Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 12
Posted by JackWoodfield
8:13am Nov 8 2018
Red-hot Fantasy Premier League captaincy contenders from Liverpool, West Ham and Bournemouth should be considered for Gameweek 12
It was a super Sunday for the 1.8m who captained Sergio Aguero in GW11, but if you were among the 88,609 who captained Raheem Sterling then you have most likely been impossible to be around all week. And rightly so. It was a masterstroke. Well done. You ponces.
There’s an Anfield-sized elephant in the room ahead of GW12, and this article could quite feasibly comprise the Liverpool front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane plus two other Reds.
That seems a bit mean on poor Fulham, though, so as to not draw the ire of Cottagers fans, this won’t be a Liverpool-only captains article. Although it was tempting.
You’ll inevitably captain one of Salah or Mane this week though, and rightfully so. Fulham’s back line may as well just be four steel chairs lined up in a row.
But there are some superb differential options worth considering too, who shouldn’t be ruled out solely on the basis of Liverpool vs. Fulham.
Full disclosure, there are no Man City options in this list. And you may abuse me with venom on Twitter for this omission.
However, in the last four Pep Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho meetings, City have scored just four, and after United’s come-from-behind win at the Etihad last season I’m loathe to pledge full backing to the Cityzens’ assets in GW12.
Moreover, I just believe the players on this list are worth your armbands more than the players who aren’t on this list.
Mohamed Salah vs. Fulham (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Scored 4, set up 2 in 5 home games
> No team in Europe has conceded more than Fulham
> Post Champions League possibility of managed minutes
Fulham’s 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield meant that no team has conceded more away goals this season (16), and no side has ever conceded more goals at this stage of a Premier League season (29).
In fact, no team has conceded more goals in any of Europe’s top five leagues than the Cottagers.
Triple captain on Salah, anyone?
Slavisa Jokanovic’s future at Craven Cottage reportedly depends on a good result at Anfield, and that is extremely unlikely. Subjectively, a 3-0 defeat may not even be considered a bad result.
Salah played 90 minutes in the 2-0 defeat against Red Star Belgrade, as did Mane, in a game which Jurgen Klopp said the Reds struggled to find their “mojo”.
Given Liverpool’s Premier League title ambitions it seems unlikely either will play less than 70 minutes on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see their minutes reduced.
Salah’s long-talked about underlying stats make for compelling reading. The Egyptian has the fourth highest Premier League xG (6.94) – the second-best xG per minutes behind Sergio Aguero – and his xA of 3.70 is also the fourth-highest.
He’s also had the fourth-most shots on target (17).
Salah has only failed to be involved in a goal at Anfield once this season, and his goal involvement of nine is the best amongst the Reds.
He may be fourth-highest in a number of departments, but he’s the number one captaincy choice this week.
Sadio Mane vs. Fulham (H)
Pros for captaining:
> A clinical finisher (6 goals despite xG of 3.70)
> Again, that Fulham defence
> Like Salah, post CL possibility of managed minutes
Mane’s six goals this season is bettered by just three players, and Fulham’s comical defence has been covered above. The Senegalese will be a fancied captaincy pick this weekend and with good reason.
Among FPL midfielders only Salah, Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling have scored more points than Mane, who is proving to be one of the most clinical finishers in the league.
Mane’s six goals have come from just 13 shots on target and 23 shots in total; comparatively Salah’s five goals have come from 43 shots overall. Mane has actually been much more clinical than his team-mate.
Mane’s xG of 3.70 is also much lower than Salah’s. He’s scoring harder chances, and isn’t as wasteful. Against this Fulham side, backing the more ruthless of the two could be fruitful.
Like Salah though there’s the chance that his minutes, but should Mane make way in the second half it could be at a time when the Reds are out of sight anyway. It’s a dangerous week to not own Mane, and an even more enthralling week to captain him.
Callum Wilson vs. Newcastle (A)
Pros for captaining:
> Highest goal involvement in FPL (13)
> xG of 7.49 second only to Aguero
> Highest xA among strikers (3.11)
> None, to be honest
That Callum Wilson began the season priced at £6.0m and now costs £6.7m is testament to his frankly staggeringly good form. His 13-goal involvement is the highest in the Premier League so far.
Wilson has (rightfully) faced criticism for his missed chances this season (10, the highest in the league), but his finishing is actually improving week on week. His six goals is the highest among English strikers.
Wilson’s xG of 7.49 is second only to Aguero, and his xA of 3.11 is the highest among strikers. His seven FPL assists is the best in the division. Oh, and he’s only failed to be involved in a goal in three games all season.
There’s honestly an exhaustive array of stats to validate captaining Wilson this weekend.
The Cherries have won their last two away games 4-0 and 3-0, and while Newcastle won their first home game all season in GW11, they survived a Watford side who had 16 shots but inexplicably only got one on target.
Bournemouth are the betting choice at St James’ Park, and Wilson’s vein of form makes him the leading differential captain pick.
Alexandre Lacazette vs. Wolves (H)
Pros for captaining:
> 17 of 23 goals for Arsenal scored at home (all comps)
> Wolves’ struggling defence: conceded 6 in 3
> Arsenal third-highest goalscorers (25)
> Missing out on Salah/Mane captaincy
Back on the scoresheet after a two-game consecutive blank, Lacazette likely further cemented his stance as Arsenal’s first choice number 9 with a point-salvaging thwack against Liverpool, his fifth goal of the season.
Next up for Lacazette and co is a Wolves team who, after conceding just once between GWs 3-8, have now conceded six in three.
The Midlanders were wholly outclassed by Spurs for 60 minutes in GW11, and after three successive defeats, a trip to an Arsenal side unbeaten in 11 straight top-flight games is a jarring prospect.
Only Man City (33) and Chelsea (27) have scored more league goals than the Gunners (25), and Lacazette’s home comforts are evident: 17 of the Frenchman’s 23 goals in all competitions have been scored at the Emirates.
Of course, when you mention Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is never far behind. The Gabonese striker has two more goals (despite both strikers having an xG of 4.19) with two less assists, but it was hard not to be concerned by Aubameyang’s 72nd-minute exit when Arsenal were chasing the game against Liverpool.
Aubameyang has completed 90 minutes just twice in the league, compared to Lacazette’s seven, and the Frenchman looks the safer captaincy bet of the two.
Marko Arnautovic vs. Huddersfield (A)
Pros for captaining:
> 5th-highest xG+xA in GW11(1.28)
> Scored in 2 of last 3 away games; taking 11 shots
> Hudds conceded just 7 in 6 at home
As hideous as Marko Arnautovic’s taunting of poor James Tarkowski was on Saturday, the Austrian laid bare his FPL credentials in GW11 with his second double-figure point haul of the season.
Arnautovic’s combined xG+xA of 1.28 was the fifth-highest in GW11, and had Steven Defour’s first-half tackle on Grady Diangana been (rightfully) awarded as a penalty then Arnautovic would have more than likely been on penalty duty.
With all but one of West Ham’s fixtures a green shade of FDR 2 until GW18, stocking up on at least one West Ham asset could be prudent.
And Arnautovic stands out not just as the Hammers’ top goalscorer (5), but for his prowess on the road. He’s had 11 shots in his last three games away from the London Stadium, scoring twice.
Huddersfield got off the mark with a win against Fulham in GW11, and they’re defensively sturdy at the John Smith’s, conceding just seven in six. This is not a “gimme” fixture for a West Ham side boasting just one away win.
But the Hammers’ front three (Arnie + Felipe Anderson + Diangana) were on fire against Burnley, and Arnie in particular can be confidently backed to carry his form over into GW12.
Last week’s captain points: 26
Average captain score: 15.2
Total captain points: 168
This week’s Captain Obvious: Mo Salah
Salah gets the armband through force of not having Mane, but the Egyptian’s stats and all-round goal involvement would convince me to opt for him over Mane anyway. Wilson is the differential shout.
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BEFORE YOU GO… Join the Fantasy Football Pundits and many other FPL accounts on the Daily Fantasy Football site, Starting11.io this weekend, for some Gameweek 12 fantasy action.