Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 22 ahead of today’s 16:30 GMT deadline.
The January transfer window has now closed and Neale rounded-up the deadline-day deals including two new centre-halves joining Liverpool, and Takumi Minamino’s (£6.0m) switch to Southampton.
David examined how Gabriel Jesus (£9.2m) impacted Ilkay Gündogan (£5.8m) as the German didn’t manage a single shot on target against Sheffield United:
The return of Gabriel Jesus to the Manchester City team appeared to be a negative influence on Gündogan’s goal threat against Sheffield United … with a recognised centre-forward leading the line there were fewer opportunities for the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder to make dangerous runs into exposed pockets of space.
And Pep’s infamous roulette wheel struck again with John Stones (£5.2m) and João Cancelo (£6.0m) left out of the starting XI. David suspects this is just rotation and both players are in Neale’s predicted line-ups for the match against Burnley.
Are Newcastle not the pushovers we hoped they would be?
Last week Pro Pundit Tom thought the writing was on the wall for Newcastle United and suggested we target them when considering which players to buy. But the Magpies took everyone by surprise, including a lacklustre Everton, with a change of tactics.
In his Scout Notes, Colm Hayes included a revealing quote from manager Steve Bruce:
We’ve played a certain way for a long, long time – play a bit deeper, play on the counter attack. That’s something we’ve tried to work on and change. You hope you get a few results from it but that’s the way we want to go about our work. Over the last few weeks in particular we’ve tried to work on getting after the ball, pressing higher up the pitch and being more forward-thinking.
None were more disappointed than Ted, who had talked up the Toffees on the Scoutcast and tripled up on Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a minus eight:
[Everton] showed signs of brilliance but the overwhelming thought was they struggled to create clear cut opportunities to score. I am hoping it’s just a matter of time before the key players start gelling again. Everton will need to get their mojo back fast ahead of the midweek clash with Leeds.
New Pro Pundit Seb Wassell will doubtless experience conflicting emotions tomorrow when his favourite football team comes up against his new centre-forward. A 4-3 Leeds win with a Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) hat-trick the perfect result?
The actor and Leeds fan discussed his attempts at “dispassionate objectivity” in his first Pro Pundit article. His decision to sell Patrick Bamford (£6.6m) for Calvert-Lewin had an element of overcompensating for a bias towards his own team:
Realistically, I do not believe my error was in interpreting the stats this way or that – plenty of people will have seen those and made their own, well-reasoned decisions – but rather in the fact that I am seemingly still looking for reasons to avoid Leeds, even now.
And Scout Network member El Statto isn’t quite ready to take the plunge on Everton players just yet:
The Toffees’ upcoming games are mixed so I’m not sure I would be rushing to bring in any of their assets. Lucas Digne could be a possible option due to the attacking threat he offers, but with everyone else averaging less than 4.0 points per game I feel there is much better value elsewhere.
Wasting Your Wildcard
David Wardale, the author of Wasting Your Wildcard, provided a typically informative and entertaining FPL round-up of the weekend’s matches. A formation switch for Crystal Palace and another blank for Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m) were discussed, and there was a game of contrasting 45 minutes for West Brom.
Matheus Pereira (£5.6m) was the star but could Mbaye Diagne (£6.0m), who emerged as a second-half sub, kickstart an unlikely revival?
David also reported on a resurgent Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), confirmed that Patrick Bamford might not be this season’s Teemu Pukki afterall, and found that Son Heung-min (£9.7m) struggles without Harry Kane (£11.1m).
Salah is Jan‘s top pick for the captaincy this week:
With Liverpool’s Egyptian king ramping up back to his best, it is difficult to look past him, especially with increased goal-scoring responsibility if Mané is confirmed out for the visit of Brighton.
The Egyptian is included as part of a strong midfield three alongside Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) and Fernandes in the Scout Picks, with the selection panel hopeful the Portuguese can return to form:
Fernandes has still had the most shots, the most shots on target and has the highest expected goal involvement (xGI) of any midfielder over the last six Gameweeks, suggesting his good form should return soon.
Meanwhile, Marc Jobling reflected on Chelsea’s second match under new head coach Thomas Tuchel. The German is known to dislike his players crossing from wide positions and it was noticeable that the wing-backs, Marcos Alonso (£5.6m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m), both drove inside towards the penalty area. A role Alonso is well suited to:
It’s the Alonso we remember from the past. His touches were in extraordinarily attacking positions and his 42 in the final third were ahead of everyone on the pitch, except for Mount.
One of Tom’s differentials this week, the Pro Pundit acknowledged the FPL legend comes with a health warning:
A move for Alonso this week does carry risk, knowing that Ben Chilwell is also pushing for a start, but there is a lot of upside too, given the Spaniard’s potential for big hauls. Will he now become first-choice? It’s impossible to say, but if Tuchel does opt to regularly use a back-three system, he’s certainly put forward a strong case.
Considering the competition for left wing-back berth, Antonio Rüdiger (£4.5m) could be a safer – and cheaper – option into the Chelsea backline. Picked out by Tom as one of his three differentials last week, as Marc noted, “the German has taken Zouma’s place in five of the last six matches and seems to be a Tuchel favourite”.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
The latest Community mini-leagues and competitions round-up RedLightning will be published shortly after the deadline. It will include the winner of the January Manager of the Month award for the Community Members mini-league.
In the Head-to-Head Leagues, the fixtures have been generated for the second half of the season. The main page includes links to each Gameweek and can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 22 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
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