New season, new look! Matt has handed over the baton to probably the most important decision we have each week. I feel humbly honoured…
GW1 is the hardest game of the season to pick captains, there’s no real form to base ideas on and it’s impossible to guess how new signings will gel into existing dressing rooms and game styles. One of the better ways to go about this is to look at who the top teams are playing, and where. Fortunately 3 of the big clubs aren’t travelling this week, and all are involved in games that could see some goals…
One of the games that could be a slaughterhouse is the Arsenal v West Ham game. West Ham have made a mess of their European campaign by being bundled out before it even began. Then, they have to rock up at Arsenal. Tough life. What’s tougher is picking which of Arsenal’s attack will benefit most? Outside of one of my top picks below, the most likely is Ozil. He’s probably the most nailed on of their attacking half and has as much creative ability as any going around. He has some issues with drifting out of games however, and it’s for that reason that I’ll pass this week. There’s better options. Any other attacking players, such as Ramsey, Ox, Giroud, are at risk of starting on the bench, or being subbed at some stage so avoid. If you really want to test out the new BP scoring system, Arsenal are a great shout for a cleanie, so Koscielny has potential?
Chelsea were a rich source of attacking points last season, and have Swansea visiting for the opening day… Outside of one of my picks however, there’s a lot of risk involved. Costa was never a bonus points machine, and he’s under a fitness cloud (a permanent fitness cloud!). If he doesn’t get up then Falcao or Remy will come in but neither are captaincy material. Fabregas is probably the best of the rest but I want goals, not assists, from my captain. If Oscar starts then he is a very good shout for a goal, but he’s no lock in this team.
Old Trafford will host what could be the most intriguing clash with United facing Spurs in the early kick off. This game has goals written all over it but outside of some top choices below their pickings are slim. The only potential United player who I don’t mention is Mata but there’s something about him I can’t quite put my finger on. He’s the kind of player you can’t guess when he’s going to turn it on, but he’s on pens so is always a chance at home! On the other side of the pitch Kane is a solid, if unspectacular, skipper. It’ll be interesting to see if second year blues kick in or not because he has a massive future ahead of him. It’ll be a big ask for Eriksen and Chadli to recreate their great points tallies from last season, but both have the capacity to do so with the former having all the talent to better it. No to both.
Man City are the biggest team to have to travel this week, and to Tony Pulis FC. West Brom won’t be easy to break down and it’s for these reasons why I won’t be going near them. They’ve got injury clouds everywhere so it’s not easy to pick who’s going to start nevermind pick a skipper! Sterling will start, and judging by his preseason he could be amongst it. As will Silva, but there are better options than both. Bony will probably be their No.9 but West Brom’s stingy defence could easily mark him out of the game.
Liverpool are always a chance of some goals, and travel to a Stoke team that will be missing a vital defensive piece in Shawcross. Any sort of defensive thoughts we have of Stoke need to be reassessed on the back of that news. You’ve got to be a diehard Liverpool supporter however to pick any of their assets as captaincy options. They weren’t a big attacking point scoring team last season, and although that may well change I’d want to see some evidence first.
Outside of those teams you could look at Everton who host Watford where Lukaku (if he plays) comes into calculations or Baines or Jagielka if you see a cleansheet happening? Southampton’s Pelle and Mane has been scoring for fun preseason and Newcastle will be more than accommodating. Probably best to stick the bigger teams to begin with…
The lack of an Aguero has opened this choice up somewhat, but at the end of the day there’s really only one man to go with. Eden Hazard has an amazing record at home when compared to away. Last season he scored 14 goals and notched 10 assists over the season, with a whopping 9 of those goals and 7 assists coming in the comforts of Stamford Bridge. He scored in half of his home games… So you’re a 50/50 chance of dominating this week! I’ll take those odds thank you very much. The concern is they are playing a Swansea team who have become quite solid at the back in recent times, and Chelsea have flattered to deceive this preseason. But this is the big dance, and Jose Mourinho will be looking to score early.
For the 43% of FPL’ers out there who don’t have Eden, you have a really tough decision to make. Outside of Hazard there are a big group of players all putting their hands up but nearly all have a reason not to put the band on their arm. I’ve plumped for Rooney as the second pick. United play at home, and against a hit and miss Tottenham team who are likely to concede at some stage. It’s well documented that Roondog will be the lead striker for LVG and with the artillery behind him, he’ll get a heap of chances to score.
Arsenal have all the trademarks of a team that is going to score a bucketload of goals this season. They’ve got weapons all over their forward and midfield lines and all have the potential to score double-digit goals this season. Like I said before they welcome a West Ham side who’ve made a mess of their European campaign. They’ve had no continuity in their starting XI and will struggle to implement their new possession based style against the masters of it. If Wally starts up top then he could run amok against this mob. Big risk if he doesn’t start, you don’t want your captain coming off the bench!!! That’s the main/sole reason why he isn’t higher than 3.
The EPL is full of moments. Big, memorable, hair standing on the back of your neck moments… The scene really is set for Memphis Depay to put in a performance isn’t it? At home, early game, opening day, Old Trafford. Full house. Depay scores. It’s nearly inevitable. But a massive risk nonetheless!
So that’s my two bob. Who are you all going for skipper?