Leicester City 2-2 Manchester United
- Goals: Harvey Barnes (£6.7m), Axel Tuanzebe (£4.2m) own goal | Marcus Rashford (£9.5m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.0m)
- Assists: James Maddison (£7.1m), Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) | Fernandes, Edinson Cavani (£7.8m)
- Bonus: Fernandes x3, Luke Shaw (£4.8m) x2, Youri Tielemans (£6.4m)
Bruno Fernandes‘ (£11.0m) seventh double-digit return of the season couldn’t stop Leicester City scrapping to a point in a lively lunchtime encounter at the King Power Stadium.
The Manchester United midfielder set up Marcus Rashford‘s (£9.5m) first-half opener, albeit from a lucky deflection, before latching on to an Edinson Cavani (£7.8m) pass and steering a shot past Kasper Schmeichel (£5.5m) as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Maximum bonus took Fernandes to 12 points on the day – the fifth time he’s hit double figures in away matches.
Leicester’s most popular player, the 25.7%-owned Jamie Vardy (£10.1m), had a quiet day until the 86th minute, when his shot went in off Axel Tuanzebe (£4.2m) for an own goal and an assist for the forward.
The Foxes’ other strike came from Harvey Barnes (£6.7m), who was handed a third straight start and scored for the first time since Gameweek 10.
The assist came from James Maddison (£7.1m), his first return since a monster 16-point haul in Gameweek 12.
Fernandes’ fine form has earned him an early lead in the race to be Gameweek 16’s most popular transfer-in, although the Red Devils’ schedule – visits from Wolves and Aston Villa before a Gameweek 18 blank – is not exactly inspirational.
Leicester also have an upcoming blank, with trips to Crystal Palace and Newcastle offering the prospect of returns before that.
Gameweek 16 could see Brendan Rodgers ring the changes, however, with the Leicester boss saying after full-time:
There’ll be one or two players that have just come back that there will be question marks over and that we’ll need to have a look at. The likes of Tim Castagne, who has just come back from a hamstring injury, are we going to risk that 48.5 hours later?
Yes [I could rest Jamie Vardy or Youri Tielemans]. I’m not prepared to put a level of risk in that means they’re going to miss six weeks to two months with an injury. We’ll make changes – the number, we’ll have to wait and see.
As for United, Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) missed out and Victor Lindelof (£4.8m) was forced off with a recurrence of his back problem midway through the second half; both players will be assessed before Tuesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also provided an update on Rashford:
Leicester City XI (4-3-2-1): Schmeichel; Castagne, Evans, Fofana, Justin; Ndidi, Tielemans, Albrighton (Perez 81); Barnes, Maddison; Vardy
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Maguire, Lindelöf (Tuanzebe 66), Bailly; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, James (Pogba 54); Martial (Cavani 75)
Aston Villa 3-0 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Bertrand Traore (£5.9m), Kortney Hause (£4.4m), Anwar El Ghazi (£5.7m)
- Assists: Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) x3
- Bonus: Hause x3, Emiliano Martinez (£4.9m) x2, El Ghazi, Traore x1
A screamer from Anwar El Ghazi (£5.7m), a tireless if profligate performance from Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) and a red card for Tyrone Mings (£5.4m) were the key takeaways from a thoroughly entertaining game at Villa Park.
The 13.9%-owned Mings was sent off after collecting two yellow cards in six forgettable minutes involving Wilfried Zaha (£7.5m) and high levels of stupidity.
Aston Villa were already ahead by then, courtesy of Bertrand Traore‘s (£5.9m) second goal in a week, the midfielder steering home after Watkins’ shot was parried by Crystal Palace keeper Vicente Guaita (£4.9m).
Traore became the unfortunate victim of Mings’ indiscretion as he was replaced by centre-half Ezri Konsa (£4.8m) on the stroke of half-time.
But any hopes of a Palace comeback were squashed by a counter-attacking masterclass from the home side after the break.
Kortney Hause (£4.4m) doubled the lead after a Watkins header hit the bar, before El Ghazi curled home a beautiful shot on the angle from the striker’s lay-off.
A hat-trick of assists broke Watkins’ five-match barren spell, but he could have had a huge haul on the day, missing three big chances and having 10 attempts.
As for El Ghazi, that was the midfielder’s third goal in two Gameweeks – and his fourth in four – but trips to Chelsea and Manchester United, plus a visit from Spurs, might dampen Fantasy enthusiasm for him and his team-mates.
This was another game to come too soon for hamstrung loanee Ross Barkley (£5.9m), who will again be absent in Gameweek 16 as he is ineligible to face his parent club.
Mings owners aside, it was another good week to be on a Villa defender as Dean Smith’s side kept a fourth straight clean sheet.
Palace, meanwhile, remain in a wretched little spot. Winless in four matches, they’ve now conceded ten (and scored none) over the last two Gameweeks ahead of a visit from Leicester on Monday.
Aston Villa XI: (4-2-3-1) Martínez; Targett, Mings, Hause, Cash; Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi, Grealish, B Traoré; Watkins.
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Guaita; van Aanholt, Dann, Kouyaté, J Ward; Eze, McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp; Zaha, Benteke.
Fulham 0-0 Southampton
- Bonus Points: Jan Bednarek (£4.7m) x3 Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.7m) Alphonse Areola (4.5m) x2
No need for lazy clichés about Christmas crackers at Craven Cottage as Fulham and Southampton played out a goalless draw involving just three shots on targets between them.
That meant clean sheet points for the second time in three Gameweeks for that rarest of beasts – the Fantasy manager with a Fulham defender in their sides.
It was two shut-outs in four for Southampton, but aside from keeper Alex McCarthy (£4.6m and 22.9%), their most popular defender, the 15%-owned Jannik Vestergaard (£5.0m), brought in zero points as he missed out with a knee injury that could sideline him for a number of weeks.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was also without other regulars Danny Ings (£8.3m) and Nathan Redmond (£6.4m), gave an update on all three post-match:
Both Redmond and Ings have muscle injuries and we will have to see. They are both out, but not as long as Jannik. Vestergaard will be out for four weeks, maybe even more, we don’t know.
Jack Stephens (£4.6m) deputised for Vestergaard well enough, but those thinking of swapping him in for the injured centre-half should bear in mind that Southampton face Liverpool and Leicester either side of a Blank Gameweek 18, with Leeds as the other team making up their Double Gameweek 19.
As for Fulham, their new-found defensive solidity will be sorely tested when the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and Man United come a-calling over the next few Gamweeks.
Fulham XI (4-2-3-1): Areola; A Robinson, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Aina; Anguissa, Reed; Lookman (Kebano 90), Loftus-Cheek, Cavaleiro; De Cordova-Reid (Mitrovic 83)
Southampton XI (4-4-2): A McCarthy; Bertrand, Bednarek, J Stephens, Walker-Peters; Armstrong (Djenepo 90+3), Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Walcott; Adams, S Long (N’Lundulu 90+2).
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 15
- Leicester 2-2 Man Utd
- Aston Villa 3-0 Crystal Palace
- Fulham 0-0 Southampton
- Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
- Man City 2-0 Newcastle
- Sheffield Utd 0-1 Everton
- Leeds 1-0 Burnley
- West Ham 2-2 Brighton
- Liverpool 1-1 West Brom
- Wolves 1-1 Spurs
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