After a mini-break over Christmas due to the swift turnaround in Gameweeks, the Scout Squad panel have reassembled for the first time in 2020 to submit their player longlists for the coming weekend.
In this article, our four regulars – editorial staff Paul, David and Neale plus community manager Geoff – each proposes an 18-man squad of Fantasy assets for Gameweek 22 and explain their notable inclusions/omissions in their copy below.
The 72 nominations listed 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 earlier-than-usual deadline at 19:00 GMT on Friday.
There are requirements for at least one sub-£5.0m goalkeeper, at least one defender under £5.0m, at least one midfielder priced £6.5m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.5m 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||Ben Foster||Ben Foster||Ben Foster||Rui Patricio|
|Rui Patricio||Vicente Guaita||Dean Henderson||Kepa Arrizabalaga|
|Lukasz Fabianski||Lukasz Fabianski||Jordan Pickford||Jordan Pickford|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Andrew Robertson||Trent Alexander-Arnold||John Lundstram|
|Djibril Sidibe||Romain Saiss||John Lundstram||Romain Saiss|
|Kurt Zouma||John Lundstram||Djibril Sidibe||Caglar Soyuncu|
|John Lundstram||Sead Kolasinac||Cesar Azpilicueta||Djibril Sidibe|
|Romain Saiss||Cesar Azpilicueta||Romain Saiss||David Luiz|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Anthony Martial|
|Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Mohamed Salah||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Ismaila Sarr||Anthony Martial||James Maddison|
|Anthony Martial||Anthony Martial||Richarlison||Richarlison|
|Ismaila Sarr||Joao Moutinho||Ismaila Sarr||Adama Traore|
|FW||Troy Deeney||Raul Jimenez||Jamie Vardy||Marcus Rashford|
|Raul Jimenez||Sergio Aguero||Marcus Rashford||Tammy Abraham|
|Marcus Rashford||Jamie Vardy||Raul Jimenez||Jamie Vardy|
|Jamie Vardy||Marcus Rashford||Tammy Abraham||Raul Jimenez|
|Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Adam Idah||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
Most popular picks: John Lundstram, Romain Saiss, Kevin De Bruyne, Anthony Martial, Raul Jimenez, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford (four), Ben Foster, Djibril Sidibe, Ismaila Sarr, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (three)
Following my recent article on Watford, I’ve opted for a triple-up on their assets for a favourable trip to Bournemouth.
Ben Foster gets a place in goal for his recent resurgence, now capable of both saves and clean sheets in equal measure against a Cherries outfit bottom of the league for big chances in their last four matches.
Meanwhile, Ismaïla Sarr and Troy Deeney are also included having combined for seven attacking returns in the last four Gameweeks. Bournemouth have conceded an average of 1.8 goals per game in their last six.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is my top defender for Gameweek 22 as he, once again, has a chance for returns at both ends of the pitch.
Bournemouth are the only side to have registered fewer big chances than Spurs in their last four matches while Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in a row now.
Furthermore, since Jose Mourinho took over at Spurs, they have kept just one clean sheet (joint-worst in the division) and conceded an average of 1.4 goals per game – which bodes well for the in-form attacking options of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
Djibril Sidibé gets another mention from me ahead of Everton’s meeting with Brighton. None of his defensive colleagues has matched his key pass total over the last four matches while only Bournemouth have mustered fewer big chances during that time than the Seagulls.
Meanwhile, Burnley have managed just three shots on target since Gameweek 18, by far the lowest of any in the division, which is why I’ve opted for Kurt Zouma in my selection.
Aston Villa’s defence has been questionable this season so I’m expecting the loss of Tom Heaton to cause even more problems when Manchester City rock up on Sunday afternoon.
Kevin De Bruyne is the most nailed-on option when looking to capitalise on the Citizens’ attacking power, with returns in four of his last five, two of them double-digit hauls.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial looked poised to benefit from the continually shaky Norwich defence, while Raùl Jiménez may find some joy against an equally leaky Newcastle back-line.
Finally, Jamie Vardy gets into my selection but is not quite as high as some of the other forwards I mentioned.
I’m eager for more updates on his calf injury from Brendan Rodgers’ next press conference while Southampton’s defence has been making improvements recently.
Over the last four matches, they have conceded just four big chances – only Liverpool have allowed fewer than that.
This could be a Gameweek in which the appealing matches on paper are not quite as straightforward as they seem.
Sheffield United take on a West Ham United side buoyed by David Moyes’ appointment, while Everton face a tricky Brighton outfit that have caused ‘bigger’ teams trouble all season.
Southampton are unrecognisable from the side that lost 9-0 to Leicester a few months ago, while Norwich have performed bravely without reward of late and take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hit-and-miss United this weekend.
Chelsea’s recent slip-ups at Stamford Bridge means that a home fixture against Burnley is far from a gimmie, either.
Those caveats aside, it would seem perverse to go without the likes of John Lundstram, Anthony Martial, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford when their teams are on home soil.
Cesar Azpilicueta also gets the nod because of his attacking threat (top for expected goal involvement among defenders over the last six Gameweeks) as much as his clean sheet potential, while I sense that whoever starts up front for Norwich at Old Trafford could get a lot of joy from a central defence that may comprise the out-of-form Victor Lindelof and the tragicomic Phil Jones. I’ve stuck hat-trick hero Adam Idah down given that Teemu Pukki is struggling for fitness but Daniel Farke could potentially bring us positive news on the Finn in his pre-match presser, so I’ll leave the space open for him should he be passed fit.
There are no real shocks elsewhere, with my Sead Kolasinac selection based on his advanced role in the Arsenal team (more on this in my article on the Arteta-era Gunners) and Crystal Palace’s shortage of goals in 2019/20.
The triple-up on Wolves is fairly self-explanatory, with Romain Saiss – who has more headed attempts than any other FPL defender over the last six Gameweeks – and dead-ball specialist Joao Moutinho getting the nod alongside Raul Jimenez because of injury-hit Newcastle’s season-long vulnerability to aerial balls and set plays.
Bournemouth are the Premier League’s worst side based on form over the last ten Gameweeks, so I’ve backed against the Cherries with two Watford assets.
Ben Foster has three clean sheets in his last six starts, while Eddie Howe’s side have scored a dismal seven goals in their last 14 outings.
At the other end, Ismaila Sarr is joint-third among FPL midfielders for shots in the box and big chances since returning to the Watford starting XI in Gameweek 14.
The final word is on Liverpool assets, who we’ll be discussing a lot of ahead of Double Gameweek 24.
There’s nothing much to split their premium defenders and midfielders but I’ve gone for Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson purely for the Serge Aurier factor: only three clubs have allowed more chances from their right flank than Spurs since Jose Mourinho took over.
Wolves, Chelsea and Everton could all merit investment at both ends of the pitch in our picks for Gameweek 22.
All three provide in-form differentials in defence and have favourable home fixtures up next.
At a cost of just £4.4m, Romain Saiss offers a cheaper alternative to Matt Doherty (£6.1m) in the Wolves backline.
Owned by less than 1% of FPL managers, the Moroccan has three goals in his 21 starts across all competitions this season.
Saiss’ aerial ability could make the difference against Newcastle at Molineux.
He has recorded six headed attempts in the last six Gameweeks, more than any other defender.
The Magpies, meanwhile, have conceded 69 headed efforts, a league-leading figure.
Cesar Azpilicueta sits in under 5% of FPL squads for the visit of Burnley.
The Chelsea full-back has produced eight shots inside the penalty area in the last six Gameweeks, joint-top among FPL defenders.
Considering he managed just two shots in the box in the opening 15 Gameweeks, it’s fair to say Azpilicueta has upped his goal threat considerably.
Djibril Sidibe welcomes Brighton to Goodison Park on the back of some fine recent displays.
The Everton defender has 24 points in his last three home appearances, serving up two clean sheets and a pair of assists.
Yet he is owned by less than 2% of managers ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Sidibe has created six chances in Everton’s three Gameweeks under Carlo Ancelotti – a total that ranks third at the back in FPL.
A change of manager has also raised the potential of Ismaila Sarr.
The Watford winger has two goals and two assists in five appearances for Nigel Pearson – prior to that, he managed one goal in the opening 16 Gameweeks.
The Senegalese’s 12 shots and 11 shots in the box are more than any team-mate under Pearson.
Both those totals place among the top five midfielders since the new manager took charge in Gameweek 17.
I kick off my picks with Rui Patricio as my top shot-stopper, playing against an injury-hit Newcastle side. My other goalkeeper selections are Kepa Arrizabalaga, with a strong home game against Burnley, and Jordan Pickford, whose Everton side host Brighton.
I look to five defenders with home games, headlined by John Lundstram and his strong form at Bramall Lane all season. Romain Saiss is a cheap and low-owned option who could score well, while Caglar Soyuncu, Djibril Sidibe and David Luiz round off my defensive picks.
Anthony Martial is my first Manchester United player, with three goals in as many games and playing ‘out of position’ as a forward.
Kevin De Bruyne has seven attacking returns in the last four Gameweeks and comes up against an Aston Villa side with injury problems.
James Maddison and Richarlison are two of the top three transfers in this week for good reason, while Adama Traore has three attacking returns in his last 2 home games.
Marcus Rashford comes into Gameweek 22 at home to Norwich with excellent form, only blanking in four of the last 13 Gamweeks.
Tammy Abraham is at home to Burnley and has returned in back-to-back Gameweeks, while Jamie Vardy will likely be available again after missing two league fixtures.
Raul Jimenez is another appealing forward pick with a home game and strong form, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with three goals in the last three games, is someone I think could have a breakout Gameweek.
THE COMMUNITY CHAMPION
Each week, one of the Fantasy Football Scout community takes on the Scout Picks by pitting their chosen XI against ours.
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 Moderators and Contributors League for the following season.
Mince n Tatties was defeated 49-39 in Gameweek 18 by the Scout Picks, who then lost 58-47 to FPL_SMR in Gameweek 19.
There was no community champion in Gameweeks 20 or 21.
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.
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