Only three players have been given universal backing by the Scout Squad panel, with Gameweek 7 proving to be a divisive set of fixtures.
For those new to the site, this weekly forerunner to the Scout Picks article sees our four-man panel champion the standout Fantasy Premier League assets for the upcoming Gameweek.
Fantasy Football Scout editor David, deputy editor Neale, video content manager Andy and Pro Pundit Tom will each put forward an 18-man squad of players and explain their notable inclusions and omissions below.
The nominations listed will then be whittled 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 FPL deadline at 18:30 BST on Friday.
There are requirements for at least:
- One goalkeeper costing £5.0m or less
- One sub-£5.0m defender
- One midfielder listed at £6.5m or below
- 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 Friday.
|GK||Edouard Mendy||Edouard Mendy||Rui Patricio||Edouard Mendy|
|Ederson||Emiliano Martinez||Edouard Mendy||Ederson|
|Sam Johnstone||Sam Johnstone||Sam Johnstone||Alphonse Areola|
|DF||Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo||Andrew Robertson||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Ben Chilwell||Nelson Semedo||Ben Chilwell||Sergio Reguilón|
|Stuart Dallas||Andrew Robertson||Nelson Semedo||Ben Chilwell|
|Aymeric Laporte||Reece James||Joao Cancelo||Romain Saiss|
|Branislav Ivanovic||Niels Nkounkou||Stuart Dallas||Ezri Konsa|
|MF||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Mohamed Salah||Son Heung-min|
|Sadio Mane||Kevin De Bruyne||Son Heung-min||Mohamed Salah|
|Jack Grealish||Sadio Mane||Kevin De Bruyne||Sadio Mane|
|James Rodriguez||Christian Pulisic||Phil Foden||Raheem Sterling|
|Jack Harrison||Ademola Lookman||Jack Harrison||Ademola Lookman|
|FW||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Michail Antonio||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Timo Werner||Raul Jimenez|
|Danny Ings||Raul Jimenez||Raul Jimenez||Callum Wilson|
|Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Jamie Vardy||Danny Ings||Jamie Vardy|
|Callum Wilson||Ollie Watkins||Callum Wilson||Ollie Watkins|
Most popular picks: Edouard Mendy, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane (four), Sam Johnstone, Joao Cancelo, Ben Chilwell, Sadio Mane, Raul Jimenez, Callum Wilson (three)
I have to say this was one of the most challenging Scout Squad submissions to put together in recent years.
Let’s start in defence, where I have put most of my trust in the backlines of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Frank Lampard’s men face a Burnley outfit that has scored just three times in the first five matches and are currently inside the Premier League’s bottom three for big chances and goal conversion rate, hence my inclusion of Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell.
Sheffield United have the same goal tally as the Clarets despite playing one more match, which is why I fancy Manchester City’s defence enough to triple up here. João Cancelo and Aymeric Laporte are the two I am most excited by. That’s because the Blades have conceded more chances down their right flank than any other side this season, while no team has given up more headed chances than them.
Speaking of weak flanks, Leicester have also been experiencing problems down their right-hand side, second only to Sheffield United for chances conceded on that side of the pitch after six Gameweeks. That’s why Stuart Dallas gets the nod for me in Leeds’ defence, while left-winger Jack Harrison is my differential midfielder.
Meanwhile, Branislav Ivanovic is an outside bet considering the improvements he has made to West Bromwich Albion’s defence since making his Premier League debut for them. Despite only playing two matches for the Baggies, he is already second only to Grady Diangana for shots in the box, which may help him against a Fulham side that has not shored up as well as Slaven Bilic’s men have.
Son Heung-min and Harry Kane are virtually auto-inclusions at this rate, considering how effective their partnership is in 2020/21. The South Korean international has involved himself in nine of Kane’s 13 attacking returns thus far, so owning both seems a viable strategy.
Brighton’s defence has been a perplexing one this year, with a relatively admirable figure for expected goals conceded (xGC) but moments of poor concentration have been letting them down. Still without captain and first-choice centre-back Lewis Dunk, I can’t see the Seagulls stopping Son and Kane’s march towards more FPL points in Gameweek 7.
Sadio Mané is my only Liverpool selection for this next round of Scout Squad submissions as the strong state of both West Ham’s defence and attack have convinced me they can hold their hosts at bay on Saturday, but find the net at Anfield too.
Mané still gets the nod though, as I see him as the most likely to break the Hammers down, considering he has the second-best score for minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) in the Premier League this season and is behind only Dominic Calvert-Lewin for expected goals non-penalty.
There is a huge imbalance in the Southampton defence which can play into Aston Villa’s hands in Gameweek 7. They have conceded 73 crosses from the right-hand side this season, a whopping 46 more than the number given up on the left (27). Dean Smith’s men will have a point to prove at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, so the fact that their most effective player Jack Grealish will line up against Southampton’s weaker side is sure to help.
Even though there is currently some uncertainty surrounding Michail Antonio‘s fitness for Gameweek 7, I have included him nonetheless. Liverpool’s defence was poor this season even before they lost Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho to injury.
Whatever the opposite of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object is, it’s Fulham v West Bromwich Albion. Both clubs have conceded a joint-league-high 14 goals this season and are struggling at the other end of the pitch, with the Baggies having created only one big chance all season. Like Alan Partridge musing on the School for the Deaf, it’s difficult to work out whether there will be goals or otherwise.
Albion have shown signs of improvement at the back over the last two Gameweeks, at least, and Sam Johnstone should be good for a save point even if the Baggies’ defence is breached: a high proportion of Fulham’s chances are from distance, while tame, looping Aleksandar Mitrovic headers do seem to account for a lot of the Cottagers’ shots on target.
If the deadlock is to be broken, then the impressive Ademola Lookman could be the man to unpick the visitors’ backline. I backed him in the Scout Squad last week and he couldn’t have come much closer to scoring, hitting the woodwork twice against Palace.
Sheffield United’s concession of a high number of chances from their right flank and a rest for Joao Cancelo in midweek leads me to nominate the Portuguese full-back for Manchester City’s trip to Bramall Lane, while the low block that the Blades will no doubt employ may require some Kevin De Bruyne magic from deep for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Ben Chilwell looked a little tired on Wednesday and I do wonder whether he might be handed a breather at Turf Moor this weekend, particularly if Frank Lampard opts for more of an aerial threat at left-back to combat a direct Burnley side. He is probably my first-choice Chelsea defender but Reece James, who admittedly himself is hardly a nailed pick, is a relatively fresh option after a benching in the Champions League and his bonus point magnetism means he has a great chance of hauling when those starts do come.
Speaking of full-backs who I’m not certain will start, I’ve included Niels Nkounkou as my fifth defender purely to enter his name into the discussion for this weekend. Carlo Ancelotti may opt for the experience of Fabian Delph at left-back instead but the Italian is usually (James Rodriguez aside) up front with his team news and may give us an indication one way or another whether the £4.0m FPL defender will get the nod to deputise for Lucas Digne against a Newcastle side that have been toothless in attack for much of the season, despite somehow scoring eight goals.
With uncertainty surrounding who Nuno Espírito Santo considers as Wolverhampton Wanderers’ first-choice left-sided centre-back and wing-back, I’ve settled on Rui Patrício and Nélson Semedo in this week’s squad, both of whom looks assured of starts against Crystal Palace. Despite being denied a third consecutive clean sheet late on in Gameweek 6, Wolves limited their opponents Newcastle United to just two shots in the box, which bodes well for a shut-out on Friday night.
I’ve also opted for a defensive double-up at Chelsea, via Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell. The Blues have now kept four clean sheets in their last five matches in all competitions and travel to a Burnley side who have managed just three league goals all season. Chilwell could be in line for attacking returns too: since Gameweek 4, no defender can match him for touches, successful crosses, created chances or expected assists (xA).
They’re joined at the back by Sam Johnstone, Andrew Robertson, João Cancelo and Stuart Dallas.
The Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea attacking selections largely speak for themselves, so I’ll spend a bit more time talking through some of my other picks.
While the loss of Manchester City’s two main strikers is a blow, their 3-0 midweek win at Marseille highlighted that they can still score goals in their absence. Kevin De Bruyne was once again pulling the strings and finished the game with two assists, while Phil Foden looked sharp operating from the left. If he were to start in a similar role at Bramall Lane it would certainly heighten his appeal, bearing in mind Sheffield United have given up a whopping 30 chances down their right-side so far this season, at least five more than any other team in the division.
I’ve also included Leeds United’s Jack Harrison in the budget midfielder slot. The 23-year-old has already scored at Liverpool and supplied an assist at Sheffield United, and will be up against Leicester City’s right flank, which can be got at, as evidenced by Jack Grealish and Pablo Fornals’ performances against them in recent weeks.
The offensive list is completed by Raul Jiménez, Danny Ings and Callum Wilson.
While FPL managers continue to speculate on whether Romain Saïss will keep his place, he continues ticking along with clean sheet points. Despite Wilfried Zaha continuing to return, this is another match that looks primed for a Wolves shut-out.
Ademola Lookman has been heavily involved since he made his Fulham debut in Gameweek 4. In the last two Gameweeks, he’s played 180 minutes, and only four players have attempted more shots in the box than Lookman’s five. While West Brom may have improved defensively in the last two matches, I’m not ready to remove their whipping boys’ tag and think this could be a good fixture for Fulham.
With Seamus Coleman looking like he’ll miss out in Gameweek 7 and Lucas Digne being suspended, it might not be the worst time to play Everton from an attacking point of view. It also helps that they’ve conceded two goals in each of their last three games. Only six players have a higher expected goal involvement than Callum Wilson so far this season and Newcastle will see a good opportunity with the number of suspensions and injuries Everton are suffering from.
I’ve been impressed with Sadio Mané so far both from the eye test and a stats perspective. Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin has a higher non-penalty xG so far this season with Mané at 4.03 and Calvert-Lewin at 4.27. When you see that Mane has played 100 fewer minutes than Mohamed Salah, it’s even more impressive. Salah is creating more, but from a goal threat perspective, Mané has been a little more efficient so far. Without being able to rely on penalties, Mané may even be the better option right now.
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.
AA33‘s winning 53-point margin in Gameweek 2 is the target to beat.
In Gameweek 6, the Scout Picks triumphed over karsworde 45-40 to take a 4-2 lead over the community.
Our next Scout Picks article on Friday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
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