Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 20

12:21pm Dec 28 2018

Paul Pogba’s recent performances for Manchester United make him a standout fantasy captain pick for Gameweek 20

In testing festive times when team news is sparse and Christmas get-togethers are spent agonising over your captain pick while your family mocks your life choices, Mo Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane have been the gifts that kept on giving.

The premium trio returned 24, 21 and 21 points respectively in GWs 18-19, and seem indispensable throughout the remaining Christmas games, despite all playing 180 minutes (bar Kane who played 166).

Of course, Christmas FPL hasn’t been simple so far. Man City have hit their pure garbage run of the season; Spurs and Man United’s assets are seemingly essential, all 12 of them; and with so many in-form differentials, picking a captain for GW20 is harder than convincing your partly-deaf auntie that Lynx Africa is no longer an acceptable Christmas gift.

There’s some tricky fixtures in GW20, with Arsenal travelling to Anfield and Man City travelling to a rejuvenated Southampton. Rotation of course lingers like the dreaded Christmas hangover, so picking a captain who is a nailed-on starter is imperative.

Kane vs. Wolves (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Low-risk captaincy, sure starter

> Terrific form, Spurs scoring at will

Cons:

> Wolves’ stellar defensive record

Not for the first time, Kane’s Christmas spirit is keeping FPL players’ spirits up, with consecutive hat-tricks in GWs 18-19 last season followed by three goals and an assist this time round.

Having been withdrawn on 76 minutes in Spurs’ 5-0 rout against Bournemouth, it stands to reason that Mauricio Pochettino will resist the urge to rest the 12-goal striker against Wolves. Captaining Kane is low-risk, at least in terms of starters.

In the reverse fixture in November, Kane was on target as Spurs stormed into a 3-0 lead before surviving a late comeback. This game remains the only time Wolves have conceded three this season.

However, it seems unlikely that Wolves will fold in the sad manner of Everton and Bournemouth. Only three teams have conceded less away than the Midlanders (9), and their xGA of 18.38 is the fourth-lowest in the league.

Then again, Spurs’ 11 goals in two games has put the league on notice. No team has scored more away goals (25), but at Wembley Tottenham are quieter, scoring 17.

While the recent routs have naturally drawn attention to the likes of Son Heung-min (4 goals, 4 assists in 2) and Christian Eriksen (3 goals, 1 assist in 3), and rightfully so, Kane is the only sure-fire starter out of Spurs’ lethal front line, particularly with Dele Alli and Erik Lamela waiting in the wings.

Pogba vs. Bournemouth (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Back in form: 2 goals, 3 assists in 2

> Bournemouth’s away fragility

Cons:

> Solskjaer liable to rotate

What a difference a week and a half makes. From being benched against Liverpool in GW17 to scoring 28 points in GWs 18-19, Paul Pogba is relishing Jose Mourinho’s departure and playing with the confidence of a man unshackled and free to fire home 25-yarders with ease.

This is of course a reactive captaincy pick. Pogba’s form has mostly been benign all season, but his hugely impressive two goals and three assists in two, coupled with Bournemouth’s recent away fecklessness, makes him stand out.

United weren’t exactly sparking against Huddersfield, their xG of 1.80 was somehow lower than Crystal Palace (1.93) in their goalless draw with Cardiff, but that just signifies the brilliance of Pogba’s goals (xGs of 0.02 and 0.10 respectively).

As long as he continues to start, United possess a £8m creative threat who can recoup double-figure hauls with regularity.

Meanwhile, the Cherries have lost their last four away trips, conceding 12 and scoring just twice. They’re lacking resilience away from the Vitality Stadium, and a United team which has scored eight in two will capitalise on this.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could well rotate for GW20, and if the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez get the nod against Bournemouth there’s an argument that United’s free-flowing pacey attack of the past week could be disrupted.

Pogba, though, is surely immune to rotation following his two consecutive man of the match awards, and merits captaincy consideration based on form and fixture.

Son Heung-min vs. Wolves (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Highest points total from last 4 gws (49)

> Spurs’ goalscoring rampage

Cons:

> Wolves’ stellar defensive record

If you leapt on the Son bandwagon prior to GW16 then you’ve likely been insufferably smug since, and deservedly so. The South Korean is playing like a man knowing full well he’ll be travelling to the Asian Games on January 13, and he’s making every game count.

His 49 points over the last four gameweeks is the highest in FPL. He’s the form player, with four goals and two assists in his last two alone. To put that into context, Christian Eriksen has just three goals all season, despite starting one more game than Son.

Son has always been prone to rotation, but it should be noted he’s only been benched twice in his last nine, and in both of those games he made a cameo appearance. Pochettino will want to extract as much from his forward before his January departure.

The snippets alluded to earlier about Wolves’ defensive discipline and Spurs’ home profligacy (compared to their away form) are again worth considering, particularly if you choose to captain Son.

But, Spurs’ rampaging goalscoring should not be ignored, and neither should Son’s recent point hauls. Son is a wildcard pick, but could well prove to be a risk worth taking.

Salah vs. Arsenal (H)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Joint-most goal involvement (19)

> Goal + assist in this fixture last season

> Arsenal’s poor recent away form

> He’s picking up bonus points again!

Cons:

> Arsenal could yet spring a surprise

If, like me, you transferred out Salah based on Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures with Arsenal and Man City, you’ll too be hoping this is finally where Mo slows down. Hoping, from behind the sofa, biting nails to a stump.

But this is Mo Salah. The man who, despite supposedly being ‘off’ all season, has been involved in the joint-most goals (19), has 12 goals (one behind front-runner Aubameyang), has the highest xG (11.77) and is now seemingly undroppable.

Eyebrows were pleasantly raised by Salah’s owners when the Egyptian started and completed 90 minutes against Newcastle, because there’s no way he doesn’t play against the Gunners, particularly after he was spared punishment for winning the penalty for Liverpool’s second vs. the Magpies.

Salah’s even picked up bonus points in three of his last four matches (eat that, Etienne Capoue).

The Gunners haven’t won any of their last three away games, while Liverpool are unbeaten this season. Sure, Arsenal are Arsenal, but Salah is Salah, and in this fixture last season – a 4-0 home win – Salah scored and assisted.

Don’t let the fixture put you off. If you own Salah, captaining him in GW20 makes as much sense as it has in any game this season.

Hazard vs. Crystal Palace (A)

Embed from Getty Images

Pros for captaining:

> Joint-most goal involvement (19)

> Goal involvement in 5 of last 6 games

> Highest points per match (7.4)

Cons:

> Palace’s defensive upturn, three straight home clean sheets

Now joint with Salah for goal involvement (19) following his brace at Watford, Hazard is back in the form which saw his ownership spike to 2.9m in GW9.

He’s scored or assisted in five of his last six, and the Belgian is making a strong case for a second Player of the Year award.

Of course, following GW9, Hazard went on a run of just one assist in four gameweeks (one in which he didn’t play). The Chelsea talisman has long been a notoriously streaky player in terms of accruing points, but there’s no denying his quality.

Hazard has the most 10+ point hauls (6) and has the highest points per match (7.4) for players who’ve played more than 105 minutes (sorry, Kyle Walker-Peters). He also sits top of the Bonus Points System.

However, and this is a big however, Hazard could well line-up against Aaron Wan-Bissaka, depending on how left or centrally he plays.

The young Palace full-back – arguably the right-back of the season so far – marshalled Leroy Sane into anonymity in GW18, and Palace’s defensive upturn has led to the Eagles keeping four clean sheets in seven including, significantly, three straight at home.

Both teams are in form, and that this is a London derby will no doubt heighten Palace’s resolve. The stats are on Hazard’s side, but captain the maestro with caution.

Captain Obvious 

Last week’s captain points: 4

Average captain score: 13.3

Total captain points: 254

This week’s Captain Obvious: Anthony Martial

It’s been a dark fortnight for Captain Obvious, with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling mustering as many combined captaincy points in two GWs (8) as pints I consumed on Boxing Day.

Alas, the future of Captain Obvious is in doubt. The average captain score has plummeted from a healthy recent 20, and to make matters worse, I don’t actually own any of the players in this list.

I could back either of the City duo based on blind optimism, but looming rotation is putting me off. So it’s to the other side of Manchester I’m travelling to this week, specifically, the (likely) returning Anthony Martial.

Another Captain Obvious debutant, Martial will fancy a haul against a Bournemouth side prone to an away day crumble. Sterling (for some reason) gets the vice captaincy nod in case the Frenchman doesn’t make the United squad.

>> Gameweek 20 Team Selection <<

BEFORE YOU GO… We’ll be giving away £25.00 in cash to the winner of FPLTips’ SUNDAY ONLY Mini League on Starting 11 this weekend.

Simply download the free app below and create your best 11-man team for SUNDAY’S 4 Premier League games – oh, and you’ll need to pick a captain.

FREE TO PLAYFREE MONEY TO GIVEAWAYDOWNLOAD BELOW

 

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips – Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips – FPL Gameweek 20′ which was written and produced by @JWoodfield365