2 months ago
In my last captaincy article, I recommended Bruno (£8.9m), Kevin de Bruyne (£10.8m) and Mo Salah (£12.5m), who went on to haul 14, 7 and 18 points respectively. Not a bad return! Looking ahead to GW35+ I will see if I can achieve the same feat with my captaincy suggestions.
Vardy (£9.7m) has pulled himself back into our fantasy plans thanks to his 3 goals in his last 2 games. He was on the receiving end of some great fortune against Crystal Palace with Sakho (£5.0m) slipping and giving him the simplest of finishes. Sometimes you just need a stroke of luck to change your fortunes and Vardy has capitalized on this.
He is now 2 goals ahead in the Golden Boot race, something he will be keen to win
What makes Vardy such a good captaincy option this week is that he faces a trip to Bournemouth, one of the worst defences since the restart. Yes, they did keep a clean sheet against Spurs and didn’t even concede a shot on target. But Spurs are terrible! Bournemouth still have conceded 10 goals over the last 4 GWs, the 2nd worse record in the league. As well as 9 big chances over the same period, 7th worst in the league.
Let's combine a favorable fixture with Vardy’s return to form. Against Arsenal, he was joint-top for shots 3 (2 of which were in the box) and had the highest expected goal involvement in the game with 0.58. Looking at the last 4 GWs, he has had 4 big chances (only Salah beats this with 5), is joint third for shots in the box with 9 (although Salah and Antonio, £6.9m, are streaks ahead with 15 and 14 respectively), and has created 7 chances which is surprisingly high for such a goal poacher.
These figures are good, albeit not staggering. But with Vardy starting to hit form after a blunt restart, chasing the Golden Boot and facing a poor Bournemouth, it is hard to look past the Fox’s talisman if you can fit him into your squad.
Bruno (£8,9) again showed us his value to our fantasy teams, particularly as a set-piece taker. Scoring 1 goal from a penalty and assisting Pogba (£8.3m) from a corner, having just scored from a free-kick last weekend. He went on to get 14 points thanks to these set-pieces compared to Martial’s 6, even though their attacking numbers were similar. Both players had 2 shots which were also inside the box, one of these being Bruno’s penalty.
Last week I favoured Bruno over Martial given Aston Villa's tendency not to concede many shots in the box which could have limited Martial. Yet Manchester Utd still managed 10 shots in the box in this match. This shows their attacking prowess at the moment as they now face Southampton at home who are joint 2nd worst for big chances conceded in the last 4 GWs with 10. They are also joint 5th worst for shots conceded in the box with 33. Despite this, they have only conceded 4 goals. These contrasting figures are evidence of Manchester City’s dominance against them last weekend despite ultimately failing to score.
Picking between Bruno and Martial I just can’t overlook the Portuguese star. They were matched in the attacking department against Aston Villa, but even though Martial plays as an out of position striker, it was Bruno who had more touches in the opposition’s third box with 33 (2nd highest in the match) whereas Martial notched up 25. Taking into account Bruno’s superior creativity, having created 3 chances compared to Martial’s 1 against Villa and his set-piece threat, he is my recommendation out of all the Manchester Utd assets.
He’s baaack! 4 starts since the restart, 3 goals, 3 assists and only blanking against Manchester City where Salah (£12,5) came close having pinged the post in the first half.
Burnley should provide a much sterner defence though. While speaking of Burnley, I just want to give a shout out to Sean Dyche. This team can’t even fill the bench since their squad is so thin, yet they sit just one point behind Arsenal! They could have floated through the end of the season following their 5-0 hammering from Manchester City in their first match post the restart. Instead, they have won 3 and drawn 1. In my opinion, he and Klopp are the managers of the season by far!
Now, enough gushing about Dyche and back to adoring Salah. Against Brighton, he basically played as a striker and managed 8, yes 8 shots (all of which were in the box), 4 big chances and had an expected goal involvement of 1.98. He now sits top for big chances (5), shots in the box (15) and shots on target (9) in the last 4 GWs.
These numbers are blistering regardless of the opposition. He is in the hunt for the Golden Boot too which should incentivise him. Ahead of captaining though, do consider rotation. I believe he starts, but with Mane (£12.4m) having started on the bench against Brighton and Firminho (£9.4m) the week before, it is not entirely off the cards.
With Jesus (£9.7m) starting the last 3 matches and Sterling (£11.7m) starting on the bench against Newcastle, I believe he is the most primed attacking outlet for Manchester City who face Brighton away. The hosts conceded 3 goals in each of their games against Manchester Utd and Liverpool. In the last 3 matches, he has played only 165mins, yet he managed to score twice and provide 3 assists in this limited time.
I fancy Sterling to start this game in the striker position and to provide returns for those who choose to back him
Those looking for a captain differential could do worse than West Ham’s Antonio who has had 14 shots in the box, 7 of which hit the target in the last 4 GWs. He leads the league in xGI (4,66) since project restart. He faces a poor Norwich at Carrow Road. I only suggest this for the extreme punter!
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