We’ve put together our Scout Picks ‘bus team’ ahead of Gameweek 32 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
This is a new feature we first rolled out in February and it’s essentially a first draft of our regular XI, which gets published much closer to the deadline.
Those final picks will stay as they are and cement our weekly selection based on the Scout Squad long-list entriesinternational 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.
Here it is, then: our early thoughts on the runners and riders up for selection in Gameweek 32, followed by the preliminary picks themselves.
THE LIKELY LADS
Arsenal defensive representation, be it through Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m), Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.3m) or the cheaper Ben White (£4.6m), looks on the cards for the Scout Picks, with only Burnley and Norwich City scoring at a worse rate than Brighton this season. The Seagulls’ have failed to find the net in six of their last seven outings, and as a result, we could end up with two of Mikel Arteta’s backline in our side this week.
Further forward, it’s a fair bet to assume that an Arsenal attacker will work their way into the Scout Picks. Bukayo Saka (£6.8m) is surely the stand-out option: the wingers purple patch started in Gameweek 16 and, since then, he’s plundered 10 attacking returns. The oft-derided Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) is an alternative, although the fact he is without a goal from open-play since early-December suggests Saka has the edge.
Harry Kane‘s (£12.5m) resurgence surely makes him the closest thing we have to a nailed pick this week: the in-form striker has 12 attacking returns in his last eight matches ahead of his trip to Villa Park and has been involved in a whopping 18 Opta-defined ‘big chances’ (11 of his own, seven created for others) in that time. There may even be room for two Spurs attackers, given Son Heung-min‘s (£10.9m) recent output, plus the fact Antonio Conte’s side have racked up at least two goals in each of their last five Premier League outings. Villa’s form – or lack of – is another factor to consider, having lost successive matches against Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham.
Staying with the north London side, Matt Doherty (£4.9m) will surely come into the reckoning, too, given that he is averaging 9.2 points per start across his last six matches and has returned six attacking returns in that spell, while Dejan Kulusevski (£6.3m) is an appealing alternative to Son if the South Koreans price tag proves problematic.
Rafinha (£6.5m) will also surely be a consensus Scout Squad pick against a Watford side who have conceded nine goals in three home games under Roy Hodgson, and have also allowed a whopping 81 crosses from their left-flank in the last six matches.
Can we say anyone else is assured of their place in the Scout Picks at this point, however? Probably not – although there are multiple names competing for our attention.
The face-off between Manchester City and Liverpool could take many of the usual Scout picks staples out of the equation, although Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) will surely yet again be pushing hard for inclusion ahead of Gameweek 32. There’s no denying that the Egyptian has not quite been at his best since coming back from AFCON, but he’s still posting some very good underlying numbers: he’s underachieved more than any other Premier League player when it comes to a non-penalty expected goal involvement (NPxGI) in that period, so we wouldn’t expect to see such a disparity to continue for too long.
The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m), Andrew Robertson (£7.3m), Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) are also worthy of consideration, although given the opposition, there may be more ‘upside’ to chase elsewhere.
Away from the title-chasing duo, ongoing reservations about Manchester United under Ralf Rangnick means that Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) Jadon Sancho (£8.9m) are also in the undecided pile, although their respective prices may prove to be an obstacle given our weekly selection has a budget of £83.0m.
Given his recent injury, of slight concern with Rece James (£6.2m) is the fact that Saturday’s trip to Southampton is sandwiched in-between two Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid. Does that make the England wing-back a rotation risk in Gameweek 32, as a result? That’s a question for the next set of Scout Picks, for sure, which is why for now, we’ve landed on Antonio Rudiger (£6.1m), who tends to start most games for Thomas Tuchel when available.
Representation from Burnley also seems likely. Opponents Norwich City are the division’s lowest scorers this season, so Nick Pope (£5.4m) Connor Roberts (£4.4m) could enter the Scout Picks conversation. Wout Weghorst (£6.4m) hardly sets the pulse racing, but if he were to show us ‘something’ against Everton on Wednesday night, he too could be in the running given that no team has conceded more shots in the box or attempts from set- plays than the Canaries since the turn of the year.
Elsewhere, possible rotation following their respective European excursions could perhaps dent the appeal of James Maddison (£6.8m), Jarrod Bowen (£6.8m) Kai Havertz (£7.8m), although minutes will need to be monitored first. If there are, however, mid-price concerns Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) Ismaila Sarr (£5.7m) could gain more attention.
THE LONG SHOTS
It’ll be a tough ask for any of Newcastle United or Wolverhampton Wanderers’ backline options to force their way past others in Gameweek 32, but there is potential for Martin Dubravka (£4.4m) or Jose Sa (£5.3m) – maybe even Fabian Schar (£4.3m) or Conor Coady (£4.9m) – to sneak in, although at this stage it does feel unlikely.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.4m) Craig Dawson (£4.9m) are probably ‘long shots’ given West Ham’s Europa League involvement against Lyon on Thursday, while forwards Ivan Toney (£6.7m), Chris Wood (£6.7m), Jean-Philippe Mateta (£5.2m) Rodrigo (£6.2m) are possible outside shouts up front.
GAMEWEEK 32 BUS TEAM
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