FPL Captain Metric: Gameweek 4

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 4 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 3 GWs aside from Man City attackers (as they blanked in GW1 – their stats taken from GW2/3 only).

Kevin de Bruyne – 38.2% of the votes

  • 11 penalty area touches.
  • 6 total goal attempts.
  • 2 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 9 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 2 big chances.
  • 1 goal.
  • 1 assist.

Mo Salah28.3% of the votes

  • 35 penalty area touches
  • 17 total goal attempts.
  • 13 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 11 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 2 big chances.
  • 3 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Raul Jimenez20.6% of the votes

  • 20 penalty area touches
  • 10 total goal attempts.
  • 9 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 1 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 3 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Sadio Mané

  • 25 penalty area touches
  • 13 total goal attempts.
  • 9 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 chances created (0 big chances)
  • 4 big chances.
  • 3 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Raheem Sterling

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

Jamie Vardy

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

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

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

Richarlison

  • 28 penalty area touches
  • 13 total goal attempts.
  • 11 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 3 chances created (1 big chances)
  • 3 big chances.
  • 1 goals.
  • 3 assists.

Analysing the Main Candidates 

Mohamed Salah – Aston Villa (A)

Mo has started the season extremely well, sitting third overall for xGI (expected goal involvement) with a value of 3.37, beaten only by Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jamie Vardy, from 3 goals and 1 assist.

Those nervous about the away record should take encouragement in his performance at Chelsea. Despite blanking, he registered 9 penalty area touches, 4 goal attempts (2 inside the box) and created 5 chances.

Aston Villa are up next and whilst their recent defensive record makes terrific reading (post lockdown, only Man United and Wolves had a lower xGC than Aston Villa), their overall xGC for the previous season of 68.73, was higher than any other team and this cannot be ignored.

Emi Martinez coming in will have further bolstered their defence, however, the quality of Liverpool’s attack, which has shone through in the opening games against difficult opposition in Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal, registering an xG of 7.59 across the 3 games – higher than any other team so far – will likely be too much for this Villa side.

Kevin de Bruyne – Leeds (A)

Man City and KDB started like a house on fire in the first half against Wolves in GW2.

They were electric, as was Kev, and it looked like they were going to go on and win that game comfortably, but alarm bells might be ringing in Pep’s head at the moment, having seen how Wolves were able to come back in that second half and really ought to have come away with at least a draw in that game given the chances they had.

That second half performance, combined with how Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester were able to execute their plan to devastating effect, could be some cause for concern.

Having said that, City are up against newly promoted Leeds next, who, in their first 3 matches in Premier League, have conceded the second most amount of big chances (8) and the second most amount of shots inside the box of any team so far, resulting in an xGC of 5.90.

City’s lack of striker without Jesus or Aguero is a slight problem, but it likely means that KDB will continue to operate as a number 10 in a 4231, giving him more attacking licence against a Leeds defence that has struggled to adapt to Premier League life so far.

Raul Jimenez – Fulham (H)

Last season Wolves scored 51 goals from 38 games. It’s a ratio that doesn’t set the world alight, but they have been designed pragmatically by Nuno to be effective with their wing back system, which is set up to not concede many goals and thus, they don’t need a lot of goals to win games.

Fulham, their next opponents, have been very poor so far, conceding 10 goals from 8 big chances and 27 shots inside the box. So the weak defence is there, but so far, Wolves only managed to score 3 goals from their 3 games, and sit 3rd from bottom with a low xG of 2.41 (only Burnley and WBA have a lower xG).

The above, and the fact that Jimenez, historically, doesn’t return many double-digit returns, might be a put-off, but his consistency against weaker teams cannot be denied and there’s every chance, having scored 13 of his 17 goals last year against teams outside the ‘big 6’, that he at least bags a return in this one.

Others to consider

Sadio Mane – Aston Villa (A)

Sadio Mane has now outscored Salah in the last 2 GWs and looks, in open play at least, to be the more dangerous of the two, with a non penalty xG of 2.7, compared to Salah’s 0.9.

In addition to the above in favour for Mane, it’s Mane that got the best of them last year, scoring and assisting in the 2-1 away win, and scoring in the 2-0 home win, with Salah just getting 1 assist in these two games.

Raheem Sterling – Leeds (A)

Now that Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are out injured, it looks to be falling on the shoulders of Raheem Sterling to play up top and score the goals.

As we can see above, his record from playing up front is still very good, so there’s no need to be disheartened by the change from his natural position on the flank.

In his first 2 Premier League games, he’s had a fairly slow start by his standards, registering 13 penalty area touches, 4 goal attempts (3 inside the box) and 0 big chances from his first 2 games, returning just the 1 assist.

However, he did play in the EFL Cup last night as striker against Burnley, and scored 2 goals and provided an assist.

DCL/Richarlison – Brighton (H)

The Everton pair have started like a house on fire, scoring 6 goals and assisting 3 times between them in the first 3 Premier League games.

To add to that, DCL netted another hat-trick in their EFL Cup tie against West Ham, winning 4-1, a game in which Richarlison also scored.

They face a Brighton side that have started brightly themselves, with 2 extremely encouraging performances against Chelsea and Man United either side of a 3-0 dismantling of Newcastle that has seen them post an impressive xG of 5.38 and a fairly impressive xGC of 3.29.

It won’t be an easy afternoon for Everton, but given their very impressive start, which has seem them post the 2nd highest xG of any team in the PL so far (beaten only by Liverpool), they will fancy their chances against the Seagulls, who lost 3-0 to Man United in the EFL Cup last night.

Jamie Vardy – West Ham (H)

After an incredible hat-trick at the Etihad to add to his illustrious career in their surprising 5-2 win, Vardy sits top of the current overall FPL point scorers with 32 points from his 5 goals.

What’s equally as surprising and incredible, is that 4 of his 5 goals have come from penalties, posting a non penalty xG of just 0.1.

The season, due to the ridiculous new handball rule, has now seen 20 pens from 28 games, which further increases his appeal and will likely mean he’ll see plenty more before season end, although it should be noted that the IFAB (International football association board) have agreed that referee’s should show ‘great subjectivity’ when it comes to handball decisions from now on according to a report from the Athletic (https://theathletic.com/news/premier-league-handball-law-change/s6b5hot2doEQ).

West Ham sit sixth best for xGC with a value of 3.14 from their opening Premier League games however, despite a positive performance against Arsenal and a brilliant 4-0 win against Wolves, West Ham are well-known for their inconsistency and last year, did concede more big chances (102) than any other team.

Conclusion/my personal take

Having gone through the above, there are plenty of viable captain options this week, which likely means, and evidenced by the captain poll that saw over 2500 votes, that there is likely to be a decent spread/split between FPL managers and who they’re choosing for the captain this week.

I think that makes it a good GW to go for a differential captain as, if you’re wrong, there’s a lot of different captains in play and all of the largest backed would need to do well to have a serious effect on your rank, unlike if a huge majority were backing just one player, for example.

Salah and KDB are safe choices. They are always going to be solid bets in more or less all games this year when fit, and have good fixtures in GW4.

I just can’t help but feel that right now, the explosive potential is in Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane for this GW.

It’s very much a feeling, but given that Sterling is now tasked with being the chief goalscorer up top, the play will be centred around and aimed toward him, against a defence that looks to be offering plenty of chances.

And with Liverpool, I just feel that Mane has the edge on Salah right now in open play, but I admit that both have been impressive so far and with Salah on penalties, it does give him an edge.

This is the GW to back your gut in my opinion and my gut is telling me one of Raheem Sterling or Sadio Mane is going to go big.

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