We’ve gone big in midfield and relatively light in attack for the Gameweek 26 Scout Picks, which may raise an eyebrow or two.
As usual, we deliberated over the Scout Squad submissions made by David, Neale, Paul and Geoff over the last few days before coming up with the final team.
We shape up in a 3-5-2 formation, with our team coming well inside the allotted budget of £85.0m.
No goalkeeper received unanimous support among our Scout Squad panel but Alex McCarthy did get three votes ahead of Southampton’s clash with Burnley. The Clarets are in the bottom three for attempts on goal and shots in the box in away games and ranked 20th for shots on target. Southampton, meanwhile, have allowed fewer attempts on goal than all teams bar Manchester City over the last six Gameweeks.
All three of our defensive picks this week received universal backing from our Scout Squad panel.
Nine clean sheets in ten matches is reason enough to back a Liverpool defender in Gameweek 26, with Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s assist potential – he has already matched his total number of attacking returns from 2018/19 – another string to his bow. The Canaries have allowed more crosses per home game from their left flank – i.e. Liverpool’s right – than any other club this season.
While Bournemouth have admittedly picked up back-to-back wins at home, they haven’t scored in four of their last five games on the road and Enda Stevens could potentially profit from a Cherries defence that has conceded more chances from their right flank than any other club over the last six Gameweeks. Sheffield United have kept clean sheets in five of their 12 games at Bramall Lane, with only Liverpool conceding fewer goals on home soil.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, have not only scored fewer goals than any other Premier League side this season but they have also allowed more crosses from their right flank than any top-flight team over the last dozen Gameweeks. Lucas Digne, therefore, is our Everton representative, not least because 65 of his 81 FPL points have arrived in home fixtures.
Mohamed Salah, the leader in our captaincy poll, has registered 16-point hauls in each of the last two Gameweeks and averages 9.2 Fantasy Premier League points per match in 2020 so far. It has to be said that Salah hasn’t been prolific on the road this season, scoring only two goals away from Anfield – although he has supplemented those strikes with five assists. Salah bucked the trend in his last away outing, however, racking up 14 points in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over West Ham United. Norwich have shipped 25 goals in 12 home fixtures this season, meanwhile.
Manchester City’s home game against West Ham is arguably the standout fixture of Gameweek 26, with Kevin De Bruyne‘s security of starts – he has made Pep Guardiola’s starting XI for 17 league matches in a row – a big draw given the unpredictability of Guardiola’s selections elsewhere. David Moyes’ troops have conceded 14 big chances and ten goals over their last four matches. De Bruyne tops the league for key passes in his last four, meanwhile.
With Aston Villa the only side to have conceded more big chances than West Ham since Gameweek 21, Son Heung-min is our third premium midfield option selected. The South Korean may be in a more central role at Spurs following Steven Bergwijn’s arrival and he has fired 11 shots in the box in the last four Gameweeks since Harry Kane was sidelined.
Sergio Aguero was a first-choice pick for three of our Scout Squad but, omitted by Paul and with other £10.0m+ options receiving universal backing, the Argentinean was a luxury we simply couldn’t afford. Instead, we turn to Riyad Mahrez as our second City representative. Both Aguero and Mahrez have started 14 matches this season, with the latter proving the more explosive with five double-figure hauls to the Argentinean’s four.
We’re gambling on Graham Potter’s unpredictable team selection as we take a punt on Leandro Trossard extending his reliable home form against Watford. All three of the Brighton winger’s goals this season and four of his five assists have come at the Amex Stadium. When selected, he has been involved in 64% of the Seagulls’ efforts in front of their own supporters. Trossard has averaged 5.1 FPL points per home appearance.
Crystal Palace are without a clean sheet in nine Gameweeks, so Dominic Calvert-Lewin has a chance to continue his fine form in the Carlo Ancelotti era. The Everton striker is joint-second for big chances when all FPL assets are filtered by their last four matches.
Danny Ings may have blanked for three Gameweeks in a row (one of his run-outs coming off the bench, in mitigation) but there is little wrong with his underlying stats, with the Southampton striker joint-third alongside Calvert-Lewin for shots in the box when players are filtered by their last four matches. The fact that he has racked up those attempts in just 270 minutes of football (out of a possible 360) makes that an even more impressive statistic. Ings has scored in five of his last seven home fixtures.
No goalkeeper has kept more league clean sheets than Dean Henderson this season and the Sheffield United shot-stopper was the first-choice pick for three of our Scout Squad panel ahead of the Blades’ clash with Bournemouth, who score at a rate of less than one goal per game away from home in 2019/20.
Mason Holgate is an ever-present under Ancelotti and David was keen to see us double-up on the Toffees, with Palace’s shot-shy attack visiting Merseyside.
Jack Stephens was Geoff’s preferred Southampton option, having recorded three assists and three clean sheets in the last ten Gameweeks.
Watford forward Troy Deeney – third for xGI among FPL forwards since Nigel Pearson took charge – this weekend faces a Brighton and Hove Albion defence with only one clean sheet to their name in 14 matches.
Representing the community against the Scout Picks in Gameweek 26 is Haggis.
They have gone for a 4-3-3 line-up of McCarthy, van Dijk, Doherty, Digne, Stevens, Salah, Mahrez, Moura, Aguero (c), Jesus, Ings.
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.
Community Champion gwitbrock beat our Scout Picks 86-63 in Gameweek 25 and as a result, their winning margin of 23 points is now the target to beat.
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