We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW14 and reveal the results of our captain poll, who will you choose?
GW13 comes to a close and already we’re forced into making final preparations for the beginning of GW14 – which is tomorrow at 18:45 for those of you who haven’t already realised – and that means making our minds up on who gets the armband, amongst other team selection and transfer decisions.
This year, more than any other year before it seems, has proven extremely difficult to pick the right captain from gameweek to gameweek, as evidenced in FPL Fly’s poll (albeit it representing a very tiny part of the overall FPL community).
Getting the captaincy selection right is huge and it seems as though, unlike previous years, that we are a little spoilt for choice.
Salah has emerged as a consistent and explosive option, Hazard has now re-emerged to re-kindle his best form and Morata has also demonstrated that he can deliver, not just consistent returns, but also the big hauls that we crave from our captains.
This week sees us with great options aplenty, but fear of rotation may just creep into our minds for this one as the schedule begins to pick up pace.
So let’s see who the FPL Twitter community fancies this week…
Results of the Poll
Eden Hazard – 38% of the votes
Hazard wins this weeks poll with the lowest % of the votes we’ve had for a winner.
That’s because there are numerous decent options this week, not just 2/3, but you could easily make a strong case for 5 and even 6 players, such is the abundance of heavy-hitting talent at our disposal.
But it’s the little Belgian magician that makes his first appearance on our poll and takes it down after hitting 45 of his total 52 FPL points in the last 5 gameweeks, with 3 goals, 3 assists, 3 clean sheets and 9 bonus points.
That’s an average of 9 points per game over those last 5 gameweeks.
No-one is more in form than Hazard and it seems the majority of our voters are backing him to continue his form on Wednesday, when the Swans come to town.
Whilst the actual returns of Hazard over the last 6 gameweeks are undeniably impressive, the stats however, suggest that this kind of form perhaps can’t be sustained;
- In that time, he’s had 23 penalty area touches, which means he’s been averaging 3.8 touches in the opposition’s penalty area a game.
- In that time, he’s had 10 goal attempts (7 inside the box). Sánchez (19), Salah (25) and Eriksen (16) all have had more, just for comparison.
- The difference here is the shot accuracy (90%) and goal conversion rate (30%) which is much higher than his premium midfielder rivals.
- He’s also created 18 chances in the last 6 GWs and has a ‘minutes per chances created’ ratio of 29.
What these stats display, is that Hazard still likes to set his team mates up rather than take the shot on himself, but when he does, he will typically hit the target and will have a good chance of scoring, though the shots aren’t coming in at a frequent rate.
The goal attempts stat is somewhat surprising, given the fact that Conte has now officially partnered him up front with Morata, but Hazard is a complete player and will look for the right decision every time, whether it be the pass or the shot.
Hazard’s self-less nature might see him miss out on a haul, as we saw in the 4-2 win over Watford where he only returned one assist which can be frustrating for owners, but in-between explosions, you get a consistent-scoring player that also has penalties and does well with the bonus – a season keeper for sure.
Swansea will put men behind the ball and will look to frustrate Chelsea and they’ve done it before, successfully too I might add, this season away to Spurs (0-0) and away to Arsenal (2-1), so they might need a moment of magic and if there’s one man that can produce something from nothing, it’s Eden Hazard.
Harry Kane – 30% of the votes
Not too far behind and coming in second place this week, is Harry Kane.
After finally rewarding his owners and those of us that captained him on the weekend with a goal and 2 bonus points in a Wembley game against a weaker side, managers should have a little more faith in Kane this week, not that the poll results suggest that with him losing to Hazard!
Kane may well have calmed his owners down somewhat with the goal, but Spurs were once again unconvincing and could only manage a 1-1 draw against WBA, which will keep the nerves up when it comes to trusting Kane with the armband in these kind of fixtures at Wembley in the future.
6 of the 9 goals he’s scored in the Premier League have come away from Wembley and it’s not just him that seem to be more comfortable away from their temporary home, but it’s the team overall too.
Spurs have scored 3+ goals on 3 of the 6 occasions they’ve played away from ‘home’ and only managed 3+ goals once at Wembley against Liverpool.
So perhaps the next two against Leicester and Watford are more like Spurs and Kane territory?
It seems Puel has changed things at Leicester, with the backline sitting a little higher than normal and attempting to keep possession and control the game, rather than sitting very deep and immediately looking to hit Vardy on the counter.
I’ve no doubt Puel will change some things for the visit of Spurs, but if they do attempt to play the way they did against West Ham, then I can see Spurs winning this one comfortably and Kane getting the chances.
Mohamed Salah – 17% of the votesEmbed from Getty Images
In the last captain article (Gameweek 13), I asked how long could he keep it up for? Well it’s clear that he isn’t stopping any time soon.
Yet another attacking return for Salah in the form of a nicely slotted 1 on 1 finish and if you read our captain article last week, you would have seen that we identified that he liked a goal against Chelsea, though his reaction when he scored would suggest otherwise.
He was a constant threat throughout the match and was again, one of the best players on the pitch.
Salah now faces a team who have conceded the most big chances of any team in the Premier League in Stoke (30).
In their 13 games thus far, they’ve conceded a massive 113 shots inside the box and are the joint worst team for it at home (57) – level with Newcastle, who have played 1 more home game than they have.
Salah has the form, he has the fixture, so why aren’t more of us looking to him for the captaincy?
The slight worry is that, having seen that Klopp rested Mané and Firmino on Saturday evening for the game against Chelsea, Salah might have a chance of being rested as he’s now played 19 of a possible 21 games for Liverpool this season.
I personally don’t think he can rest a player in the form of his life, but we can never know for sure and as such, it is a niggling worry.
However, for those who aren’t put off by that, it could be a great decision as, if he starts that match, he could easily return big and we’ve seen that he’s well capable of doing just that.
Differential captain optionsEmbed from Getty Images
- Morata – For those that don’t own Hazard, this man has just a good chance of performing well against Swansea. Morata has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 since coming back form injury, so is in form himself and with the struggling Swansea up next, he’ll fancy himself to get back to scoring ways after blanking last time out. Swansea have actually defended well away from the Liberty this season however, only conceding 9 big chances, which is the 5th best behind Spurs, City, Chelsea and Brighton. So I wouldn’t be expecting a huge haul from this game, as Clement knows how to organise his team on the road, but if Chelsea get a couple, then you’d back it to be one of Morata/Hazard.
- Lukaku (differential relative to his overall ownership) – Lukaku seems to have got away with the kick on Bong, with the FA confirming earlier that he would face no retrospective action, meaning that he is available for the trip to Watford tomorrow. This could be one of those weeks where Lukaku’s captaincy % could see a sizeable drop with many losing faith after United’s narrow, unconvincing 1-0 against Brighton and Lukaku having only managed 1 goal in 6 gameweeks. The return of Zlatan and his dip in form have seen him top the transfers out this week with nearly 200k FPL managers deciding to lose the Belgian, though it’s likely a fair portion of those managers moved prematurely amidst news of the potential ban for his kick on Bong. However, he’s still Jose’s main man and they face a team that are full of confidence and will have a go at United, which should mean room for United’s attackers and they have the players to exploit the space.
- City attackers – City pulled through in a very tough game against Huddersfield and face a struggling Saints team next. Saints found their shooting boots against Everton, but it was against Everton, another team who are really struggling right now. I think City look set to steam roll Saints in this one and though we can inevitably expect some rotation, they should all be involved in one way or another and right now, simply being involved, whether it’s 90, 60, 30 or just 10 minutes seems to be enough time for the likes of Sané, Sterling, Agüero and Jesus to do their business in. I think Sané, as I’ve argued before, seems to be the most nailed-on of those 4 players, so he seems the safest choice for the armband and I would only ever advocate captaining a player that was nailed-on to start and play at least 75 minutes, but if you’re the maverick type, captaining one of Sterling/Agüero/Jesus could pay huge dividends.