1 month ago
With two gameweeks to go, it is all to play for! Getting your transfer and captaincies right is of utmost importance. To lend a hand, I will discuss the three best captaincy contenders for GW37: Kane, Salah and Bruno. Kane and Salah are currently tied for the Golden Boot with 22 goals apiece, with Bruno a distant 3rd on 18. With Kane and Salah both being selfish players and pushing for European football, they have plenty of motivation while GW37 also sees the introduction of home fans. Spurs face an out of sorts Villa at home, while Manchester Utd play relegated Fulham. If they take an early lead, I would expect both teams to try and put on a show, making these two good fixtures to target.
Before I discuss the individuals, I will bring you through the opposition’s defences of late. In particular, Gameweeks 32-36 which focusses on the games after the April international break.
As we can see in the below, Villa actually come out on top on a per-game basis. However, 23 of their shots conceded (24%) and 15 of their shots in the box (27%) came against Crystal Palace. They could be better suited defensively when facing stronger opposition, or they could be on the beach and are suffering defensively from El Mohamady having to deputise at fullback for Cash.
Fulham may look the worst, with their numbers being ravaged from the volume of big chances conceded. However, Bruno and Greenwood have only had 1 big chance each in their last 4 matches. With Fulham conceding few shots, it could be a more difficult game for the United men than these numbers first indicate.
While Burnley seem to be just right – not too hot and not too cold. Without Pope missing against Leeds, they conceded 4 goals from an xG of 1.54, while also conceding 3 big chances. Perhaps, they too are on the beach? Regardless, I will be listening to Dyche’s press conference closely to see if he hints at who will be playing in goal. As that could be a deciding factor.
The odds suggest Liverpool are favourites to score 3 goals or more, with a 56% likelihood of this. Manchester Utd come in 2nd with 42%, while Spurs wrap up the podium with 38%.
The tight at the back Villa we were used to seems to be well and truly gone, having conceded 3 against Palace in a dismal display. Spurs have good recent history against Villa, beating them in their last six encounters and scoring 15 goals. While in their last 8 match-ups, Kane has scored 7 goals and assisted 2 others.
After 2 blanks thanks to marginal offside calls and the woodwork, Kane was back in the goals against Wolves. He’s now had 11 attacking returns in his last 11 matches, which only Iheanacho can better (12). While from a statistical view he has been continuously posting strong numbers. In his last four matches, he is 1st for xG (3.18) among all players and is a close 2nd to Salah for xGI (3.35). His 20 shots is best in the league, 12 shots in the box is 2nd best while his 6 big chances can only be better by Havertz.
With Villa conceding on average of 16 shots per match since the international break and suffering defensively from the loss of Cash. With the Spurs crowd behind him we could see an alignment of the stars for Kane this gameweek. The bookies seem to agree too, with Kane being 2nd favourite in the odds to score this gameweek with 54%.
Without setting the world on fire, Salah has returned 6 attacking returns in his last 6 starts. Although his game returns have been modest, with his 10 points against West Brom being his first double-digit haul since GW21. Liverpool have won their last three games at Turf Moor with an 8-2 aggregate and will be confident of extending this run after Burnley were dismantled 4-0 by Leeds the weekend. Salah too has form at Turf Moor, with 1 goal and 2 assists in these last three games. While Liverpool must win in order to push for 4th spot. The bookies seem to be noticing this, as Salah has the highest likelihood of scoring this gameweek according to them with 64%.
Salah provides both goal and assist threat. In his last four matches Salah has had 15 shots which is tied 2nd best among midfielders, 13 of which were in the box and 4 of them being big chances which is 3rd best among midfielders. Giving him a xG of 2.15 which is 3rd best for mids. While his 11 chances created is 4th best amongst midfielders, with 2 being big chances. Combining to give him the hisgest xGI in the last 4 matches with 3.38.
With Liverpool being the favourites to score 3 goals or more and Salah being favourite to score, we could see a major haul here. Particularly if Pope is out injured.
Given Bruno and Fulham are new to the leagueб we do not have as much empirical evidence to go by. In their only encounter, Manchester Utd had to score late on against a stubborn Fulham to win 2-1, with Bruno assisting giving him 5 points. Yet, a lot has changed. Fulham are now relegated and look dead and buried as the defensive stats indicate above. As such, Bruno is deemed the 5th most likely player to score this week by the bookies with odds of 48%.
After a run of three blanks, Bruno scored 2 goals from 2 starts in the triple GW35. However, one was a penalty and the other took a wicked deflection off Philips – it is inconclusive whether it was going in regardless. Bruno is fond of a shot with 16 in his last 4 matches which is 1st among midfielders. 10 coming from inside the box, which is tied 4th best for midfielders. However, Fulham’s numbers show most of their woes come from big chances conceded. With Bruno only accumulating 1 in his last 4 matches. Giving him a non-penalty xG in his last 4 matches of 1.05 which is way down the pecking order.
Fulham look the worst team defensively in the league right now and Manchester Utd will be playing in front of their own fans. Bruno is continuously posting strong numbers but it tends to be his teammates getting the better chances. His penalties always help too and he has 12 double-digit hauls this season, much better than Kane’s 8 and Salah’s 6.
Separating these three is a very difficult task as they are the three highest-scoring FPL players this year. Taking missed minutes into account and looking at their returns per 90mins, there is still little to separate them.
Kane is at home against a weakened Villa defence. Salah is on the road, but it is a must-win game with Liverpool being favourites to win big this weekend. While Bruno too is at home against the worst defence in the league, making them all fantastic options.
My preference though is Salah, if Pope is out injured. Otherwise, Kane is my man. Followed by Bruno.
As always, best of luck to everyone, and if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or leave a comment below.
Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions