Fantasy Football Scout contributors David, Andy, Tom and Neale assemble for the final time this season to pick out their favoured Fantasy Premier League players for the upcoming Gameweek.
Our weekly Scout Squad feature always takes the form of a ‘Free Hit’-type selection and there’ll be plenty of FPL managers looking for a Hail Mary punt ahead of Sunday’s deadline, with this round of matches offering one final chance for us to improve our ranks or claw back mini-league deficits.
All of our panelists have put forward an 18-man long-list of Fantasy assets and will explain their notable inclusions and omissions below.
The players 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 deadline at 14:30 BST on Sunday.
Each writer must meet the following requirements:
- 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
- At least one forward priced at £7.5m or lower
- No more than three players from the same club
SCOUT SQUAD PICKS
|GK||Martin Dubravka||Edouard Mendy||Edouard Mendy||Ederson|
|Robert Sánchez||Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola|
|Jordan Pickford||Mark Gillespie||Bernd Leno||Martin Dubravka|
|DF||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Stuart Dallas||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Andrew Robertson||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Stuart Dallas||Stuart Dallas|
|Vladimir Coufal||James Tarkowski||Matthew Lowton||Kieran Tierney|
|Ben Chilwell||Alex Telles||Vladimír Coufal||Ben Chilwell|
|Federico Fernández||Calum Chambers||Kieran Tierney||Vladimír Coufal|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Raphinha||Raphinha||Sadio Mané||Sadio Mané|
|Joe Willock||Mason Mount||Raphinha||Raphinha|
|Son Heung-min||Kevin De Bruyne||Jesse Lingard||Ferran Torres|
|Mason Mount||Said Benrahma||Mason Mount||Christian Pulisic|
|FW||Patrick Bamford||Patrick Bamford||Michail Antonio||Patrick Bamford|
|Rodrigo||Chris Wood||Patrick Bamford||Michail Antonio|
|Harry Kane||Michail Antonio||Harry Kane||Harry Kane|
|Christian Benteke||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Chris Wood||Chris Wood|
|Chris Wood||Kelechi Iheanacho||Kelechi Iheanacho||Kelechi Iheanacho|
Most popular picks: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Raphinha, Chris Wood, Patrick Bamford (four), Stuart Dallas, Vladimir Coufal, Alphonse Areola, Mason Mount, Harry Kane, Michail Antonio, Kelechi Iheanacho (three)
Goalkeepers are hard to choose for Gameweek 38 so I’ve gone with Martin Dubravka ahead of Newcastle’s trip to Craven Cottage considering that Fulham have failed to find the net in three of their last four home matches.
Meanwhile, Jordan Pickford has produced 4.2 saves per game in meetings with top-six sides this season, so I’ve included him in the expectation of a few scant additional points.
With very few goalkeepers offering strong clean sheet potential in Gameweek 38, the same is true of defenders, so I have mostly included those I believe can get attacking returns.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is an obvious option considering that his total of three assists across his last six is the most among defenders. Unsurprisingly, the Liverpool right-back is also top of that category for expected assists (xA) across the same period. Andrew Robertson‘s xA score of 0.88 is also the sixth-best among defenders over their last half-dozen run-outs.
I was torn between Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal but went with the latter considering he is usually the more effective West Ham defender at home in terms of attacking returns. The Czech Republic international has four Premier League assists at the London Stadium this season, compared to two for Cresswell. Meanwhile, the Englishman has registered just one touch inside the box at home in 2020/21, while Coufal has 17 to his name.
Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane both have a Golden Boot award to chase, each one on 22 goals for the season thus far. The Egyptian has produced 19 shots in the box over his last six, the second-most in the league, while I think Kane can capitalise on Leicester’s need to go gung-ho for Champions League football on Sunday.
That is why I have also included Son Heung-min in my selection while I should also note that Christian Benteke is one of only two players with more shots in the box than Salah over the last six. He also leads the league for shots on target over the same period, producing goals in each of his last four and, in Gameweek 38, he – fitness permitting – faces a Liverpool defence that has conceded more big chances than any other Premier League side.
Joe Willock‘s form is looking sustainable still as he added a sixth goal in as many games against Sheffield United. With Fulham coming up on the final day, the fact he is third in the Premier League for minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) bodes well.
Finally, I want to throw my weight behind Leeds’ attack for a meeting with West Bromwich Albion. This will be the Whites’ first Premier League game to feature fans at Elland Road for 16 years and that alone might be enough to suggest a big win.
But let us also consider that they are joint-top of the form table over the last nine matches (20 points from six wins, two draws and one defeat) and West Brom have the worst expected goals conceded (xGC) over the last six. For that reason, I am including Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo in my Scout Squad selection.
Double-ups or more on Liverpool, Leeds United and West Ham United are fairly self-explanatory, so I’ll instead focus on less-predictable selections elsewhere.
Starting at the back, I’ve plumped for two goalkeepers whose sides have very little defensive form at all.
Fulham haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek 27 but with a gung-ho Newcastle potentially missing the first three players in line for striking spots (Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton) and with Joe Willock “fatigued” after his heroics over the last month, Alphonse Areola could enjoy one final shut-out before the Cottagers drop to the Championship – providing Scott Parker doesn’t follow in the footsteps of many of his peers and hand a start to a back-up custodian.
A reserve shot-stopper could indeed well be between the posts in west London, as I’d be surprised if Newcastle risk aggravating Martin Dubravka’s niggling hamstring with Euro 2020 coming up. Enter Mark Gillespie, who could be facing a Fulham attack who have scored just twice in their last eight home matches.
Wolverhampton Wanderers just keep conceding goals from set plays so I’m immediately drawn to dead-ball specialist Alex Telles for a presumably under-strength Manchester United’s trip to Molineux, with Wolves’ struggle for goals (seven in their last ten) also an incentive.
Calum Chambers and Arsenal will be facing a Brighton attacked blunted by the unavailability of Danny Welbeck and Neal Maupay, meanwhile. Presuming he gets the nod at right-back with Hector Bellerin out and Cedric Soares peripheral, Chambers also carries a threat going in the opposite direction: he has had seven shots and 10 penalty box touches in his last six appearances, two of which were as a substitute.
Sheffield United’s recent tendency to concede a lot headed opportunities (Willock’s goal and Jonjo Shelvey’s big chance in midweek the tip of the iceberg) surely plays into the hands of James Tarkowski and Chris Wood, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin may have some unexpected joy at the Etihad, as Manchester City have conceded exactly two goals in each of their last four home games – and shipped six in total at Brighton and Newcastle in the last two Gameweeks.
I’ve selected Kevin De Bruyne as a last-week punt. City’s line-ups are a bit of a crapshoot and perhaps they are best avoided in Gameweek 38, but would Pep Guardiola allow his star Belgian to go into a Champions League final off the back of a 25-day stretch without any game-time? The former Barcelona boss has, remarkably, done this before, but has more recently talked up the importance of “rhythm”.
Finally, I’ve opted for Said Benrahma over the plethora of other West Ham midfielders. The unpredictable Algerian has spent a lot of time on the right flank over the last two Gameweeks and it was from this position that he assisted against West Brom. If stationed there on Sunday, he’ll be up against a Southampton side who have conceded the second-highest number of chances from their left flank over the last six games – a period that coincides with Ryan Bertrand’s unavailability and the deployment of centre-halves at left-back.
Edouard Mendy is my first-choice goalkeeper in Gameweek 38.
Despite conceding in each of their last three Premier League matches, Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 28 attempts under Thomas Tuchel, and with a strong line-up assured look like one of the better teams to target from a defensive perspective.
I’ve also selected Alphonse Areola, mainly due to Newcastle United’s mounting injury list in attack, and Bernd Leno.
In defence, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is my top pick. The in-form right-back has been one of the Reds’ standout performers in recent weeks, creating 21 chances in his last six matches, at least two more than any other Premier League player.
Elsewhere, amongst defenders, only Aaron Cresswell and Lucas Digne have a higher number of assists than Vladimír Coufal this season, an impressive achievement considering he doesn’t take set-pieces. He is still in search of his first goal but continues to threaten going forward, as shown by him hitting the post against Everton in Gameweek 35.
Stuart Dallas, Matthew Lowton and Kieran Tierney complete the picks at the back.
Further forward, the inclusion of Liverpool and Leeds United’s attacking players largely speak for themselves, so I’ll dedicate a bit more time to a few of my other selections.
West Ham United’s chances of a top-four finish are gone but European football next season remains very much on the table, and I’m tipping them to finish strongly against Southampton. Jesse Lingard’s goals have dried up across the past five games but he remains one of their key attackers, while Michail Antonio has performed well on the road this season having been directly involved in nine goals. He may be on penalties, too, following Declan Rice’s midweek miss.
Meanwhile, for a fourth consecutive season, Chris Wood is into double figures for Premier League goals. The New Zealander boasts 11 attacking returns since Gameweek 27, and takes on a Sheffield United side who have kept just three clean sheets at home all season.
The offensive list is completed by Mason Mount, plus forwards Harry Kane and Kelechi Iheanacho, who face off against each other in what I’m anticipating will be an open game.
As usual, it’s difficult to pick a Manchester City player without worrying about rotation. But after a very brief appearance against Brighton in Gameweek 37, I’m backing Ferran Torres to get another run-out. If Kevin De Bruyne is still not fully fit, I think Pep Guardiola may want to see Torres play in the number nine role again. He’s managed 0.44 expected goal involvements (xGI) per 90 minutes this season, which is higher than Phil Foden (0.39).
I’m backing Leeds v West Brom to be one of the ‘famous’ Gameweek 38 goal-fests. Leeds are fourth for total expected goals (xG) from open play this season, only behind Liverpool, Man City and Man United. The narrative is there: it’s the first Premier League game in front of home fans for the best part of two decades, so they’re going to want to put on a show. Patrick Bamford reminded us last week why we shouldn’t write him off yet, and the Whites are facing the team who have conceded the most expected goals this season so far. Raphinha has to be the second attacker, with five shots in the box and 13 chances created over his last six matches.
Kelechi Iheanacho (4.42) and Michail Antonio (4.36) are the top two forwards for expected goal involvement over the last six matches. Between them, they had 30 shots in that same time period. Antonio certainly has the easier game but Leicester may need to score a lot of goals against Spurs in order to get into the Champions League spots and I’m not sure Brendan Rodgers will leave Iheanacho out of the starting line-up again.
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