A Liverpool triple-up forms the spine of our Gameweek 5 Scout Picks for Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
After Sam, Az, Neale and Tom submitted their Scout Squad selections earlier this week, we have chosen our best players ahead of tonight’s 18:30 BST deadline.
We line up in a 4-4-2 formation and we’ve used every penny of our £83.0m budget.
With our expensive purchases further forward, we needed a £4.5m option for goalkeeping duties this week. Aaron Ramsdale (£4.5m) fits the bill after a debut that earned huge plaudits from his manager, and it was no surprise that the Gunners finally recorded their first clean sheet of the campaign when they had their first-choice back four all available for the first time. The rotation risk can’t be eliminated, especially after this match, but a clash with Burnley doesn’t seem like the time to reinstate Bernd Leno (£4.9m) give his inability to handle crosses.
Thomas Tuchel’s Blues have had the best backline in Europe since January and are yet to concede from open play this season. Weekend opponents Tottenham Hotspur offered very little in the final third in Gameweek 4, registering just two shots, and are a lowly joint-18th for big chances created in 2021/22. That lack of goal threat, plus an injury crisis in north London, makes us keen on Chelsea representation at the back. It’s always a nerve-wracking game trying to second-guess Tuchel’s line-ups but Reece James (£5.6m) at least had a ‘rest’ last weekend thanks to suspension and his tallies of four shots and five key passes in just 161 minutes of pitch-time really catches the eye.
On the subject of solid defences, Manchester City’s often doesn’t get the attention it deserves thanks to their exploits further forward. The reigning champions are on a run of three clean sheets and have remarkably only conceded one shot on target since the opening weekend, with even Ederson (£6.0m) smothering that effort at source. With injuries to other centre-halves and concern over possible rotation at full-back, mainstay Ruben Dias (£6.0m) is the safe play.
A home match against Palace might have looked like a stonewall banker for a clean sheet under the dour Roy Hodgson but Patrick Vieira has got the Eagles playing with a bit more attacking verve since his appointment. But shut-outs are only a small part of the reason why we love Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) so much, and the Liverpool right-back is in red-hot form: over his last 14 matches, the prolific chance creator is averaging 7.8 FPL points per match.
Marcal (£4.6m) delivered the goods for us last week but we’re changing flanks for Wolves representation against a Brentford outfit who look solid at the back but who are struggling up top. Marcal has generally been providing service from out wide but Nelson Semedo (£4.9m) is the one who has been more regularly drifting infield into threatening goalscoring positions and had two of the six big chances that Wolves created last weekend. Semedo’s 11 penalty box touches is a tally beaten by only two FPL defenders this season.
The solid centre-half pairing of Marc Guehi (£4.5m) and Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) look like they could really improve the fortunes of Palace’s backline this season but after Liverpool racked up 52 shots against Leeds United and AC Milan in the last week, we can’t look past the Reds on home soil. Serious consideration was given to a rested Sadio Mane (£11.9m) after he registered an eye-catching 10 goal attempts against the Whites but it was unsurprisingly his two attacking comrades who instead received the bulk of the votes in this week’s Scout Squad.
Mohamed Salah‘s (£12.5m) totals of 16 goal attempts, 14 shots in the box and 12 chances created all rank among the top three players in the Premier League this season, while his points-per-match average of 9.5 is the best among FPL midfielders. And Diogo Jota (£7.7m), as he did for much of the previous campaign, is right up there Liverpool’s premium midfield pair for underlying stats: a total of 0.99 big chances per 90 minutes is even better than what Salah is managing this season. Had it not been for Mane’s wastefulness in Gameweek 4, the Portuguese – who carved out six chances last Sunday – would have dodged a blank.
With slight concerns over Ferran Torres’ (£7.2m) minutes after five successive starts for club and country over the last fortnight, we’ve opted for a relatively rested Ilkay Gundogan (£7.3m) as our not-entirely-risk-free route into a potent Manchester City attack. Gundogan evoked memories of last season’s purple patch with his stats against Leicester last weekend, racking up six shots and four key passes.
We have yet to see the best of Leeds this season but as luck would have it, along come Newcastle United. The Magpies are woeful at the back, bottom of the table for goals conceded and big chances allowed. They also shipped seven goals to Marcelo Bielsa’s side last season across their two meetings. Raphinha (£6.5m) has yet to catch fire but still sits 14th among FPL midfielders for expected goal involvement (xGI) despite facing fairly sturdy backlines in Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool.
On the subject of the Friday night game, Patrick Bamford (£7.9m) was cleared to play by his manager to quieten the social media frenzy around a possible ‘pinged’ hamstring. Among the top five Fantasy forwards for penalty box touches and shots in the opposition box despite the tricky start to the season, the striker averaged 5.89 points per match in away fixtures last season and four of his five double-digit hauls came on the road.
It was a toss-up between Romelu Lukaku (£11.6m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.6m) for our premium forward slot. With little to separate their own credentials, it’s as much about the opposition this weekend. Nuno Espirito Santo’s counter-attacking Spurs look like they will fare better against the bigger teams this season but are ravaged by injury going into Sunday’s game. West Ham, meanwhile, have registered just two clean sheets in their last 15 Premier League fixtures (both against Southampton) but may well set up in a more defensive shape in east London, as they did in both league meetings with the Red Devils last weekend. The Portuguese gets the nod, marginally, with the Hammers’ loss of an out-ball in Michail Antonio (£7.9m) likely to invite more pressure and the form of Craig Dawson (£5.0m) iffy.
We choose the Scout Picks captain using a four-way vote between our Scout Squad pundits.
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 team by the largest margin will win a £100 Amazon Voucher and a place in our Moderators and Contributors League for the following season.
BobMcMayday, who triumphed 74-68 in Gameweek 4, has set the target to beat.
Our champion this week is Boleyn Boy.
The Scout Picks are 3-1 up on the community this season.