FPL Captain Choices: Gameweek 9

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW9, who will you choose?

The Connect Fantasy Premier League captain article returns after a week’s absence due to lack of internet at the FPL Connect HQ – we can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We didn’t have a poll to go off last week, but with the official FPL Twitter account reporting a massive 56% of the 5 million plus players captaining either Kane or Lukaku, it was fairly clear who managers were favouring, but to their eventual detriment.

That is of course unless you captained a Manchester City player!

A 7-2 demolition of Stoke City in which every forward and midfielder got attacking returns, including the £4.5m OOP left back Fabian Delph, meant that you’d be laughing all the way to the points bank had you stuck the © on one of Pep’s soul destroying players – the guy needs to realise that these men they’re playing against have families!

Undoubtedly, they are THE form team in Europe and are in absolutely irresistible form at the moment and look like outscoring anyone. With a home game against a defensively sound Burnley up next, will we see FPL managers steer clear from the team top of the league? I very much doubt it!

The Results for the Poll

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As expected, a City player tops our captain poll for GW9.

Gabriel Jesus took home top bonus after his 2 goal contribution last week, despite being taken off just after the hour mark, again!

The fact that Pep takes Jesus off early doesn’t come as a surprise anymore to FPL managers. What does come as a surprise to me however, is the fact that he still manages to score handsomely in the 68 minutes he is averaging per start.

As we saw on Saturday, the goals, assists and in turn FPL points, are being shared around a lot at City.

This would usually be a bad thing, meaning we can’t back one player with the armband for fear of him missing out whilst the rest of his teammates take all the points. That is simply not the case with City this season however, when they can score 5,6,7 a game, a striker in that team is bound to be in the points.

The most impressive part of the Stoke hammering? NO AGUERO!

Their talisman wasn’t in the squad and clearly wasn’t missed and wasn’t even needed tonight against Napoli either, being an unused substitute.

Now throw into the mix Sané and Sterling – two players who took advantage of Aguero’s absence and have surely staked their claim for a permanent starting place in Guardiola’s team – and you’ve got a recipe for disaster in terms of trying to predict who’s the best City asset.

For me, you choose the City players you want and you make your peace with the limited minutes and rotation that comes their way, because you just can’t afford to not own at least 1 of Pep’s men right now.

I see it as 3 from 4 of Agüero, Jesus, Sané and Sterling starting on Saturday. With Agüero not even being used tonight, you would think that means he’s a shoe in for a starting place on the weekend, but with Pep, you never quite know.

Of course we want our captain starting a game like this, but a cameo off the bench could still mean big points, given how City are steamrolling teams at the minute and any one of these 4 are good options this week with Jesus perhaps being the best and perhaps safest bet.

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Next up is the league’s top goal scorer, Romelu Lukaku.

José succeeded in what he set out for at Anfield in gaining a point. It was a typical Mourinho performance, the kind of performance that doesn’t look pretty and won’t grab the headlines like City’s result, but an important point away at quality opposition.

The tactics of last week however, don’t suit the Belgian striker and I felt it warranted unfair criticism. Lukaku lost the ball a lot in that game, but if you watched it live, you would have seen that no-one was getting up to support him.

He became frustrated and I think that was a factor in him missing his golden chance, but we have to consider that top class strikers take their chances in games like these when things aren’t all going your way and the pressure is on and it isn’t the first time we’ve seen Lukaku miss a big chance.

Even 2 of his 7 Premier League goals this year have been a direct result of him missing the original golden opportunity and the ball fortuitously finding it’s way back to the feet of the Belgian for a second attempt.

This and the way Mourinho sets his team out in these ‘big’ games need to be taken into consideration before we go calling him a season-keeper.

Next up however, is another away day for the red devils and this one, certainly won’t be a “happy with a point” game.

Jose will be looking at going to the newly promoted side and being on the front foot, creating chances and getting back to the scoring ways which has seen them score 4 or more goals in 4 of their 8 Premier League games this season (6 including cup competitions) and Lukaku should get enough chances to get himself back amongst the goals making him a quality captain candidate this week.

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Most pundits would say Harry Kane is in the form of his life, he is even being touted as world class and with 2 goals in the Champions League against Dortmund and, what Kane will argue, a goal against Madrid at the Bernabau, you can see why.

But for us fantasy football managers, he is proving to be somewhat of an annoyance, especially with the precious armband this season.

The winner of the September player of the month has been in fantastic form away from Wembley, but with blanks at “home” in what you would call easy fixtures against Burnley, Swansea and Bournemouth, managers are finding it hard to trust him at the national stadium.

But we all know what he can do and he’s still putting in the underlying statistics with 22 goal attempts in his last 4 games as well as scoring 5 of the last 6 big chances he’s had during that time. He’s also firing in a goal attempt every 15.9 minutes for his last 4 matches. 

Those aren’t statistics to be taken lightly.

Would it be a surprise to see Kane score a brace against a poor Liverpool defence this weekend? I think most would say no. Surely that then makes him a prime captain candidate? Personally, I just can’t trust him right now, especially given the form of City and the relentless reliability of Lukaku.

Differential Captains:

  1. Sergio Agüero – Currently sat in just 7.8% of teams, this number will include a fair few “dead” teams, making him a differential in my eyes. Agüero in this City team as a differential? Yes please. He didn’t get any minutes against Napoli tonight but was on the bench – your guess is as good as mine as to what that might mean for his minutes on the weekend but he could be an absolute diamond if you call this one right! Perhaps close attention needs to be paid to the pressers in the hope that Pep might throw us a lifeline of a hint.
  2. Alvaro Morata – When news of the Spaniards injury first came out, there was a mass exodus of transfers out by managers, as the early news was he could be out for 6 weeks. Here we are 2 weeks later and he’s back in training and looking likely to start on Saturday at home against a defensively shaky (yet brilliantly attacking) Watford team. Those managers who held onto Morata could now find themselves with the opportunity of a quality striker as a differential captain. Again, attention needs to be paid tomorrow with Chelsea’s line up and again with the presser before shooting with the armband.
  3. Tammy Abraham – The England U21 striker on loan from Chelsea is starting to live up to his potential isn’t he? I tipped him to do well in my season preview of the Swans back in August and now he has settled in the side, the FPL points are flowing. Home games are important for any team down at the wrong end of the Premier League table and so a game against a manger-less Leicester at the Liberty will be seen as a great opportunity to take 3 points. If Swansea are to do just that, Tammy will most likely be in the points. It would be an extremely brave punt, but it could pay huge dividends for those who want an uber differential captain!

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