Despite the wealth of options boasting good form and/or fixtures available to FPL managers heading into Gameweek 10, there is still some consensus in the Scout Squad picks.
Four players get unanimous backing, with a further half-dozen assets receiving three nominations apiece.
For those new to these pages, this weekly precursor to the Scout Picks selection 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 each put forward an 18-man long-list of players and explain their notable inclusions and omissions below.
The assets 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 FPL deadline at 18:30 GMT on Friday.
In each squad, 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 also 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||Karl Darlow||Sam Johnstone||Kasper Schmeichel||Sam Johnstone|
|Rui Patrício||Rui Patricio||Sam Johnstone||Lukasz Fabianski|
|Alex McCarthy||Edouard Mendy||Vicente Guaita||Vicente Guaita|
|DF||João Cancelo||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||João Cancelo|
|Ruben Dias||Ruben Dias||João Cancelo||Andrew Robertson|
|Rayan Aït-Nouri||Patrick van Aanholt||James Justin||Timothy Castagne|
|Max Kilman||James Justin||Lucas Digne||James Justin|
|Jamal Lewis||George Baldock||Conor Townsend||Héctor Bellerín|
|MF||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Mohamed Salah|
|Bruno Fernandes||Diogo Jota||Mohamed Salah||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Jack Grealish||Mohamed Salah||Bruno Fernandes||Sadio Mané|
|Jack Harrison||Bruno Fernandes||Diogo Jota||Bruno Fernandes|
|Hakim Ziyech||Eberechi Eze||Conor Gallagher||Jarrod Bowen|
|FW||Patrick Bamford||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy|
|Jamie Vardy||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Gabriel Jesus|
|Harry Kane||Patrick Bamford||Harry Kane||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
|Timo Werner||Gabriel Jesus||Patrick Bamford||Ollie Watkins|
|Callum Wilson||Che Adams||Ollie Watkins||Patrick Bamford|
Most popular picks: Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Jamie Vardy, Patrick Bamford (four), Sam Johnstone, Andrew Robertson, James Justin, João Cancelo, Mohamed Salah, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (three)
Only Chelsea and Manchester United have given up fewer big chances than Manchester City since Gameweek 6. which is why I trust their defence for a meeting with Burnley, the division’s joint-lowest scorers. João Cancelo and Ruben Dias are my double-up: the former has created more chances than any other Premier League defender in their last four, while the centre-back offers some threat at set pieces.
Without Wilfried Zaha, I do not expect much joy for Crystal Palace against Newcastle, especially with such a tight turnaround from their Monday-night meeting with Burnley. Considering the Magpies have conceded the same number of big chances as Manchester United in their last four, it makes sense to include a defensive double-up of Karl Darlow and Jamal Lewis.
Wolves have also been in solid form statistically, giving up just one more big chance since Gameweek 6 than Manchester City. They face an Arsenal side that has scored just once in their last five Premier League outings. Considering Wolves have not been full of goals themselves, I’m going for a defensive triple-up here of Rui Patrício, Rayan Aït-Nouri and Max Kilman.
I have no qualms selecting Kevin De Bruyne for Gameweek 10, considering his midweek rest. The Manchester City man is joint-third for big chances created in the last four and has shown a penchant for shots on goal in that time too. While Burnley’s defence has been stout in recent favourable home matches, they have lost their last five trips to the Etihad Stadium (in all competitions) by a combined score of 22-1. The last three of these were all 5-0 defeats.
Bruno Fernandes has been very reliable away from home this season and I would expect him to get something at Southampton. The Manchester United midfielder has hit double figures in each of his last three road trips, surely enough to believe he can end the Saints’ run of three matches at St Mary’s without conceding.
I am backing Jack Grealish to bounce back at the first time of asking against West Ham. He is still comparing well with the rest of the division across a number of categories relating to assist potential and goal threat.
Hakim Ziyech is a bit of a punt for this particular Gameweek. Yes, Spurs have made defensive improvements recently but they are still susceptible from set plays, perhaps even more so without Toby Alderweireld. Since Gameweek 6, only Southampton and Sheffield United have conceded more chances from dead-ball situations, which could bode well for Ziyech, who sits top of the league for big chances created over the same period.
When Everton host Leeds on Saturday afternoon, I am actually more confident of Patrick Bamford‘s points potential than Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Only Sheffield United have a worse expected goals conceded (xGC) score over the last four matches than Everton, while Bamford is top of the league for shots in the box, big chances and shots on target over the same period. Plus, 65% of his points have come on the road this season.
Considering the relatively poor shape Everton’s defence is in, I have selected Jack Harrison, too. His 13 key passes in his last four appearances is more than Fernandes and behind only Ross Barkley in that time.
Jamie Vardy has a similar potential to do well in Gameweek 10. Fulham are in the bottom four for xGC since Gameweek 6, while Vardy is behind only Bamford for big chances and shots on target in that time.
If Callum Wilson is passed fit, I expect him to make the most of Crystal Palace’s recent defensive deterioration. The Eagles have kept just one clean sheet in their last 17 league games, conceding in eight consecutive matches since the 1-0 win over Southampton in Gameweek 1.
Brighton and Hove Albion may be performing solidly on the underlying stats front but the fact is, they have conceded 13 goals and kept zero clean sheets in their five meetings with top-half clubs so far this season.
Sixth in the table for ball possession in 2020/21, the Seagulls are a ‘play out from the back’ type of side and exactly the sort of team who could be punished by a Liverpool outfit who were back to their ferocious pressing best in Gameweek 9.
We only have to think back to the Reds’ 3-1 win at the Amex in July, when Brighton were twice dispossessed high up the field and punished in the first 10 minutes, for portents ahead of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
I’m therefore doubling up on the Liverpool attack in the form of the returning Mohamed Salah and the in-form Diogo Jota, who is matching and even out-performing his more expensive team-mates for many key attacking metrics over the last four Gameweeks.
The absence of Tariq Lamptey should also help unleash Andrew Robertson down the Liverpool left, given that Joel Veltman is unlikely to force the Scot back to the same extent.
The Reds’ cross-city rivals have impressed in fits and starts this season but mostly going forward.
The Saturday evening clash at Goodison Park not only features the two teams who have made the most defensive ‘errors’ this season but also the two goalkeepers who are, in Opta’s eyes, underperforming worse than any other shot-stoppers, in terms of expected goals prevented.
Carlo Ancelotti’s switch to a 3-4-3 at Craven Cottage did little to stem the flow of goals and it’s for that reason that I’m as confident with my Patrick Bamford pick as I am the weekly Dominic Calvert-Lewin selection.
Goals perhaps look less likely at Selhurst Park and the Hawthorns.
Palace and Newcastle have, admittedly, not kept a single clean sheet between them since Gameweek 1.
But with Callum Wilson not pictured in training as of Wednesday – keep tabs on Steve Bruce’s presser for more information there – and his manager switching to a more conservative wing-back system as of Gameweek 6, the Eagles will not have a better chance of doubling their shut-out count.
Patrick van Aanholt consequently gets the nod and offers additional points potential at the other end, having averaged two shots and three penalty box touches per match since his return to the starting XI in Gameweek 7.
Eberechi Eze also squeezes into my picks as a fifth midfielder, as much for what I’ve witnessed on the TV screen as in the Members Area tables. On a share of set plays and a bright spark in the defeat at Burnley, his threat down Newcastle’s weak-looking right flank will be much needed should Wilfried Zaha miss out again.
As for West Brom v Sheffield United, Sam Johnstone‘s recent heroics and the Blades’ anaemic attack (one goal from open play all season) sees the budget goalkeeper join two shot-stoppers who play behind rather more competent backlines – albeit without the favourable fixtures this weekend.
George Baldock also makes the cut in my Scout Squad for that six-pointer in the Black Country: he is fifth among FPL defenders for penalty box touches this season and has had more shots in the opposition area than David McGoldrick and Rhian Brewster combined.
Finally, plum home fixtures for Manchester City and Leicester City sees five players from across those two clubs get the nod – and I won’t win any prizes for originality with any of them.
Manchester City may have lost some of their attacking verve this season, at least domestically, but I’m tipping them to get back on track against Burnley this weekend.
Kevin De Bruyne is still involved in their best moments going forward and has produced 14 shots over the last four Gameweeks, which is joint-top amongst midfielders. Having been given a much-needed rest last night, it’s the ideal time for FPL managers to invest and take advantage of his low ownership.
In defence, João Cancelo looks to be the stand-out pick. His 15 created chances over the last five Gameweeks ranks top among defenders, and it’s that creativity which could be a useful weapon against the Clarets’ low block.
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion look a good team for bargain hunting this week. Their opponents, Sheffield United, have often looked vulnerable defending crosses from their right side this season, which Conor Townsend will look to take advantage of, while Conor Gallagher was arguably the Baggies’ best player against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. If there is to be an upturn in Albion’s fortunes, Gallagher will be central to it. I’ve also included teammate Sam Johnstone as a value option in goal, with the Blades failing to score in five of their nine league matches so far.
Such savings will be needed given that premium picks including Andrew Robertson, Mohamed Salah, Bruno Fernandes and Jamie Vardy have favourable matches, and it just doesn’t sit right to go without Harry Kane, even though a trip to Chelsea could prove a stern test.
After three losses in a row, Everton got back to winning ways at Fulham, which saw them switch from a 4-3-3 to a back three set-up. The Cottagers’ narrow defensive shape meant the wing-backs had a lot of space, and as a result, Lucas Digne created most of their chances. On Saturday, Leeds United won’t give them as much freedom and I expect them to score with Patrick Bamford leading the line, but if Carlo Ancelotti retains the shape, Digne and Dominic Calvert-Lewin can again benefit.
The squad is completed by Leicester City duo Kasper Schmeichel and James Justin, plus Vicente Guaita, Diogo Jota and Ollie Watkins.
In the last four Gameweeks, no team has managed more shots in the box than Leeds (46) – and Patrick Bamford has taken 18 of them. When you couple that with the fact that Everton have conceded two or more goals in each of their last six league games, Saturday’s fixture at Goodison Park bodes well for the Leeds frontman.
Fulham have conceded the joint-most number of goals so far this season and that misery isn’t likely to get any better with Jamie Vardy coming to town. Despite a lot of his points coming from penalties so far, I’d back him for plenty of goals in this one.
Although they scored two goals against Everton, Fulham are mostly struggling to create. If Timothy Castagne is passed fit it could be returns at both ends of the pitch, and the same goes for James Justin considering that Ricardo Pereira looks set to remain unavailable.
Liverpool showed that they’re still a force to be reckoned with, despite numerous injuries. Their strength in depth is very good, and Leicester couldn’t do anything about it in Gameweek 9. I’m backing both Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah to get returns in a game where Brighton will be missing Tariq Lamptey. If Liverpool can put up 3.27 expected goals against Leicester, then Brighton might be in trouble.
Sam Johnstone was ultimately the reason Manchester United didn’t score more goals in Gameweek 9. He made six saves alone in that game and already has 38 for the season. With Sheffield United having one of the bluntest attacks in the league, there’s real potential for a clean sheet here and perhaps even some more save points.
Manchester City still aren’t performing quite where we’d expect but I wouldn’t be writing them off just yet. I can’t see Sean Dyche looking to attack Pep Guardiola’s men and, therefore, it may be another training session on how to penetrate a defence when you have the ball in and around the opponents’ box for most of the game.
While Sergio Agüero was back in the squad in Gameweek 9 and in midweek, it may be too soon for City to rely on him from the off, so I’ve given Gabriel Jesus the nod up front. The Brazilian is bound to get chances and, if City do score a few goals, there’s no doubt that Kevin De Bruyne will be involved somehow, too.
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 whopping 53-point winning margin in Gameweek 2 is the target to beat.
Our next Scout Picks article on Friday will have further details on who is representing the community this week.
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