Arsenal, Liverpool and Southampton are the key source of investment for the Scout Picks in Gameweek 1.
Ahead of the new Fantasy Premier League campaign, we have selected two players from each of these clubs in our first XI of the season.
Chosen by our Scout Squad panel of David, Neale, Tom and Andy, our lines up in the traditional 3-4-3 formation and comes in bang-on our £83.0m budget.
Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) gets the nod as our first Scout Picks goalkeeper of 2020/21. His upcoming opponents Crystal Palace were the lowest scorers in home matches last season, while only Norwich found the net fewer times than the Eagles during Project Restart. Meanwhile, McCarthy managed to make 2.73 saves per 90 last season.
Does the selection of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) require any explanation these days? Not really. A minor injury kept him out of Liverpool’s pre-season games but the right-back was in action for England twice during the international break. Alexander-Arnold was chief among his colleagues for assists, key passes and big chances created last season, and we see no reason why that can’t continue in 2020/21, especially with newly-promoted opposition in Gameweek 1.
James Justin (£4.5m) comes into Gameweek 1 as one of the most nailed-on starters in Leicester’s defence. They may be short of some key personnel but a trip to newly-promoted opposition is enough for us to comfortably include a man with potential at both ends of the pitch.
Rob Holding (£4.5m) is our chosen representative from the Arsenal defence, who face Fulham in the 2020/21 season opener. The Gunners defence has been slowly improving under Mikel Arteta, showcased perfectly in their Community Shield meeting with Liverpool. Holding was a key figure in that performance, offering a budget route into a top-six defence against newly-promoted opposition.
A switch to midfield and a meeting with Fulham when both Manchester clubs are fixture-less mean Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12.0m) is an easy inclusion in the Scout Picks for Gameweek 1. Chosen as the best midfield option by all four pundits, 19 of his 22 goals came against teams outside the so-called big six. And in five meetings with newly-promoted opposition, Aubameyang found the net five times and added an assist for good measure.
Despite a growing number of doubters, Mohamed Salah (£12.0m) earns a place in the Gameweek 1 Scout Picks team. No player classified as a midfielder in 2019/20 scored more goals at home than the Egyptian last season (15) and his goal involvement tally of 19 was beaten only by Kevin De Bruyne, the game’s top-scoring player. Salah started last season by registering a goal, assist and double-figure haul at home to the reigning Championship winners. With the joint-highest number shots on target during Project Restart, Salah is sure to start 2020/21 in a similar fashion.
Jarrod Bowen (£6.5m) is our chosen representative from the West Ham attack to face Newcastle. The Magpies conceded more headed attempts than any other team during Project Restart, which plays into Bowen’s hand as a set-play taker for the Hammers. Meanwhile, his positional classification gives him a slight edge over Michail Antonio, who he outperformed during pre-season by two goals/one assist to two assists.
Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.5m) was the pick of the midfield options below £6.0m, with three of our Scout Squad pundits selecting him their line-ups. West Ham clearly still have defensive issues of their own as they lost 5-3 to Bournemouth in a recent pre-season friendly. During Project Restart, Saint-Maximin had the second-highest number of touches in the penalty area among Newcastle players.
Harry Kane (£10.5m) appears to be the key man for anyone looking to invest in the Spurs attack for their favourable run of games at the start of 2020/21. During Project Restart, he was chief among his colleagues for touches in the box, shots there, big chances and shots on target. In fact, his total of 13 accurate efforts across that period was bettered only by four other Premier League players.
Already at 48% ownership, it seems to be a rather popular opinion to think Timo Werner (£9.5m) will have a great season for Chelsea. The former RB Leipzig forward was involved in nearly 40 Bundesliga goals last season and has already scored against Brighton during pre-season.
Che Adams (£6.0m) could offer excellent value this season based on Southampton’s form and fixtures. In Gameweek 1, they face a Crystal Palace side that conceded 18 times during Project Restart, more than any side that survived relegation. Meanwhile, across that same period, Adams actually outperformed Danny Ings for shots in the box per 90, big chances per 90 and shots on target per 90, registering more FPL points than his esteemed colleague in the last three Gameweeks of the campaign, once his starting place was assured.
Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m) gets a spot on the Scout Picks bench after David and Neale selected him for their Scout Squad submissions. Martin Dúbravka (139) was the only goalkeeper to make more saves than Ramsdale (128) last season, who now turns out for a Sheffield United side that conceded the joint-highest number of big chances during Project Restart.
Romain Saïss (£5.0m) is one of the more assured starters in Wolves’ defence this season. In the last nine Gameweeks of 2019/20, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men boasted the best expected Goals Conceded (xGC) score in the whole division.
Despite Palace’s defensive issues at the beginning of 2020/21, Tyrick Mitchell (£4.0m) remains the most viable bargain-bucket defender. It is unclear how long his run in the team will last considering the Eagles’ injury absentees will have to return at some point but, as things stand, nobody spent more time at left-back for Roy Hodgson than him during pre-season.
James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) represents and even cheaper alternative route into the Southampton attack, with a possible share of penalties. Between Gameweeks 30+ and 38+, the Saints’ captain whipped in 72 crosses, more than any other player, while his 20 shots ranked joint-ninth amongst midfielders.
The Scout Picks captain is chosen using a four-way vote between our Scout Squad pundits.
Because the use of Fantasy Football Scout data is used so heavily in this process, the captain we choose each Gameweek is usually known only to those who have signed up to Premier Membership and revealed to the public only when the deadline has passed.
Here’s how we voted for Gameweek 1:
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.
Boleyn Boy is the first to take us on this year. They went with a 3-5-2 line-up of Fabianski; Robertson, van Dijk, Egan; Mané (c), Alli, Zaha, H Barnes, Bowen; Kane (vc), Ings.
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