FPL Captain Picks and Tips - Gameweek 5
Posted by JackWoodfield
4:23pm Sep 12 2018
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero looks to be the standout captaincy choice for Gameweek 5, but which alternative players should be considered?
With hearts melted and minds blown by the relentless excitement of the Nations League none of us likely want to return to the drudgery of FPL.
Yet, we must, at least until the next thrilling international break, putting memories of Latvia’s pulsating 0-0 draw with Andorra behind us. For Gameweek 5 is here and it’s time to pick a captain.
This feature’s GW4 picks returned on three fronts with Captain Obvious Sergio Aguero securing an assist (in albeit a disappointing performance against Newcastle), and Marcos Alonso and Eden Hazard scoring 20 points between them.
Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane at a combined cost of £25.5m produced diddly-squat.
In many ways, GW5 holds up a mirror to GW4. Man City and Chelsea again have ostensibly easy home games, while Man United and Liverpool again have problematic away games.
City and Chelsea assets again make sense as captaincy options, while there’s also an eclectic mix of stats to back-up captaining a range of strikers this week (although obviously not Kenneth Zohore).
Aguero vs. Fulham (H)
Pros for captaining:
> City scored most home league goals (8); Fulham conceded joint-3rd most away goals (5)
> Most shots so far (20), getting tonnes of chances
> Not scored in 3 of 4 league games
> Most amount of shots off target (9)
Captained by over 33% of live teams and triple captained by 70,214, expectations were high when Aguero faced Newcastle in GW4.
All in all, he disappointed. The Argentine failed to muster one shot on target, but at least assisted City’s winner and picked up a bonus point.
While Newcastle looked to (unsuccessfully) contain City, the champions’ GW5 opponents Fulham have shown to be more expansive on the road.
Only West Ham and Huddersfield (7) have conceded more away than the Cottagers (5), and this bodes well for a City side that has scored the most home goals so far (8).
There are several Aguero stats to respectively back or oppose captaining him – he’s had the most shots off target (9), and missed five big chances, second behind Callum Wilson.
However, he’s also had the second-most shots inside the box this season (13, again behind Wilson), and had the most shots overall (20) – he’s generally flush with service.
Aguero wasn’t involved with Argentina over the international break, so will be presumably at peak fitness for GW5.
He’ll get chances for sure, and despite his recent profligacy his continued potential for a Huddersfield-esque haul remains.
Hazard vs. Cardiff (H)
Pros for captaining:
> One of two players (Alonso the other) to provide attacking returns in all 4 GWs so far
> Y’know what, I can’t think of any
Last week I wrote that it was probably time to commit to the Hazard ahead and that statement, wrapped in a dire pun, proved prescient as Hazard scored his second of the season against Bournemouth.
That was his fourth goal involvement in four games; only team-mate Marcos Alonso has also provided attacking returns in the first four GWs.
On paper, Chelsea vs. Cardiff is an accumulator banker. The Bluebirds are winless in six league matches going back to last season; Chelsea have won four straight.
Prior to scoring two against Arsenal, Cardiff were the only team in England’s top four divisions not to have scored this season.
And in regards to captaining Hazard, one stat particularly interests me. Cardiff have made the most clearances so far (134) with Sol Bamba accounting for a league high (35).
But these clearance stats came following games against Newcastle and Huddersfield, two direct sides, plus Bournemouth and Arsenal, more free-flowing sides with larger target men than Chelsea (I am absolutely not recognising Alvaro Morata as a threat in this game).
Winning headers is Cardiff’s forte, but Chelsea have played the second most through balls (10) and won’t be launching balls into the box with any regularity.
They also have passed the most (2,995) and Hazard will be key to Chelsea breaking down Cardiff’s back line – finding spaces, played neat one-twos, as shown with his goal against the Cherries, and offering a serial threat throughout.
For me, Hazard is the next best option to captaining Aguero by a mile.
Alonso vs. Cardiff (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Cardiff joint-lowest scorers (2)
> Highest FPL point-scorer (44)
> Defender, captain, risk, etc
For the reasons elucidated above, it’s unlikely Cardiff will score at Stamford Bridge.
Not improbable of course, and my words often have a way of haunting me – especially in love letters to celebrities – but only Huddersfield and West Ham have scored as few goals as Cardiff (2), and realistically, it’s much more likely Alonso will be involved in a goal than any Bluebirds player.
Much has been made of Alonso’s start, and rightly so. The Spaniard is incredulously pressing even higher in a 4-4-2 system that on the face of it doesn’t lend itself to accommodate his relentless goal lust.
He’s the highest FPL point-scorer so far (44), delivering attacking returns in all four GWs, and a quick look at his heat map against Newcastle tells you everything you need to know: the kid’s got no interest in defending.
So yes, it’s risky captaining a defender, we all know that. But Alonso is a defender by FPL position only.
Captaining this so-called defender is far less of a gamble because you know he’ll be a persistent threat against a relegation-threatened team which will likely be on the back foot for 90 minutes.
You probably didn’t captain Alonso last week and he got nine points. You probably won’t captain him either this week. But those who do have every reason to feel confident.
Lacazette vs. Newcastle (A)
Pros for captaining:
> 8 goals + 2 assists in past 9 Premier League starts
> Newcastle will play 9-1-0
Back in the Arsenal team against Cardiff and back among the goals, Lacazette’s winner was his 10th direct goal involvement in his past nine Premier League starts (eight goals, two assists).
The Frenchman provided the bits of quality Arsenal needed to beat Cardiff, linking up well with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, setting up his goal, and his starting berth is likely cemented, at least in the short-term.
History favours the Gunners in this fixture too. Newcastle have won just one of their last 13 games against Arsenal (D2 L10); which came in this fixture last season, a 2-1 win which Lacazette scored in.
The Gunners have already scored eight goals this season, and Newcastle’s stubborn defence, which will again be inexorably and depressingly vigilant, will struggle to contain both Lacazette and Aubameyang
Lukaku vs. Watford (A)
Pros for captaining:
> Fourth-highest points per match (PPM) among strikers (5.8)
> Third-most shots on target (8)
> Watford are going to win the league
Lukaku’s brace against Belgium was two shots in the arm not just for Jose Mourinho but also us FPL bosses seeking alternative premium striker options. Owned by just 7.7% as of writing, Lukaku could be a differential steal.
With the third-most shots on target (8), joint-second-most shots in the penalty area (13), and fourth-highest PPM among strikers (5.8), Lukaku has remained incredibly active even during Man United’s early slump. Lukaku also has the fourth-highest xG (2.88) so far.
Watford away is, surreally, as unenviable a fixture going right now. With just three goals conceded in four league games, the Hornets are in stinging form at Vicarage Road, winning three straight, and this could be a quite tight affair.
Will Hughes (17) and Etienne Capoue (15) are among the three-highest tacklers in the league.
Lukaku’s prowess in the air is formidable, and he’ll likely have chances. A great transfer option? For sure. A great captaincy option this week? There’s probably better shouts (above).
Last week’s captain points: 12
Average captain score: 21
Total captain points: 84
This week’s Captain Obvious: Sergio Aguero
Quite truthfully, if I had Hazard this week, he’d get the armband. Alas, I don’t. And Serg is a perfectly acceptable option.
City’s knack for goals and Fulham’s wild expansive style of play suggests there will be goals, and I’d back Aguero to be amongst them.
BEFORE YOU GO… From Gameweek 6 onwards , the Fantasy Football Pundits will have their own weekly mini-league on the daily fantasy football site, Starting 11.