FPL Captain Choices: Gameweek 19

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 19 and reveal the results of our captain poll, who will you choose this gameweek?

Before we get to that, here are my…

Gameweek 18 musings and some advice

Saturday morning saw me swap at least 10 times between Hazard and Salah for the captaincy.

Last year I was convicted in my decisions, captaincy included, but this year’s slow start and Kane’s irregular form has shook me and I can’t seem to nail the captain.

I, of course, got it wrong yet again and went for Hazard (6pts), arguing that he was more nailed on than Salah, with Klopp employing an unrelenting rotation policy recently and Salah (8pts) having started the last 4 consecutive games in all competitions (thinking he was a due a rest).

The gut feeling is an important part of this game.

We can rationalise all of the information as much as we want, but sometimes, it just doesn’t help us and going with your natural gut instinct serves as a better decision-making tool.

I don’t seem to have it so far this year, but hoping that if I revert to doing the simple things each week, that I’ll slowly start to climb the ranks and with that, build the confidence back up, hopefully seeing a return to my natural gut instinct.

If you’re struggling this year, you are not alone.

Try not to overthink and just do the simple things like;

  • Don’t take a hit unless you absolutely need/have to.
  • If you’re in doubt about captain, then go with the majority.
  • Don’t think too far down the line, longer-term plans can get disrupted by weekly changes in form of player/team, as well as injuries/suspensions.
  • Don’t be stubborn with players for example, if you haven’t got Salah, get him!
  • Be patient with your players, remember why you brought them in.
  • Don’t become fixated on differentials to help you climb the ranks faster (something I did early on) – just bring in the players you think are going to score the best, if it means bringing in an already highly-owned player, then do it.
  • If you haven’t lost your gut instinct like me, then trust it and use it – by all means consult others, but remember it’s your team and no-one elses.

I’ve been guilty of doing some of the above, particularly the one about differentials, to the point where I decided to go with Coutinho over Salah when Coutinho came back from his injury, as he was a massive differential at that point and I felt he could match/better Salah’s output.

In the end, extremely fortunately for me, he got injured again and rather than chasing another differential, I just went with Salah in Gameweek 11 and since then, he’s scored 9 goals and bagged 1 assist in the 8 games I’ve had him.

A prime example of not being stubborn and just doing the simple things.

Anyway, onto the article at hand…

Results of the poll

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Raheem Sterling – 41% of the votes

Those who know me personally know I’m not overly fond of Raheem as a player, but I cannot deny his efficiency and value as an FPL asset.

Over the last 6 gameweeks he;

  • tops the penalty area touches of any midfielder in the game with 59 to second placed Zaha (49) and third placed Salah (46).
  • is second for goals scored of the midfielders (4) with only Salah having more (5).
  • is third for total goal attempts (20) with Sánchez (21) and Salah (25) being the only one’s with more in the midfielder category.
  • is second for goal attempts inside the box (15) to only Salah (17).
  • is joint top with Salah for receiving big chances (6).

Those stats are amazing for any player and in spite of the odd rotation earlier in the season.

City host Bournemouth Saturday afternoon and The Citizens do love to play Bournemouth at the Etihad.

The last and only two encounters at the Etihad ended in a 5-1 and 4-0 romp to City with Raheem Sterling, incidentally, heavily involved in both.

In the 5-1, Sterling netted a hat-trick and in the 4-0, he got a goal and an assist.

Not only that, but in the last 6 gameweeks, Bournemouth are second on the xGC (expected goals conceded) list to only Stoke, with a value of 11.30 to Stoke’s 11.80. 

No-brainer? Pretty much.

Mohamed Salah – 33% of the votes

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It seems like we’re finally starting to trust him with the armband.

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Kane is finally getting the cold shoulder so that the more consistent Salah can shine through as our main man and captain.

Once again, Salah is heavily backed this week in our poll and I expect him to stay well-backed for the trip to Arsenal, given how well they seem to perform there and the rate at which they’re scoring goals on the road this season.

Liverpool have scored 3 or more goals against Arsenal, in 4 out of the last 5 fixtures between the two teams.

It could be the perfect kind of game for Liverpool and Salah in particular, as Arsenal are a little one-dimensional in their play, with fluidity in shape and attack being the prime objective when they play at the Emirates.

With it being such a big game and having had 5 days rest, Salah is unlikely to be benched for this one, making him a great choice again this weekend.

Romelu Lukaku – 9% of the votes

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A lot of you are perhaps surprised at his inclusion in the top 3 picks this week and 9% backs that up, but I think he’s worthy of consideration this week and here’s why…

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Pogback returns from his 3-match suspension to bolster the United attack.

I drew a small comparison before he returned from his injury;

  • With Pogba, United were averaging 2.5 goals per game, without him, they were averaging 1.6 goals a game.
  • With Pogba, United were averaging 19.5 shots per game, without him, they were averaging 11.3 shots a game.
  • With Pogba, United were averaging 61.7% possession, without him, they were averaging 50.6% possession.
  • With Pogba, United were averaging 580 passes per game, without him, they were averaging 472 passes per game.

And then when he returned from his injury, United scored 12 goals in the 4 games before his suspension.

Although Lukaku only scored 1 and assisted 1 in that time, the attack is more fluid and when the team is scoring more goals, there’s a higher chance of the striker scoring goals.

Not only that but he has a couple of goals in his last two games in the Premier League.

Leicester are up next and whilst they have been very good recently, it came undone on the weekend against Palace, where they lost 3-0 at home.

There are vulnerabilities in their defence, exposed by a much-less quality side in Palace and if they can exploit them, I expect Pogba et al to do the same and Lukaku to be on the scoresheet again.

He’s also a historically streaky player – are you gonna miss out on the next one?

Differential captain options

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  1. KDB – Undoubtedly the best alternative if you don’t own Sterling and aren’t fancying Liverpool’s chances at Arsenal. In the last 8 gameweeks, KDB has scored 5 goals and bagged 2 assists. In the last 6 gameweeks, he’s had 15 goal attempts and created 22 chances (best of any player in the game), 6 of those being big chances. The one worry about captaining a player that operates mainly outside the box, is that they’re limited in their goal threat, but as we’ve seen on numerous occasions already, KDB has the technique to score from range and is deadly when he does break into the box. He is however, the king of BPS, with 181 points accumulated in the last 6 GWs – closest to that is Lanzini on 147. Whenever he does get an attacking return, you’ve always a chance of bonus, as last week demonstrated when he only scored 1 to Raheem’s brace and still comfortably beat him to 3 bonus points.
  2. Hazard – Even after just the one assist in the last 3 gameweeks, a lot of comments on the captain poll tweet were in support of Hazard. It’s a tough fixture given the form of Everton, but if Swansea can score at Goodison, then I doubt Hazard/Morata are gonna find it too difficult. Regardless of Hazard’s actual FPL output, he is still shining brightest in that team and is playing very well, comfortably passing the eye test. FPL managers will be hoping that, with Morata back, Hazard can revert to playing off him rather than being the one that the others play off. I think we’ll see him back in the goals this weekend.
  3. Kane – You can never rule Kane completely out of the captaincy choice. This weekend he’ll likely be lowly selected for the captaincy down to Burnley’s solid defensive organisation, but he’s still a quality player in a quality team and 12 goals at this stage isn’t bad. Tarkowski has been found guilty and will serve a 3-match ban and Ward is still out, so they’ll be significantly weaker than they have been for that game. Spurs need to get themselves going and will want to bounce back after the drubbing they got from City. Kane is far and away the best forward on paper, with 36 goal attempts in the last 6 gameweeks – 2nd placed Agüero is nowhere near him on 22. It’s an extremely difficult place to go and score some goals and would be a risky choice this week given the options, but we know Kane is a quality striker and if anyone can do it, it’s him.

Stats obtained from fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

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