The Scout Squad panel have submitted their 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 17 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 panellist 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||Mathew Ryan||Nick Pope||Nick Pope|
|Vicente Guaita||Vicente Guaita||Vicente Guaita||Vicente Guaita|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Kepa Arrizabalaga||Dean Henderson||Mathew Ryan|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Ben Chilwell||Ben Chilwell||Ricardo Pereira||John Lundstram|
|Kurt Zouma||Reece James||John Lundstram||Caglar Soyuncu|
|James Tarkowski||James Tarkowski||Reece James||James Tarkowski|
|John Lundstram||George Baldock||Martin Kelly||George Baldock|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Sadio Mané||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Christian Pulisic|
|Kevin de Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Anthony Martial||James Maddison|
|Christian Pulisic||Christian Pulisic||James Maddison||Anthony Martial|
|James Ward-Prowse||James Ward-Prowse||James Ward-Prowse||James Ward-Prowse|
|FW||Jamie Vardy||Tammy Abraham||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy|
|Tammy Abraham||Jamie Vardy||Tammy Abraham||Tammy Abraham|
|Danny Ings||Marcus Rashford||Marcus Rashford||Marcus Rashford|
|Marcus Rashford||Danny Ings||Danny Ings||Gabriel Jesus|
|Chris Wood||Chris Wood||Chris Wood||Danny Ings|
Most popular picks: Vicente Guaita, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, James Ward-Prowse, Jamie Vardy, Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford, Danny Ings (all four), Nick Pope, John Lundstram, James Tarkowski, Sadio Mané, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wood (all three).
A Liverpool triple-up against Watford seems wise considering Jurgen Klopp’s record against the Hornets at Anfield in recent years. The Reds have won each of the last three home encounters with Watford by a combined scoreline of 16-0, scoring at least five times in each match.
Nigel Pearson won’t have been around long enough to eradicate an ongoing problem defending set pieces so it should be good news for Trent Alexander-Arnold at both ends of the pitch, while I’m backing Mohamed Salah to enjoy another monster haul against the Hornets, with Sadio Mané also chipping in.
The Burnley defence might be a little shell-shocked after conceding 11 goals in three matches but a home meeting with Newcastle looks like just the right opportunity to get back to winning ways. Just two teams have conceded fewer big chances at home this season than the Clarets, which is why I’ve included Nick Pope and James Tarkowski.
Jamie Vardy continues to be an auto-include option for the Scout Picks. In the last four matches, he is top of the league for shots in the box, big chances and shots on target while upcoming opponents Norwich have conceded the second-highest number of goals this season.
I’m expecting Chelsea to get a much-needed win over Bournemouth as the Cherries come to Stamford Bridge potentially short of two key defensive assets. Tammy Abraham looks likely to get some attacking returns and I’m backing Christian Pulisic to arrest his current slide to get back in the goals too.
Only Vardy has scored more times among forwards since Gameweek 7 than Danny Ings, which bodes well for a Gameweek 17 clash with West Ham. Manuel Pellegrini’s men are still giving up chances at a rate of knots, which should benefit Ings’ ruthless streak of recent months.
The Manchester City midfield exodus is continuing this week but, call it misplaced faith or pig-headed stubbornness, I do think the likes of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus are worthy of serious consideration this week.
Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham United on Monday masked a fairly awful display and they are there for the taking at the back, having allowed their opposition an average of 16.25 shots per game at the Emirates this season.
In the end, a lack of space up front and one eye on the budget led me to plump for Kevin De Bruyne – Arsenal have allowed more chances from set plays than any other team on their own patch this season and they also rank poorly for headed opportunities conceded, which could play into the Belgian’s hands.
Incidentally, I think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have a field day against an unconvincing City backline too, but there was stiff competition for the five centre-forwards berths this week.
Even Lys Mousset, who faces Aston Villa’s porous defence, didn’t make the cut.
Little needs explaining with many of my attacking picks but I went for Chris Wood as my cut-price fifth option, with Burnley’s strength at set plays – and Newcastle’s weakness – the primary reason for the Kiwi striker’s inclusion.
The same logic also applies with James Tarkowski, who gets a mention – along with the Clarets and the Magpies – in my Big Numbers piece.
While Mousset fails to feature, teammate George Baldock gets a look-in.
The Blades wing-back has registered more successful open-play crosses than any other FPL asset this season and Aston Villa concede a lot of chances from their left flank (again, I’ll point you in the direction of the Big Numbers article), which could play into both Baldock and John Lundstram’s hands.
I’ve been very impressed by Brighton and Hove Albion of late, despite their tough fixture run over the last five Gameweeks.
Palace’s anaemic attack offers Mathew Ryan the perfect chance of a clean sheet at Selhurst Park and, as we’ve pointed out before with his saves and pass completion statistics, he is likely to supplement any shut-out points with bonus.
Joining Danny Ings in my Saints double-up is James Ward-Prowse, who hasn’t been at his best this season and who has occasionally incurred the wrath of the St. Mary’s faithful.
Nevertheless, he is joint-second among FPL midfielders for expected goal involvement over the last four Gameweeks (a penalty obviously inflating that figure) and he remains a favourite of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s, being one of only three players in his Fantasy position who has played every single minute this season.
Set-piece responsibilities add to his appeal, while Ward-Prowse and Southampton overall have looked far better in the last four matches, having plumbed new depths in Gameweek 10.
West Ham (along with Bournemouth, hence my Chelsea triple-up) are one of the division’s most out-of-form teams at present, too.
Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea are very likely to dominate this week’s Scout Picks due to their favourable home fixtures.
Indeed, I’m advocating a double-up on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane against Watford in light of their recent rests in Gameweek 15 and 16 respectively.
Reece James is my differential at the back at home to Bournemouth.
The right-back has started each of Chelsea last three home matches in the Premier League, returning six points on two of those occasions.
Over the last three Gameweeks, his five successful crosses are joint-top with Willian for the Blues.
Owned by 0.5%, James’ delivery could profit against a Cherries defence that could be without both their first-choice centre-backs, Steve Cook and Nathan Ake on Saturday.
James Ward-Prowse sits in just 2.1% of squads for Southampton’s home encounter with West Ham.
The Saints playmaker looks a handy cut-price option in midfield – he is second only to Neal Maupay for expected goal involvement among all players in FPL at a cost of £6.0m or under.
Crucially, Ward-Prowse has started to deliver on those underlying numbers.
Three of his four goals for the season – and his single assist – have come in the last six matches. Indeed, he has blanked just twice in that period.
Chris Wood’s aerial threat looks set to trouble Newcastle at Turf Moor.
Boasting a mere 1.1% ownership, the Burnley forward has scored three headed goals – joint-top among all players in the opening 16 Gameweeks.
His visitors, meanwhile, have conceded 54 headed attempts, more than any other side.
Furthermore, Wood’s total of 18 big chances is second only to the 22 of Jamie Vardy, underlining his appeal as an overlooked option up front this weekend.
I see points in the midfield and forward positions this week, so I’ve gone for cheap goalkeepers: Vicente Guaita, Nick Pope and Mathew Ryan.
Guaita has the best form with 26 points in three Gameweeks and could continue that at home to Brighton. Ryan is one of only two players this week who play away from home in my selections, meanwhile.
In defence, I’ve once again opted for the threat of Trent Alexander-Arnold as my top pick but then I’ve looked for cheaper options.
John Lundstram has four attacking returns in his eight home games, and Sheffield United have a good chance of a clean sheet at home to Aston Villa.
Caglar Soyuncu and James Tarkowski both have strong home games and strong home form against non-top six teams, and I’ve looked to George Baldock as my fifth pick for a Blades defensive double-up.
My five midfield selections have home games against reasonable opposition, and that’s topped by Mohamed Salah, who looks back to his best. If he plays, I back him over teammate Sadio Mane this week against Watford.
Christian Pulisic looks on the verge of a big return, while James Maddison and Anthony Martial combine form and fixtures in Gameweek 17.
It’s difficult not to pick Jamie Vardy up front, and a fit-again Tammy Abraham should profit against a questionable Bournemouth defence.
Marcus Rashford is another lock with such strong form, and the same can be said about Danny Ings.
Finally, Gabriel Jesus is my second player playing away from home, but the injury worries and general unconvincing nature of the Arsenal defence make him a strong pick.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
The Scout Squad took a backseat last week but the Scout Picks were published as usual in Gameweeks 14-16.
We were triumphant in all three exchanges winning 48-37, 54-50 and 84-64.
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.
Gameweek 16 – FPL Match Reports
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea
- Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool
- Spurs 5-0 Burnley
- Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace
- Man City 1-2 Man Utd
- Aston Villa 1-4 Leicester
- Newcastle 2-1 Southampton
- Norwich 1-2 Sheffield Utd
- Brighton 2-2 Wolves
- West Ham 1-3 Arsenal
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