The Scout Squad team have assembled to submit their usual selections ahead of Gameweek 8.
In this weekly feature, our four regular panelists – editorial staff Paul, David and Neale plus community manager Geoff – 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) for the weekly Scout Picks selection ahead of the Gameweek 8 deadline at 11:30 BST on Saturday.
There are requirements for at least one sub-£5.0m goalkeeper, at least one defender under £5.0m, at least one midfielder priced £6.0m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.0m or lower.
Each panelist is restricted to no more than three players from the same team, as is the case in FPL.
We will also be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks, with details of that revealed on Friday.
|GK||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope|
|Dean Henderson||Dean Henderson||David de Gea||Dean Henderson|
|David de Gea||Ben Foster||Roberto||Roberto|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Harry Maguire||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Nicolas Otamendi||Oleksandr Zinchenko||Nicolas Otamendi||Nicolas Otamendi|
|Harry Maguire||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Cesar Azpilicueta||Harry Maguire|
|Matt Lowton||Marcos Alonso||John Lundstram||Fikayo Tomori|
|John Lundstram||Ryan Fredericks||Jose Holebas||John Lundstram|
|MF||Riyad Mahrez||Raheem Sterling||Mohamed Salah||Raheem Sterling|
|Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Raheem Sterling||Mohamed Salah|
|Mason Mount||Emi Buendia||Riyad Mahrez||Riyad Mahrez|
|Todd Cantwell||Daniel James||John McGinn||Todd Cantwell|
|John Fleck||Bukayo Saka||Pascal Gross||Mason Mount|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Tammy Abraham||Teemu Pukki||Teemu Pukki|
|Tammy Abraham||Callum Wilson||Sebastien Haller||Tammy Abraham|
|Teemu Pukki||Teemu Pukki||Tammy Abraham||Sebastien Haller|
|Josh King||Neal Maupay||Chris Wood||Chris Wood|
Most popular picks: Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Tammy Abraham, Teemu Pukki (four), Dean Henderson, Nicolas Otamendi, Harry Maguire, John Lundstram, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez (three)
I fancy clean sheets for Burnley and Sheffield United this weekend, hence the inclusion of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson.
I’m also opting for their counterparts in defence, Matt Lowton and John Lundstram, both of whom have offered creative potential recently.
Trent Alexander-Arnold continues to be an auto-include for me, creating three chances per game over the last four Gameweeks.
Nicolas Otamendi remains the most nailed route into a Manchester City defence that faces Wolves this week – who have largely struggled at both ends of the pitch following their Europa League exploits this season.
With Kevin De Bruyne potentially out of action for the Gameweek 8 visit of Wolves, I fancy Riyad Mahrez to step up to the plate for Manchester City.
In the last four Gameweeks, the Algerian has played a key pass every 19 minutes, just one shy of De Bruyne’s one every 18.
On top of that, Mahrez has proved a better goal threat than his Belgian colleague. On direct free-kicks, the former Leicester man has registered nine shots on target from Gameweek 3 onwards, more than any of his colleagues – in just 287 minutes too.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) has come under some scrutiny of late but I’m backing him to deliver something against Leicester.
The Foxes may keep things tight at Anfield but the Egyptian has scored in every home match so far this season, averaging 12 points per game in front of his own fans.
I think Mason Mount still offers great value as Chelsea head to a Southampton side that I’ve never trusted at the back.
I’m giving both Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki another chance at home to Aston Villa this week.
The pair have averaged 13.3 and 7.7 points per game at home respectively this season while Villa have conceded seven times in three away matches so far.
John Fleck gets a minor mention for that very favourable fixture for Sheffield United at Watford.
As already mentioned, the Hornets defence continues to look poor this season while Fleck is joint-top among his colleagues for chances created and second for shots inside the box.
Despite playing 88 minutes against Dinamo Zagreb, I fancy Sergio Aguero to be back in the starting line-up for Manchester City this weekend after he was rested for the Everton game.
In the last few games, Aguero has had a tonne of chances but has been lacking some accuracy. I can’t help but feel like he could be close to a big haul. He looks hungry and almost angry right now – which could bode well against that Wolves defence.
However, those in possession of Aguero may find it hard not to look at moving to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Gameweek 8 onwards.
Without a blank yet this season, he’s at home to a Bournemouth defence that has always been leaky since their arrival in the Premier League several years ago.
Shamelessly backing against my own club proved highly fruitful last week (Pereira, Schmeichel and Vardy) so I’m anticipating further misery on Tyneside this Sunday – if ever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed a fixture from which to kickstart his side’s stalling season, this is it.
The Manchester United defence has statistically been one of the better backlines in 2019/20 and they will encounter little of note at St. James’ Park this weekend, with Steve Bruce’s side in the bottom three for everything from goals scored to big chances created.
Harry Maguire is due a haul, I sense, and he is always in the picture at free-kicks and corners (more penalty box touches than Paul Pogba) – he even scored on Tyneside for Leicester City last season.
Daniel James may find plenty of joy, too, with the right-back slot a problem position for Bruce.
Speaking of penalty box touches, Ryan Fredericks has had more of those than any FPL defender this season. A limited Crystal Palace attack visit the London Stadium this weekend and the budget West Ham defender could get plenty of joy galloping into the spaces vacated by the gung-ho Patrick van Aanholt at the business end of the pitch.
Southampton haven’t been too clinical in front of goal this season and have been indebted to some help along the way, be it two goalkeeping errors (Adrian and Hugo Lloris) or a daft Steve Cook challenge in the clash with Bournemouth.
If Chelsea can avoid shooting themselves in the foot, then Marcos Alonso, who is third among defenders for xGI since his return to the Blues’ side, has the potential to cash in at both ends.
Aston Villa have allowed a league-high 40 chances from dead-ball situations this season so I’m plumping for set-piece specialist Emiliano Buendia, supplier of 17 chances and four assists, alongside the obligatory Teemu Pukki as Norwich enjoy home comforts again – Buendia, indeed, supplied an assist from a corner in this fixture last season.
Arsenal’s Europa League line-up on Thursday should hopefully provide us with some clues as to how Unai Emery will approach Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth.
If Bukayo Saka is rested for that match against Standard Liege, then the impressive teenage winger – who looked more convincing than Nicolas Pepe at Old Trafford on Monday – could offer us a budget route into a fixture that looks like a guaranteed goalfest.
My token budget forward pick is Neal Maupay, whose total of 16 shots in the box is inferior to just three other FPL forwards.
A wobbly Spurs side that has conceded more shots on target than any other club on the road (despite only playing three away games) and who shipped seven goals against Bayern on Tuesday should present the Seagulls with ample opportunities.
The Gameweek 8 schedule looks promising for a number of big-hitters, with Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea worth considering at both ends of the pitch.
Chelsea’s first clean sheet of the season in last weekend’s win over Brighton certainly raises the appeal of their defenders.
While Fikayo Tomori is the budget option, Cesar Azpilicueta has impressed going forward in recent matches.
The Spaniard has supplied both of his assists in the last five Gameweeks and his underlying statistics look promising for his trip to Southampton.
Indeed, Azpilicueta’s 12 chances created ranks third among defenders this season.
Jose Holebas offers all-round potential for Watford’s home clash with Sheffield United.
Since Quique Sanchez Flores returned to Vicarage Road in Gameweek 5, the Greek’s four successful crosses and four shots on goal both rank among the top five defenders.
His visitors’ record on the road raises Holebas’ potential for a clean sheet, too.
The Blades have managed just 18 shots, eight efforts in the box and six attempts on target – fewer than any other side on all three counts.
Pascal Gross has been a little unlucky to pick up just a single assist in the first seven Gameweeks.
The Brighton playmaker has supplied 17 chances – bettered by only three other midfielders in FPL.
Gross’ dominance of free-kicks and corners can take advantage of the Spurs defence this weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men have conceded 29 chances from set-plays, placing them third-worst in the Premier League.
Having lost 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich in midweek, Spurs’ defence looks there for the taking at the Amex Stadium.
Nick Pope is my goalkeeper of choice, playing at home to an Everton side who have scored once in three away games, and only six times in seven Gameweeks.
Similarly, Dean Henderson plays a Watford team with only four goals this season and a combined score of 0-10 over the last two Gameweeks.
Roberto Jimenez Gago gets a chance for his first West Ham clean sheet, after the injury to Lukasz Fabianski.
Trent-Alexander Arnold and Nicolas Otamendi get my first two defender slots and are followed by Harry Maguire, who plays a Newcastle side with only one home goal this season.
Fikayo Tomori and the Chelsea defence could come away with points at Southampton, while John Lundstram has that thing we so often look for in defenders: the potential for points at both ends of the pitch.
With Raheem Sterling and Mohamed Salah once again topping the midfield picks, Riyad Mahrez looks interesting as a second City midfielder.
Todd Cantwell has returned in each of his three home games with two goals and two assists, despite playing Manchester City and Chelsea, and I back him to continue that form at home to Aston Villa. Mason Mount has scored in Chelsea’s last two away fixtures and travels to Southampton in Gameweek 8.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has seven goals in as many Gameweeks and his run should continue at home to Bournemouth.
Teemu Pukki is my second forward pick; he has the third-highest RateMyTeam rankings for Gameweek 8 and is tied with teammate Cantwell for the best Gameweek 8 value.
I’m backing Tammy Abraham to continue his strong away form, and Sébastian Haller plays a Crystal Palace side who have conceded in every away game this season.
Finally, Chris Wood has three goals in his last two Gameweeks and should have chances against Everton.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
Representing the community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 7 will be Vobinho in Wengerland, who is currently lurking just outside the top 100k having risen over one million places in the space of two Gameweeks.
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.
Irfansheikh’s 17-point winning margin from Gameweek 6 is the target to beat.
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