2 months ago
With GW33+ nearly behind us and only 1 match to go, I am writing up my captaincy suggestions ahead of GW34+. This week has a number of top players against teams with surprisingly decent defensive statistics, so your decision may prove more challenging than you initially think… Find my FPL Captain suggestions for GW 34+ below.
Manchester Utd travel to Villa Park after their 5-2 romping of Bournemouth. However, they face a more solid defence in Aston Villa. In the last 4 gameweeks Villa sit 4th best in terms of big chances conceded, having only conceded 4 in total. They are also in the bottom half for goal attempts conceded in the box, with 25. Having said that, Machester Utd put 5 past Bournemouth who have only conceded just 1 more shot than Villa (26) over the same time span. Bear in mind that Bournemouth’s defence is much worse than this suggests which I discuss at the end of this article.
Nevertheless, Manchester Utd’s attacking output is mouth-watering and make their players standout captaincy options. Out of all the options my favourite this gameweek is Bruno (£8.9m) and I say that having captained Martial (£8.3m) in the last 2 gameweeks. Bruno currently has the highest round score with 15 points thanks to his goal, two assists and two bonus points.
Martial playing as an out of position striker is also a good option. But my case against Martial is that he has played a more peripheral role in the last two gameweeks. His presence was not as evidenced in the box like it was against Sheffield Utd, with his goal against Bournemouth requiring a screamer from outside the box. He only had an expected goal involvement of 0.20 against Bournemouth compared to Bruno’s 0.89. Martial is very capable of a haul, but I feel his threat of a blank is strong.
Martial's last 4 trips on the road have resulted in 3 blanks
Aston Villla’s restriction of shots in the box can work in Bruno’s long-distance shooting favour. 10 of his 14 shots in the last four gameweeks have come from outside the box. Martial, in comparison, has 9 with 7 coming from within the box. Bruno’s creativity levels are also back to norm since Pogba’s reintroduction into the team. He created 5 chances (1 of which was a big chance) against Bournemouth and was always on the ball, racking up 54 touches in the final 3rd. Next closest was Shaw with 32! Adding free kicks, corners and possibly penalties opens many more avenues to points for Bruno.
Having said that, the few without Bruno should still consider Manchester Utd’s other attacking options as they are on flying form.
A rested Kevin de Bruyne (£10.8m) faces a mid-table Newcastle in both league position and defensive statistics in the last 4 gameweeks.
Newcastle have conceded 7 big chances and 30 shots in the box in their last 4
Man City were poor (having racked up 26 shots and 3,40 xG) against Southampton and Newcastle are a rejuvenated team since the return of football. However, their recent FA cup clash provides a perfect dress rehearsal. In that game, Man City were 2-0 victors, but that only tells half the story. Man City dominated this game with 76% possession and 20 shots (4 on target)! De Bruyne scored 1 from the spot and walked away with the man of the match award.
De Bruyne has arguably been the league’s best player since the return of FPL. He has the 3rd highest expected goal involvement (3.37) from his 3 starts, created 12 chances, has had 3 big chances for himself and 7 shots inside the box (4 of which were on target). His form combined with his dominant display against Newcastle in the FA cup makes him a great option. Particularly following his 28-minute cameo against Southampton.
Those looking for something different may consider Mahrez (£8.6m) who is similarly rested having only played 90mins in the last 2 matches. He sits 10th in the last four gameweeks for expected goal involvement (2.23), with 3 big chances, 7 chances created and 8 shots inside the box.
Salah (£12.6m) travels to Brighton, who are surprisingly one of the sternest defences since the return of FPL. Having faced Arsenal, Leicester, Manchester Utd and Norwich in the last 4 they have the best record for big chances conceded with a paltry 1! They are mid-table for shots conceded in the box (30) and only shipped 4 goals against this stern opposition. It is unlikely we will see a goals galore here.
Still, in Salah we have one of the league’s best FPL assets. In his 3 appearances since the restart, he has scored once and assisted twice. Having created 7 chances, 7 shots in the box and 4 shots on target he is not to be overlooked. But I would be focussing my attention on the Manchester assets this gameweek.
I am writing this article on the eve of the Spurs game, which makes it hard to argue captaining a Spurs player after their last display being a dismal performance against Sheffield Utd. But they face one of the worst defences in the league in Bournemouth. They have conceded the most goals in the league since the restart (12), 6 of which were from the usually goal-shy Crystal Palace and Newcastle. They also sit 3rd worst for big chances conceded. Further to this they are missing a number of defenders with Cook (£5.0m), Mepham (£4.3m), Simpson (£3.9m), Francis (£4.4m) and Daniels (£4.2m) all potentially missing the game against Spurs. Left-back Kelly (£4.4m), with only 2 starts to his name this season, had to start at Centre back the weekend.
So I will be keeping a keen eye on Spurs and Harry Kane (£10.9m) tonight. Any half-decent performance could result in a haul in this match.
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