Just in time for Christmas, the Scout Squad is here with their best players for Gameweek 15.
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 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 Christmas Eve.
|GK||Ederson||Emiliano Martínez||Lukasz Fabianski||Emiliano Martínez|
|Emiliano Martínez||Alex McCarthy||Emiliano Martínez||Alex McCarthy|
|Alex McCarthy||Lukasz Fabianski||Illan Meslier||Ederson|
|DEF||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson|
|Benjamin Mendy||Rúben Dias||Trent Alexander-Arnold||Rúben Dias|
|Kurt Zouma||Michael Keane||John Stones||Kurt Zouma|
|Michael Keane||Vladimir Coufal||Vladimir Coufal||Stuart Dallas|
|Vladimir Coufal||Stuart Dallas||Yerry Mina||Vladimir Coufal|
|MID||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Sadio Mané||Jack Grealish||Raheem Sterling||Sadio Mané|
|Bertrand Traoré||Bruno Fernandes||Jack Grealish||Jack Grealish|
|FWD||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Dominic Calvert-Lewin|
|Patrick Bamford||Patrick Bamford||Patrick Bamford||Patrick Bamford|
|Harry Kane||Harry Kane||Chris Wood||Harry Kane|
|Che Adams||Ollie Watkins||Ollie Watkins||Chris Wood|
|Chris Wood||Chris Wood||Che Adams||Timo Werner|
It always looked likely that there’d be triple-ups from Manchester City and Liverpool in my Scout Squad selection this week – the only question was over who I’d nominate.
Benjamin Mendy tends to be reserved for the plum home fixtures these days and, after a breather in the EFL Cup in midweek, I fancy him to start.
The Frenchman should be able to take advantage of my own team’s rather suspect right flank, where we’ve deployed DeAndre Yedlin, Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo and even Jacob Murphy this season – which shows how much of a problem position it has become.
Having watched the shambles at Brentford on Tuesday, I’m even going for the City defensive double-up with Ederson.
Pep Guardiola’s policy of fielding relatively conservative line-ups has contributed to City scoring one goal or fewer in eight of their last ten league matches, but Kevin De Bruyne continues to be deployed in central positions and I sense a monster haul is due based on his impressive underlying figures.
Liverpool’s superb display at Palace last weekend not only solidifies my decision to go big on the Reds’ premium assets but also leads me to select Aston Villa’s Bertrand Traore, who produced perhaps his best display of the season in Gameweek 14.
Up against the suspect Patrick van Aanholt, who opposition teams are clearly targeting, Traore offers a saving of a couple of million on Jack Grealish to help us accommodate some of the must-have big-hitters elsewhere.
Another budget midfielder, Raphinha, has been catching my eye recently, and I’m evidently not alone. Fifth among all FPL assets for chances created over the last four Gameweeks, he is also joint-third for attempts on goal.
While Burnley are back to something approaching their obdurate best, matches against this gung-ho Leeds side can throw up all kinds of scorelines.
That’s why I’ve also gone for Chris Wood, given that the Whites have conceded the most headed chances, opportunities from set plays and, crucially, goals over the previous four Gameweeks.
While we’re on that subject, winless Sheffield United have allowed the most chances from dead-ball situations over the course of the season, so the ever-present Michael Keane, who has two goals already to his name in 2020/21, gets the nod alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Lastly, a word on Harry Kane. While the FPL exodus continues (100,000+ transfers out this week), he next faces a Wolves side striving to rediscover their identity amid system and personnel changes.
A dip in form from Willy Boly and the flip-flopping between formations has resulted in the Wolves backline looking uncharacteristically suspect of late and they are without a clean sheet in seven.
Kane might have blanked in successive matches but he has still racked up more shots than any other forward over the last four Gameweeks, so I expect him to come good on Sunday.
Liverpool’s clean sheet prospects look as good as any in Gameweek 15, with their opponents West Bromwich Albion registering a measly 0.05 expected goals (xG) against Aston Villa last time out. Jake Livermore’s red card on 37 minutes didn’t help matters, but regardless, it’s hard to see them troubling a Reds’ backline which has conceded just four league goals since the start of November. Andrew Robertson is my preferred option, given how open Albion looked down their right-side on Sunday.
I’m also backing Manchester City and Everton’s defences, via Rúben Dias and Michael Keane. No team has taken fewer shots on the road than Newcastle United this term, while Sheffield United haven’t done much better themselves, netting the joint-fewest goals in the Premier League. The Blades have looked vulnerable defending set-pieces too, which could benefit the Toffees’ aerial threats, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Keepers Emiliano Martínez, Alex McCarthy and Lukasz Fabiański, plus defenders Vladimir Coufal and Stuart Dallas complete the picks at the back.
Further forward, the inclusion of heavy hitters Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane largely speak for themselves, so I’ll dedicate a bit more time to some of my other call-ups.
Aston Villa are bang in-form at the moment after taking seven points from nine, with Jack Grealish constantly involved. Over the last two Gameweeks, which has coincided with a move into the middle, he leads the way amongst midfielders for chances created and penalty area touches, and ranks joint-fourth for shots. Teammate Ollie Watkins’ luck will surely change soon too, having seen multiple VAR calls go against him in recent weeks.
I also think Leeds United will fancy their chances against Burnley in Sunday’s early kick-off. There is rarely a dull moment with Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but their approach has generally served them well this season, especially going forward. Raphinha has been posting some encouraging numbers, while Patrick Bamford continues to offer value up front. However, I don’t see them having it all their own way, and given how vulnerable they look defending crosses, Chris Wood could be worth a punt.
It doesn’t get much better than Liverpool with the best attack in the league (27.24xG) versus West Brom, the worst defence in the league (27.59 xGC). Mohamed Salah looks to be the stand out pick to me, although it’s very harsh that I haven’t included Sadio Mané as well, but with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson capable of points at both ends it feels better to include an extra Manchester City attacker instead.
Ever since the 24 points against Liverpool in Gameweek 4, Jack Grealish has continued to perform well for FPL managers. He has recorded 51 points since then in nine matches at an average of 5.66 points per game. I’m not expecting Crystal Palace to be turned over like they were against Liverpool but Aston Villa’s attack is averaging 1.71xG per game, one of the highest in the league.
It’s foolish to ever try and predict Pep Guardiola but I’m doing so once again. John Stones wasn’t even in the squad for the midweek clash with Arsenal in the EFL Cup, so you’d expect him to take his place back in the Premier League against Newcastle. He’s started in four of the last five Gameweeks, recording a clean sheet in each match. I can’t imagine Newcastle will have too much to concern Manchester City this week.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in somewhat of a goal drought having not scored in the last three Gameweeks. He has of course registered three assists in that time though to keep the points ticking over. In that time he’s had five shots in the box and 1.11xG. The numbers are slightly down with all the injuries that Everton have had, but he’s done enough to feel a little hard done by for not scoring. I expect that drought to be broken against a Sheffield United side that haven’t kept a clean sheet this season.
I am a big fan of the Aston Villa defence once again, their expected goals conceded (xGC) over the last four matches, the best of any Premier League side. That should help Martínez offer decent potential for a home meeting with Crystal Palace.
Andrew Robertson remains the most dangerous Liverpool defender in my view, having assisted in three of the last seven matches and collecting three clean sheets too. I can’t see West Bromwich Albion learning how to boost their poor goal-scoring record at Anfield, let alone with Sam Allardyce in charge.
The Manchester City defence is also proving reliable right now, as John Stones and Rúben Dias’ partnership goes from strength-to-strength. Pep Guardiola’s men are yet to concede a goal with the Englishman in the team since Gameweek 10 – the only game they were breached coming when he dropped out. That said, I still prefer Dias for the strength of starts, only because of the time of year we’re currently in.
Mohamed Salah looks a dangerous asset not to own right now. Over the last four matches he is joint-top of the Premier League for shots on target, while West Bromwich Albion are beaten only by Leeds for goals conceded in 2020/21.
I also fancy Sadio Mané, who is boosted by the crossing ability of Trent Alexander-Arnold. He was goalless without the right-back starting in the team between Gameweeks 11 and 13, but benefited from his return against Crystal Palace.
I also think Kevin De Bruyne is due a big haul against Newcastle. The Magpies have conceded at least five goals in three of their last five Premier League trips to the Etihad Stadium while De Bruyne is top for expected goal involvement (xGI) over the last four Gameweeks, rather unfortunate not to have scored and assisted more often. Given Newcastle’s current state, I believe now is the time for Manchester City to show us what they can do.
Raphinha has been threatening to go big in recent games and now has three attacking returns across his last five. I think he can provide some much-needed value over Christmas.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a key asset for Gameweek 15 considering he’s up against Sheffield United’s brittle defence and has 15 attacking returns in 14 matches this season.
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