We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW13 and reveal the results of our captain poll, who will you choose?
Brace yourselves FPL managers… winter is coming!
Winter is nearly upon us and to us, that means we descend into the chaos that is the festive schedule. This translates to 10 gameweeks in just 39 days – to put this into perspective, so far this season, we’ve had 12 gameweeks in 102 days.
So prepare your speeches to the family, it’s only fair you let them know that your mood swings are going be worse than a pregnant woman in her third trimester!
In terms of the captaincy, last week saw an end to Kane’s incredible run of goalscoring against Arsenal and a subsequently disappointed 19% of FPL managers (live), as the big man could only notch a single point.
Pep yet again demonstrated why it’s far too risky to give Agüero the armband with him being an unused sub, though it was perhaps a precaution in this case due to his fainting on international duty.
Elsewhere, Lukaku did what he does best, another consistent, yet in-explosive return of 6pts for 25% of FPL managers (live) that captained him, but the real winners were those of us who chose to captain Salah and Morata who scored 16 and 9pts respectively.
Moving onto this week’s choices and it seems as though a fair few of us haven’t lost faith in Kane just yet…
Results of the Poll
Harry Kane – 60% of the votes
Well, when I crafted that tweet, everyone that I had spoke to had expressed extreme dissatisfaction at Kane and his unpredictable nature this season in terms of his returns, with some even raising the matter of transferring him out.
So, suffice to say that I am extremely surprised at the result of this poll, perhaps not the fact that Kane has come out on top, but more that the gap is so large.
Given that Kane has only managed a collective 3pts in the last 2 GWs, games in which there was a high expectancy for success, as well as the consistency of the Belgian in Manchester, I really thought the gap would be much closer.
We also found out yesterday that West Brom had sacked Tony Pulis, with him still at the helm, I could maybe understand the landslide victory, given WBA’s poor recent performances, but when things aren’t going well and the manager gets sacked, it invariably produces a positive reaction in the team.
Saying that, WBA have problems and it isn’t going to get fixed overnight, so it should be a game Spurs dominate and win comfortably, but how many times have we said that so far this season at Wembley? (Palace, Swansea, Burnley).
Whilst we can see with our eyes quite clearly that WBA have struggled, they’ve always been solid defensively away from home and the underlying stats back that up;
- They have the 3rd best defensive record away from home in terms of conceding big chances, with only 8 conceded so far. (Chelsea – 6, Man City – 7).
- They’ve conceded 45 shots inside the box – Man United have conceded 44 to put that into perspective.
Granted these results were predominantly against teams that aren’t the most attacking of sides, but given that Spurs have only created 10 big chances at Wembley (WBA have created that many themselves at the Hawthornes), it doesn’t bode too well for Kane, but his personal underlying stats at home are undeniably impressive;
- 37 goal attempts
- 24 goal attempts inside the box
- 8 headed goal attempts
- 41 penalty area touches
- 14.1 minutes per attempt ratio
However, the one stat that is killing us right now, is a goal conversion rate of just 5.4%!
For whatever reason, Spurs are struggling to break down the teams that park the bus this year at Wembley and whilst his underlying stats are impressive, goal conversion rate is the one stat that really matters and it really isn’t convincing at all.
I’m not so sure of Spurs at the moment and because of that, I’m going to struggle this week to give him the armband, but if there’s one thing we know about Kane this year, it’s that he can explode at any given moment.
Romelu Lukaku – 18% of the votes
As I said in the passage above on Kane, the results of the poll have surprised me and I thought Lukaku would be a strong favourite, especially seeing as United have found their 4-goalscoring groove again in games at Old Trafford.
With Pogba now back in the side, United have rekindled that early goalscoring form and it’s ahead of some very favourable fixtures for Lukaku et al.
As I argued in my team preview of Man United pre-season (Team Preview: Manchester United), Lukaku isn’t currently that explosive asset that we crave him to be as our captain and as such, I believe this is why he has perhaps been overlooked for the captaincy this week.
Saying that, I do believe he has the potential to be with Pogba back in the side, as demonstrated in his early season form.
Pogba really makes a difference to the creative side of United’s game and it frees everything up, including Lukaku.
The concern now turns to the player that has described himself as a god, king and more recently, a lion – yes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back and when he came on against Newcastle, he played up front and Lukaku was dismissed to the wide right of United’s attack like a supporting act before the main event.
It remains to be seen whether this is how Mourinho sees them working together long-term, but regardless, it certainly dents the appeal of the Belgian somewhat in FPL and owners will now be slightly worried after seeing him move to the right wing in Zlatan’s presence – perhaps another reason why Lukaku’s % of the vote was so low.
It will be interesting to see how United line-up in their UCL tie tomorrow, with the information we get from that serving to help us make our decision for the weekend, but if he plays 90 mins and is playing as the ST, there’s no doubt that he can score big against Brighton with their prime creative outlet Pogback.
Mohamed Salah – 16% of the votesEmbed from Getty Images
How long can this man continue delivering like this?
The magnificent Egyptian winger is averaging 7.3pts a game – if he continues at this rate and could play all of the remaining 26 games (of course we know he can’t), then he would hit 278pts.
Of course we know he can’t possibly keep this rate up long-term and we have future injuries to contend with.
However, there’s no reason why he can’t keep that rate up short-term;
Chelsea up next for Liverpool and some might say a tough game for Salah to flourish in, but Salah loves to score against his former employers.
When Salah was playing for Basel, he scored against them [Chelsea] on 3 of the 4 occasions they played against each other, twice in the group stage of the Champions League and once in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
With form well and truly on his side, as well as a cheeky record vs Chelsea to boot, Salah could yet again be a great captain for FPL managers this weekend.
Differential captain options
- Sané – With Pep just announcing the latest team sheet for their UCL tie, Leroy Sané, after starting 11 of the last 12 games, finally gets a much deserved rest, all but ensuring his starting place for the weekend against a Huddersfield side reeling from a massive 4-0 loss to Bournemouth, who played the whole second half with 10 men, scoring 2 of their 4 goals in that half. Huddersfield have been solid at home in the main, but they’re showing signs of unravelling recently and having conceded 4 to ‘The Cherries’ last time out, you have to fear for them in this one, as City are the best away team in terms of creating big chances (19 in 6 games). With Sané looking a shoe-in to start that match, he could be a truly explosive differential captain.
- Morata – Morata has truly found his feet again after his injury and is back to his best, with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games. There seems to be a real understanding being developed between the Spaniard and his Belgian counterpart Hazard. The little flick from Morata into Hazard’s path on the weekend against WBA was exquisite and demonstrates the relationship that is forming. Chelsea have a good record at Anfield (2 wins and 3 draws in the last 5) and won’t be scared to go for this and on current form, Morata looks a solid bet for some returns if you’re worried about Kane blanking again.
- Hazard – Hazard has rekindled his sparkling best form. He’s scored 3 goals and 2 assists, amassing an incredible 37pts, in his last 4 Premier League games. As stated above, his relationship with Morata is growing with each game and they are complimenting each other perfectly. Liverpool have been very solid at home to date, but Hazard and Morata on top form is an entirely different proposition to what the Reds have faced so far at Anfield and I expect them to struggle to contain them in this one. In his last 3 games at Anfield, Hazard has notched 2 goals, so there’s no aversion to a goal against the Red of Merseyside either. It’s a brave move, but if you’re a ‘form over fixture’ kind of player, then there’s no-one more in-form than Eden Hazard right now.