FPL Captain Choices: Gameweek 10

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW10, who will you choose?

GW9’s captain success/failure ultimately came down to whether you trusted Kane to get over his Premier League hoodoo at Wembley, or whether you trusted the unpredictable nature of Pep enough with his team sheet.

If you went with the latter and rolled the dice with the roulette wheel that is Pep’s team sheet, you would have ended up bitterly disappointed, as Pep did what he does best and rotated the team with Jesus and Sterling both being announced on the bench.

At 2pm on Saturday, if you listened hard enough, you could probably hear the profanities being exclaimed by thousands of FPL managers all over the country!

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I chose the less extreme versions of people’s reactions, believe me, there were much, much worse.

If you went with Kane however, you were richly rewarded with 2 goals, an assist and maximum bonus totalling a mammoth 32pts – whatever Wembley hoodoo people thought might have been, has definitely been diminished now.

Results of the Poll

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Sergio Agüero – 40% of the votes

Despite last GW’s devastating blow by Pep, FPL managers seem generally quite happy to go there again this week in the form of Sergio Agüerowho picked up 40% of the votes.

The little Argentine was in imperious form before his surprise car crash with 5 goals, 3 assists and 5 bonus points in just 3 games and it didn’t take him too long to return to the scoresheet, with a comfortably dispatched penalty on the weekend.

Now that he’s back and fit again, he’s currently the most transferred in player this week, with transfers in at already over 200k.

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Given that City had their cup game tonight and the comments from Pep stating that, “He [Agüero] needs minutes”, I’m surprised that so many have called on the services of the Argentine so early in the week – this now backed up by the fact that Agüero has not only started the match tonight against Wolves, but is still currently playing in a game that looks like it’s going to extra time.

With a clash in Napoli awaiting City next Tuesday, just 3 days after their Premier League clash with WBA, Pep surely has to give that serious consideration. Will he even start Agüero at the weekend, with the chance of Agüero playing 120 minutes tonight a real possibility?

With Jesus already off on 81 minutes, my guess would be that Jesus starts and Agüero will come on for him after an hour – fact is, none of us really know.

One thing we do know, is that City have changed their formation from a 352 with Mendy and Walker providing the width as wing backs without Sterling or Sané, to a 433 with Sané and Sterling on the left and right respectively with 1 striker operating through the middle, typically.

This changed occurred in the Carabao cup against WBA and in that game, Agüero was rested (not in squad). The next game they played Palace in the league with the 433 and Jesus was rested (on the bench but wasn’t used). Against Shakhtar, they played the 433 with Sané on the left, Jesus on the right and Agüero through the middle and in Agüero’s absence, they played Sané on the left, Sterling on the right with Jesus through the middle.

Whichever way you slice it, it’s not an ideal position to be in; captaining a player at £10m+ if he’s at high risk of limited minutes.

At that price, you need a reliable captain option, can we really call either Agüero or Jesus a reliable captain option with the fluctuations in personnel week to week, as well as the risk of limited minutes, this season?

I know it hasn’t stopped Jesus so far, but both of his double figure scores have come when City have scored 5+ goals; are they going to keep it up all season?

The answer to both of these questions, is no.

Harry Kane – 25% of the votes

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After Sir Harold’s magnificent performance at Wembley, 25% of voters are shooting with the big man to continue his irrepressible away form against a United side that haven’t let in a goal at home so far this season.

Given the difficulty of the fixture, you’d probably think it’s surprising to see Kane hitting the second highest votes, but as proved on Sunday, Kane can do it against all odds.

Going into last weekend, Liverpool’s record against Spurs was 7 wins, 3 draws and 0 defeats in the last 10 games against them in all competitions, with Spurs only managing 7 goals over that time.

If that wasn’t enough, there was the Wembley Premier League hoodoo that Kane couldn’t  score at home and as a result, Spurs were much less efficient in attack.

But as I argued in my Simon Says article last week (Is it time to say goodbye to Kane?), the Wembley hoodoo was a myth for Spurs and Kane and they shrugged off Liverpool with impressive ease to dispel the so-called ‘hoodoo’ for good.

Kane now faces a completely different test in Mourinho’s Man Utd and though they’re without some key players in defence and midfield, José will look to shut this game down and won’t allow space or time for Spurs’ technicians to operate, cutting off the supply to Kane.

However, United haven’t faced one of the bigger teams at Old Trafford yet and whilst the fact that they haven’t conceded a goal there yet seems impressive, the stats don’t exactly suggest a completely impregnable defence;

  • 33 total shots conceded – Liverpool (23), Man City (30), Arsenal (29).
  • 20 shots conceded inside the box – Liverpool (14), Man City (12), Arsenal (19), West Ham (17), Burnley (22).
  • 4 big chances conceded – Liverpool (2), Man City (4), Arsenal (4), Leicester (3), Spurs (3), WBA (3), Saints (3), Burnley (3).

Considering who they have played to date at Old Trafford, those stats aren’t that impressive and without Bailly fit or Pogba controlling the midfield, as well as Spurs’ excellent form in front of goal away from home, Kane should get chances.

Mohamed Salah – 24% of the votes

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Even in a game where Liverpool were dismantled, Mohamed Salah continued to provide his owners with the goods with yet another goal to add to his impressive start at Liverpool – that now takes his tally to 5 goals and 2 assists.

His shot wasn’t the best and probably should have been saved by Lloris – given the cat-like reflexes he demonstrated in the second half in saving Coutinho’s shot that was heading into the top corner – but it was accurate and it got the job done.

Salah faces an upbeat Terrier’s team coming off the back of a massive win against Mourinho’s United, who have been keeping it relatively tight at the back so far in the Premier League, aside from when Kane and co turned up at the John Smith’s stadium.

Away from home, Huddersfield have conceded a total of 44 shots, with 59% of those shots coming inside the box. They’ve also conceded 7 big chances on the road.

This bodes well for a Liverpool team however, who are firing in the goal attempts at a rate of 15 per home game, if we round up. They’ve also created 10 big chances and are averaging a minutes per chance ratio of 6.6 at Anfield, which is only bettered by Manchester City (4.9) and Arsenal (6.3).

Liverpool, under Klopp, have historically struggled in these kind of home games against the so-called weaker teams in the Premier League, but if they get a goal early on to quickly temper any confidence being channeled by their previous win, then the floodgates could open and if they grab 2 or more goals, then you can put your money on the Egyptian winger being amongst them.

Differential captain options

  1. Richarlison – This guy has all the makings of the Mahrez/King type asset we all crave each year in FPL. With 3 goals and 4 assists to his name already – and should really be 5 goals given the easy nature of his chances against Chelsea last GW – for a team that are playing some really good stuff, the future looks bright and if you don’t already own him, I would be making sure the next transfer is with a view to bringing him in. He faces a Stoke defence that have let in 20 goals in 9 games and who have conceded a mammoth 24 big chances. If you want a solid differential captain, this guy is your man.
  2. Morata – Morata is back and should be fully fit this weekend after playing 90 minutes in Chelsea’s UCL match against Roma and a further 60 minutes at the weekend. Morata didn’t impress against Watford, but then again, neither did Chelsea in the first 75 minutes of the match. They turned the game around in the end and won 4-2, which should provide them with a real boost ahead of their match against a Bournemouth side who are still leaky at the back. With Hazard looking sharp again, Morata should get plenty of chances and with his ownership at 16.5% at the time of writing, could be a decent differential captain punt for GW10.
  3. Sánchez – He’s back and back to his best. Sánchez hit his first double figure haul of the campaign against Everton to serve a timely reminder to FPL managers of his prowess. Against Everton, he had 11 penalty area touches, fired in 7 shots, 4 of which were inside the box, as well as a minutes per attempt ratio of 12.9. Granted, Everton were on the verge of losing their manager and the team probably at it’s lowest point morale wise, nevertheless, Sánchez showed no remorse and took full advantage. Swansea at home next, where the Gunners have been very solid, Sánchez will be the key instigator in the majority of their attacking play, and whilst Swansea have been very solid away from home, Lacazette, Sánchez and Özil look a formidable force and one I can’t see the Jacks stopping.

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