Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 22
Posted by JackWoodfield
9:54am Jan 10 2019
Is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard the key to captaincy success in FPL Gameweek 22?
Whether your Christmas and New Year was filled with red or green arrows (and family, I guess), I think we can all agree that the holidays are significantly better when you play FPL. Especially when your wife’s dad hooks up his Sky package to her grandma’s TV on Boxing Day.
But when the games come stacked and in quick succession, we have less time to analyse our captaincy picks – unless, like me, you were able to secure an unreasonable of time spent in the bathroom claiming illness when really you were looking up stats.
That’s why Gameweek 22 should’ve been simpler: more time for consideration. And in the end, things have worked out quite well.
While the Carabao Cup semi-finals this week threatened to cast an unwanted variable over three of the captaincy picks in this list, there shouldn’t be any worries over managed minutes.
There’s also some very interesting stats and subplots worth considering before you make your captaincy choice for GW22.
Eden Hazard vs. Newcastle (H)
Pros for captaining:
> 7 goals vs. Newcastle (his joint-best record in PL)
> Scored 2 in this fixture last season
> Could start again as false nine
> Possible fatigue following Carabao Cup
> Giroud, Morata
It’s no coincidence that in Chelsea’s last two Premier League games, when Mauricio Sarri has moved Eden Hazard out wide to accommodate Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata, the Belgian star has failed to shine.
The ponderous target men just aren’t able to contribute to Chelsea’s dynamism; in comparison, Hazard had scored three and assisted three in four PL games prior to GW20 when playing as a false nine, alongside Pedro and Willian.
Pedro’s hamstring injury curtailed Sarri’s interweaving front three in GWs 20-21, but not only is the Spaniard set to return in GW22, but significantly, Morata is reportedly lined up for a move to Sevilla, freeing Hazard for a central role hereafter.
Should Captain Offside naff-off and Giroud only feature as a cameo then oh what a result captaining Hazard against Newcastle could be.
He’s scored seven goals against the Magpies during his time in England, that’s his joint-highest tally vs. any team in the Premier League. Furthermore, he scored twice in this fixture last season and found the net in this season’s reverse fixture.
While 90 minutes against Spurs in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night was hardly ideal, it was reassuring to see him play as a false 9, and Pedro appears to be fit now too.
The Hazard-Willian-Pedro trio is one I’m keen to get behind against a Newcastle team which lost 4-0 away to Liverpool just three weeks ago.
Sergio Aguero vs. Wolves (H)
Pros for captaining:
> 8 goals, 6 assists in just 8 home games
> Yet to not score or assist when starting at home
> Well rested following cup omissions
> Wolves’ top-six record
Back in the Man City starting line-up after four games out crocked, Sergio Aguero has firmly reminded FPL players of his credentials with two goals and an assist in three Premier League starts, including that thwack against Liverpool in GW21.
That physics-defying strike also meant that Aguero is still yet to not score or assist at home this season when starting, a sensational statistic. He’s fired eight goals and six assists in just eight home starts.
Unlike Hazard, Aguero was spared both FA Cup and Carabao Cup minutes this week, and at the very least Aguero will start against Wolves with Gabriel Jesus having started in both cup competitions.
However, a factor to consider is Wolves’ top-six record. Wanderers have experienced defeat just twice vs. the so-called top six this season, otherwise beating Spurs and drawing with Arsenal (A), Man City (H) and Man United (A).
As demonstrated by Monday’s FA Cup scalp of Liverpool, Wolves turn it on in the big games, and they’ll inexorably set up to stifle City creatively. They’ll also have two extra days’ rest in regard to City’s League Cup exploits.
City closed the gap from seven to four points with victory over Liverpool though, and following consecutive dominant cup wins, momentum is back with champions, and they can’t afford to not put Wolves to the sword.
Aubameyang vs. West Ham (A)
Pros for captaining:
> PL’s joint-top scorer (14)
> Highest scoring striker in FPL (132)
> West Ham’s defence
> Blanked in 3 of last 4 away games
Pierre left it late to secure a more than satisfactory nine points against Fulham in GW21, and let me tell you, as an owner and someone who captained him that week, the relief of Aubameyang’s late show was akin to not having a blind date yell “eurgh” as you enter the restaurant.
And there’s a myriad of reasons why captaining Aubameyang holds merit in GW22. He’s the league’s joint-highest scoring striker (14), highest-scoring FPL striker (132), and even his most amount of missed chances (15) makes me confident that he’ll get enough opportunities to hurt the Hammers.
Moreover, West Ham’s defence is primed for a hurting. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are without a home clean sheet in eight league games – although to be fair, their last home clean sheet was vs. Chelsea, and they’ve picked up two shut-outs in their last four on the road.
A worrying downside to Aubameyang though is his recent away form. The Arsenal forward has now blanked in three of his last four away games.
He had six shots against Fulham and came away with one goal, there’s a profligacy entering his game, and that’s a variable I’m not overly keen to embrace this week.
However, Arsenal are generally clinical goalscorers away from the Emirates. Their 22 goals scored is bettered only by Tottenham (28), and they should really have too much for West Ham.
Mohamed Salah vs. Brighton (A)
Pros for captaining:
> 61 points in last 6 games (average 10 ppm)
> Highest-scoring FPL player (151)
> Rested in FA Cup
> Brighton just 2 home defeats in 10
> Brighton 2nd-least home goals conceded (11)
One centimetre was the difference between Salah collecting an assist against Man City in GW21, which would have supplemented an extraordinary Christmas period for the Egyptian. Only 15% of Egyptians celebrate Christmas, but 100% of Salah’s owners were having a great time.
Three successive 12-point hauls lifted Salah firmly to the top of the FPL scoring charts with 151, almost half his record-setting tally from last year of 303. That £13m isn’t looking so expensive now.
Salah has earned a ludicrous 61 points from his last six games, with six goals and four assists in that time. And following a rest in their FA Cup exit (which even the staunchest of cup advocates among Liverpool fans will likely be grateful for), Salah travels to Brighton fresh.
The Reds tore through the Seagulls 5-1 last season, but a similar outcome this year isn’t that likely. Brighton have lost just twice at the Amex this season (in 10 games) and their 11 goals conceded is the second-best home record.
This could be a tense outing for a Liverpool side looking to retaliate after two straight defeats, and Brighton have already picked up points at home against Arsenal and Manchester United.
But Salah is Salah, he’ll be a constant threat throughout, and his devastating recent form is reason alone to hand him the armband.
Harry Kane vs. Man United (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Joint-highest scorer (14)
> Yet to blank when starting since GW10
> Rejuvenated Man United side
> Slightly less potent at home
You’d have to go back to GW10 for the last time Harry Kane started a Premier League and didn’t deliver attacking returns. Twelve points against Cardiff in GW21cemented Kane’s status as the essential premium striker on form.
However, it’s hard to ignore Spurs’ opponents this week. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rejuvenated Red Devils pose a stern test, and Kane’s captaincy credentials aren’t helped by the stats that show he’s better away from Wembley.
Kane has scored one more (5), made one more assist (3) and needed fewer minutes per FPL return (55) in his last six away games, compared to 88 in his last six home games. He’s also played less away minutes this season.
But, one of the glorious aspects of the world-class Spurs striker’s make-up is that he is fixture-proof, as proven by his first-leg winning penalty in the Carabao Cup against Spurs on Tuesday.
Kane perhaps doesn’t stand out as much as the competition in this list, but United have earned just one clean sheet in eight league games and Spurs have scored in every game this season bar GW10 vs. Man City.
Just because Kane isn’t the obvious call doesn’t mean he’s not an excellent call.
Last week’s captain points: 18
Average captain score: 13.4
Total captain points: 282
This week’s Captain Obvious: Eden Hazard
Until I get confirmation that Morata has packed off, then this is subject to change. But Hazard’s record vs. Newcastle is a mightily enticing, and especially so if the Belgian is granted central license in his recent false nine position.
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