Players with two fixtures in Double Gameweek 24 unsurprisingly dominate the Scout Squad selections this time round but Manchester United assets are heavily backed, too, ahead of the Red Devils’ meeting with a porous West Bromwich Albion side.
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||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope||Nick Pope|
|Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola||Alphonse Areola|
|Robin Olsen||Robert Sanchez||Edouard Mendy||David de Gea|
|DEF||João Cancelo||João Cancelo||João Cancelo||Rúben Dias|
|James Tarkowski||James Tarkowski||Ben Mee||Ben Mee|
|Yerry Mina||Luke Shaw||Lucas Digne||Lucas Digne|
|Antonio Rüdiger||Aaron Cresswell||Luke Shaw||Luke Shaw|
|Vladimir Coufal||Antonio Rudiger||Vladimir Coufal||Michael Keane|
|MID||Ilkay Gündogan||Bruno Fernandes||Raheem Sterling||Raheem Sterling|
|Raheem Sterling||Ilkay Gundogan||Ilkay Gündogan||Ilkay Gündogan|
|Bruno Fernandes||Raheem Sterling||Bruno Fernandes||Bruno Fernandes|
|Ashley Westwood||Mason Mount||James Rodríguez||James Rodríguez|
|Tomas Soucek||Ademola Lookman||Bukayo Saka||Ademola Lookman|
|FWD||Edinson Cavani||Richarlison||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
|Patrick Bamford||Michail Antonio||Michail Antonio||Ashley Barnes|
|Jamie Vardy||Edinson Cavani||Timo Werner||Bobby De Cordova-Reid|
|Ollie Watkins||Timo Werner||Edinson Cavani||Michail Antonio|
|Josh King||Ashley Barnes||Ashley Barnes||Patrick Bamford|
Most popular picks: Nick Pope, Alphonse Areola, Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Bruno Fernandes (four), Luke Shaw, Joao Cancelo, Edinson Cavani, Ashley Barnes, Michail Antonio (three)
I am hoping the Burnley defence will be well-staffed enough to perform well in Double Gameweek 24.
Fulham and Crystal Palace are inside the bottom five for big chances and shots on target over the last six matches, so I cannot see them asking too many questions of the Clarets.
James Tarkowski is my chosen option from Burnley’s back four considering the Cottagers and Eagles are the two worst clubs for conceding headed efforts in the last six matches.
Ben Mee has registered one more of these than Tarkowski over the period in question but the latter has enjoyed more of the bigger chances and, accordingly, has a higher expected goals (xG) figure than his colleague.
As a result, I am also including set-piece taker Ashley Westwood in my selection considering he takes Burnley’s corners and free-kicks – and has more key passes than any other colleague over the last six matches.
I am expecting João Cancelo to enjoy significant game-time for Manchester City in the Double Gameweek considering the strength of the upcoming opponents.
The versatile full-back has been handed rests in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Swansea as well as in the first match of Double Gameweek 19 and Gameweek 21.
Operating in an auxiliary central midfield role when Manchester City are in possession, or a more concrete one in light of recent injuries, Cancelo has the best figure for expected goal involvement (xGI) of any defensive colleague over the last four matches.
Yerry Mina is Everton’s most aerially threatening defender and could benefit from Fulham’s aforementioned problems defending set pieces. Not to mention the fact that no team has scored fewer goals over the last 12 Premier League matches than the Cottagers (six).
In light of Callum Wilson’s injury, I fancy a clean sheet for Chelsea’s defence this weekend. Under Thomas Tuchel they have conceded just one goal in four matches, Antonio Rüdiger featuring for 90 minutes each time.
While some are concerned about Ilkay Gündogan playing a deeper role if Fernandinho and Rodri aren’t fit in time for Double Gameweek 24, the fact that he has a strong hand in the Manchester City penalty situation encourages me enough to keep him in a prominent place in my Scout Squad selection.
Raheem Sterling has been an effective asset recently too. He has scored in each of his last three Premier League starts and should earn significant game-time in Double Gameweek 24 considering Pep Guardiola managed his minutes in the FA Cup and Gameweek 21.
Bruno Fernandes has a plum fixture this week even if it’s only just one match to play in. West Bromwich Albion have conceded at least twice in each of their last eight Premier League matches.
That’s why I am also including Edinson Cavani. He was rested in the FA Cup and has three goals across his last four league starts.
Only two top-flight players have more shots on target than Patrick Bamford over the last four matches so I can see his encouraging form continuing as Leeds visit Brighton.
Josh King is my outside bet at capitalising on the Everton attack. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s recent muscle injury means a spot could open up for the Norwegian international in Double Gameweek 24.
My Scout Squad selection is built on shifting sands, with the glut of yellow flags that greeted Fantasy managers after the FA Cup fifth-round ties on Wednesday evening throwing many of our Double Gameweek plans – and this long-list – into turmoil.
With this feature being written before many of the Premier League managers have faced the media, there are a number of caveats to raise: Dominic Calvert-Lewin would make my picks over Richarlison if fit, while Ruben Dias would have been in the shake-up had a stomach illness not laid him low in midweek.
Mohamed Salah may even enter the thinking if James Justin and Timothy Castagne are ruled out, with a sudden dearth of fit left-backs at Leicester City making the Egyptian’s task a lot easier this weekend.
Double Gameweek picks naturally abound, with many of them self-explanatory.
Alphonse Areola, who boasts the second-best expected goals prevented total among Premier League goalkeepers this season, and Ademola Lookman, who features in the top ten midfielders for both goal attempts and chances created over the last six Gameweeks, perhaps require a bit more explaining, but even the Fulham duo are at the conservative end of the maverick scale.
Ashley Barnes is the Double Gameweeker I’m least convinced about in my selection, given that he is part of a Clarets side who have scored fewer goals than any other team this season, and that lack of faith seems him placed below even the misfiring Timo Werner in my forwards list.
On the subject of Werner, I’ve seen merest glimpses of what the German can offer since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment. Playing in the ‘left-sided number 10’ position that far better suits his skillset, he has played a part in three goals in as many appearances under his new boss. With this new-look and injury-hit Newcastle doing their best impression of the mid-90s Entertainers and leaving spaces at the back, I’m backing the German to end his goal drought on Monday.
The lack of Callum Wilson also leads me to plump for Antonio Rudiger, part of a Chelsea backline that still hasn’t been breached by an opposition player under Tuchel.
Favourable fixtures for Manchester United and West Ham United make the attack-minded, corner-taking left-backs Luke Shaw and Aaron Cresswell no-brainer selections, with in-form strikers Edinson Cavani and Michail Antonio no doubt licking their lips at facing such obliging opposition this weekend.
Nick Pope is the key goalkeeper to own in Double Gameweek 24 in my opinion, providing he is fit. The 28-year-old tends to pick up bonus when Burnley stop their opponents from scoring, and is averaging 4.9 points per match this season. Given that the Clarets have the best double, at least on paper, it makes sense to add a defender, too. There isn’t much to choose between Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, but I’ve opted for the latter, with opponents Crystal Palace and Fulham conceding plenty of headed attempts of late.
Meanwhile, I’ve also selected Alphonse Areola, João Cancelo and Lucas Digne at the back, who all play twice. Rúben Dias is unfortunate to miss out but having been flagged last night, a rested Cancelo feels like the safer pick, at least for now.
Single Gameweek options Edouard Mendy and Vladimír Coufal are also included, plus Luke Shaw, who is now one of Manchester United’s most important attacking outlets.
Further forward, Raheem Sterling and İlkay Gündoğan are obvious inclusions in midfield. The England winger has been ticking over nicely in recent weeks and has now scored three goals in his last three league appearances. The fact Pep Guardiola likes to start him in tougher games is also appealing. However, his team-mate Gündoğan looks an equally good option this week, providing he retains his attacking no. 8 role in light of Rodri’s injury.
Everton duo James Rodríguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin also get the nod, on the condition that they are both available. With the forwards’ supply line back in place, he has now scored twice and registered 21 FPL points over the last two Gameweeks, and looks like the pick of the attacking candidates this week.
Elsewhere, Timo Werner’s new position under Thomas Tuchel has been a key reason behind some improved performances. Now being deployed more centrally, rather than as a winger, it’s helping him find more space and generally look much more threatening in the final third. He’s missing goals at the minute but provided both assists at Sheffield United, and you get the feeling this positional change can get the best out of him.
Bruno Fernandes, Bukayo Saka, Michail Antonio (if fit) and Edinson Cavani all look like excellent single Gameweek-ers, with the final forward spot going to Ashley Barnes. The 31-year-old was thrown straight back into the starting XI against Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, having missed a few games through injury. It was a promising return, and though his ceiling is quite low considering Burnley don’t score many, the fact he has two games means I’m happy enough to punt on him.
I think it’s difficult to find a differential in and amongst the Double Gameweek 24 players. Most people will likely have three Manchester City players, at least one Burnley defensive asset, and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin – if he’s fit.
That’s why I’ve chosen Raheem Sterling as I think he’s someone people can’t get to easily. A 3.23 non-penalty expected goals over the last six weeks shows he’s getting chances, and only Michail Antonio can beat that over the period studied. It is worth noting that Ilkay Gündogan has the highest expected goal involvement (5.33) out of any player over the same timeframe, so he can’t be left out, which is why I’ve just gone for the one Manchester City defender.
Even without a Double Gameweek, it’s impossible to leave Bruno Fernandes out of the squad. He’s still performing well with 4.41 expected goal involvement over the last six. More importantly, he’s facing the worst defence in the league, and has just had a bit of a rest in the FA Cup.
I’ve added both David De Gea and Luke Shaw to the squad based on the fixture. No defender has created more chances (14) than Shaw in their last six matches. If there’s one team to target outside of Double Gameweeks, it’s Manchester United.
The Burnley defence has perhaps not been as good as we’ve come to expect so far this season. Since Ben Mee came back into the side in Gameweek 8 they’ve kept six clean sheets in 16 matches. Maybe, more importantly, one of their opponents, Crystal Palace, have the fewest amount of shots in the last six matches at 24. Fulham are performing a little better with 48, but have only managed to score against one team in the last four matches, which was the aforementioned West Brom defence.
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