This article takes a deep dive look at the all important Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 31+ captain decision. It's written by our resident FPL captaincy expert Chris Tan who takes a close look at the fixtures, poll and stats breakdown before concluding on his best pick for the armband.
FPL Gameweek 30+ Captain Recap
I’m writing this on Sunday night, so I don’t know how Man City got on against Burnley but I expect more of the same. Here are a few things that I identified:
Whipping boys – Villa don’t seem as defensively suspect anymore, despite having a dodgy keeper and I’m reassessing my plan to target them. Norwich, without their centre backs, look to have reclaimed their crown and Arsenal aren’t far behind.
60-minute men – Andy (@fantasyguideFPL) made a good point on the Hub's FPL Podcast regarding players that were typically withdrawn early pre-lockdown such as Jota and Harvey Barnes. With players working towards full fitness and five substitutions available, these aren’t ideal attributes to build your team around. Especially when…
Late goals – from what I’ve seen so far, there’s not as much high pressing (to conserve energy) and teams aim to quickly get their defensive shape back in the first half. That makes it difficult for the opposition to break them down and often results in a stalemate. By the second half players are tired and there’s more space to be exploited. So ideally you want a player that’s still going to be on the pitch to be able to take advantage of that.
Quick Starters – it didn’t take long for City to click and without the aid of the crowd, opposition are going to struggle to contain them. They’ve got so much quality available and once these next two fixtures are out of the way it’s a clean run. Rotation is a massive issue but I wouldn’t go without them. Wolves looked very solid and in Traore they have the ultimate super sub. Despite conceding an unexpected goal, Chelsea look very solid too and it will be hard for United and Wolves to catch them. Similar to City, expect a lot of rotation.
Ones to look out for - Ings looked razor sharp, it could have been Norwich making him look good but I don’t think that was the case. The entire team looked fit and they will create chances for him. He played 87 minutes, which I did not expect and he has a long rest before Arsenal on Thursday. He might not get as many minutes there or he might be rested in the next game with Watford on the Sunday. Bruno is the man for United but Pogba was the catalyst for their recovery. Van Aanholt and Ritchie both play for sides that are effectively on the beach but still put in solid performances. Both sides are capable of keeping clean sheets and both players have excellent attacking threat. Ritchie more so, as he’s OOP and on penalties.
Team Leaks – these were an absolute nightmare on deadline day and I would be very careful who you trust. They can be invaluable though and if you’ve got players in the first fixture it’s something that I would pay attention to. @FPL_Rockstar is one of the few that I trust.
How have we done to date?
No table this week but Aguero (four points) is still live and likely to start against Burnley. Sterling (10 points) is ahead but a rotation risk after playing the full game against Arsenal and De Bruyne (14 points) is dominating thanks to his penalty duties. For those that went with Lundstram (five points) it wasn’t ideal, especially when they fielded him on the left, but at least he didn’t blank. He’s been legendary but I think his time has passed now with some tough fixtures to come.
FPL Gameweek 31+ Captain - The Fixtures
Gameweek 31+ fixtures are the reverse of Gameweeks 13, here’s what happened last time:
A lot will be wildcarding or reverting to their pre-free hit sides this week. When reviewing the reverse fixtures, I’ve only focused on some of the key assets people are considering:
With a goal, assist and max bonus points – Vardy picked up 12 points in the reverse fixture. Brighton have opened up a little gap from the bottom and Leicester didn’t look great against Watford. This should be a close one.
Antonio scored against Spurs and Son stole the show with a goal, assist and max bonus. This was quite a high scoring game. Looking at their current situation West Ham are level on points with Bournemouth and Spurs need to win their remaining games to stand a chance of European qualification.
Fleck (13 points) was an unlikely hero in this unexpected score line with Rashford (11 points) a close second. With O’Connell out, Egan suspended and Henderson ineligible Sheffield United might struggle here. I’m excited to see Pogba and Bruno in tandem again.
Villa comfortably defeated Newcastle in the reverse with a rare Clean Sheet (CS) with Hourihane bagging 14 points. Villa have restarted reasonably, but nobody expected Newcastle to demolish Sheffield United (albeit aided by a red card). This will be an interesting match, but I don’t expect many to own assets in this one.
Norwich looked wide open against Southampton and I don’t expect a repeat of Gameweek 13. The Silva Everton are very different to the Ancelotti side.
Bournemouth were lacklustre against Palace whereas Wolves seemed to get stronger after 60 minutes. The reverse fixture was quite a close game and the reliable Jimenez picked up seven points. Bournemouth desperately need some points, but Wolves are still in contention for top four and I can’t see them slipping up here.
Although Palace have a reputation as being a bit of a bogey team for Liverpool in the past, the previous fixtures have resulted in the following wins for Liverpool: 2-1, 4-3, 2-1 and 1-0. So I don’t expect that to change. Salah didn’t play in the reverse game and it was Mane and Firmino that bagged the points.
A few players are eying up Pope and they’ll be pleased to have seen a CS in the reverse fixture.
In the previous fixture Aubameyang only picked up an assist and it was Lacazette that bagged a brace. Ings scored for Southampton, he looks sharp at the moment, Arsenal are without Leno and look suspect at the back.
Many are considering reducing their exposure to Man City after the DGW but it should be noted that De Bruyne picked up a goal in the reverse fixture and so did Mahrez (also picking up max bonus to give him 10 points). Both sides have started well and have considerable strength in depth.
Twitter / FF Hub FPL Gameweek 31+ Captain Poll
Who do our Twitter followers think is the best FPL Gameweek 30+ captain?
Old Hunting Ground – do any of the likely lads have a good history vs their opposition?
We’re spoilt for choice this week:
Rashford – it’s a tiny sample but he’s done damage before and Sheffield United will be without O’Connell, Egan and Henderson.
Salah – he has an exceptional record but he remained on the bench against Everton compared to Mane who played the full match and there has to be concerns about his fitness.
Ings – not really a captain candidate but could be a sneaky option to exploit Arsenal.
Vardy – it’s awful if your captain blanks in the first fixture of the Gameweek, but with that record a blank looks unlikely.
Jimenez – he doesn’t tend to pick up double figures often but he’s scarily consistent, guaranteed to play and rarely gets rested early.
Mane – with Salah’s fitness concerns, he might be the safest option if you expect Liverpool to do well against Palace.
Son – he will get chances against West Ham but will he be able to take them?
Members Stats breakdown - FPL Gameweek 31+ Captain
These stats are pulled from the Fantasy Football Hub OPTA Stats tool that is available to all members to help you analyse the players and teams.
These stats are pulled from the Fantasy Football Hub OPTA tool that is available to all Members to help you analyse the players and teams. I have only pulled data from the recent Gameweek (minus the City v Burnley game) and displayed them as ‘per appearance’. This is to take account of the fact that a lot of players will have reduced minutes with five substitutions allowed. Please note that a one week sample is tiny and you can’t read too much into these stats.
Individual Player Stats – who stands out?
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