Hello again FPL managers, I am back again with my captain picks for GW23. I will be doing this article on a regular now that the heavy festive fixture list in the Premier League is over.

To start, a poll was conducted on Twitter ahead of Gameweek 23 and here are the results from four top captaincy picks this coming weekend.

 

 

Harry Kane is the most popular choice with 62% votes and there is no surprise in that. There is however a great interest in Jesse Lingard after his emergence as one of the key players at Man Utd and becoming the most transferred in player at 28%. Raheem Sterling with only 5% votes even though he is showing amazing consistency this season.

Today, I will be comparing the top two most popular captain picks in the poll and provide alternative options if you are feeling lucky and want to go for a differential.

Harry Kane Vs Jesse Lingard

Now comes the big question. Harry Kane has always been a consistent goalscorer and on his day is unstoppable. The English sharp-shooter is also in amazing form with two consecutive hat-tricks to end the year and a brace in the FA Cup third round.

A game at Wembley against Everton awaits for the striker and another masterclass could be on the cards.

Jesse Lingard on the other hand is looking like quite the player with his recent consistent performances for the Red Devils, which sees him accumulating eight goals and two assists from his last ten Premier League appearances.

The skillful attacking midfielder will be against a manager-less Stoke City at Old Trafford and this is a good opportunity for him to keep his wonderful form going.

Let’s have a statistical comparison between the two.

The above amazing ‘Versus’ info-graphic is provided by Fantasy Football Cloud (@fplcloud).

When comparing these two we can immediately see that Harry Kane is way ahead in terms of goals and goal threat. Whats interesting to notice that Jesse’s stats are more even across the board than Sir Harold, its a very important determinant as it shows that the midfielder is capable of getting points from more than one source.

Lingard offers more assist potential than Harry while most of Harry’s points are due to him scoring which is understandable given his selfish nature in front of goal. Lingard offers more creativity while Harry Kane’s goal threat is almost twice of that of the United man, but given that Lingard nowadays is scoring a lot of goals from odd positions on the pitch, its a difficult decision to make.

The above stats gave us a bit of an overview as to what to expect from these two but its not as easy as that, “stats open our eyes to knowledge but a decision comes from the heart” this is the mantra I follow.

In regards to my own personal opinion,

What do we expect of our captain? That he scores loads of goals and get us loads of points, and for that simple reason Harry is your man. He is a very selfish striker which is one of the main reason of his success and he also takes penalties which gives him even more chance of getting on the score-sheet.

Taking all these factors into consideration, I have given Kane the armband ahead of GW23. Lingard is not a bad shout by any stretch of the imagination but he is more of a risk but if you need to get some quick points and are low down in those mini-leagues then he could do the damage for you against quite possibly the worst team in the division right now. Its just whether you want to take that risk.

Anytime Goal-scoring Odds (in %)

Harry Kane 0.64

Jesse Lingard 0.40

Raheem Sterling (MCI)

Let’s talk now about one of the most consistent performers for our FPL teams this year. Another Englishman having a great season makes the list. He is the epitome of consistency with 14 goals and 7 assists this season, providing an impeccable 8.7 points per 90 minutes.

A trip to former employers Liverpool await the winger who would be eager to step up the style at Anfield once again. I was really surprised with such a low per-cent of you voting for him, which makes me think, could he be a bit of a differential captain? He has been a mainstay in Pep Guardiola’s rampaging City side this season and another amazing performance at a place he once called home would not be surprising.

 Anytime Goal-scoring Odds (in %) 0.35

Mohammed Salah (LIV)

Wrapping up the obvious captain picks with another right sided winger Mohammed Salah. You thought Raheem Sterling’s consistency was impeccable? Salah’s 17 goals and 7 assists provides 9.5 points per 90 minutes played.

If he is fit which he tipped to be for the big game against the league leaders the Egyptian international he will be a big pick again, and with Phillipe Coutinho’s big money transfer to Barcelona completed he becomes the main man for Liverpool up top.

I mean it would be difficult for anyone to stop him even Man City, right?

Anytime Goal-scoring Odds (in %) 0.38

Differentials

In the differential section I will be suggesting two former heroes, namely Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata. A string of poor performances and/or injuries means that both of them have lost significant ownership over the last few games with Big Rom at just 22% ownership and the Spaniard at just 17%, which represent significant drops for both players.

Alvaro Morata (CHE)

First let’s talk about Morata. Chelsea welcome Leicester to Stamford Bridge and while the Foxes have always been great going forward they have been a bit naive at the back, with Chelsea being a superior force at home I expect goals in this for them, and given that Morata missed a lot of chances at Arsenal he would want to set the record straight in front of the home fans.

One should keep in mind that despite his recent slump in form he still boasts 10 goals and 4 assists to his name and offers a decent 6.1 points per 90 minutes as an average this season.

This is one to keep a very close eye on if you still own the Chelsea marksman.

Anytime Goal-scoring Odds (in %) 0.62

Romelu Lukaku (MUN)

Romelu Lukaku is back from his head injury and will be up against a dejected and now a manager-less Stoke City at home.

It seems like the perfect opportunity for him to start another run of great form like at the start of the season. He looked sharp in the 45 minutes he played in the FA Cup Third round game against Derby.

Now many would say it was just Derby but let’s be honest Stoke City doesn’t look like a Premier League side either at the moment. He too has 10 goals and 4 assists to his name but he provides just 4.9 points per 90 as of now.

I expect Lukaku to provide multiple returns in GW23 and if you still have him in your team this is an amazing opportunity to move up the leader board by putting the armband on the big Belgian.

Anytime Goal-scoring Odds (in %) 0.60

The Punt

It’s time now for the punt. Here, I recommend a defender as an ultra differential for your captain spot.

Marcos Alonso (CHE)

Marcos Alonso is in sensational form this season with six goals and one assist this season already.

Three of those goals came in the last five Gameweek’s. He is effectively a midfielder who gets clean sheet points. The Spaniard’s deadly free kick taking ability is an important asset to his attacking output. The wing back provides 5.9 points per 90 which is a very good return for a player in his position.

I expect him to be very much involved in Chelsea’s forward play and another attacking return could be on the cards against a side he scored a whopping 21 points in a single Gameweek last year.

As the saying goes, “High Risk, High Reward”. Are you willing to take the risk?

Anytime Goalscoring Odds (in %) 0.29

These were my captaincy picks for GW23. The second half of the season is well underway and there is more at stake now than ever before. Captaincy is one of the fundamentals to success in this game and you have to pick when to go safe and when to take that extra risk. There are still a lot of points to play for so keep going and I hope you all have a great GW23 full of green arrows.

This is me signing out.

By Varun Bansal

@varun_esque