This is a brand new FPL members article that looks at an in-depth captaincy analysis. New hub contributor and FPL genius Chris Tan will be guiding you through the captaincy decision. The first half is free, but a more in-depth look at the underlying numbers and Chris's conclusion is members only.
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Right, back to the article...
Gameweek 31 Recap
After all that build-up, this was a terrible anti-climax of a week. Several players took multiple hits, Free Hit chips were used and even Triple Captain was utilised to pretty disastrous results.
Who did I tip?
- Salah (2) – the overriding poll favourite with good individual / team stats and a good fixture. It wasn’t to be though. This is a good example of the importance of the eye test, as he once again posted some impressive stats with the most penalty area touches, shots in the box and efforts on target but in reality, he rarely looked a threat with most of the dangerous play going down the left flank through Mane. Despite that, he did get a one on one chance and if Milner hadn’t been brought on he would have had a penalty for what could have been such a different outcome. That will be no real consolation for those that Triple Captained him though and regular Captainers can take comfort in the fact that the overwhelming majority were in the same position so no ground was lost. Anyone that dared to do something different will have experienced a nice green arrow in this low scoring Gameweek.
- Mane (13)– he was a clear alternative to Salah (for those that owned both), in scintillating form but with some doubt over whether he could do it away.
“His away attacking stats aren’t very appealing, but you can’t ignore his form at the moment. It may be enough just to own him as a differential, but there’s a very compelling argument for him at the moment.”
Fortune definitely favoured the brave this Gameweek in what would have been an 11 point swing (4+13 = 17 vs 2 + 26 = 28), which is huge when you consider the average score was only 26 points.
- King (13) – admittedly I was a bit vague here and indicated that,”…it’s very hard to define which attacker. The majority of the community have identified Wilson as the candidate here and they have the bias from the recent performance by him and Wilson plus the past performance earlier in the season. However, both King and Brooks are posting better home stats. When you weigh up Newcastle’s likely vulnerability then it makes a Bournemouth attacker mandatory, but it’s very difficult to pinpoint which of the 4 will get the points.. ” I did have the conviction, however to choose King over Wilson, which was quite a brave differential.
What did we learn?
- Mid Table Assets – Bournemouth, Leicester and West Ham look capable of scoring goals but it’s quite difficult to pinpoint the main source of these, as none appear to have a clear cut Talisman. Vardy and Arnie could be candidates, but not so much at the moment, which can lead to a lot of frustration when holding assets from these teams. Patience is key though and you should get your returns eventually. With Newcastle things are a bit clearer, as Rondon maintains his consistency and with Everton Sigurdsson and Richarlison appear to have been resurrected after disappearing for months.
- Form – after punishing me so badly over the Christmas period, Salah looks like an empty shell of his former self, his confidence is definitely lacking and he doesn’t have the same ice cool aura in front of goal as before. If it wasn’t for his blank Gameweek 33 fixture, a lot more players would be getting rid of him. On the flipside Mane looks to be on fire; it highlights that we sometimes place too much weight on the fixture and underlying stats when it’s pretty clear that somebody is on form.
- Chelsea – are just too hard to predict now, even with a double Gameweek I’m not sure how much of a rush there will be to load up on their assets.
The first big Double Gameweek (DGW) of the season, the right Captain choice will reap serious dividends here with two games to pick up points.
With such a big fixture list, I’m only focusing on the doubles, here are my initial thoughts on each team that plays twice:
- Fulham– they’re pretty much relegated and face a City team that has to win and a Watford team that will want to go into the FA Cup Semi Final (SF) with momentum. I’d avoid.
- Man City– Fulham are whipping boys albeit with an attacking threat and Cardiff away shouldn’t pose a threat, although they will be fighting for survival. These are very attractive fixtures, but City have the FA Cup SF 3 days after Cardiff and their CL Quarter Final (QF) 3 days after that. I would expect some form of rotation.
- Brighton– I think they’ll target the Southampton game as their safety fixture, as one more win should give a sufficient cushion from relegation. The Chelsea game is only 3 days before the FA SF but Hughton isn’t known for massively rotating his team.
- Wolves – this is a must win game for Burnley, as they only have a handful of games left before they face three of the top six. Although the second game is five days before the FA SF I would expect some rotation here, as Nuno has stated that he can’t play all of his players when they have 3 games in a week and demonstrated that recently by resting some core players.
- Palace – Huddersfield is a plum fixture, but Spurs away for the first game in their new stadium will not be easy, in what is historically a low scoring affair.
- Man United– Watford might take a similar approach to how they did against Man City, which really frustrated them or they might see this as an FA SF audition. Wolves are notoriously difficult opposition for the top six sides this season, although they could have one eye on the FA SF and may rest some of their squad.
- Watford – facing Man United away when their desperate for points is not an easy ordeal, but they are prone to defensive errors. Playing Fulham at home should be a great confidence booster before the FA SF and with a five day gap he might not rotate that heavily.
- Cardiff – the home game against Chelsea will be massive in their battle to avoid relegation and they’ve got a good shot when you consider how inconsistent Chelsea are. I wouldn’t expect much from City away and I’d generally avoid all Cardiff players other than possibly an enabler.
- Chelsea – on paper they have amazing fixtures but, as mentioned above, Cardiff have a massive incentive to get a result from their game. Brighton could provide more joy though, as they’ll have one eye on the FA SF.
- Spurs – Liverpool away is as hard as fixtures come and they historically struggle against Palace in what will be their first game in the new stadium. They do have a massive incentive to get points though, being only one point ahead of Arsenal and with Man United and Chelsea breathing down their neck.
Old Haunting Ground – do any of these picks have a good history vs their opposition?
Both Hazard and Aguero are making a strong case for the Captaincy but what’s their current form like and do you trust Chelsea’s form or Pep roulette?
All stats are from OPTA and are based on the last four home or away games dependant on where the next fixture is.