We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW12, who will you choose?
As the song goes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Now I’m usually one to say Christmas doesn’t start until December and anybody who puts up any sort of decorations in November is some kind of festive lunatic, but with the last international break of the year out of the way, tis’ the season to be jolly for all us FPL fanatics.
Christmas to us, means 10 gameweeks in just 7 calendar (normal people) weeks, and very few silent nights.
It also means rotation! Even more than the usual 2 o’clock game of Pep roulette. The bench and the VC decisions become all the more important over the next couple of months.
Without further ado, lets looks at the candidates for the first captain choice of this most wonderful time of the year.
Results of the Poll
Harry Kane – 40% of the votes
On the twelfth gameweek of FPL my true love gave to me, a fit and fully-firing Harry Kane just for me… Okay, I’ll stop with the terrible Christmas puns. The Spurs man sits on top of our weekly poll for yet another week ahead of the more favourable plum home fixture that Lukaku has, to my relative surprise.
Any worries we had about Kane’s fitness were put to bed by his manager early last week;
“You can see in the last game he received a kick in his knee. But don’t worry, he will be available for the next game.” – Pochettino.
I must say from an England perspective this annoyed me – pulled out of the squad with an injury, yet his manager all but 100% confirms his fitness.
From an FPL perspective however, it’s nice to know the main man has been wrapped in cotton wool before such a massive game, and it is a massive game.
Not just that, but it’s one he loves to play in, as I’m sure many of you are aware, but for those that aren’t, his personal record vs Arsenal is certainly one that makes you sit up in your seat; in his 5 North London derby’s in the Premier League, he has scored in all and even got a brace in one, totalling 6 goals!
His 8 goals this season have come in the form of 4 braces, with 3 of these hauls coming in games away from Wembley.
It’s at Wembley where he has disappointed and against the so-called ‘weaker’ sides, last week at home to Palace being another frustrating example of this for us Kane backers, but in the big games, Kane has the ability to virtually win games on his own, as he so aptly demonstrated against Liverpool.
As such, this will make him a popular pick this weekend, not to mention the incredible goalscoring record he holds against ‘The Gunners’.
Romelu Lukaku – 29% of the votesEmbed from Getty Images
Flat-track bully [Noun]: A sportsperson who dominates inferior opposition, but who cannot score against, or exert one’s influence on top-level opponents – the Collins English dictionary description of Romelu Lukaku.
I am of course joking with all you Man United fans out there. There’s no doubting Lukaku is a quality striker, but the stats do point to the fact that he just doesn’t perform against ‘top-level opponents’.
Newcastle however, are way off being that, in fact, in 8 games against the Geordies, he has 5 goals and 4 assists!
Lukaku sits 3rd in the top scoring forward bracket, only 3 points behind Sergio Agüero, impressive considering most would say he is out of form currently.
Saying that, he is without a goal in his last 4 Premier League outings – a cause for concern for his 47.5% ownership base, despite managing 2 assists in that time.
Some say ‘form over fixtures’, but I don’t think FPL is a game that can be reduced to individual ‘rules of thumb’ like this one and Lukaku’s stats certainly prove that point, as he regularly performs against the lesser sides in spite of any rough patches of form.
So for me, he is the stand-out captaincy choice this week taking form, fixture, ownership, rotation risk into account and the results of our poll did surprise me, in that I thought Lukaku’s votes (29%) and Kane’s votes (40%) would be reversed.
One thing is for sure however, the potential for goals this weekend for both is good – let’s see what happens.
Mohamed Salah – 23% of the votes
Achieving a pretty sizeable percentage of the votes this week, is the irrepressible Mohamed Salah, who continues to impress us this season with a magnificent blend of consistency and explosiveness.
His brace and maximum bonus against the Hammers last GW was expertly predicted by our chief in staff Mr Simon Jones, on our Team FPL Connect Picks article, yet Mr Jones admitted wanting to captain him over Kane, but didn’t have the bottle do it – ouch.
Those who did, would not only have received a massive 30pts, but would have seen a huge boost in overall rank with Kane captainers (33.3% of overall live teams) languishing in the lower echelons of captain scores with a miserable 4pts.
Salah has only blanked in 4 of his 11 PL matches, has 4 double-figure hauls, all totalling in 7 goals and 3 assists so far this campaign.
In their last 10 PL games, Saints have just 2 wins, scored 6 goals and have conceded 11 goals – not great showing.
All this points to a good day at the office for Salah, or does it?
Okay okay, I might just be trying to throw a spanner in the works here for sh*ts and giggles, but it is important to consider every bit of information we can get our hands on and like it or not, those stats are factual and whilst this manager isn’t Koeman or Pochettino, they will likely sit deep in this one and look to frustrate Liverpool as other teams have done successfully so far at Anfield, like Burnley (1-1) and Palace (1-0) making it difficult for the likes of Salah to utilise his pace and get in behind the defence.
If Liverpool can score early on in this match, then it could be floodgates such is their strength in attack, especially with Coutinho back, but if Saints can keep it to 0-0 going into the break, then Salah et al could be in for familiarly frustrating afternoon at Anfield against Saints.
Differential captain options
- Alvaro Morata – We had a fair few comments for our ‘other’ vote this week and the majority were the Chelsea boys, Hazard and Morata, with the latter getting a little more attention than the former. We’ve chosen Morata of these two as Hazard typically likes Stamford Bridge more when it comes to his attacking returns. Off the back of a fabulous header against Mourinho’s Red Devils last GW, followed up by another goal for Spain against Costa Rica, Morata is well and truly back and with Tony Pulis’ desperately struggling WBA up next, Morata will be licking his lips at the thought of playing against them in his current form. Certainly a decent captain candidate this coming gameweek.
- Richarlison – Given the sheer horrendous nature of West Ham’s ability to defend, Richarlison looks to be a great shout this GW too. He also got mentioned on numerous occasions on the captain poll tweet and with his form and fixture, it’s easy to see why. This one might represent a sizeable punt given the other options at our disposal this week however, as well as the fact that he seems to much prefer playing away from Vicarage Road, with 6 of his 8 attacking returns coming in away games. In spite of that, I simply can’t see Moyes coming in, waving a magic wand and their defensive troubles simply disappearing – more like the part in Tommy Cooper’s act where he would purposely mess up the trick for comedic effect, except Moyes will mess up without actually meaning to.
- Sané – I’ve chosen Sané here over Agüero/Jesus, because I believe they both represent risks based on their price and Pep’s rotation policy, whereas Sané seems more nailed in this 433 system, as he is the only natural left-sided winger they have. He’s the only one that can give them what he gives them in games and as such, I think he is less risky as a captain punt. Leicester up next for the Citizens in what’s usually an open game, with 13 goals coming in the last 3 match ups between the two. I can see City notching 2/3 goals in this one and if they do, Sané should see a return to the points after finally taking a breather from his incredible run of form that has seen him score 36 points in just 4 gameweeks.