Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 9
Posted by JackWoodfield
9:58am Oct 17 2018
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero looks set to be the number 1 captaincy choice for FPL Gameweek 9
If the most recent international break took physical form it would have been of Deontay Wilder punching us long-suffering mascot-wearing FPL managers square in the face.
Yeah, England beat Spain, but otherwise it was as miserable as predicted. We never stood a chance.
But another turgid fortnight of not giving a toss about the Nations League at least makes four straight weeks of FPL that much sweeter.
Plus, we have a fascinating shortlist of captains for GW9. There isn’t one standout contender, rather a myriad of premium and budget options, so let’s assess where the points will come from this week.
Sergio Aguero vs. Burnley (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Fresh after a 2-week rest
> 4 goals, 3 assists in 4 PL home games
> Highest-scoring FPL forward (52)
> Possibility of minutes still being managed
These days it’s practically an act of self-flagellation not captaining Sergio Aguero when he’s playing at home. In four league games at the Etihad he’s scored four and set up three. Moreover, he scored 15 of his 21 league goals last season at on home soil.
Burnley would fear even a half-fit Aguero, and knowing they’ll be up against a well-rested Aguero must make even Sean Dyche’s voice anxiously shake a couple of octaves higher.
The Man City forward’s fortnight-long rest has been a wonderful consequence of his sustained omission from the Argentina set-up, and his recuperation from that ankle injury could be invaluable for FPL managers.
As the most selected FPL player, captaining Aguero is the safe pick this week. If you are looking for a football betting strategy guide then you can find odds of 2/1 for Aguero to score first on Saturday.
Add in to the mix that Burnley lost 4-0 (FA Cup) and 3-1 (PL) at the Etihad last season and considering how little either team has changed since then it would take a seismic Clarets defensive job to keep Aguero out.
Alexandre Lacazette vs. Leicester (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Also fresh after 2-week rest
> Attacking returns in last 6 straight games
> 8.4 PPM over last 5 games
> Leicester aren’t bad on the road (2 wins, 2 losses)
Making his third straight appearance in this feature, Lacazette is no longer just a French fancy; he’s quite simply *smacks lips, French accent* formidable.
Lacazette’s GW8 brace against Fulham was his sixth straight attacking return. In fact, since he started at Cardiff in GW4 he’s scored four, set up four and hit a dizzying 8.4 points per match (PPM).
Leicester will be without Wes Morgan for this game, which may actually help the Foxes, but it’ll take a valiant effort to keep the Gunners out; since their opening 2-0 defeat to Man City, Arsenal have scored 20 goals in 10 straight games and won nine in a row.
The Foxes are alright on the road, though. They’ve already won two and scored as many away as Liverpool (7), with their only defeats coming against Europa League chasers Manchester United and Bournemouth.
However, much like Aguero, Lacazette too has had a fortnight to rest up following his France shun, and the Foxes’ available back line (most of whom travelled on international duty) could be in for a daunting Monday evening.
Eden Hazard vs. Man United (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Highest FPL scorer (74)
> Highest PPM (9.3)
> Only failed to be involved in a goal in one GW so far
> Tricky fixture; Jose’s tactics
It was another Premier League game, another master class from Eden Hazard in GW8. With a goal and an assist, captaining the Belgian proved a stroke of genius – he was the third-most captained behind Harry Kane and Aguero.
Hazard’s stats are getting healthier as the weeks go by, and there’s a wealth of data to highlight his superlative form and captaincy worth this week.
Three stats in particular stand out: he’s failed to provide an attacking return in just one GW this season, is second for big chances created (7), and has the highest PPM in FPL so far (9.3). And it’s that PPM score that makes captaining Hazard decidedly enticing.
Man United aren’t showing enough to convince anyone that Hazard won’t score. Their interchangeable back four is yet to find any successful iteration, and while they eventually beat Newcastle in GW8, let’s not forget they conceded two. At home. To Newcastle.
Jose Mourinho will have drilled his defence during the international break to deny Hazard any space; he’ll be aggressively man-marked, but I still don’t think it’ll be enough to keep him quiet.
Aguero, Salah and Lacazette have better fixtures, but Hazard could be the sleeper pick for GW9.
Callum Wilson vs. Southampton (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Involved in 10 of Bournemouth’s 16 goals
> Most FPL assists (7)
> Bournemouth 2nd-most home goals (10)
> Still missing too many chances
Ok, yes, Wilson makes this list because of his 14-point haul in GW8. There, it’s out there. But there’s a lot to like about Wilson this season, as well as Bournemouth as a whole, particularly at the Vitality Stadium.
Only Man City (13) have scored more than the Cherries at home (10) this season, and of the 16 goals Bournemouth have scored this season, Wilson has been involved in 10 (three goals, seven assists). His seven assists is more than anybody else in the league.
His finishing could be better, for sure. Wilson has the second-highest xG (5.34) but only three goals to show for it. He misses a lot of chances, but Bournemouth create so many he’s always among the action. He’s only failed to provide attacking rewards twice this season.
Southampton have just one win this season, and have conceded five without reply in their last two away outings. This could be a very comfortable afternoon for the Cherries.
Mohamed Salah vs. Huddersfield (A)
Pros for captaining:
> Highest xG (5.91)
> Terrific fixture (on paper)
> Injury doubt (injury picked up on international duty – await press conferences)
It was an agonising decision to opt for Salah here as #5, and Kane was right over his shoulder. But Huddersfield are struggling so badly that quite frankly I’d expect to be lynched for not including at least one (or even five) Liverpool players in this list.
Salah will, for the majority of his owners, have two chances to haul big: this game and next week against Cardiff. There could still be an exodus even if he explodes in both.
The decision to include Salah was not helped with the news of his muscle strain playing for Egypt. Sources indicate he’ll fit for the trip to West Yorkshire, although in the spirit of automatic subs, should Salah not be fit in time for the weekend then please default to Harry Kane.
There’s a key appeal to brave giving Mo the armband in GW9. Salah still has the highest xG (5.91), and his 32 shots is third only to Aguero and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Yes he’s spurning chances, but he’s still in the thick of it, and that means a lot. It would be trite to say “he’s due”, but he’s consistently in the right positions.
Huddersfield aren’t bad at home defensively, conceding just six this season. But they lost this game 3-0 last season, with Salah on the scoresheet, and David Wagner’s side are one of only two teams (Crystal Palace the other) yet to score at home.
This could be one-way traffic, and as the Terriers get tired, the sight of Salah on the break will be terrifying.
Last week’s captain points: 2
Average captain score: 12.6
Total captain points: 100
This week’s Captain Obvious: Sergio Aguero
Damn you, Harry Kane. The first Captain Obvious fail in GW8 has drastically reduced the average score. But we go again, and will surely return to winning ways this week with Aguero.
It’s a toss-up between him and Lacazette, but I plan to swap Kane for Aguero this week, and even if his minutes are reduced, the minutes he does play could be devastating.
Also worth reading
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 8 fantasy action.