Players with two fixtures in Double Gameweek 26 predictably dominate the Scout Squad selection this week.
Indeed, not a single player with just one match in the coming Gameweek has been nominated by our panel.
For those new to this feature, 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 narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.0m) for the weekly Scout Picks selection ahead of the FPL deadline at 11:00 GMT on Saturday.
In each writer’s 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||Hugo Lloris||Hugo Lloris||Emiliano Martinez||Emiliano Martinez|
|Nick Pope||Emiliano Martinez||Alphonse Areola||Kasper Schmeichel|
|Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola||Sam Johnstone||Nick Pope|
|DF||Luke Shaw||Lucas Digne||Joao Cancelo||Ruben Dias|
|Ruben Dias||Ricardo Pereira||John Stones||Lucas Digne|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Ruben Dias||Lucas Digne||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Davinson Sanchez||Luke Shaw||Luke Shaw||Ricardo Pereira|
|Ola Aina||Ahmed Elmohamady||Ainsley Maitland-Niles||Eric Dier|
|MF||Bruno Fernandes||Bruno Fernandes||Bruno Fernandes||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Mohamed Salah||Ilkay Gundogan||Mohamed Salah||Bruno Fernandes|
|Ilkay Gundogan||Mohamed Salah||Son Heung-min||Mohamed Salah|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Harvey Barnes||Ilkay Gundogan||Son Heung-min|
|Harvey Barnes||Gareth Bale||Harvey Barnes||Ilkay Gündogan|
|FW||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Jamie Vardy||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
|Mbaye Diagne||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy|
|Josh Maja||Ollie Watkins||Mbaye Diagne||Richarlison|
|Timo Werner||Mbaye Diagne||Ollie Watkins||Ollie Watkins|
Most popular picks: Mohamed Salah, Ilkay Gundogan, Bruno Fernandes, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jamie Vardy (four), Emiliano Martinez, Alphonse Areola, Ruben Dias, Luke Shaw, Lucas Digne, Harvey Barnes, Harry Kane, Ollie Watkins, Mbaye Diagne (three)
I am looking to the Spurs and Fulham defences for Double Gameweek 25. Matches against Burnley and the Cottagers offer plenty of clean sheet potential, which is why Spurs sit top of the Season Ticker for ‘defence’ in Double Gameweek 26.
I’ve gone with Hugo Lloris and Davinson Sanchez as they feel the two most-likely starters in Jose Mourinho’s back-line.
Meanwhile, Alphonse Areola has the perfect combination of matches for Double Gameweek 26. A trip to Crystal Palace offers the possibility of a clean sheet given their record with Wilfried Zaha while a meeting with Spurs could give him the chance to significantly add to his 83 saves this season.
Ola Aina is joint-top for key passes among Fulham defenders over the last four matches and ranks best for shots on target too.
Luke Shaw has been a creative powerhouse of late, fashioning 15 chances in the last four matches, at least six more than any other defender.
One of those is Trent Alexander-Arnold although his eight key passes is still the third-highest among players in his position, so I think we could see him ticking over with points again soon.
Bruno Fernandes is starting to feel like an auto-include, even though he faces Chelsea this week. It is the second Double Gameweek fixture against Crystal Palace that appeals. Over their last four matches, the Eagles are the Premier League’s second-worst side for expected goals conceded (xGC).
Meanwhile, nobody has been afforded more big chances than Mohamed Salah and Ilkay Gündogan over that same period.
The former faces a Sheffield United side without their three first-choice centre-backs in the first of Liverpool’s Double Gameweek fixtures while the latter has been so key to Manchester City that I am sure he will get significant game-time across home meetings with West Ham and Wolves.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is my pick of the forwards considering Everton’s Double Gameweek 26 fixtures. Southampton have conceded nine goals across their last four (which does not include the infamous Old Trafford defeat anymore) while West Bromwich Albion have given up at least two goals in eight of their last 10.
Jamie Vardy is among those players currently joint-top for big chances over their last four matches while only three players have a superior figure for minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) over the same period than Mbaye Diagne.
I’ll let the others do the talking on the widely selected assets of Double Gameweek 26, as there will be few of you who are wondering why the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Harry Kane and Ilkay Gundogan have made the cut.
Instead, I’ll take you through some of the less-obvious selections.
While Son Heung-min looks like he’s running on fumes of late, Gareth Bale has strung together three impressive appearances in Europe and on the home front – even if some of them were cameos off the bench.
Fitness and game-time are possible downsides with the Welshman but he’s looked sharper and more motivated over the last week, with a benching in the Europa League on Wednesday looking like a strong indicator that he will make Jose Mourinho’s starting XI this weekend.
Attacking returns in his last three competitive appearances is a neat reflection of his renaissance, while he had more final third touches than any other player bar Son in the West Ham game – despite only featuring as a second-half substitute. But this is as much an ‘eye test’ selection as anything else, with Bale looking more Wales talisman than washed-up Madridista of late.
Seven clean sheets in 12 matches on the road makes Emiliano Martinez a no-brainer for a Double Gameweek 26 long-list but I’ve nominated Ahmed Elmohamady as a cheaper route into the Villa defence, with the Egyptian looking a secure-ish starter given that Matty Cash is sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Elmohamady has one of the best minutes-per-chance-created averages among Fantasy defenders this season and even if that figure comes from precious little game-time, we FPL veterans know he loves a cross from his past exploits at Hull and Sunderland.
Mbaye Diagne has a decent run of matches coming up, starting with a double-header at the Hawthorns. He’s joint-top for big chances among FPL forwards since his arrival in January and, on a related note, sits above his positional peers for expected goal involvement, too.
His shot count would look even more impressive if he didn’t have a frustrating knack of being caught offside, although that in itself is perhaps encouraging as it implies he is always looking for that half-yard beyond the last defender.
Double Gameweek players unsurprisingly make up my entire 18-man squad this time.
Aston Villa looked short of ideas without playmaker Jack Grealish last weekend, and though his absence will put more pressure on their defence, it’s hard to look past Emiliano Martínez as the top goalkeeper pick. The 28-year-old has made more saves than any other stopper in recent weeks, with the Argentinian accompanying Alphonse Areola and Sam Johnstone.
Manchester City have conceded just four goals in their last 17 Premier League matches, which is why João Cancelo is so appealing, with his kinder priced team-mate John Stones joining him.
I also like Luke Shaw, who has created more chances than any other defender in the last six matches. He’s also improved his ability from set-pieces, which is relevant with Wednesday night’s opponents Crystal Palace often struggling to properly defend crosses into the box.
While Everton’s defence isn’t exactly watertight, I’ve found a spot for Lucas Digne too ahead of games against Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. The Saints have conceded the highest number of chances from their right-flank over their last six, which adds to his appeal, and I’m also willing to take a risk on differential Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Following Semi Ajayi’s red card at Burnley, the on-loan Arsenal man shifted out to a wider attacking role, which manager Sam Allardyce has hinted we might see more of in the coming weeks. I also think Albion have looked much better now that their new arrivals have been integrated into the starting XI.
Further forward, Bruno Fernandes is an obvious inclusion given his rate of returns. The Portuguese has now scored in each of his last four league games, bringing in a massive 45 FPL points across that period.
He’s joined in midfield by Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and İlkay Gündoğan. Kevin De Bruyne is really unfortunate not to make the squad, and he will be making an appearance in my own team, but somebody had to miss out given Harvey Barnes’ form. His goal against Villa was his 13th of the season in all competitions, yet you get the feeling there is still more to come from him.
Up front, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are excellent options, plus Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is now looking much sharper and has quietly racked up four attacking returns in his last three league appearances. The forward list is completed by differential Mbaye Diagne and Ollie Watkins, both of whom look the pick of the budget striker options this week.
As ever with Manchester City it’s not a question of should we triple up, it’s just a question of which three we pick. It’s hard to look against the double-up in defence, but double attack provides a little bit of a differential at this point. With Ilkay Gündogan you get incredible value, and with Kevin De Bruyne you get a player who’s registering 0.73 expected goal involvements (xGI) every 90 minutes. That’s only beaten by Bruno Fernandes (0.74) for midfielders playing regular minutes.
Despite major concerns over Liverpool losing another key player in Jordan Henderson, it’s difficult to look past Trent Alexander-Arnold. Sheffield United have registered just 4.71 expected goals (xG) in the last six matches, the third-worst total in the league. You’d expect defensive returns in that game, with a potential cagey match against Chelsea to follow. Only Luke Shaw and James Justin have higher xGI than Alexander-Arnold over their last six matches when it comes to defenders.
Even with Tottenham Hotspur struggling in their last few matches I can’t look past the attacking double-up. While they’re short of goals in their last half-dozen fixtures, they have played four of the five best defences for expected goals conceded (xGC) this season in West Ham, Brighton, Chelsea and Man City. Liverpool weren’t exactly pushovers in Gameweek 20, either. In fact, if you look at the games outside of this, Harry Kane has scored against West Brom, Sheffield United, Fulham and Leeds United, which were the other fixtures that made up the Lilywhites’ last nine games.
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