Sports

City triple-up despite rotation fears

We have chosen our best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players for Gameweek 27 ahead of Friday”s 18:30 GMT deadline.

We line up in a 3-4-3 formation and are limited to £83.5m – the small, annual increase to the starting budget that you can read more about here – for our first XI.

Our four substitutes, meanwhile, are always picked from the budget/cheaper crop of players, not to serve as bench fodder but to give some alternative options who don’t cost as much as some of the names in our line-up.

We’ve made four changes to our team from the ‘bus team’ earlier this week, with some switching between Manchester-based assets and a modest upgrade in the Southampton defence.

GOALKEEPER

Nick Pope (£5.4m) is our pick between the posts, and not just because of his ‘double’.

Pope remarkably conceded just three goals in his last nine appearances, registering six clean sheets along the way. Bonus points have been flowing, too, with eight arriving in the last seven matches. With the Burnley defense not racking up passes or chances created to boost their own scores on the Bonus Points System (BPS), and the forwards hardly scoring freely, a goalkeeper in a no-frills side like Sean Dyche’s will often mop up the bonus points in low scoring games.

Matches against Crystal Palace and Leicester City aren’t easy, it has to be said: both clubs rank in the top eight for goals scored this season. But Champions League-chasing sides like West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs have all either been shut out completely or reduced to just one goal by the Clarets over the last 11 Gameweeks, so Burnley have been holding their own against the Premier League elite.

DEFENDERS

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We’ve doubled up on Pope with ben mee (£4.8m). He jumped the gun on our Scout Picks ‘bus team’ inclusion with the match-winner against Spurs in midweek, topping the shot count at Turf Moor ahead of those meetings with the aerially suspect backlines of Palace and Leicester.

Ranked joint-fourth among defenders for set-piece attempts in 2021/22, Mee has already scored on three occasions this season and faces two of the sides with the worst records from free kicks and corners.

Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) is arguably now Southampton’s first-choice full-back on current form. The former Spurs man has really improved the attacking side of his game of late, with one goal and two assists in his last seven outings. In that time he recorded 10 chances created, seven shots in the box and 19 penalty area touches, all very competitive totals among defenders.

The south-coast club will be coming up against a Norwich City side who have failed to score in 15 of their 25 league fixtures, finding the back of the net on fewer occasions than any other team. Tino Livramento (£4.3m) was our initial selection but with Romain Perraud (£4.8m) recovering from Covid-19 in time for the Norwich game, the Frenchman – who impressed during Livramento’s absence – does pose some rotation risk to the teenage full -back.

João Cancelo (£7.1m) averages more points per match (5.9) than any other midfielder or forward in FPL bar a certain Liverpool-based Egyptian. With nine attacking returns and 13 clean sheets to his name in 24 appearances this season, Cancelo is also, remarkably for a defender, 10th among all outfield players for goal attempts.

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MIDFIELDERS

FPL Gameweek 17 round-up: Tuesday review, injury news and the things we learned

The news that Gabriel Jesus (£8.4m) and Jack Grealish (£7.5m) are available for selection has spooked us a little, particularly with Pep Guardiola’s track record for rotation after a chastening defeat. So we’ve swapped out Raheem Sterling (£10.7m) for the hopefully safer pair of hands in the form of Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m), whilst retaining the services of Riyadh Mahrez (£8.7m) after his goalscoring cameo off the bench last weekend.

De Bruyne and Mahrez are second and third for FPL points from Gameweek 17 onwards, despite each of them having at least one rest in that time. Mahrez is the man in form, averaging 9.0 points per match over the last 10 Gameweeks and returning nine attacking returns in just seven appearances in that spell – and he’s on penalties, too. De Bruyne could prosper at set plays, meanwhile, with Everton also among the division’s worst sides for goals conceded from free-kicks and corners.

Faith in Tottenham Hotspur players is shaken a little by four defeats in five but Leeds United have shipped 36 goals in their last 11 Premier League matches (they’ve also conceded more ‘big chances’ than any other team in that time) and they’ ll follow a punishing clash with Liverpool with a home fixture against Spurs less than 72 hours later. Son Heung-min (£10.8m) was electric at the Etihad on Saturday, taking his total to 10 attacking returns in as many matches. Let’s just forget about the Burnley display on Wednesday…

We’ve got very punty with our last pick, with our budget on the tight side. Inspired by his midweek display against Atletico Madrid, and very much not so by Marcus Rashford’s (£9.4m) own performance, we’ve gone for Anthony Elanga (£4.8m). Bruno Fernandes (£11.7m) was well out of our budget this week, while Jadon Sancho’s (£8.9m) inclusion would have required some cost-cutting elsewhere. Elanga has a better rate of big chances and shots in the box per 90 minutes than any of United’s available midfielders, meanwhile, and there is strong talk of a start for the teenager against Watford.

FORWARDS

The best FPL forwards for a Double Gameweek 22 Free Hit

Much like Son, we’re relying on the Harry Kane (£12.2m) of last Saturday, and not midweek, turning up at Elland Road. He still hit the bar against Burnley despite generally being quiet and, since Antonio Conte took charge, he can’t be beaten by any forward for shots, efforts in the box and big chances.

Wout Weghorst (£6.5m) not only plays twice in this Gameweek but opponents Crystal Palace and Leicester have each kept just one clean sheet from their last seven matches, with the Foxes in dire defensive form for much of the campaign. The two sides are also notoriously bad for defending set plays, as mentioned earlier, which should interest Weghorst given his aerial prowess.

After initially sharing game-time with positional rivals upon his move to Southampton, Armando Broja (£5.5m) is now much more of a permanent fixture in the starting XI, making the line-up in 10 of the last 11 games. His average of 5.1 FPL points per start is also third-best among forwards this season, which is remarkable given his price. Part of an in-form Saints team that has scored 18 goals in their last nine matches (only the top two have bagged more), Broja is joint-fifth among forwards for shots in the box over that period.

THE CAPTAIN

We choose the Scout Picks captain using a four-way vote between our Scout Squad pundits.

  • Az: Weghorst, Son, Kane
  • Sam: Weghorst, Son, Kane
  • Tom: Weghorst, Kane, Son
  • Neale: Kane, De Bruyne, Weghorst

Wout Weghorst duly gets the captaincy, with Harry Kane his deputy.

COMMUNITY CHAMPION

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.

THFC4LIFE, who triumphed 74-48 in Gameweek 19, has set the target to beat.

Our champion this week is Livebear, who has opted for:

Fraser Forster
ben mee
Connor Roberts
João Cancelo
Phil Foden
Bruno Fernandes
Son Heung Min (vc)
James Ward-Prowse
Kevin De Bruyne
Wout Weghorst (c)
Che Adams

The Scout Picks are 18-8 up on the community this season.

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