FPL Captain Metric: Gameweek 3

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 3 and reveal the results of our captain poll – who will you choose this Gameweek?

BEFORE WE BEGIN: If you haven’t already seen, we released an article last year introducing the new ‘FPL Captain Metric’, which explains the concept fully and it can be viewed here >> https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/07/the-captain-metric-explained-2/

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because it’s the start of the season and the metric is based purely on 5 previous GWs worth of relevant data, the metric is not yet included in this article as we want to make use of this season’s relevant data.

Our data analyst is working hard on enhancing the metric for the new season, so keep an eye out for an announcement about that!

Results of our poll

The following underlying statistics are taken from FantasyFootballScout.co.uk. If you want to gain access to these stats yourself, register to become a member here >> https://members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/

IMPORTANT NOTE: All underlying stats are taken from the previous 2 GWs aside from Man City attackers (as they blanked in GW1 – their stats taken from GW2 only).

Kevin de Bruyne – 42.6% of the votes

  • 7 penalty area touches.
  • 4 total goal attempts.
  • 2 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 chances created (0 big chances)
  • 2 big chances.
  • 1 goal.
  • 1 ghost assist.

Timo Werner – 33.1% of the votes

  • 12 penalty area touches.
  • 6 total goal attempts.
  • 5 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 2 chances created (0 big chances)
  • 0 big chances.
  • 0 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Raheem Sterling – 8.7% of the votes

  • 7 penalty area touches.
  • 1 total goal attempts.
  • 1 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 1 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 0 big chances.
  • 0 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Mo Salah

  • 30 penalty area touches
  • 13 total goal attempts.
  • 10 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 9 chances created (0 big chances)
  • 2 big chances.
  • 3 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Harry Kane

  • 3 penalty area touches
  • 4 total goal attempts.
  • 3 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 chances created (4 big chances)
  • 1 big chances.
  • 1 goal.
  • 4 assists.

Son Heung-Min

  • 11 penalty area touches
  • 6 total goal attempts.
  • 5 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 5 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 3 big chances.
  • 4 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Sadio Mané

  • 15 penalty area touches
  • 8 total goal attempts.
  • 5 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 4 chances created (0 big chances)
  • 2 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Analysing the Candidates 

Kevin de Bruyne – Leicester (H)

The King, the Don, the Belgian Prince – whatever you want to call him – is back, and kicked off his PL campaign with a converted pen and an assist (apparently).

Against Wolves, he was deployed as the number 10, as Pep wanted to press the back 3 of Wolves very high yet remain quite defensive with the two defensive midfielders.

This saw him get forward as much as Sterling, with both registering 7 penalty area touches, but Kevin had 4 shots to Sterling’s 1. He looked immaculate and was sharp, energetic and direct with his play – he was always a danger and made a lot of aggressive forward runs.

It’s clear though, from KDB’s post-match interview on Sky Sports, that this is something that won’t be regular, as he stated:

“I think it depends on the way the other team play. Wolves play with a back three so the manager wanted to push them high and play secure with the two defensive midfielders.”

In contrast to Wolves, Leicester play with 4 at the back instead of 3 so I presume we may see KDB drop back into his normal CM position rather than the aggressive CAM, so we may not see him bombing forward as much as he did v Wolves, but he doesn’t need to – he’s good enough to produce the points wherever he’s deployed.

With the new FIFA directive on handballs also, it appears we’re going to see more penalties this year and so far, we’ve already had 13, so this further increases the appeal of KDB, who is now their confirmed first choice.

Raheem Sterling – Leciester (H)

With Agüero’s injury, Raheem Sterling took the mantle as City’s main goalscorer post-lockdown, producing 9 goals from his 9 appearances – more than any other player during that period.

Sterling had a fairly quiet opener, in the shadow of KDB, but still managed to produce a return, with a lovely cut back assist for Phil Foden.

He looked sharp and as energetic as ever on the left flank but didn’t get many opportunities, with just the 1 shot on his left foot inside the area from a tight angle.

Leicester have been a troublesome opponent for City and in particular Raheem Sterling. He’s registered just 1 goal in his 9 appearances against them, which doesn’t make for great reading.

Having said that, Sterling is the kind of asset that can hit the big hauls as we’ve seen before in the past (West Ham and Brighton hat-tricks last season), and with the erratic nature of these high scoring games going around currently in the Premier League, owning and captaining the kind of players that are capable of big hauls, might be the savvy move.

Timo Werner – WBA (A)

Despite only registering 1 assist so far, context is important when it comes to assessing Timo Werner’s prospects.

With 1 of his two games being against Liverpool, a game that saw them play a full half with 10 men, we can’t be too harsh with him. From what I have seen, he has looked physically sharp on the ball, has made some great runs and has been close to scoring on a couple of occasions.

Versus both Liverpool and Brighton, you can see that his movement is excellent, but he just hasn’t had the supply yet. I think versus WBA, we can expect Timo to get better chances.

They rank top for xGC with a value of 6.80 from their 8 goals conceded. For reference, the next closest is Leeds (4.50). They’ve conceded the most amount of shots inside the box (24) and the most amount of big chances (8).

This is the game Timo should be expected to return well in and given the start WBA have had, it’s tough to see Werner not getting chances. Then, it’s down to his finishing ability, and given we know he hit 28 in the Bundesliga, I think we can assume he’s a composed finisher.

Mo Salah – Arsenal (H)

Mo Salah continued his pattern from last season, in GW2, of smashing at Anfield but blanking/returning little away, after his blank against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He did have a very good opportunity right at the death, but could only fire his shot right at Kepa from close range.

He still looked sharp and was well involved, having registered 9 penalty area touches and 4 shots (2 inside the box) against Chelsea, as well as setting up 5 chances – it just lacked a little quality.

With him back at Anfield for this next one, he has to be a strong consideration again. If we also add in that the last 5 PL meetings between these two at Anfield have looked like this:

Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal

Then we can argue there’s good potential for him.

The big caveat here however, is that none of those above matches were when Mikel Arteta was at the helm. In the two matches that these two have faced off:

PL: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
FA Community Shield: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Arsenal win on pens)

So from this, and generally how Arteta has changed things at Arsenal so far, we can expect this game to be more tight and tactical, and far less open.

Others to consider

Sadio Mané – Arsenal (H)

Sadio was the man in GW2 for Liverpool, producing a fine display that powered his side to a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Mané’s off the ball movement was excellent and it was the reason Christensen got sent off and the reason he was able to angle his header perfectly into the bottom corner for the opener.

It was incidentally his brilliant off the ball movement that led to him scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League fixture against Arteta last season too.

He’s definitely operating against the weaker half of Arsenal’s defence, likely up against Bellerin and Holding rather than Tierney and Gabriel (for Salah) but given the likely tight/tactical nature of this game, it’s going to be difficult out there for the Liverpool attackers.

Son/Kane – Newcastle (H)

Finally, the Spurs pair Kane and Son round off our main candidates for the armband after their incredible duet in GW2, with Son hitting 4 goals and Kane getting 1 and assisting on 4 occasions in the 5-2 win against Southampton.

Southampton were playing a suicidal high line against Spurs that Son and Kane were able to exploit with ease.

Whilst this was undoubtedly an impressive display from the pair of them, it’s almost certain that they will not see that kind of high line against Newcastle.

Newcastle will almost certainly sit much deeper in low blocks and suffocate the space for the Spurs attackers to operate in, making it much more difficult for them to find a route to goal.

When teams have sat deep against Spurs, now without Eriksen, they have struggled to find the net much more, without a chief creator to break the lines with a cutting forward pass, it’ll likely be up to the full backs to stretch the play and provide the creativity.

Having said that, Newcastle looked very poor against Brighton, with an xGC of 1.78, ranked 7th worst v all teams in GW2, so Spurs will fancy their chances in this one.

Conclusion/my personal take

My personal view of GW2, is that Liverpool v Arsenal is going to be a tight and tactical affair with a lower potential for goals, based on what I’ve seen from Arteta, who’s got his team so well organised and fighting/working much harder than we’ve seen before.

Spurs are up against Newcastle, who will undoubtedly sit deeper and won’t give Son and Kane the kind of space that Saints afforded them, making it much harder for them to break the Magpies down and I’ve seen enough of Spurs under Mourinho to know that low block defence teams are a struggle for them.

It was the same with my own team (United) and Mourinho. Against those teams that set up defensively and deep, we struggled without a key playmaker, until Bruno Fernandes came in to solve that issue and I think without Eriksen, Spurs are similar.

Lo Celso isn’t good enough yet (though I admit he’s much improving), to really unlock defences like this with pure quality of pass like Eriksen could, or like James Rodriguez is doing now for Everton, and because of that, I do think they’ll struggle to break Newcastle down and I can see that being a low scoring win for Spurs.

For me, the high potential is for Timo Werner against WBA, who do look to be out of their depth in the Premier League, and for the City options.

Yes, Leicester have been a bit of a bogey team for City, but since the half way point last season, I just don’t think they’ve quite been the same. They have started this year well, but I do think the potential for City to score 3 or more, is there in this game.

They were electric last night against Wolves in the first half and made that fixture look like it was an easy one. Granted, Wolves came back in the second half and were brilliant and arguably should have come away with something but for me, if City are as sharp as they were against Wolves in the first half, I can see them winning that game comfortably.

Timo Werner hasn’t really got his campaign under way just yet, but I simply cannot see him not getting chances against WBA this weekend and should WBA continue to defend the same way they have been so far, I expect to see strong returns for Werner.

I think he has the highest ceiling out of the above options and it’s for that reason, he’ll likely be my weapon of my choice this weekend.

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