City and Spurs attacks appeal

We’ve put together our Scout Picks ‘bus team’ ahead of Blank/Double Gameweek 27 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).

This is a new feature we first rolled out earlier in February and it’s essentially a first draft of our regular XI, partly in response to feedback from some users who wanted certain articles to be available sooner in the week.

The Scout Picks widget on the home page is generally only in use for a very short space of time (one or two days a week, at most) and becomes largely redundant once the deadline passes, so this new article strand will also hopefully give it a bit more shelf-life.

The pre-deadline picks will stay as they are and cement our weekly selection based on the Scout Squad long-list entries, midweek action/minutes and fresh injury updates but this ‘bus team’ – a term coined by the Always Cheating boys, As it’s the XI you set at the start of the week in case you get hit by a bus before the deadline – will discuss the players who are likely to be in the running.

ABOUT THE SCOUT PICKS BUDGET

The Scout picks budget always increases in the second half of the season to reflect ballooning team values ​​but at the heart of our selection is the key principle that the first XI should still be affordable to those with a budget of £100.0m – so we’ ve only increased it half a million to £83.5m, leaving £16.5m for the cheapest bench fodder options in the game (currently a £3.9m goalkeeper, a £3.7m defender, a £4.3m player and a £4.4m forward ).

Our own bench is not made up of these non-playing cheapies, but instead provides a home to some low-priced alternatives to many of the pricier names in our XI.


Here it is, then: our early, rambling thoughts on the runners and riders up for selection in Gameweek 27, followed by the preliminary picks themselves.

THE LIKELY LADS

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The Scout Picks are, essentially, a Free Hit side, and there’ll be plenty of those chips being ahead of Gameweek 27 based on the results of our on-site poll.

Near the top of many managers’ shopping lists, and likely ours, will be Manchester City assets and Tottenham Hotspur attackers.

Leeds United have shipped 30 goals in their last 10 Premier League matches before they head to Anfield on Wednesday (they’ve conceded more ‘big chances’ than any other team in that time) and they’ll follow that up with a home fixture against Spurs less than 72 hours later. If that match is as harem-scarem as the two sides’ Gameweek 26 fixtures, we’ll be in for a treat. Son Heung-min (£10.7m) and especially Harry Kane (£12.2m) were electric at the Etihad on Saturday, taking their totals to 10 and seven attacking returns respectively in their last nine matches. Both players will surely be in the Scout Picks running this week.

Many managers will have a bigger budget than our measure, self-imposed £83.5m starting XI cap for their Free Hits. Those monetary constraints mean that we’ll again face a ‘Sophie’s choice’ on premium players, so it remains to be seen if the likes of Raheem Sterling (£10.7m), Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) Joao Cancelo (£7.1m) can squidge into our selection as they tussle with the heavy hitters from other clubs. In Aymeric Laporte (£5.8m), Kyle Walker (£5.4m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.7m) Phil Foden (£7.9m), we at least have cut-price alternatives who could just as easily haul.

De Bruyne, Mahrez, Laporte and Sterling are second, third, fifth and sixth for FPL points from Gameweek 17 onwards, despite each of them having at least one rest in that time. There should be no such mass-rotation concerns at Goodison Park, with a free midweek on one side and an FA Cup clash against second-tier Peterborough United on the other.

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. On penalties and having already had a tactical breather last weekend, the Algerian is a tempting buy. De Bruyne and Laporte could prosper at set plays, too, As the Toffees have one of the worst records from free-kicks and corners this season.

The only club with a Double Gameweek, Burnley, will also feature prominently in our plans. It’s not just fixtures they have on their side but form, too, with Wout Weghorst (£6.5m) looking superb at Brighton on Saturday and Nick Pope (£5.4m) conceding only three goals in his last eight appearances. Palace and Leicester’s fallibility at dead-ball situations should also be to the interest of Weghorst, James Tarkowski (£4.9m) Ben Me (£4.8m).

IN CONTENTION

Leeds' defence, Sancho's form, Barnes injury latest: FPL notes

A home match against a Watford side led by Xisco Munoz or Claudio Ranieri would have been a mouth-watering prospect but this Hornets team are a different prospect under wise old owl Roy Hodgson, who has taken their season-long clean sheet tally from zero to two in his first four matches. But for a deflection, they might have also shut West Ham United out in Gameweek 24, too.

It’s partly for that reason why Bruno Fernandes (£11.7m) Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m) aren’t higher up this article, as these are the kind of suffocating games – not the basketball matches like the one we saw at Elland Road – in which United attackers tend to suffer. Fernandes, off the back of two double-digit hauls, is certainly in the running, but the ever-improving Jadon Sancho (£8.9m) is worth a shout, too: he’s joint-top in the Premier League for non-penalty goal involvement over his last four matches expected.

David de Gea (£5.3m), meanwhile, ought to be in the conversation for a goalkeeper spot, with neither Watford nor Hodgson renowned for their goalscoring exploits.

Southampton are a team in form, having tasted defeat just once in their last nine matches (a tricky run that included Spurs, West Ham and both Manchester clubs) and scoring 18 goals in the process. The bargain Armando Broja (£5.4m) probably belongs in the category above, with his average of 5.1 points per start beaten by few other FPL forwards, but a handful of other Saints are very much in the ‘in contention’ conversation: there’s James Ward-Prowse (£6.5m) with his eight returns in nine starts, Che Adams (£6.8m) with his three consecutive non-blanks and an in-form, more attacking Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m), who is in the top 10 defenders for expected goal involvement (xGI) over the last 10 Gameweeks. And, of course, there’s Tino Livramento (£4.3m), who took advantage of Romain Perraud‘s (£4.8m) unavailability to haul on Saturday. Should Perraud return, however, there’s a definite rotation risk there.

THE LONG SHOTS

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FPL’s third-highest scorer as a long shot? Jarrod Bowen (£7.1m) has been a fixture of many of our FPL sides over the last few months but such is Wolves’ defensive fortitude – they have the division’s second-best backline and haven’t conceded more than one goal in a match since Gameweek 11 – that there has to be a degree of concern about a West Ham side that has started to flounder in the last five Gameweeks, losing to Leeds and Man Utd, squeaking past Watford and gaining barely-deserved draws against Leicester and Newcastle. Bowen, of course, has still racked up three goals and an assist in that time, but he hasn’t encountered a rearguard as solid as his Gameweek 27 opponents.

Three clean sheets in 17 matches for West Ham, all against sides in the bottom three, might also interest Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) and the much-improved Daniel Podence (£5.5m).

Once-fancied assets from Brighton, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace have gone off the boil of late, while it remains to be seen if Rafinha‘s (£6.5m) goal on Sunday is enough to get him back into Marcelo Bielsa’s good books and starting XI. Perhaps the midweek match at Anfield will provide us with more information about the Brazilian’s form and favoritism ahead of the final Scout Picks, as he hasn’t been himself since the international break.

An injury update would also be welcome on Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.9m), whose in-form Newcastle take on a Brentford side with only two clean sheets in their last 21 matches. Even if he’s passed fit, however, he’s a tough sell over Messrs Broja, Weghorst and Kane.

Finishing back where we started with Spurs and Burnley assets, there’s a cut-price appeal to Dujan Kulusevski (£6.0m) Erik Pieters (£4.2m) – but rotation risk might be too off-putting with both players, as Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) is now back in training for the Clarets. Connor Roberts (£4.5m), however, is a possible shout if we can’t extend to Mee/Tarkowski.

GAMEWEEK 27 BUS TEAM/FIRST DRAFT PICKS

FPL Gameweek 27 Scout Picks early selection: City and Spurs attacks appeal

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