Welcome back to the captains for 2014/15! I had a decent start to last year, but ended up being cramped for time with 2 articles per week. This year I will be turning my full focus onto the captaincy call each week, hopefully providing a more in depth analysis and bettering the results! GW1 is always a massive captaincy decision, and I’m a big fan of playing it safe this week. Here’s the options:
Mata – Let’s be clear with each other. When picking a captain option you’re selecting the player who you think will score the most points this week. Whilst Mata is a great pick and should be consistent, he doesn’t have the high ceiling of a captaincy contender. If you’re backing United, you go for Roondog.
Remy – You just never know what a promoted side will dish up for the first gameweek. Excitement levels are high and they will be pumped for it, having said that not one of the promoted sides won their first game last season. I’m really not sure what to expect here, but if Remy gets up he is a great chance to score. Too many doubts for my liking.
Now onto the big clubs prospects. Man City face an away game at Newcastle, one which could present the opportunity for goals. Newcastle’s defence was poor at best last season, add that to the fact that City won both games 4-0 and 2-0 last season and you can see who the favourites are. The issue is that without Aguero, none of City’s options are really reliable enough to get the armband. Jovetic and Dzeko could be great, but the risks involved are too high for my liking. I vote avoid.
Liverpool face a home game against Southampton, who managed to win the corresponding game last season 1-0. Coutinho and Sterling are both in hot form during pre-season, however I only see one captaincy option from the Merseysiders at this stage.
You never know what you’re going to get from Spurs. Last season they managed to lose against West Ham at home 3-0, then the Hammers completed the double by beating them 2-0 in the corresponding fixture. I can see this being a tight contest at Upton Park, regardless of the teams pre-season form. Guys like Lamela and Eriksen are way too risky to be a captaincy option.
With Tony Pulis quitting Crystal Palace, I don’t like their prospects at all. On the flip side, Arsenal will be licking their lips with an opening day clash at home to a club in turmoil. There should be goals in this one for the gunners, making Giroud one to consider. Even though he scored a cracking long shot in the community shield, he still doesn’t look fully fit. I wouldn’t captain him. Sanchez is another matter. If you’re taking the punt and spending 10.5 on him, he must be under consideration. The only issue I have is that Alexis doesn’t look 100% match fit just yet, and he should get subbed around the 70 minute mark. Added to the fact he’s yet to score in pre-season, captaincy is a risk too far for me.
Chelsea will have to wait until Monday night to kick start their season, but promisingly fantasy wise it’s against Burnley. Fabregas should start in the hole with Oscar still recovering from world cup duties. That being said I think picking him alone is enough risk to take. The one to consider is Hazard, and if there was a top 5 he would be in there. On penalty duties, he’s always a shot at getting on the scoresheet. He hasn’t lit up pre-season, but that doesn’t really matter. We’re yet to see whether he will benefit from Chelsea having a top class striker or not. He goes close, but I’ll be playing it safe with the forwards this week.
1. Rooney – Manchester United have a history of starting their Premier League campaigns in style, scoring more than 2 goals in each of their past 4 opening games, scoring three or more on three of those occasions. Rooney has also been in fine form during pre-season, notching 4 times in as many games. He has been handed the armband by Luis Van Gaal, a massive show of respect and gratitude towards him for all he has done for United. He will be hungrier than ever for goals on Saturday, with people from around the world tuning in for the first game of the EPL season. He will be starting up front without RVP to contend with, whilst playing at home against a team that conceded in 12 of their 14 games under Garry Monk. United faced the same fixture to kick off last season, beating Swansea 4-1 away from home. I would be shocked to see something else other than a comfortable United win given their pre-season form. All the factors are pointing towards Rooney this week, it would be a massive risk to go anyone else. I like to bank safe captain points in GW1, and Rooney looks as safe as it can get.
2. Ramsey – 12 months ago if you had told me Ramsey would be the second best captaincy option for gameweek one, I probably would’ve taken a shot of hydrochloric acid. Luckily I didn’t, because he deserves to be here. He’s managed 17 goals in his last 35 appearances, including 10 goals and 9 assists in just 19 games in the Premier League last year. He doesn’t seem like the most reliable option, but creating a goal a game is about as good as it gets. With Crystal Palace without a manager, they are there for the taking. Ozil won’t be back until GW2, meaning Ramsey will be the highest midfielder up the pitch. The stage is set for him, can he deliver? He’s slightly more risky than Rooney, but his ceiling is higher. Definitely one to strongly consider, I’m happy to just pick him in my team at this stage.
3. Sturridge – Let’s not forget what he’s capable of. He scored 22 goals and 8 assists in just 29 appearances last season and started the season on fire without Suarez. It’s true that not many teams knew how to defend him back then, but he’s also taken steps forward in his game. I can see goals in this game for Liverpool, they look in great form. If you can manage to fit Sturridge in at 11.5, you’re getting a consistent goalscorer and a captaincy option. Solid pick.
Costa – A huge number of people are tossing up captaining Costa, and there’s definitely merit to that line of thinking. Interestingly, for a guy that scored 27 goals in a season, he didn’t score one hat-trick. Scoring in two thirds of his games, he is an extremely reliable goalscorer but I’m not so sure he will bag those massive captaincy scores that Suarez gave us last year. No I’m not saying he needs to do what Suarez did, nobody is capable of those kind of returns. What I’m saying is if we don’t captain him this week, he shouldn’t punish us too badly. I’d like to see how he fits in at Chelsea, if he looks hot then he’s definitely an option in the weeks to follow! A viable armband option this week, but it’s definitely a punt.
So there we have it, there’s your captaincy options for GW1! As I say I highly advise you play it safe this week, and it doesn’t get much safer than Rooney. If he fails, then you’ve been extremely unlucky. You will go down with the majority of teams anyway.
I will have finalised the projected XI’s by tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back in before deadline.
Finally I need to ask you guys, we’ve had a request to set-up a cash league for everyone to participate in. Would anyone be interested in participating? We have about 10 people interested so far, if we can get a few more I’ll look to set one up and have some great banter! Most of our writers are keen to take part, who is willing to show us up? Don’t worry if it seems too late, we wouldn’t start scoring until GW2. We’ll email all interested participants if we’re going ahead with the idea tomorrow, payment methods will most likely be through paypal. If you’re interested, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Don’t forget to join our classic league 3543-1750!!!