as the best forward for Gameweek 1 by our Scout Squad panel. All four of our pundits selected him in the top spot in this position. The Spurs man faces newly-promoted side Aston Villa on Saturday, a favourable fixture to start the campaign. No forward who survived relegation managed more shots on target than Kane last season, despite the player missing two spells with injuries. That tells us he is ready to kick on and have an incredible campaign in 2019/20.
Even though we don’t have many good things to say about Bournemouth’s defence, we are well aware of the awesome potential of their attack. That is why Callum Wilson (£8.0m) rounds off the Scout Picks XI after three of us included him in our Scout Squad submissions. The forward had all-round attacking appeal last season, afforded the same number of big chances in home matches as Salah, and joint-fourth among all players for big chances created in such games. Wilson was also the Cherries most important player in pre-season, involved in more goals than any of his colleagues (five).
Substitutes (no budget)
For those unfamiliar with the Scout Picks, our bench does not work in quite the same way as an official FPL one.
Rather than being the leftovers of our budget who come into the starting XI in the event of injuries or no-shows, these are relatively cheap players who nearly made the final cut, who we want to give an honourable mention to.
There is no firm budget for this but we like to limit ourselves to the budget end of the scale in each position.
Kyle Walker-Peters (£5.0m) was one of our differentials for Gameweek 1 and came close to inclusion in the Scout Picks, only missing out on cost. He looks likely to start Gameweek 1 against Aston Villa and should offer creativity down Spurs’ right flank. Read our differentials article for more information by CLICKING HERE.
Leander Dendoncker (£4.5m) is by far the most appealing budget midfielder for 2019/20. He is one of only a few in the £4.5m price bracket who is likely to start matches and his advanced positioning in Wolves’ 3-5-2 system means he should get some attacking returns this year.
Budget forwards are proving tricky at the start of this new season but there are one or two useful players to be found. Chris Wood (£6.5m) takes the final spot on our bench this week ahead of Southampton’s visit to Turf Moor. He was tipped by David and Neale after scoring nine times in pre-season.
For the first time, the Scout Picks will have a captain in the 2019/20 season.
This will be chosen based on a combination of factors.
This will then factor into a vote undertaken by our Scout Picks panel of David, Neale, Paul and Geoff.
Because the use of Fantasy Football Scout data is used so heavily in this process, the captain we choose each Gameweek will be known only to those who sign up for the 2019/20.
It will be revealed to the public when the deadline for that Gameweek passes.
This week the clear favourite candidate for the armband according to our Captain Sensible article was Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Salah.
The information we uncovered resulted in the following results from our vote:
- David – Salah
- Neale – Salah
- Paul – Salah
- Geoff – Salah
Raheem Sterling has been handed the vice-captaincy.
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).
We will announce the Community Champion and their team in due course.
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