The first of nine Gameweek deadlines in the space of 40 days is fast approaching and the Scout Squad panel have returned from their international hiatus to submit their Fantasy Premier League player longlists for the coming weekend.
In this recurring feature, our four regulars – editorial staff Paul, David and Neale plus community manager Geoff – each proposes an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets for the coming Gameweek and explain their notable inclusions/omissions.
The 72 nominations listed below will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83m) for the weekly Scout Picks selection ahead of the Gameweek 13 deadline at 11:30 GMT 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||Nick Pope||Jordan Pickford||Paulo Gazzaniga||Jordan Pickford|
|Bernd Leno||Ben Foster||Jordan Pickford||David de Gea|
|Mathew Ryan||Nick Pope||Ben Foster||Ben Foster|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Andrew Robertson||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Lucas Digne||Toby Alderweireld||Daryl Janmaat||David Luiz|
|Mason Holgate||Matt Doherty||Frederic Guilbert||Matt Targett|
|Calum Chambers||Matt Targett||John Lundstram||John Lundstram|
|MF||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane|
|Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Anthony Martial||Richarlison||Richarlison||Anthony Martial|
|Theo Walcott||Anthony Martial||Anthony Martial||Richarlison|
|John McGinn||Moussa Djenepo||Harvey Barnes||John McGinn|
|FW||Marcus Rashford||Harry Kane||Sergio Aguero||Marcus Rashford|
|Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Harry Kane||Jamie Vardy|
|Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette||Raul Jimenez||Harry Kane|
|Chris Wood||Tammy Abraham||Jamie Vardy||Gerard Deulofeu|
Most popular picks: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lucas Digne, Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling, Anthony Martial, Jamie Vardy (four), Jordan Pickford, Ben Foster, Richarlison, Harry Kane, Wesley (three).
I’ve gone for a double-up on the defences of both Liverpool and Everton for Gameweek 13.
I’ll start with Everton as they host a Norwich side that has failed to score in all of their away matches since a trip to Anfield all the way back in Gameweek 1.
Lucas Digne naturally carries more goal threat but the cheaper Mason Holgate also presents an interesting alternative. He has started each of the last three matches at Michael Keane’s expense and has assisted in two of those.
For one week only, I think owning two players from the Reds’ backline is a smart decision given Crystal Palace have scored just four times at home all season.
Meanwhile, over the last four Gameweeks, the Eagles have conceded more headed shots on goal than any other team – excellent news for Liverpool’s sensation crossing full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
That also bodes well for Sadio Mané who, over the same period is top for headed attempts on goal among FPL midfielders.
I fancy Raheem Sterling to punish his sellers in Gameweek 13 as Manchester City host a Chelsea side still without a clean sheet on the road this season.
While he has just one attacking return in his last four league starts at the Etihad Stadium, Gabriel Jesus is the only one of his colleagues to boast superior minutes per expected goal involvement (mins per xGI) over the last four Gameweeks.
I think Gameweek 13 could be when we finally see Sheffield United struggle to contain a top-six side as they welcome Manchester United to Bramall Lane.
They will do so without Dean Henderson, who is ineligible against parent club and potentially John Egan, who picked up an injury for the Republic of Ireland over the international break.
Given that Chris Wilder has preferred not to change his defensive line-up at all this season, being enforced to replace two members of the squad could have a detrimental effect.
Let’s not also forget that since Anthony Martial returned to the Manchester United team, he and Marcus Rashford have been recording some impressive numbers and I expect them both to benefit from some potential problems in the Blades’ defence.
Even though there’s some clamour for a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang captaincy in Gameweek 13, I’d rather have his colleague Alexandre Lacazette in my squad.
Over the last four Gameweeks, the Frenchman has registered more than double the number of touches in the box, more shots, more of them in the penalty area, more shots on target and more key passes – that’s despite playing just 261 minutes compared to Aubameyang’s 360.
Furthermore, over the period in question, Southampton are third-bottom for headed attempts conceded while only Jesus has managed more of these than Lacazette among forwards.
Meanwhile, Chris Wood looks the most likely to break down Watford’s recently improved defence at Vicarage Road. Over his last five Premier League starts he has five goals to his name.
Finally, I still believe that Diogo Jota can offer a cheaper alternative to Raúl Jiménez, despite the Mexican’s impressive form. Over the last four Gameweeks, the Portuguese international has a superior minutes per xGI compared to his more expensive colleague and he went close to scoring in Gameweek 12.
A Gameweek with no stand-out captaincy choice doesn’t necessarily mean that the usual suspects have to be overlooked in the Scout Picks.
Manchester City v Chelsea may be off-putting on paper, for example, but Pep Guardiola’s defence hasn’t convinced ever since Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off in Gameweek 4 and the Blues have themselves shipped 12 goals on the road despite not facing any of the top six on their travels.
Jamie Vardy, Anthony Martial, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane also make the cut despite their respective clubs having far from straightforward away fixtures.
I’m banking on defensive injuries and ineligibility aiding the first two, while Palace’s reputation for being a tough nut to crack hasn’t stopped them from being ranked bottom for headed chances allowed and chances conceded from their left flank during an admittedly tough last four Gameweeks: weaknesses that Mane and Alexander-Arnold can potentially exploit.
Norwich’s travel sickness (one goal scored and 12 conceded in six away games) is reason enough to triple up on Everton, who quietly have conceded the joint-lowest number of big chances over the last six Gameweeks.
Lucas Digne is actually creating opportunities on a more frequent basis than he was last season, while Richarlison is third among FPL midfielders for shots in the box in 2019/20.
A Villa double-up is rooted in their own decent home form and Newcastle’s vulnerabilities: the Magpies are bottom for headed chances conceded and chances allowed from their right flank over the last six Gameweeks, which may be to the benefit of Wesley and Matt Targett.
While many of my weekly selections are more “logical”, statistically-sound picks, sometimes FPL is all about the gut choices.
There is little to further Moussa Djenepo‘s case for inclusion aside from a couple of early-season displays that caught the eye and he plays for a relegation-threatened side who are woefully out for form.
However, he was one of the few bright spots in the defeat to Everton last weekend and he ought to experience a bit of joy down the left flank against an Arsenal side who concede chances for fun, even on their own soil.
I’m willing to overlook Chelsea’s form players away to Man City, although the hosts’ key attackers could still deliver big points against a defence that is particularly suspect on the road.
The arrival of Jose Mourinho at Spurs could also influence our thoughts – I’ve found a place for Paulo Gazzaniga and Harry Kane away to West Ham in my selection.
Among my differentials, Daryl Janmaat has been a big success in Watford’s recent matches.
Owned by just 2.1%, the wing-back has produced 34 of his 36 points in the last five Gameweeks.
Janmaat’s five key passes over Gameweek 8-12 sit joint-top with Gerard Deulofeu for the Hornets, while his five successful crosses were more than double any team-mate.
Watford served up three clean sheets over that period and could add another one against Burnley at Vicarage Road.
Away from home, the Clarets’ total of 16 shots on target is better than just two other sides.
Harvey Barnes offers a cut-price route into Leicester’s attack away to Brighton.
Costing £5.9m and sitting in just 1.2% of squads, the winger has supplied four of his five assists for the season in the last four Gameweeks.
Barnes’ six shots inside the box during that period sat second only to the 10 of Jamie Vardy for the Foxes.
And his four shots on target bettered both James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, who managed three apiece.
Aston Villa’s Wesley entertains a Newcastle side who have lacked resilience on the road.
The Magpies have conceded 14 away goals, more than any other side.
Crucially, they have also allowed their opponents a league-leading 42 headed attempts – a weakness that can be exploited by the Villa target man.
Owned by 2.5%, Wesley has already shown his potential against teams that struggle to defend crosses.
He produced two goals and an assist against Norwich in Gameweek 8, serving up his season-high haul of 14 points.
The Canaries have conceded 39 headers, a total better only than Newcastle.
I’ve tripled up on Everton assets, who host a Norwich side with only one away goal all season and none in their last five games on the road. Jordan Pickford gets a goalkeeper slot and the attacking threat from Lucas Digne makes him a strong defensive pick. My third Everton player is Richarlison, who has attacking returns in three of the last four Gameweeks.
While the Arsenal defence doesn’t fill me with confidence, their home fixture against Southampton could hand them their third clean sheet of the season. David Luiz has strong home form, with two goals and a clean sheet in his last three home games for a total of 23 points.
Turning to Sheffield United, John Lundstram was unlucky to come out of the Tottenham game with only two points, and with three goals and as many clean sheets in six home games should be a strong pick, even if he doesn’t keep a clean sheet.
In midfield I’m counting on Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial to return big. Sterling is arguably the biggest worry of the three, but despite being the most-sold midfielder ahead of Gameweek 13, I see him profiting against a Chelsea defence who are without an away clean sheet this season and who have shipped 12 goals in their six away fixtures.
Up front, I’ve opted for Harry Kane to get back on track after one attacking return in five Gameweeks, with the expectation that his new manager will tell him to stay forward and not come deep to collect the ball.
Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy have every chance to continue their strong form, as does Gerard Deulofeu and Watford, who now have a win and three draws in the last five Gaameweeks. Deulofeu has 19 points over the last two Gameweeks.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
In Gameweek 12, the Scout Picks beat Kadhai Paneer FC 96-80.
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 and AK’s 17-point winning margins from Gameweek 6 and 10 remain the current targets to beat.
Our Scout Picks article on Friday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020
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