*MASSIVE thanks to Ben (‘Bio Eden Hazard’) for filling in here. He is a long time reader and has had great success in FPL! Baysie is away for the next month or so, so for the time being Ben will be doing our captaincy research. For the record, I fully agree with this top 3!!!
After an eventful international break and a pile of injuries, it’s time to go back to our beloved FPL. Picking a captain was supposed to be so easy: Aguero was going to be the perma-captain and we wouldn’t have to worry about who to give the armband. That was until Sergio collapsed…AGAIN. However captain choices being less obvious provides the perfect opportunity to make up ground in your league, so cheer up!
GW9 kicks off with Spurs challenging Liverpool at White Hart Lane. I would stay away from both teams as they have proven too unreliable for my liking. They’re inconsistent in terms of collective performances as well as individual players…Yes I’m looking at you Eriksen and Coutinho! I was expecting more managers to trade Sturridge in for Aguero this week, as the latter is the only “pricy” striker to look somewhat dangerous, unlike Rooney and Costa. As much as I like Sturridge, I would still wait a bit until Klopp stabilizes the team before I invest (let alone captain). Further to that point, Liverpool’s fixtures are horrendous.
Chelsea players are to be avoided, even though they play Aston Villa at home… I don’t think this requires much explanation. Jose is playing with fire yet again, we’ll see if he ends up burning his beloved Chelsea to the ground like he did with Real Madrid. The recent Diego Simeone rumors will surely put some more pressure on the Portuguese diva, no matter what he says in press conferences. Keep an eye on Hazard though, he might be on the way to getting some form back. He’s somehow scraping cheap assists and deflections!
Crystal Palace against West Ham could be a very pleasant game with two teams playing an attacking brand of football. Nevertheless if there are solid options within the heavy hitters, I’m always reluctant to captain a “midpricer. That’s just me though, Payet has been fantastic so far (home and away) so he would be my pick of the bunch. I know some of you (someone especially) like Cabaye, but he is too dangerous a pick for me.
If I had to captain someone in the West Brom-Sunderland game, it would certainly be a West Brom defender. We all know Tony Pulis’ style by now, chances of clean sheets are high. Captaining a defender is considered a sin in my religion though. Pass.
Andre Ayew might be a good shout as Swansea entertains Stoke, a team which earned its first clean sheet of the season last GW. Once again I’m reluctant to go as far as captaining him though…
I don’t think any of us would captain a player from either Newcastle or Norwich, so let’s go straight to the top 3!
1. Kevin De Bruyne
With both Aguero and Silva missing, it’s up to young Kevin de Bruyne (ok and Sterling too) to carry City on his back. They play Bournemouth at home, a team which has conceded 8 goals in its last 3 away games. Meanwhile De Bruyne has been fantastic, scoring 3 times and notching 2 assists in its first 4 games in the EPL. He even bagged another 2 goals and 1 assist with Belgium during the international break. Interestingly enough, those 2 goals were scored from 2 direct free kicks, which may give him more set piece duties with City as a result (especially with Aguero, Silva and Yaya Toure out). My only concern is that City’s team is absolutely riddled with injuries, which could impact their dominance. Speaking of which, I decided to innovate and do a pros & cons summary of my captain picks. Here it is for KDB:
The pros: Great form, midfielder with an advanced position in a top scoring team, potential set pieces duty, great fixture, home game
The cons: Played a lot of games in the last few weeks, City might be less of a beast without Silva, Aguero and Yaya Toure
2. Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez is for sure the strongest contender along with KDB. If I refer to a popular FPL website’s poll, the 2 players combined will likely make up about 50% of captains. The Chilean’s form has been fantastic: 5 goals in 2 EPL games and a complete thrashing of Man United in the process (with help from Ozil and Walcott). He also scored 3 goals with Chile during the break…that’s an amazing 8 goals in 4 matches. An away game to Watford is an enticing prospect, although Watford have been fairly solid at home, conceding only 1 goal in their last 3 games. Furthermore Sanchez will likely be coming back from South America shortly before the game and could be a bit tired. Walcott could be a sneaky punt if you own him. He seems ahead of Giroud now and is a nice differential if you are lagging behind, although Sanchez seems like a much safer choice.
The pros: Great form, midfielder (Basically a forward) with an advanced position in a top scoring team, good fixture
The cons: Played a lot of games in the last few weeks and coming back from South America a few days before the game. Watford held it together at home recently. Although Arsenal destroyed United last GW, they have been puzzling this year to say the least. Which side will we see next weekend?
3. Sadio Mane
Southampton has been super impressive lately and Mane has been key to their success. Scoring twice and assisting 3 times in the last 3 games, the Senegalese has been building up his confidence after a disappointing start. A game at home against Leicester is always good for attacking returns too! I know that some (most?) of you will prefer Graziano Pelle, who is the in-form striker of the hour (even scoring with Italy during the break) but I’m going to back Mane here. Don’t get me wrong, the big Italian is a very good option, as he seems to have improved this season, but he has shown a tendency to go through goal droughts last year (mind you I transferred him in for Aguero). For that very reason I think Sadio is worth the risk. The reward being that, as a midfielder he’s more likely to get bonus points if he scores attacking returns. Finally, he’s a nice differential (only 7.2% ownership) if he scores big! By the way, despite the great run of form, I wouldn’t captain a Leicester player away to Southampton.
The pros: Great form, midfielder with an advanced position in a fairly attacking team, good fixture, home game, differential
The cons: Less reliable than Sanchez or De Bruyne (although the latter is quite new to the EPL), has been a bit clumsy in front of goal.
Everton-Man United is an interesting one. Everton looks solid this year and United well… Is still a work in progress (yet they sit third!). Lukaku looked very powerful against Liverpool. He’s not the most consistent player there is, but he oddly seems to do better against stronger opponents. Therefore I’m going to back him up against the Red Devils. If they don’t get their act together in defense, he could do a lot of damage! Although Mata has been involved in almost every goal scored and Martial has made a hell of a start, United is not consistent enough to offer us a good captain pick in my opinion. Not away to Everton at least.
The pros: Good run of form despite tough fixtures, lone striker, United’s defense was just ridiculous against Arsenal last GW, home game
The cons: United have been on and off but they also have put on some good defensive performances this year, Lukaku is notoriously inconsistent (I’m sure some of you have sworn an oath not to captain him ever again)
Thanks guys. Hope this has helped!