Without the steer of the Scout Squad long-list in this truncated Gameweek, we have chosen our best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players for Gameweek 14 ahead of Tuesday’s 18:00 GMT deadline.
The picks are subject to change: there are still nine press conferences to come between the publication of this piece and kick-off tonight, so we’ll monitor the injury news this afternoon to see if any of our selections are in danger of missing out.
We line up in a 4-3-3 formation and, as ever, are limited to an £83.0m budget for our starting XI.
Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) makes a rare appearance in the Scout Picks this week. It’s as much to do with West Ham United’s opponents as the Hammers themselves: no club has scored fewer goals than Brighton and Hove Albion over the last seven Gameweeks (four, two of which were penalties). The Seagulls can’t be faulted for effort and rank mid-table for shots on target over that period despite the shortage of goals, so save points could also be in the offing to bolster any potential clean sheet returns. As for West Ham, the arrival of Kurt Zouma (£5.4m) has made a big difference to the backline. Despite the Hammers ranking near the bottom of our Season Ticker for fixture difficulty since his move to east London, they are a respectable seventh for expected goals conceded (xGC) from Gameweeks 5-13.
Three consecutive 90-minute run-outs for Joao Cancelo (£6.7m) and Reece James (£6.3m) over the last 10 days, plus a swift turnaround between matches this week, have spooked us somewhat with our premium defender selection. It may be that the pair are fielded again in Gameweek 14 (and 15) and instead get their well-earned breathers in the UEFA Champions League next week but the festive fixture programme and two tinkering, unpredictable managers aren’t a good mix, so we’re playing it (we think) safe with alternative defensive options from City and Chelsea.
There are fewer qualms about the Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.0m) selection, however, with the Liverpool right-back given the night off against Porto last Wednesday. One of a handful of Scout Picks staples about whom there is little left to say, the top-priced defender has outscored every single FPL asset in any position this season apart from a certain Egyptian – despite missing two of the Reds’ fixtures. The player himself suggested recently that he was more attacking than ever (that’s certainly borne out in his stats) and a beleagured Everton are goalless in their last three.
As for the Chelsea alternative, Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.8m) came under serious consideration and will surely get a run-out at Vicarage Road after recent omissions, whether that be in place of James or as a right-sided centre-half. But we’ve sided with Marcos Alonso (£5.6m) in the continued absence of Ben Chilwell (£6.0m). Alonso may be a downgrade on the injured left wing-back in terms of real-life ability but in FPL circles, he’s capable of the spectacular. The shot count may have said ‘zero’ in Gameweek 13 but he was frequently advancing into central positions in the United box and ought to have been on the end of a James delivery to score early on.
The City option is not quite so thrilling: with Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m) suspended and with our budget tight amid spiralling prices, we’ve gone with what could be the cheapest route into the City defece in John Stones (£5.3m). Clean sheets have arrived in all three of his starts this season and a fourth may well be in the offing in midweek; despite Villa scoring four goals under Steven Gerrard, the former Rangers boss has favoured a compact, conservative set-up and the Villans are second-bottom for both possession and expected goals under his rule. It could be a relatively low-scoring affair in the Midlands, then, with the BPS-boosting passing numbers of City’s backline set to soar as a result of them seeing lots of the ball.
Sergio Reguilon (£5.1m) gets us back on track with our forward-thinking defenders. Antonio Conte’s three-man defence gives license for Reguilon to get forward even more as a wing-back, with eight penalty box touches, four shots and two big chances arriving in Gameweeks 11 and 12 alone. While it’s a tiny sample pool, Reguilon is top of all defenders for expected goal involvement (xGI) over his last two matches.
There’ll be few shocked to see Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) joined by Diogo Jota (£7.8m) in a Liverpool attacking double-up. Not that we need any incentive to back Liverpool’s free-scoring attack but injury-ravaged Everton are bottom for big chances conceded over the last seven Gameweeks and confidence is clearly shot; even if derbies can see the proverbial form book thrown out of the window, it would take a heck of a toss to get rid of the Toffees’ woeful recent run. Salah is a mere copy and paste into the Scout Picks and perhaps Jota isn’t far away from that honour himself: the Portuguese had as many goal attempts (seven) as Sadio Mane (£12.0m) and Salah combined on Saturday and as a result of the stats posted in that game, is now ahead of even the Egyptian for minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) in 2021/22.
Raphinha (£6.7m) and Leeds flattered to deceive in Gameweek 13 but the Brazilian will get a chance to bounce back against Crystal Palace on Tuesday, and it’s the Eagles’ abysmal record for conceding chances and goals from set plays (they are the worst in the division on both fronts) which particularly piques our interest. Raphinha is heavily involved at dead-ball situations for the Whites and, overall, sits joint-sixth for chances created and fourth for goal attempts among FPL midfielders this season. Only Liverpool’s aforementioned trio have scored more goals than the Brazil international (five) among players in his position.
Harry Kane (£12.2m) is fresher than usual, due to Sunday’s match at Burnley being postponed. Spurs’ attacking problems didn’t end overnight with Antonio Conte’s appointment and in Gameweek 12, the north Londoners completed their eighth successive half without scoring a goal and made it beyond four hours since having any shot on target. However, they turned things around to beat Leeds 2-1 and now face Brentford at home – a side who were joint-last in the form table alongside Everton from Gameweeks 8 to 12, before beating the beleaguered Toffees at the weekend. The Bees had also conceded eight goals to the bottom three clubs in their previous three outings. Kane has done little to warrant his inclusion off his own back but with concerns about Jamie Vardy’s (£10.8m) game-time, we’re taking a leap of faith with the out-of-sorts England international. In this period of rotation and managed minutes, at least Kane offers us guaranteed pitch-time.
It might be a farewell appearance for Raul Jimenez (£7.8m) for the Scout Picks in 2021, with Wolves’ fixtures soon taking a turn for the worse. The Mexican has a good record against Burnley, scoring in each of his three starts against the Clarets with an average of 8.71 points per 90 minutes. Since netting in Gameweek 6, his goals and assists have come at a steady pace and now he’s facing the defence that have conceded the most in-box goal attempts (138) so far this season. Only three sides have allowed more shots, meanwhile, and the Clarets’ sole clean sheet of 2021/22 came against Norwich.
Callum Wilson (£7.4m) obviously came under serious consideration for the Scout Picks but with budget tight, and with Norwich’s defence looking a darn sight more organised than Newcastle’s, we’ve sided with the cheaper Teemu Pukki (£5.8m). The suspension of Jamaal Lascelles (£4.4m) leaves the Magpies even shorter of numbers at the back, and Eddie Howe’s insistence on playing wingers as wing-backs (or even full-backs) and going without a holding midfielder has left them looking as vulnerable as ever. Newcastle haven’t kept a single clean sheet this season, while Pukki is third among FPL forwards for shots in the box since Dean Smith was appointed.
We choose the Scout Picks captain using a four-way vote between our Scout Squad pundits.
- Az: Salah, Jota, Alonso
- Sam: Salah, Jota, Kane
- Tom: Salah, Kane, Jota
- Neale: Salah, Jota, Alexander-Arnold
Mohamed Salah is awarded the captaincy after our vote this week, with Diogo Jota nominated as vice-captain.
Each week, one of the Fantasy Football Scout community takes on the Scout Picks by pitting their chosen XI against ours.
The community member who beats our team by the largest margin will win a £100 Amazon Voucher and a place in our Moderators and Contributors League for the following season.
Holmes, who triumphed 59-34 in Gameweek 7, has set the target to beat.
Our champion this week is Too Mané Men, who has gone for a 3-4-3 line-up of Ederson, James, Alexander-Arnold, Cancelo, Zaha, Maddison, Bowen, Jota (c), Wilson, Kane, Jesus.
The Scout Picks are 10-3 up on the community this season.
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