The Scout Squad panel return to champion the standout Fantasy Premier League assets for the final Gameweek of the season.
These picks always take the format of a ‘Free Hit’ for the very next Gameweek and this article is particularly relevant this week, with many managers still having this chip intact.
Just under a third of the top 10,000 in FPL still have their Free Hit to hand, to give some gauge of its usage.
Regular readers will know the format of this recurring feature but for the uninitiated, staff members David, Neale and Geoff and Pro Pundit Tom (sitting in for the otherwise engaged Paul) each propose an 18-man squad of players for the approaching Gameweek and explain their notable inclusions/omissions 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 £85m) for the weekly Scout Picks selection ahead of Sunday’s deadline at 15:00 BST.
There are requirements for at least one goalkeeper costing £5.0m or less, at least one sub-£5.0m defender, at least one midfielder listed at £6.5m or below and at least one forward priced at £7.5m 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 Sunday.
|GK||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope|
|Hugo Lloris||Mathew Ryan||Hugo Lloris||Emiliano Martinez|
|Rui Patricio||Emiliano Martinez||Emiliano Martinez||David de Gea|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Andrew Robertson||Serge Aurier||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Serge Aurier||Erik Pieters||Serge Aurier||Andrew Robertson|
|Erik Pieters||Lewis Dunk||Erik Pieters||Serge Aurier|
|Willy Boly||Jarrad Branthwaite||Kyle Walker-Peters||Erik Pieters|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Mohamed Salah||Sadio Mane||Kevin De Bruyne||Mohamed Salah|
|Riyad Mahrez||David Silva||Mohamed Salah||Anthony Martial|
|David Silva||Anthony Martial||Michail Antonio||Michail Antonio|
|Trezeguet||Mark Noble||Daniel Podence||Phil Foden|
|FW||Harry Kane||Gabriel Jesus||Gabriel Jesus||Gabriel Jesus|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Harry Kane||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang|
|Marcus Rashford||Danny Ings||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Danny Ings||Marcus Rashford||Danny Ings||Danny Ings|
|Chris Wood||Eddie Nketiah||Chris Wood||Chris Wood|
Most popular picks: Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Erik Pieters, Serge Aurier, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Danny Ings (four), Emiliano Martinez, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chris Wood, Gabriel Jesus (three)
Doubling up on the Burnley defence with Nick Pope and Erik Pieters feels like a relatively routine decision ahead of Gameweek 38+.
The Clarets’ goalkeeper has a shot at either sharing the Golden Glove award or claiming it for himself, and the whole team knows it. That was the message we got from Chris Wood after the Norwich game and they will do everything they can to help Pope keep that clean sheet.
I’ve also included Burnley’s penalty-taking centre-forward in my selection on account of his aerial presence. Over the last four matches, Brighton have given up 18 headed goal attempts, the second-worst in the Premier League.
I’ve also got another defensive double-up in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, not necessarily because I think the Liverpool back-line is in incredible shape, but because of the offensive threat on offer.
Their swashbuckling right-back is just five points away from breaking his left-sided colleague’s all-time record for most FPL points scored by a defender in one season, and retains a share of corners and direct free-kicks.
Meanwhile, Robertson has recently muscled his way into corner-taking contention and has created five big chances over the last four matches, the joint-highest of any player in the whole division.
Willy Boly gets a slightly left-field inclusion on account of Wolves’ recent defensive numbers and his potential to cause Chelsea problems. Over the last four matches, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have conceded the fewest big chances while the Blues’ awful defending of set pieces could open the door for Boly to capitalise on recently improved penalty box presence.
Raheem Sterling is by far the best choice in midfield for Gameweek 38+. He is in exceptional form with four double-figure hauls in the last six matches and a say in the penalty conversation as he chases a 20-goal season. During that period, Norwich have conceded 14 times.
That’s why I’ve also included Riyad Mahrez and David Silva in my selection, who were both rested for the win over Norwich. The Algerian has produced attacking returns in all but one start since football came back while Silva, in his last Premier League match for Manchester City, could assume direct free-kick duties and even penalties. Across his last four starts at the Etihad Stadium, the Spaniard has three goals and three assists, averaging 10.5 points per game.
I am backing Mohamed Salah to end the season with a flourish. He has been exceptionally unlucky not to score in any of his last three matches, and over the last four, he ranks best in the league for shots in the box, big chances and shots on target. That is rather ominous ahead of a meeting with Newcastle, who have been hit with a nasty injury crisis in defence recently.
I really like the prospect of Harry Kane considering Crystal Palace’s own issues at the back. Over the last four, the Eagles have given up 13 big chances, with only Brighton conceding more in that time. Meanwhile, Spurs’ talismanic striker has double-figure hauls in each of his last two, scoring four goals since Gameweek 36+.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another premium forward with a favourable fixture on the final day of the season. With the Golden Boot still just about within his grasp, the Arsenal forward faces a Watford side that has no choice but to go for broke at the Emirates Stadium. That should see Aubameyang find plenty of space behind a team that has conceded 11 goals across their last four matches.
We could make a case for any number of Manchester City assets this week.
A clean sheet looks like a shoo-in for the Citizens’ defence, with opponents Norwich City having scored just one solitary goal since the restart.
As ever, though, we are hindered by a cap on how many of Pep Guardiola’s side we can plump for.
I’ll personally be overlooking the near-guarantee of six points from whoever lines up at the back, then, and rolling the dice on assets further forward.
Using the Free Hit chip or otherwise, many of us will be waiting until the last possible opportunity – and hoping for the odd bit of team news – to finalise our City triple-up.
With that caveat taken as a given, and with word awaited on whether any midweek jollies affects player availability, I’ve gone with Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus as my three for Gameweek 38+.
Silva is no mere sentimental pick; it’s the likelihood of a start after his non-involvement on Tuesday and the fact he’s averaged 10.5 points per match at the Etihad since the restart.
Sterling is now delivering on the excellent underlying numbers he has been posting all year, meanwhile. The winger averages more big chances per 90 minutes than any other FPL midfielder in 2019/20 and, finally, that is starting to be reflected in his Fantasy returns, with five double-digit hauls in the last eight Gameweeks.
Jesus hasn’t hit those heights but nevertheless has five attacking returns in his last four starts, is racking up some promising numbers and… well, it’s Norwich.
I’m wary about losing assets from Manchester United to fund moves for their cross-city rivals, however.
Having seen Leicester demolished by Spurs on the counter-attack in Gameweek 37+, and with United perfectly suited to playing on the break, there could be a whole lot of space for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to exploit against the Foxes’ ageing, patched-up defence – especially if Brendan Rodgers’ side are forced to go for all three points in their push for a Champions League qualification spot.
Another backline with similar problems, Crystal Palace’s, could have a 33-year-old stopper and an ‘out of position’ central midfielder up against Harry Kane on Sunday.
The Eagles haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches and have recorded only one shut-out against the current top ten this season.
Potent attack meets injury-ravaged defence on Tyneside, too, with Newcastle’s lack of fit centre-halves and vulnerability to aerial balls leading me to a double-up of serial assister Trent Alexander-Arnold and the midfielder who has registered the second-highest-number of headed chances this season, Sadio Mane.
I’m hedging my bets on Bournemouth and Watford heads dropping with my budget selections of Jarrad Branthwaite, Emiliano Martinez and Eddie Nketiah, but my Mark Noble pick requires a bit more explanation.
In an ideal world, I’d include Michail Antonio and his incredible underlying stats – but with budgetary requirements placed on me for my fifth midfielder, who has to cost less than £6.5m, I’ve had to look elsewhere.
Jarrod Bowen is someone I really like but is currently flagged, so it was a toss-up between Tomas Soucek – a revelatory January signing who has caught the eye at set plays – and Mark Noble as my West Ham representative.
In end, and throwing caution to the wind as it’s Gameweek 38+, I’ve gone with Noble.
Since his return to the West Ham starting XI in Gameweek 35+, he has chiefly operated in an advanced midfield role ahead of Soucek and Declan Rice.
He has posted some bonkers numbers while doing so: Noble has created more chances than any other Premier League player over the last three Gameweeks, but hasn’t had a single shot.
Here’s hoping the goals rain down on the final weekend, then, at least everywhere apart from Turf Moor, where I’ve gone with four defensive assets from Burnley and Brighton for what I hope will be a dour a match as it seems on paper.
Nick Pope is the standout goalkeeper pick for the final Gameweek, in my opinion. He’ll earn at least a share of the Golden Glove award if he keeps his 16th clean sheet of the season against Brighton, who have scored just two goals in three away trips since the restart.
I also like Hugo Lloris, who is in excellent form. In the five matches since Tottenham’s defeat at Sheffield United, they’ve kept three clean sheets and only conceded twice, while their opponents Crystal Palace have lost seven in a row and rank in the bottom three for xG during that run.
If funds are a bit tighter, which may be the case for those on a Free Hit who are looking to field a number of big hitters, Emiliano Martinez looks to be the best of the budget options.
In defence, it’s hard to look past Trent Alexander-Arnold. His assist for Roberto Firmino’s goal against Chelsea was his 13th of the season, which broke his own record for most assists by a defender in a single league campaign. It’s also worth noting that his opponents at the weekend, Newcastle, have given up more headed attempts than any other side since the restart. With Alexander-Arnold’s crossing ability and share of set-pieces, you’d expect him to capitalise.
A tactical switch by Carlo Ancelotti on Monday night, which saw Everton move away from their usual 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1, heralded a much-improved performance, and as a result, Lucas Digne is back on my radar. Seven of his eight assists this season have arrived at Goodison Park, and with Bournemouth needing to attack, there should be plenty of space for him to exploit.
He’s joined by Serge Aurier, Erik Pieters, who is the cheapest route into Burnley’s backline, and Kyle Walker-Peters.
Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are the two key FPL midfielders at Man City, who are both chasing down individual records. Winger Sterling looks hungry to take his Premier League goal tally to 20, and has registered four double-digit hauls in his last six outings. De Bruyne, meanwhile, is just one assist away from Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single campaign. Both players could bring in huge hauls against relegated Norwich this weekend, in what is the Gameweek’s must-target fixture.
I also like Mohamed Salah, who will be up against a depleted Newcastle backline who rank 20th for expected goals conceded since the restart, and Michail Antonio. Despite Aston Villa tightening up, Antonio’s numbers are simply too good to ignore: he’s averaging 8.3 points per game since the season resumed and sits top for shots, shots in the box, big chances and expected goal involvement.
The final midfield spot is reserved for budget option Daniel Podence, who marked his third successive start against Crystal Palace with his first goal for Wolves, and looks a real talent.
Up top, I’ve gone for Gabriel Jesus, who leads the way amongst forwards for shots and shots in the box since the restart. Even if his minutes are managed, I have a feeling he’ll be heavily involved once again.
I also like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. No team has given up as many big chances as manager-less Watford recently, and with their right side looking vulnerable, and the fact they’ll have to commit bodies forward to attack, I see more joy in front of goal for the Gabonese forward on Sunday.
Now, I’ve also included Harry Kane, despite a few concerns about Spurs, who have often struggled this season when the onus is on them to take the game to their opponents – remember Bournemouth and Sheffield United? However, Kane is bang in form, and his inclusion is as much about his opponents Crystal Palace, who have injuries to several key players and have now conceded 17 goals in their last seven games.
The forward list is completed by another Golden Boot contender, Danny Ings, and Chris Wood. Ings has been so clinical in recent weeks, whilst Wood again looks like a decent option. He’s now scored in back-to-back Gameweeks and is at home to a Brighton side who have conceded plenty of attempts from set-pieces over the last few weeks.
Burnley look set to help Nick Pope to a Gameweek 38+ clean sheet, so I’ve paired my number one goalkeeper with Erik Pieters. Emiliano Martinez will likely be, once again, an important part of any Arsenal victory and I back him to be part of the Watford relegation story.
There look to be many good picks this Gameweek and budget will certainly be an issue. Trent Alexander-Arnold is still my first-choice defender, followed by Lucas Digne with his strong home form. I circle back to Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson for an expensive top three, before considering Serge Aurier.
It’s in midfield that the difficult decisions really begin. Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah, Anthony Martial and Michail Antonio are four of my top picks this Gameweek, among a long and competitive list. For the sake of balance, I include Phil Foden, though there are a number of more expensive options who are unfortunate to miss out.
Gabriel Jesus leads the forward line, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane providing able back-up. Danny Ings will be looking to finish the season well and Chris Wood could profit if his team are as motivated for Gameweek 38+ as I think they could be.
My final pick of the season is my third goalkeeper spot and I look to David De Gea. While United have looked tired they do have a decent, recent away clean sheet record, even if they did face obliging opposition. Gameweek 38+ is time for a punt and this certainly qualifies – but with United knowing a draw will suffice, a canny counter-attacking game could result in a low-scoring win and a rare full set of De Gea bonus points.
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.
Our last champion, PoldervogelsUit, lost 77-88 to the Scout Picks all the way back in Gameweek 30+.
gwitbrock‘s winning margin of 23 points in Gameweek 25 is the target to beat.
Our Scout Picks article on Sunday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 37+
- Norwich City 0-2 Burnley
- Bournemouth 0-2 Southampton
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 0-1 Everton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Watford 0-4 Manchester City
- Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
- Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea
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