We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 22 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our 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/
GW21 produced a decent average of 54pts down to some popular assets scoring double-figure hauls, but the captaincy wasn’t a walk in the park with only 2 of the top 5 captained players delivering the goods.
Aubameyang was the highest captained player of live teams (20.5%) at home against a poor defensive Fulham side and managed to deliver a decent 9pt haul, but owners might have felt slightly aggrieved at this return given that he missed 4 big chances!
Kane was the other of the 5 top captained players to return away at Cardiff. Some may have been slightly reluctant to give Kane the armband after their recent loss and poor performance against Wolves the previous match, but Kane and Spurs were back to their best, smashing in 3 goals inside half an hour against the Bluebirds, resulting in a 12pt haul for those that backed the English forward.
Hazard was heavily backed, especially by owners in the top 1,000 (62.8%), but despite past history all pointing in favour of Chelsea and the Belgian, they were unable to break down Saints and slumped to a 0-0 draw, leaving Hazard captainers bitterly disappointed with his 3pt return.
Both Salah and Pogba saw decent backing despite relatively difficult fixtures and both were unable to contribute to their sides goals, with Rashford stealing the limelight at St James Park, and Firmino and Robertson combining for Liverpool’s goal.
GW22 is looking relatively difficult for the captaincy, with Kane up against a resurgent United, Liverpool away at a stingy backline in Brighton and confidence low in Hazard after his recent fail at the Bridge against what was thought to be easier defensive opposition.
Let’s see if the stats can help provide some clarity to the matter.
Results of our poll
Mohamed Salah – 51% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:
- 43 penalty area touches
- 12 total goal attempts.
- 9 goal attempts inside the box.
- 5 big chances.
- 3 goals.
- 3 assists.
Eden Hazard – 26% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks (where he’s been involved in the match):
- 37 penalty area touches
- 14 total goal attempts.
- 11 goal attempts inside the box.
- 7 big chances.
- 3 goals.
- 1 assist.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 12% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:
- 30 penalty area touches
- 17 total goal attempts.
- 16 goal attempts inside the box.
- 9 big chances.
- 4 goals.
- 1 assist.
Harry Kane – 11% of the votes
Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks (where he has been involved in the match):
- 26 penalty area touches
- 19 total goal attempts.
- 12 goal attempts inside the box.
- 4 big chances.
- 5 goals.
- 3 assists.
Differential captain optionsEmbed from Getty Images
- Richarlison – Whilst Everton, nor Richarlison, are in the best form right now, it hasn’t been for a want of trying on Richarlison’s part, with 14 goal attempts, 12 of which inside the box, over the last 5 GWs. Up next are Bournemouth, the side that have shipped the most amount of goals (14) in the last 5 GWs. Everton are the next worst in this time, so they can’t afford to rely on their defence. This promises to be a more open game than the previous two against Leicester and Brighton and with the space that Richarlison should get, I can see him getting amongst the goals in what looks well set to be a thriller, with plenty of goals for either side.
- Marko Arnautovic – He had to come off at the weekend with a back problem on 20 minutes after scoring the opener after 2 minutes, but it was precautionary and early signs point to it not being too serious. After a spell on the sidelines, it didn’t take him long to get back amongst the goals, with a brace against Brighton and as stated earlier, a goal in the FA cup to boot. In third, just below BOU and EVE in the most amount of goals conceded in the last 5 GWs list, is Arsenal. With it being at the London Stadium – a stadium that has seen an average amount of goals scored of 3.43 – and with 4 of the last 5 meetings between West Ham and Arsenal at West Ham having produced 3 goals or more, we can expect there to be plenty of space for the attackers which should result in goals. Check for the presser of course to ensure he is fit to play, but if he does, I’d expect him to get amongst the goals.
The Captain Metric says…
… Eden Hazard.
Important Note: We have twigged the metric slightly once more. At the end of the metric, you’ll find two new relevant stats.
First one (Reliability %), basically gives us the percentage of games the player has provided a return (goal or assist) in out of the games he was available for selection (not injured) – so this includes games where the player has scored 0 because of being on the bench/rested, but not those where the player has scored 0 because he was injured or unavailable for some other reason, like personal circumstances for example. This can give us an idea of how likely the player is to return and how reliable he has been.
The second (Explosivity %), as the name suggests, gives us the percentage of games the player has ‘exploded in’, or in more accurate terms, has provided a double-figure return. In the same way as before, it can give us an idea of how likely a player is to return a double-figure haul and a clear view of how good he’s been at providing double-figure hauls in the past.
- Player form – Harry Kane has scored more points than either Salah, Aubameyang or Hazard in the last 5 Gameweeks.
- Team form – Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool and Aubameyang’s Arsenal have created the most amount of big chances (18) in the last 5 Gameweeks in comparison to Spurs and Chelsea however, Spurs have scored the most goals (16) in that timeframe.
- Fixture difficulty – Aubameyang’s opponents, West Ham, have conceded the most amount of big chances (15) in comparison to Salah, Hazard and Kane’s opponents.
- Likelihood of scoring – According to the bookies, Salah and Hazard are the most likely to score.
- Expected goals/assists (xGI) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has the highest expected goal involvement of the 4 candidates over the last 5 Gameweeks.
- Home/Away Goal Conversion – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has the best goal conversion rate for this weekends fixtures, after bagging 6 goals from 25 goal attempts away from home.
- Reliability % – Harry Kane is the most reliable asset, with him returning in 14 of his 21 matches, whilst Eden Hazard has returned in 13 of his 20 matches where he was available to play. Salah comes next with him returning in 13 of his 21 matches and Aubameyang bottoms out with 12 returns in his 21 matches.
- Explosivity % – Eden Hazard has returned the most amount of double-figure hauls with 6 in his 20 matches. Both Kane and Salah have 5 in their 21 matches, whilst Aubameyang loses out again with 4 in his 21 matches.
This week is tough, and the results of the metric highlight that fact.
Harry Kane is the form player with 8 returns in his last 5 games, but faces a resurgent United and also has to navigate a tough EFL cup tie tonight (Tuesday) against London rivals Chelsea. They do however, play on Sunday at 16:30, so that should be plenty of time to recover and with United playing a more expansive game under Ole, it could leave space for Kane to operate and do some damage. In the reverse fixture, Mourinho tried to take the game to Spurs and after a decent first half display, Spurs picked them off in the second half (3-0) with consummate ease.
Eden Hazard is back at the Bridge against Newcastle and on paper, typically, this looks like a banker and it wins out on the metric, but with the result against Southampton (0-0) fresh in our minds, with plenty opting to back the Belgian in that game, it might be difficult to trust him again. Chelsea also struggle to break teams that sit deep down when Morata is on the pitch, and with Giroud having an ankle injury and Pedro a hamstring injury, it’s likely that Morata will play again on the weekend, causing more room for doubt.
Mohamed Salah seems to be Mr Safety right now. With him generally returning against sides outside the top 6 and not returning against sides inside the top 6, it’s perhaps easier to predict where the points are gonna come, which makes him a very reliable and captainable asset, unlike Hazard for example, where he can blank in those easier games where we expect him to get at least 1 return. Having said that, Brighton are generally quite tough to break down, with only 5 teams conceding less big chances at home than the Seasiders.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another asset that typically seems to return in those games you expect him to and his underlying numbers suggest he’s getting a large amount of very good chances and is perhaps unlucky to not have scored more recently, with 9 big chances received over the last 5 GWs. Up against a side that have conceded the most amount of big chances (15) over that same time in West Ham, it’s set up to be a perfect recipe for Auba, who should see plenty of space in this match.Embed from Getty Images
Out of those, I really fancy Aubameyang to score big in his match against the Hammers. It’s 5th (West Ham) on the xGC list (expected goals conceded) vs 1st (Arsenal) on the xG open play list (expected goals from open play) – all signs point to goals for Auba in this one.
With Salah and Hazard looking to command a large % of the votes judging by our poll, Auba may well be enough of a captain differential this GW, but if it’s not enough, then I would go for Richarlison against a very leaky Bournemouth side.