Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 10

9:15am Oct 25 2018

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah tops our Gameweek 10 FPL captaincy charts – but what to do if you DON’T own him?

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Gameweek 9’s average of 43 points was the lowest of the season so far, and tinkering will likely be as frequent an activity as breathing for FPL managers this week.

The rotation and blanks of Gameweek 9 were as unwanted and confusing as Marco Ianni’s aggressive touchline passion, but at least if you captained Sergio Aguero you likely slept better on Saturday night; last week’s Captain Obvious remains the standout pick when Man City play at home.

The return of European football ahead of Gameweek 10 means that rotation is again a consideration.

Plus, a suspected injury to Eden Hazard, lingering doubts over Mohamed Salah, Spurs playing Man City and players dipping in (Callum Wilson) and out of form (Aleksandar Mitrovic) all are factors that could influence your captain choice.

While there’s feasibly up to 10 solid captaincy options this week, these are the five contenders we’re backing to outperform the rest.

Mohamed Salah vs. Cardiff (H)

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Pros for captaining:

> Great fixture (on paper)

> Most shots on target (15) so far

> Could be one-way traffic throughout

Cons:

> Minutes could be managed after Champions League

Back among the goals and our hearts after a three-week-long blank, Salah’s winner at Huddersfield made it four league goals for the Egyptian this season. Is he back? Well, not yet.

Salah is arguably the standout captaincy pick for GW10. Cardiff’s woeful away run reads no wins and one goal, while Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield and yet to concede a goal.

However, there’s also a diversity of arguments to go against giving Mo the armband.  Whereas Man City have scored 18 at home, Liverpool have scored just eight.

The heavy metal gegenpressing Reds that blew teams away last season are now built on resilience and concentration. It’s a great thing if you own Andy Robertson, but less so if you own any of their front three.

Salah did though come away from GW9 with four shots on target, and his xG is now 6.27 from nine games. He’s had 15 shots on target, the most in the division, so while he’s still spurning chances, he’s still scoring too.

Moreover, 3.12 (50%) of Salah’s xG has come from three matches at Anfield against teams outside of the top six.

Jurgen Klopp will likely be forced into again fielding a rotated team against Cardiff following their Champions League game in mid-week, but Salah should be exempt from rotation, even if his minutes are reduced.

Eden Hazard vs. Burnley (A)

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Pros for captaining:

> Remains highest FPL scorer (75); highest goalscorer (7)

> Chelsea’s passing game; Burnley’s 5-0 loss to Man City

Cons:

> Awaiting update on suspected back injury

Having suffered a suspected back injury against Man United in GW9, Hazard’s captaincy appeal of course depends on a Mauricio Sarri update on Friday. The good news for now is that it looks like he’ll definitely be spared Europa League action on Thursday night.

Hazard’s second blank all season was of course disappointing, but it doesn’t diminish his captaincy claim against a Burnley team fresh off a 5-0 spanking by Man City.

He remains the top-flight’s leading scorer (7), and his 26 key passes in the league so far equates to around three per game. If only he was on hand to convert those balls then just imagine how many goals he’d actually have.

Burnley are unpredictable right now, and after Chelsea’s European exploits this week a trip to Turf Moor is unenviable.

However, the Blues are unbeaten on the road, and their 6,339 passes is the most in the league – City are second with 6,318, and it was that passing play that tore through the Clarets in GW9.

Home advantage likely won’t be enough to prevent this being a similar outcome – if not necessarily the same score.

Alexandre Lacazette vs. Crystal Palace (A)

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Pros for captaining:

> Joint-third highest-scoring striker in FPL (50)

> Only failed to be involved in a PL goal once when starting (in GW9)

Cons:

> Possible involvement in Europa League

Arsenal’s FPL assets can be ignored no longer. This is the first time the Gunners have won 10 games in a row in all competitions since 2007; they’re scoring freely and back among the title contenders.

Only Aguero has scored more FPL points (58) among strikers than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (55) and Alexandre Lacazette (50), and both Gunners strikers offer spectacular captaincy potential this week. While this section may be under Lacazette’s name, it’s really a love letter to both.

Lacazette failed to score or assist in GW9, but you’d have to go back to GW2 for his last blank. The Frenchman has been on a superlative run, and while he could only provide two points against Leicester, he was involved in Arsenal’s exquisite third goal and was a regular threat.

Arsenal’s European exploits should be considered though. Aubameyang started in Arsenal’s last Europa League game, scoring twice, and having started the last two league games on the bench it will be telling to see whether the Gabonese starts on Thursday against Sporting. At the time of writing, it seems unlikely that Lacazette will start.

Meanwhile, the Gunners’ GW10 opponents Palace have yet to score at Selhurst Park, and as solid as they often are for 87 minutes it’s the final throes of the game that Palace fans must dread. In both of their last two away games they’ve conceded on 87 minutes and gone to lose.

Conversely, Arsenal have scored nine goals from substitutes this season, the most in the league. Aubameyang’s last four goals have come from two sub appearances in just 16 minutes.

Palace can’t afford a solitary lapse in concentration on Sunday; Lacazette and co. have a habit of punishing tiredness.

Sergio Aguero vs. Spurs (A)

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strong>Pros for captaining:

> Endlessly positive attacking stats

> City’s excellent recent run at Wembley

Cons:

> He’ll inevitably play 65 minutes

Another 65 minutes, another goal in GW9. That’s the third time Super Serg has played bang on 65 minutes in the league, and it appears his minutes are being as heavily managed as Instagram husbands’ appearances.

The attacking returns continue though, and having mercifully been spared a run-out in the Champions League against Shakhtar, it stands to reason Aguero will get at least another 65 minutes against Tottenham.

The cons to captaining Aguero are two-fold: Aguero’s away form isn’t great (just one goal this season), and playing Spurs at Wembley doesn’t get much trickier in a Premier League game.

City’s run at Wembley is impressive though, and their winning streak at the ground is actually longer than Tottenham’s. City beat Spurs 3-1 in the league and Arsenal 3-0 in the League Cup final last season, and just two months ago they saw off Chelsea 2-0 in the Community Shield.

Significantly, Aguero’s xG of 1.81 vs Burnley in GW9 was the highest this season (in contrast his xG against Huddersfield was 1.58). Despite his limited minutes Aguero is a constant threat in a team which constantly threatens.

Aguero is also the second-highest goalscorer (6), highest-scoring striker in FPL (58), has had the most shots so far (44), and second-most shots on target (14).

Don’t write him off this week.

Andy Robertson vs. Cardiff (H)

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Pros for captaining:

> Liverpool joint-most PL clean sheets (6)

> Attacking threat vs. a struggling Cardiff defence

Cons:

> The stress levels from captaining a defender

This final pick was between four players. Special acknowledgements therefore go to Anthony Martial, Callum Wilson, Roberto Firmino and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But you’re all cut.

Instead, Robertson gets the nod. Now the fourth-highest FPL point scorer (57), the Scot has helped the Reds to six clean sheets in the league plus two assists. His points per match is an exceptional 6.3.

As alluded to above, Cardiff haven’t travelled well in the league so far, and a clean sheet is the minimum expectation for Robertson owners.

At the time of writing, I don’t have Liverpool’s team sheet for their Champions League game with Red Star Belgrade, but even if Robertson features I would predict his starting spot against Cardiff is secure.

Liverpool have lost twice this season, both when Robertson was out of the starting line-up. Alberto Moreno is a fun but unreliable deputy, and Jurgen Klopp will not want to risk him in a league game unless absolutely necessary.

Captaining a defender is always stressful, but this is the ‘perfect on paper’ fixture to back a defender; particularly when it’s one of the most forward-thinking full-backs in the league.

Captain Obvious 

Last week’s captain points: 12

Average captain score: 12.4

Total captain points: 112

This week’s Captain Obvious: Mohamed Salah

Salah gets the nod this week on the strength of the fixture and his solid home form; he’s failed to score in just one league game so far this season at Anfield. Aguero could be the dark horse for non-Salah owners.

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Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips – FPL Captain Picks and Tips – Gameweek 10’ which was written and produced by @JWoodfield365