We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 1 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our new captain metric – who will you choose this Gameweek?
BEFORE WE BEGIN: If you haven’t already seen, we released an article last year introducing the new ‘Captain Metric’, which explains the concept fully and it can be viewed here > https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/07/the-captain-metric-explained-2/
FPL is back people!
The World Cup is always amazing – this year was the best International tournament I’ve witnessed to date, but there’s nothing quite like the Premier League and with that, comes FPL – weekly drama over the course of 10 months, building and building to a crescendo of won and lost mini leagues against friends and family.
The agony of losing clean sheets to last minute goals, the euphoria of maverick captain picks smashing in huge double-digit returns – FPL has the power to make us want to punch inanimate objects, or jump around our living rooms shouting wildly like little children do when they’re on a sugar rush.
Relationships and friendships will be tested, but ultimately, FPL always wins – at least for sad b******s like myself anyway!
It’s time to get down to business and start finalising those teams ready for the Gameweek deadline this Friday at 19:00.
Along with finalising our teams, we’ve got to pick our captain and although it may be an easy choice for the majority of us, there’s still roughly half of the total FPL players that don’t own Mohamed Salah, so let’s get to it…
Results of our poll
Mohamed Salah – 80% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats over the last 5 gameweeks:
- 48 penalty area touches.
- 22 total goal attempts.
- 15 goal attempts inside the box.
- 5 big chances.
- 3 goals.
- 1 assist.
Sergio Agüero – 12% of the votes
Due to Agüero injury at the back end of last season, we’ve taken his last significant period in terms of game time which was GW25-GW29 (5 consecutive starts):
- 33 penalty area touches
- 17 total goal attempts.
- 14 goal attempts inside the box.
- 4 big chances.
- 5 goals.
- 1 assist.
Wilfried Zaha – 4% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats over the last 5 gameweeks (excluding Arsenal game due on Thursday):
- 37 penalty area touches
- 13 total goal attempts.
- 11 goal attempts inside the box.
- 7 big chances.
- 4 goals.
- 1 assist.
Differential captain options
- Alexis Sánchez – Manchester United kick off the new season on Friday against Leicester at home and have a good chance to kick it off in style. Sánchez has been magnificent in pre-season, scoring 2 goals and setting 1 up for Herrera. More than that, he’s been very sharp and has looked very dangerous. Majority of these games have seen him operating up front with Mata in a 352 however, which may revert back to the 433 with him out wide against Leicester but, Lukaku won’t be match-sharp yet so there’s a chance Alexis plays up front in this one, unless Mourinho goes with Rashford as he did in United’s last pre-season game against Bayern. Even if he isn’t up front, he’s still a huge danger from the left and he looks hungry and sharp and is on most of the set-pieces including penalties. At just 8.6% ownership at the time of writing, this could be a decent way to go if you don’t have Salah.
- Sadio Mané – For those who can’t justify paying the huge £13m price tag of Salah, Mané has to be the way to go. He plays roughly the same role as Salah but on the other side and will undoubtedly be involved if Liverpool turn West Ham over. Mané has 2 penalty goals in his last 3 pre-season games and despite arriving back late for pre-season, in the ICC matches, he looked extremely sharp. The fact he took 2 penalties in a row with Salah on the pitch suggests he might either be on them now, or he may share the duties with Salah – thus increasing his value. In spite of many additions to West Ham, I personally don’t feel they’ve significantly addressed the defence and Liverpool’s attack and style of play could be way too much for them. I think they’ll score 3 or more and if they do, I expect Mané to be involved.
- Joshua King – a slightly more outside the box pick, but King has good pre-season form and a great opening day fixture against Cardiff. He’s bagged 3 goals in 3 starts and is expected to play up front with Wilson again this season. Bournemouth, under Howe, are an attacking side and play some good stuff with decent home form against oppositions around them. Cardiff aren’t convincing me at all – I expect them to be close to the bottom come May time and I think Bournemouth will beat them comfortably. King at 5.9% ownership could be a very cheeky opening day captain punt for the mavericks out there.
I personally can’t see any reason why anyone wouldn’t captain Mohamed Salah if they owned him.
He was superhuman at times last season and there’s nothing to suggest he can’t do something similar again this season – the only thing that has changed, is that Liverpool have strengthened their team (Keita, Fabinho, Alisson).
Sometimes, it’s a case of playing the percentages, especially at the start – as FFScout number 1 hall of famer Jay Egersdorff states himself in our interview with him; “It’s crucial that you’re not cut adrift from the beginning…” (view the rest of the interview with him here >> Interview with Jay Egersdorff).
Because Salah is owned by over half of the game (52.2% at the time of writing) and will most likely be captained by almost all that own him, then you’re under huge pressure for your alternative captain to succeed if you don’t captain him, as you’ll face a huge drop if it fails.
For me, at the start, it’s not a risk worth taking, so Mohamed Salah is my recommendation and who I’m going with for Gameweek 1.
If you don’t own him, then I think Sadio Mané is the way to go and if you own him and for some reason aren’t going to captain him and want a differential captain, then I fancy Joshua King’s chances against a Cardiff team I don’t rate at all.
Because our metric is based on previous Gameweek data, we don’t have access to all the stats we need to complete it.
We also want to base the stats for it on this season rather than last season to reflect the most relevant statistics, so we’ll be starting this section in GW5.
Stats obtained from fantasyfootballscout.co.uk