The usual foursome of Sam, Neale, Tom and Az momentarily step away from the Connect 4 and Boggle on the last day of Squad Squad term, ready to discuss the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards for Gameweek 38.
No fewer than 10 players have been given universal backing for the final weekend, although four are forwards and won’t all be able to be accommodated into the all-important Scout Picks.
ABOUT THE SCOUT SQUAD
In this series, our four resident Fantasy Football Scout contributors each propose an 18-man squad of Fantasy players with the focus solely on the upcoming Gameweek.
Their selections serve as a long list for the Scout Picks, as the players nominated will then be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.5m) for our final weekly selection ahead of Sunday’s deadline.
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 £7.0m or lower
- No more than three players from the same club
SCOUT SQUAD’S PICK OF THE BEST FPL PLAYERS FOR GAMEWEEK 38
|GK||David Raya||Kasper Schmeichel||David Raya||Alisson|
|Martin Dubravka||Martin Dubravka||Kasper Schmeichel||Kasper Schmeichel|
|Aaron Ramsdale||David Raya||Martin Dubravka||Ederson|
|DEF||Reece James||Reece James||Reece James||Reece James|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Trent Alexander-Arnold|
|Ryan Sessegnon||Joao Cancelo||Joao Cancelo||Ryan Sessegnon|
|Andrew Robertson||Ryan Sessegnon||Ryan Sessegnon||Marcos Alonso|
|Joao Cancelo||Antonio Rudiger||Timothy Castagne||Joao Cancelo|
|MID||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min||Son Heung-min|
|Luis Diaz||Kevin De Bruyne||Mohamed Salah||Luis Diaz|
|James Maddison||Mason Mount||Kevin De Bruyne||James Maddison|
|Mason Mount||Christian Eriksen||Mason Mount||Mason Mount|
|Bruno Guimaraes||Luis Diaz||Christian Eriksen||Bryan Mbeumo|
|FWD||Jamie Vardy||Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Jamie Vardy|
|Harry Kane||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Harry Kane|
|Ivan Toney||Ivan Toney||Ivan Toney||Ivan Toney|
|Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson||Callum Wilson|
|Romelu Lukaku||Joe Gelhardt||Richarlison||Joe Gelhardt|
Most popular picks: Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Ryan Sessegnon, Son Heung-min, Mason Mount, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Ivan Toney, Callum Wilson (four), Kasper Schmeichel, David Raya, Martin Dubravka, Luis Diaz (three)
It’s time for the final push. Perhaps you are happy with your rank and are just looking to consolidate, but hopefully (like me) you are seeing Ganeweek 38 as one final opportunity to finish as high up the rankings as possible – or catch the mini-league leader.
I don’t think we could have a more perfect set of fixtures on paper to try and catch the big hauls. Spurs v Norwich, Leicester v Southampton and Chelsea v Watford all stand out for me as having great potential for monster returns, and eight of my selections in the Scout Squad reflect this. Son Heung-min will carry the weight of many captain armbands this week but the attacking potential of wing-back Ryan Sessegnon, who is ranked first out of all defenders for minutes per non-penalty expected goal involvement (NPxGI) over the last six Gameweeks, and Harry Kane should not be overlooked.
For Leicester, the return of Jamie Vardy and exit from Europe has coincided with impressive performances against basement dwellers Norwich and Watford, and Southampton (ranked 17th for minutes per NPxG conceded over the last six) provides another likely obliging opponent for the Foxes. Vardy is an exciting ‘differential’ captain for those looking to roll the dice in the final week, although James Maddison, who has 20 attacking returns this season in the Premier League, also looks a potentially explosive candidate.
Heading over to London, I’m expecting a big performance from Chelsea after a turbulent season both on and off the field. Over the last six Gameweeks, no team has conceded more crosses or chances down their left-hand flank than Watford – meaning that if we see Reece James line up at wing-back, I would be very confident of a haul. Mason Mount represents a safe choice too, and he has had his most profitable campaign yet, with 22 attacking returns this season. He’ll surely be confident of adding to these against the Hornets, who have just one clean sheet in their last 11 games. If you’re really looking for someone leftfield, why not take a punt on Romelu Lukaku? With Thomas Tuchel sweating on Kai Havertz’s fitness, could the Belgian replicate his Gameweek 38 heroics when he scored three goals for West Brom against Manchester United back in the 2012/13 season?
I also want to pay special attention to Ivan Toney, who stirred the pot by re-sharing a video of Leeds players taunting Thomas Frank and indeed Brentford following their 2019/20 campaign. There’s some bad blood here, and with Leeds playing the way they are, I can see a Bees side fired up by the home crowd making light work of them, with Toney likely to be the main benefactor.
Gameweek 38 is the week to target teams with something left to fight for. With the title, top four, European spots and relegation still not settled, there is plenty of potential for motivated players to excel.
Martin Dubravka faces Burnley this weekend, a team that may need to win to secure their place in the league for next season. However, Newcastle have been solid defensively of late and Burnley’s goal output is the second-lowest in the league this season. Dubravka has also returned either a save point, a bonus point or both in each of the last three Gameweeks. Kasper Schmeichel is similarly a great option for the final day having been rested in the first half of Gameweek 37, and he’ll be facing a Southampton team whose season has petered out. Saints have scored just eight goals in their last 11 fixtures.
Only Mason Mount has more attacking returns for Chelsea this season than Reece James. In his 24 appearances, the wing-back has created 42 chances for his teammates and supplied 105 crosses. Alongside James, I think a Chelsea defensive double-up could prove potent. This looks likely to be Antonio Rudiger‘s last game for the Blues but it’s not just a sentimental pick, as Watford are also joint-bottom for set-play chances conceded over the last six matches.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is my prefered selection from the Liverpool defence, having been spared the trip to St Mary’s on Tuesday evening. He has the most attacking returns across the Liverpool defence this season with 14 and is also top for chances created among his teammates with 84, some 22 more than Mohamed Salah has registered.
Son Heung-min is just one goal behind Salah in the race for the Golden Boot. The midfielder is in great form and has returned in each of his last two Premier League meetings with Norwich, registering 20 points in this time.
Kevin De Bruyne and Man City need to win their final match of the season to secure the Premier League title. In his last nine appearances, De Bruyne has returned 88 points. This includes three double-digit hauls as well as two nine-pointers. Indeed, in this period, the Belgian has only failed to return twice. De Bruyne is top for attacking returns at City this season and only Joao Cancelo has had more goal attempts than him – and even then, the full-back has played six more matches.
I think Christian Eriksen could be a great differential option this weekend. Leeds have conceded 93 big chances this season, more than any other club. In addition, only Liverpool and Man City have had more attempts from free-kicks and corners than Brentford this season. With Eriksen’s set-piece threat, alongside his motivation to find a new club for 2022/23 as his contract with the Bees expires, he will be highly motivated. In addition, if Brentford win and other results go in their favour, they could yet finish in the top half of the table, an amazing achievement in their first campaign.
Up front, Harry Kane has a fantastic record on the final day of the season, as well as against Norwich. The forward has returned in all of his last four appearances on the final day. In those four matches, he has recorded three double-digit hauls and averages 8.43 points per game. Meanwhile, against Norwich, the England international averages nine points per match.
Callum Wilson‘s appearance against Arsenal was outstanding in Gameweek 37 and he makes my picks as a result. Burnley are struggling without key personnel in their defensive line, something WIlson could exploit. With the Clarets likely having to push forwards to try and win the game, that could leave them susceptible to Wilson and Newcastle on the break.
Goalkeepers are hard to choose in Gameweek 38 so I’ve gone with David Raya ahead of Brentford’s home meeting with Leeds United, considering that the visitors have managed just two goals in their last five matches. Meanwhile, Kasper Schmeichel is averaging 6.3 points per match in his last six home appearances, so I’ve included him after Brendan Rodgers confirmed in his pre-match presser that the Danish shot-stopper would start on Sunday.
Reece James is an obvious option given his haul potential. Watford have scored only 10 goals in Roy Hodgson’s 17 matches in charge, while they have also allowed more chances and crosses from their left flank than any other team in that time. Unsurprisingly, the wing-back is third for expected goal involvement (xGI) among defenders in 2021/22, only behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo.
I was torn between Emerson Royal and Ryan Sessegnon but went with the latter considering that he has created at least three more big chances than any other defender since his run of starts began in Gameweek 34. The wing-back has recorded one assist in that period, but his -0.96 expected assists (xA) delta suggests he has been unfortunate not to add more.
Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah (providing he is fit) both have a Golden Boot award to chase, with the South Korean entering the final round just one strike behind. Liverpool take on a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that have taken just two points from a possible 18, ranking 19th for expected goals conceded (xGC) in that time despite facing Burnley/Brighton and Hove Albion/Norwich City, while Tottenham Hotspur have a plum fixture against the already relegated Canaries. That is why I have also included Harry Kane in my selection, who has racked up at least nine points in each of his last four Gameweek 38 appearances. He also leads the league for goal attempts, shots in the box, big chances and xGI since the turn of the year, and is a decent captaincy shout with only 18% of the current vote in our captain poll.
Brentford’s form has been excellent since the beginning of March, winning seven of their last 10 Premier League games whilst also finding the net on 20 occasions. Christian Eriksen has a goal and four assists from Gameweek 29 onwards and, over the last six matches, is second for chances created, while Ivan Toney’s debut season in the top-flight has seen him rack up an impressive 17 attacking returns.
Elsewhere, I found spots for Mason Mount and Jamie Vardy, and I also like the returning Callum Wilson against Burnley. The 30-year-old gives his team a totally different dynamic in the final third with his pace and ability to make dangerous runs in behind, while his 0.41 goals per 90 minutes in 2021/22 is a decent return given his injury problems.
What a wealth of options we have this week, so much so that only one Manchester City outfielder gets into my Scout Squad long-list despite the champions-elect facing an Aston Villa side that haven’t beaten or shut out a top-eight club under Steven Gerrard’s rule. It’s a match I could see City winning, say, 2-0 or 2-1 (Villa have lost only by one goal in each of their three previous meetings with the top two), but there just so happens to be a handful of other Gameweek 38 fixtures that carry ‘thrashing’ potential (xT).
Leicester and Chelsea are involved in two of those final-day mismatches but it’ll pay dividends to see what sort of line-ups Brendan Rodgers and Thomas Tuchel name at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, as minutes played might be a big factor when it comes to Gameweek 38 selection. Tuchel also gave me the collywobbles a bit in his pre-match presser, when saying that “everyone deserves to play” in these two dead rubbers.
Until I’ve seen the teamsheets, I’ve gone for triple-ups on the Foxes, the Blues and indeed Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, who also face favourable opponents.
Southampton, Watford, Norwich and Wolves are all in the bottom six for both goals scored and conceded in the last half-dozen matches. They are, according to the Premier League form table, the four worst teams in the division over this period.
There are some very favourable individual match-ups that catch the eye: Watford, for example, have allowed the most chances to be created from their left flank not just in the last six matches but also in the whole of 2021/22 – a fixture made for Reece James, you’d think, even more so given that the injury-hit Hornets have the worst scoring rate (0.59 goals per match) in the division since Roy Hodgson took over.
A left-sided player has delivered an attacking return against Norwich in each of their last six matches, meanwhile, which is a positive omen for Son Heung-min and Ryan Sessegnon.
In reality, not many of my picks from Spurs, Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea require much explanation beyond perhaps a rested Luis Diaz: over the last six matches, he boasts the best minutes-per-xGI figure of any likely Gameweek 38 starter for Jurgen Klopp’s side bar an is-he-fit-isn’t-he-fit Mohamed Salah.
There always seems to be at least one goalfest on the final day and my money would be on Palace v United this weekend, although I’d struggle to name an Eagle who was guaranteed to start beyond Wilfried Zaha and I’m fresh out of midfield slots.
There could be some frenzied box-to-box action at Turf Moor and the Brentford Community Stadium, too, with Burnley and Leeds potentially both needing victories to ensure Premier League survival. A purring Brentford, fourth in the form table over the last 10 matches, could certainly do serious damage against Leeds if the Whites are forced to chase the game, and I’ve gone with Bryan Mbeumo – first among midfielders for shots in the box in his last six matches – alongside Ivan Toney, who has somehow managed to not score any of the Bees’ last eight goals despite having 16 shots and three big chances in that time.
Callum Wilson meanwhile looked excellent against Arsenal the other night. A tally of 18 goals in 38 starts for Newcastle, who until recently were a bang-average side at best, is very impressive and he could be one of those under-the-radar final-day punts who hauls out of nowhere.
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