The Scout Squad team have returned from their international breaks to submit their usual selections ahead of Gameweek 9.
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 explain 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 9 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 again be adding a captaincy to the Scout Picks, with details of that revealed on Friday.
|GK||Ederson||Mathew Ryan||Tom Heaton||Kasper Schmeichel|
|Nick Pope||Paulo Gazzaniga||Rui Patricio||Rui Patricio|
|Dean Henderson||Rui Patricio||Paulo Gazzaniga||Paulo Gazzaniga|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Marcos Alonso|
|Andrew Robertson||Marcos Alonso||Marcos Alonso||Ricardo Pereira|
|Fikayo Tomori||Ricardo Pereira||Frederic Guilbert||Lucas Digne|
|Nicolas Otamendi||Diego Rico||Willy Boly||Fikayo Tomori|
|Kieran Tierney||Calum Chambers||Diego Rico||Willy Boly|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Raheem Sterling|
|Mason Mount||Kevin De Bruyne||Raheem Sterling||Mason Mount|
|Mohamed Salah||Mason Mount||Mason Mount||Gylfi Sigurdsson|
|Erik Lamela||Wilfried Zaha||John McGinn||John McGinn|
|John McGinn||Adama Traore||Manuel Lanzini||Todd Cantwell|
|FW||Tammy Abraham||Callum Wilson||Tammy Abraham||Tammy Abraham|
|Callum Wilson||Tammy Abraham||Jamie Vardy||Callum Wilson|
|Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Callum Wilson||Teemu Pukki|
|Teemu Pukki||Raul Jimenez||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Chris Wood||Josh King||Wesley||Wesley|
Most popular picks: Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Harry Kane, Callum Wilson (four), Paulo Gazzaniga, Rui Patricio, Marcos Alonso, Trent Alexander-Arnold, John McGinn, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling (three)
I’m expecting a tight game at Selhurst Park this weekend, which is why I’m being brave and tipping the Manchester City defensive double-up for Gameweek 9.
However, for me, the most exciting double-up for the latest round of action could be one based on the Liverpool defence.
Manchester United’s attack has not been firing on all cylinders recently, with the lowest xG from open play over the last four matches.
Meanwhile, Liverpool could have Joel Matip back, who, in my opinion, is likely to have a bigger impact on the team than a return for Alisson.
Either way, the attacking potential of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, combined with a favourable fixture from a clean sheet perspective, make them very viable assets.
Fikayo Tomori also has a favourable fixture in Gameweek 9 as Newcastle come to Stamford Bridge. The Magpies have scored just three goals on the road this season, while Chelsea also have favourable defensive data from the last four matches.
I’d love to double-up on their defence too, but I’ve got to use the two other Chelsea spots in my squad to include Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.
The former offers the best value in midfield with his four goals and one assist so far this season, while Abraham looks on course to be a regular candidate in the captaincy conversation from now on.
As we discussed during the most-recent captain video, Abraham’s underlying statistics for goal threat this season are up there with many of the premium options, so a Newcastle side that has conceded 11 goals in four away matches so far is the perfect opponent for him.
Raheem Sterling‘s inspiring performance against Bulgaria has restored my faith in him as a Fantasy asset somewhat. Given the toxic atmosphere he had to put up with on Monday night, the fact that he was still the star of the show is testament to his incredible character.
Meanwhile, I’m also keeping some faith in Mohamed Salah. Manchester United might have recorded some decent defensive statistics of late but I do wonder what the absence of David de Gea might do for their confidence.
The fact that Bournemouth are facing Norwich makes the inclusion of Callum Wilson a bit of a no-brainer. He has scored attacking points in all but one match so far this season while the Canaries’ defence is still very leaky and missing key personnel.
Finally, a word on my Spurs double-up of Harry Kane and Erik Lamela amid their recent poor form. I think a home match against Watford is as good as any to trigger a return to winning ways.
The Hornets have conceded the second-highest number of big chances in the last four matches, behind only Norwich, making them the perfect opponents for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
I was a week too early with my Adama Traore selection but, given Southampton’s defensive struggles and Wolves’ improving form, I’m backing the pacy budget midfielder to continue his scoring streak.
Southampton are particularly vulnerable to chances created down their own right flank, so I’m punting on a repeat of the back-post goal that Matt Doherty scored against Watford in Gameweek 7; Traore’s versatility means that he could either line up as a wing-back, on the right of a front three or up front alongside Raul Jimenez and surely won’t be dropped after his brace at the Etihad.
Wolves are one of three teams I’ve tripled-up on and there are no surprises that Chelsea and Bournemouth are the other two, given their opponents this weekend.
The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson need no introduction, while I’m backing the attacking attributes of Diego Rico and Marcos Alonso to compensate for the less-than-secure defences that they are both part of.
Norwich have conceded more headed chances than any other club, so the set-piece deliveries of Rico could lead to assists with the likes of Nathan Ake lurking in the box.
Alonso, meanwhile, has registered more penalty box touches than any defender over the last four Gameweeks and his own aerial ability could punish Newcastle’s known vulnerability to crosses.
This is a great time for Liverpool to head to Old Trafford, given the struggles of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. Mohamed Salah and the ever-creative Trent Alexander-Arnold get the nod over Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson on the opposite flank, such is my respect for Aaron Wan-Bissaka down the United right.
The Red Devils’ cross-city rivals are in their own sticky patch and while the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling can wreak havoc against any club, Manchester City’s defence is there for the taking: enter Wilfried Zaha, who has all the attributes needed to expose the reigning champions’ susceptibility to pace on the counter-attack.
Challenging Zaha as the most leftfield name in my squad is Calum Chambers, who faces a Sheffield United side who have recorded fewer shots on target than any club this season.
Since his return to the Arsenal team in Gameweek 6, no FPL defender has had more penalty box touches or attempts on goal than Chambers.
The Blades, meanwhile, have allowed more crosses from their left flank than any other team this season.
A triple-up on Chelsea at home to Newcastle could pay off, with the Blues’ kind prices in FPL freeing up cash to invest in a host of big-hitters who face suspect defences.
At the back, Frederic Guilbert and Willy Boly are among the differential names I’d like to point out.
Priced at £4.4m and owned by 0.8%, the Aston Villa right-back has averaged 5.0 points per home match ahead of a visit from Brighton.
Since making his debut in Gameweek 3, Guilbert has supplied 26 crosses, more than any team-mate.
In the final third of the pitch, his 95 touches and 55 passes received rank third for Villa from that point onwards.
Brighton, meanwhile, have failed to score in each of their last three road trips.
Boly has one assist and three clean sheets in seven outings for Wolves.
Owned by 5.6%, the Frenchman’s defensive contribution has earned him bonus on every occasion his side have kept a clean sheet.
Indeed, no FPL defender has bettered his seven bonus points.
Boly’s winner in the recent Europa League clash with Besiktas served a reminder of his attacking potential, having scored four goals last season.
Manuel Lanzini sits in less than 2% of squads for West Ham’s trip to Everton.
The Argentinean has provided an assist in two of his three away starts this season.
Away from home, Lanzini’s total of 13 chances created is more than any other player in FPL.
He faces a defence that have conceded two or more goals in each of their last three at Goodison Park.
I’m backing Jamie Vardy over the more popular James Maddison for Leicester’s clash with Burnley.
When selected, Vardy has been involved in 50% of the Foxes’ home goals compared with Maddison’s 20%.
The forward’s eight shots inside the penalty area and six shots on target are at least double any team-mate at the King Power Stadium.
With Kasper Schmeichel, Tom Heaton and Rui Patricio I see three keepers more than capable of keeping clean sheets given their fixtures. While I put Schmeichel top, there wasn’t much in it – Heaton hosts a Brighton side who have failed to score in three straight away games.
In defence, I look to three fairly expensive options in Marcos Alonso, Ricardo Pereira and Lucas Digne. All three of these options are picked not only for their defensive returns, and their strong home fixtures, but their ability to get into scoring positions: while double-digit hauls aren’t guaranteed they are quite possible.
Tyrone Mings and Willy Boly also have strong home fixtures and both are contenders to pick up bonus if they keep clean sheets.
After Raheem Sterling, I’ve gone cheap in midfield.
Mason Mount is an important part of the Chelsea midfield, but third-placed Gylfi Sigurdsson has so far failed to live up to pre-season expectations – this is the week I back him to get on the scoresheet.
With two goals in three Gameweeks, John McGinn hosts Brighton and could continue his strong run, while in fifth position I go with my first away player, Todd Cantwell. If he gets over his slight injury, I think he and Norwich can punish a poor Bournemouth defence.
Up front, I once again look to the Chelsea fixture against Newcastle and select Tammy Abraham, despite two home blanks in a row.
Callum Wilson and Teemu Pukki play each other in a game that is likely to have goals in it, while Harry Kane and his penalty record get my fourth forward spot.
Finally, I back Wesley Moraes who, with three goals in three Gameweeks has the confidence to get goals against a Brighton side who haven’t travelled well this season.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
In Gameweek 8, Vobinho in Wengerland beat the Scout Picks 48-40.
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 current target to beat.
Our Scout Picks article on Friday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
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