The Scout Squad’s best players for FPL Gameweek 36

The dust has not yet settled on the current Gameweek but the Scout Squad are already thinking ahead to Gameweek 36.

In this feature, our resident writers – Marc, Tom, Sam and Neale – get the chance to nominate an 18-man longlist for the upcoming Gameweek.

All four panelists explain their notable inclusions and omissions in the article below.


Scout Squad Gameweek 36

The focus is only on the upcoming Gameweek with the Scout Squad, so there’s no medium-term planning involved.

The players who get the most votes are much more likely to make the Scout Picks, although the final XI can’t exceed £83.0m. Occasionally, therefore, cheaper alternatives have to be found.

Each of our writers must meet the following requirements for this feature:

  • At least one sub-£5.0m goalkeeper
  • At least one sub-£5.0m defender
  • At least one sub-£6.0m midfielder
  • At least one sub-£7.0m forward
  • No more than three players from the same club


GK Jordan Pickford Andre Onana Mark Flekken David Raya
Stefan Ortega Stefan Ortega Jordan Pickford Stefan Ortega
Martin Dubravka Martin Dubravka Martin Dubravka Jordan Pickford
DEF Ben White Gabriel Magalhaes Ben White Gabriel Magalhaes
Gabriel Magalhaes Lucas Digne Josko Gvardiol Sergio Reguilon
Sergio Reguilon Sergio Reguilon Trent Alexander-Arnold Ola Aina
Dan Burn Ola Aina Ola Aina Ezri Konsa
Jarrad Branthwaite Jarrad Branthwaite Sergio Reguilon Joachim Andersen
MID Bukayo Saka Kevin De Bruyne Cole Palmer Kai Havertz
Phil Foden Bukayo Saka Bukayo Saka Phil Foden
Cole Palmer Kai Havertz Phil Foden Cole Palmer
Jarrod Bowen Cole Palmer Kai Havertz Luis Diaz
Morgan Gibbs-White Morgan Gibbs-White Morgan Gibbs-White Michael Olise
FWD Erling Haaland Erling Haaland Erling Haaland Erling Haaland
Ollie Watkins Ollie Watkins Alexander Isak Ollie Watkins
Alexander Isak Alexander Isak Chris Wood Jean-Philippe Mateta
Jean-Philippe Mateta Nicolas Jackson Ollie Watkins Alexander Isak
Ivan Toney Chris Wood Jean-Philippe Mateta Chris Wood

Most popular picks: Sergio Reguilon, Cole Palmer, Erling Haaland, Ollie Watkins, Alexander Isak (four), Stefan Ortega, Martin Dubravka, Jordan Pickford, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ola Aina, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Morgan Gibbs-White, Chris Wood (three)


Scout Squad Gameweek 36

Gameweek 36 feels like the forgotten week of FPL. Sandwiched between two Double Gameweeks, it might actually present an opportunity to make some big rank rises with so many eyes off the ball.

In goal, we start with Jordan Pickford. The Everton shot-stopper has kept four clean sheets in his last five Premier League matches, registering 36 FPL points in the process. Pickford is 17 points clear at the top of the goalkeeper scoring table for 2023/24, while he is also seventh for saves made with 112.

Stefan Ortega looks set to deputise for Ederson if the Brazilian misses out on Gameweek 36 as a result of his shoulder injury. The German goalkeeper maintained the Manchester City clean sheet in Gameweek 35 when he came on at half-time.

Finally, whilst Nick Pope is coming closer to returning from injury, he doesn’t look likely to be back for Gameweek 36. So, this means Martin Dubravka should be in goal against Burnley at the weekend. Newcastle have kept 10 clean sheets this season, with Dubravka banking four of those in his 19 starts. He has as many save points as starts, too.

Arsenal are by far the best defensive unit in the league, with 16 clean sheets this campaign. In Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, I have also plumped for the two of the division’s most attacking defenders. Gabriel has had 28 attempts on goal this season, the most of any Arsenal defender. Meanwhile, White has created 33 chances for his team-mates, again the most by a member of the Gunners backline.

Alongside them, Sergio Reguilon. The full-back has had an interesting season, with Spurs loaning him to Manchester United and now Brentford. Despite blanking against Everton in Gameweek 35, Regulion had returns in the previous three Premier League matches. The Bees defender has 25 points in the last four Gameweeks and in that time he has created 11 chances. Of defenders, only Andy Robertson [18] has been more creative.

With Fabian Schar an injury doubt ahead of the weekend, I have opted for Dan Burn. I would have preferred Schar for the attacking potential that he brings but Burn also offers some goal threat, so he feels like a good compromise for a trip away to Burnley.

Finally, Jarrad Branthwaite. As with Pickford, Branthwaite now has four clean sheets in his last five matches as well as a goal and three bonus points from the Merseyside derby. A total of 31 points in five matches is a great return for a £4.3m budget-enabling defender.

Bukayo Saka was given the time to work his magic in the first half of the north London derby on Sunday. His 12-point haul will have stung the managers who sold him as part of their Gameweek 35 Wildcards. That is now back-to-back returns for Saka, after blanking in four of his previous five starts. Saka registered nine points in Arsenal’s 0-4 win away at Bournemouth back in Gameweek 7, getting on the scoresheet on the south coast. I think managers who have parted company with the winger might be watching this one from behind the sofa.

Phil Foden was ill in Gameweek 35, which was a frustration for me as I had taken a -4 to bring him in. However, the Man City midfielder has returned 36 points from his last two league appearances and in his last six outings, he has four double-digit hauls. Despite making only three starts in the last six Gameweeks, Foden is the third-highest goalscoring midfielder in that time with five goals.

Only Cole Palmer has averaged more than Foden’s 13 points per start over that time, which is why the Chelsea midfielder was an easy pick again this week. Of course, Palmer still has a fixture to play on Thursday evening but barring injury he feels like a Scout Picks shoo-in. In his last two home matches, Palmer has returned 46 FPL points.

However, Chelsea have been struggling defensively this season with 10 goals conceded in their last five matches. Jarrod Bowen is West Ham’s most important player, having returned in three of his last four Premier League matches. Only six midfielders in the game have more attacking returns than Bowen this season.

The final midfielder slot goes to budget enabler Morgan Gibbs-White. Gibbs-White and Nottingham Forest had a tricky fixture against Man City in Gameweek 34 but they were unlucky not to get something from that game. Gibbs-White has created a team-leading 17 goalscoring opportunities over the last six matches, including five big chances. In that time, he has also registered three assists. Only eight players have been more creative in that period.

Up front, Erling Haaland returned from injury in Gameweek 35, coming off the bench to score his 21st Premier League goal of the season. Haaland and Man City now face Wolves, who have lost three of their last five Premier League matches. Since Gameweek 30, they have conceded 11 goals – only six teams have shipped more in that period.

Alongside him is Ollie Watkins, who for me is leading the charge for player of the season. Despite a blank against Chelsea in Gameweek 35, Watkins had returned in each of his three previous Premier League matches registering 13, seven and nine points.

Away matches and Newcastle United don’t go together well but Alexander Isak is on a high heading into the match against a Burnley side who are battling against relegation. Isak has blanked in his previous two away trips, last returning against Chelsea in Gameweek 28, but after a 13-point haul in Gameweek 35, he’ll be confident heading into the weekend.

The final two slots go to fun picks in Jean-Philippe Mateta and Ivan Toney. Mateta has, like Isak, been loving his home fixtures lately, with 13 and 16 points in the last two matches at Selhurst Park. Mateta now faces Man United, whose expected goals conceded (xGC) ratio is poor: only Sheffield United, Luton, Burnley and West Ham rank worse across the league. Finally, Toney returned to the Brentford starting XI in Gameweek 35 and with a nice fixture at home to Fulham, he could be a great differential.


Scout Squad Gameweek 36

With Arsenal and Manchester City expected to win their home games, I’ve selected three from both title contenders. Nobody has done better since Gameweek 25 than Kai Havertz, whose latest 11 outings have delivered a magnificent eight goals, six assists and 100 points. He’s also secured six double-digit scores in this period, as colleague Bukayo Saka punished his many sellers – including myself – with his own haul in the North London derby.

They may be facing a Bournemouth side that’s kept consecutive clean sheets but I believe the Gunners will overcome the Cherries, possibly with a successful Gabriel Magalhaes shut-out.

As for Pep Guardiola’s lot, there are doubts whether Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne can last the whole 90 minutes but their fruitful partnership struck once again during the Norwegian’s cameo at Nottingham Forest. And we already know from 2021/22 that De Bruyne loves a Gameweek 36 haul against Wolves – that occasion brought four goals and 24 points.

Goalkeeper Stefan Ortega is a bargain for this week but, frustratingly, the not-so-bad Ederson injury almost rules them both out as viable Double Gameweek 37 candidates.

Elsewhere, I’ve tripled up on Nottingham Forest for Saturday’s huge trip to already-relegated Sheffield United. As long as they do their bit, survival will be secured. They’ll certainly be hoping Chris Wood forgets about last week’s two sitters missed, while Morgan Gibbs-White has set-piece duties versus the outfit that’s conceded the second-most chances from them. And, of course, the Blades are also worst for conceding goals (97) and shots (630). Full-back Ola Aina also gets the nod.

Over at Newcastle, both Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon are great at home but – as explored in our Members article – the latter has only registered three of his 25 attacking returns when away from St James’ Park. Therefore I’ll only go with the Swedish international for the Magpies’ trip to Burnley.

Faith is low in their defence, though, especially as the Clarets have lost just one of their last eight matches. They’re fighting for their lives and I back them to score, yet I’ve still picked Martin Dubravka in goal. He won’t yet be threatened by Nick Pope’s imminent return.

Such has been Brighton’s recent decline, I like the prospects of Lucas Digne and Ollie Watkins. An injury to Alex Moreno should keep Digne in Unai Emery’s starting XI and he ranks seventh amongst all defenders for chances created (33). Not only that, the Seagulls’ sole goal from their last five games was a goalkeeper messing up his team-mate’s pass.

As for FPL’s top points scorer Watkins, remember what he did to Brighton in Gameweek 7? A hat-trick, two assists and a final score of 23.

So few backlines can be trusted right now. I’ve stayed away from Chelsea’s but, with opponents West Ham having the third-worst record for conceding shots on target (214) and big chances (101), it’d be foolish to not choose Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson – even if the forward has a knack for missing chances.

Rounding off my defensive picks, the goal-scoring Jarrad Branthwaite needs attention because Everton have picked up three clean sheets in a row. Their latest one against Brentford ended Sergio Reguilon’s three-match run of returns, meaning his last 10 starts have brought two shut-outs and six assists.

My final stopper is Andre Onana. Although he’s part of a very leaky Man United set-up, it’s also one that has secured eight clean sheets over the whole campaign. He’s on the joint-most save points (33) and I expect him to be busy at Crystal Palace.


Auto Draft 105

I’ve stacked my selections with attackers from Manchester City and Arsenal, given the firepower demonstrated by both sides in their last five games (a combined 32 goals).

I reckon we will end up with four attacking players from those two teams in Thursday’s XI, with a defender apiece also selected.

Starting at the Etihad, Phil Foden and Erling Haaland are obvious picks.

I’ve also gone with Josko Gvardiol, who looks such a threat every time that I see him. Playing almost exclusively as a left-back, he has three goals in his last five matches in all competitions, so he’s clearly getting into some very offensive positions.

Ben WhiteBukayo Saka and Kai Havertz feature for Arsenal’s clash with Bournemouth, who they thumped 4-0 in the reverse fixture.

White has been taking up some great advanced positions lately, while Havertz has been directly involved in 14 of Arsenal’s 32 goals in the last 11 Gameweeks, eight of his own and six created for others.

Saka looked back to his best on Sunday, meanwhile, so gets the nod again from me.

Around them, I’m also backing Nottingham Forest.

I don’t see relegated Sheffield United putting up much resistance on Saturday, so playmaker Morgan Gibbs-White makes the cut. Either playing as a no. 10 or drifting in from the right, his forward passes made from central areas could be key.

Team-mate Chris Wood is another budget enabler I’m keeping an eye on. Priced at £4.8m in FPL, he’s been in great form under Nuno Espirito Santo, netting nine goals in 13 top-flight appearances. Aerial prowess is undoubtedly his strength, so there is always the prospect of more attacking returns against a Sheffield United side who are rock bottom for headed chances allowed.

Elsewhere, Cole Palmer’s blistering form (10 goals and two assists in his last six matches) suggests that he may take advantage of West Ham’s poor defensive stats, with only Sheffield United and Luton conceding more goals since the turn of the year.

Favourable fixtures also explain my selections of Alexander IsakOllie Watkins and Jean-Philippe Mateta. There is very little to separate the trio this week, with opponents Burnley, Brighton and Manchester United all ranked among the worst five sides for mins/xGC in the last six Gameweeks. 


3pm team news: Diaz benched 2

I’ve not just tripled up on Arsenal and Manchester City assets this week but those from Crystal Palace too.

The Eagles have been mightily impressive of late, beating free-scoring Liverpool and Newcastle United to nil and demolishing West Ham United. Even when drawing at Fulham last weekend, they blitzed their hosts in the first half before they ran out of steam in what was their third match in a week.

Now, after a nine-day rest, they’ll likely be able to unite Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta in the same starting XI for the first time since the five-goal demolition of the Hammers. Olise’s price allows me to select him as the token sub-£6.0m midfielder but I’d be content with any combination of Eagles attackers in the Scout Picks against a Manchester United defence without a clean sheet on the road this calendar year. The Red Devils are also rock bottom for xGC in their last six.

At the rear, Palace have looked fairly solid of late. They completely nullified my own team, Newcastle, in Gameweek 34, also shutting out Liverpool at Anfield. Fulham didn’t have a sniff last weekend until the Eagles’ second-half wilt. I’m willing to punt on Joachim Andersen, then, especially with Man Utd being by far and away the worst team for set-piece chances conceded since the March break.

With attractive goalkeepers/defenders again few and far between, I’ve used two of the slots on the watertight Arsenal backline in order to include appealing midfielders from other clubs. You could easily argue for Bukayo Saka alongside a red-hot, out-of-position Kai Havertz, of course.

One of those midfielders is Luis Diaz, one of the few Liverpool players to emerge with any credit from a damaging run of results at home and abroad. He’s looked lively, if at times profligate, during the recent slump, involved in 10 of Liverpool’s chances (three shots, seven key passes) in the West Ham game alone. Having seen Spurs concede on seven occasions in their last two outings, there’s reason to expect goals at Anfield.

Phil Foden and Cole Palmer need less of an introduction, with eight and ten goals respectively in their last six appearances.

Two of the less heralded defences are represented in Sergio Reguilon and Ola Aina. Brentford have looked stingy of late, leading the division for lowest xGC in their last six. Were it not for a self-inflicted consolation concession at Luton and a scrappy Everton winner last weekend, we’d have been looking at four clean sheets in six. As for Forest, they’re a mighty impressive fourth for xGC since Nuno took over – they just haven’t been able to convert those underlying numbers into clean sheets.

Reguilon’s attacking threat has been much championed (six assists in 11 starts) but Aina really impressed against City last weekend, terrorising Kyle Walker. Five chances created in as many matches aren’t Reguilon numbers but figures to build on against relegated Sheffield United.

Haaland Foden

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