Top 5 Captain Picks and Tips - FPL Gameweek 26 | Salah vs. Aubameyang
Posted by FFPundits
8:47pm Feb 7 2019
Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Arsenal’s P.E. Aubameyang look set to top the captaincy charts in Gameweek 26 – but who will you choose?
When mental health is a popular talking point within the FPL community, and quite rightly so, you know it’s been a challenging gameweek (and season) for some of us.
From Pep’s team sheets, to explosive hauls and devastating omissions – Double Gameweek 25 will likely be commemorated in Fantasy Premier League folklore for years to come.
If for any reason, you find yourself needing to talk to someone, or have questions about your own or someones mental health, be sure to reach out to either of these wonderful charities – Mind.org or The Samaritans – you are most definitely, NOT alone.
At least you (probably) won’t have any temptation/regrets about chips this week – never has the single gameweek formula been so reassuring.
But of course, a decision must still be made about your captaincy selection, so here are my top five picks and tips for Gameweek 26 and as always ladies and gentleman, may your arrows be green.
Mohamed Salah vs. Bournemouth (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Did ok-ish in his last game vs. BOU
> Ludicrously good stats for the season
> Bournemouth’s dire recent away results
> Liverpool + Salah’s murky form in last two games
With the pressure now firmly on Liverpool in the title race, there is a concurrent pressure of deciding whether to captain Salah against Bournemouth.
A few weeks ago, many like me were likely eyeing this fixture with one hand hovering over the Triple Captain button. Bournemouth are a frothing mess on the road – they’ve lost their last six away league games, conceding five at Spurs and four at United.
Surely the Reds will put two draws behind them and run amok?
Well, on the one hand, the Reds have looked stodgy and uninspired in their past two outings. Salah failed to register a key pass against West Ham, and provided just one vs. Leicester.
On the other hand, no one had more shots than Salah against West Ham (4), and his xG (15.91) and shots per 90 (3.36) for the season are still incredible.
Two straight blanks will likely dissuade some from giving Salah the armband this week, but it’s worth noting that that’s as many as Salah managed in his nine previous league games.
As shown by Salah being captained by 1.4m in GW25 – even if that’s predominantly among zombie teams – his popularity won’t dwindle ahead of GW26, and we all remember what happened the last time he faced Bournemouth…
P.E. Aubameyang vs. Huddersfield (A)
Pros for captaining:
> Huddersfield conceded 9 in last 3, no win since GW13
> Arsenal’s bounce-back-ability following defeats
> Second-highest PL goalscorer (15)
> Poor recent away form
RIP Huddersfield. In the three games since David Wagner’s departure the Terriers have lost not just their bite but their bark too.
Three defeats to nil, with nine goals conceded, leaves Huddersfield 13 points off safety (14, technically, with goal difference), and barring a miracle akin to a cloud opening up above you and raining down cash, the Yorkshire club are all but relegated.
That’s why, even though Arsenal and Aubameyang aren’t in any kind of enticing form, the home side’s demise cannot be ignored.
Last week I touted Eden Hazard for an explosive haul, and he delivered, because against Huddersfield, even the most frustrating of so-called FPL trolls can fill their boots. And Auba is far from a troll; he’s the league’s second-highest scorer (15).
Aubameyang tends to reserve his premium form for the Emirates, in fact he’s scored once in his last four away games. And that is of course a concern.
Interestingly though, Aubameyang delivered an attacking return in six of his first seven away league games. He’s not going into this game on a blazing run, rather a lukewarm limp, but it’s not like he has an aversion to playing away.
Furthermore, Huddersfield have conceded three or more goals eight times this season. They’re without a home clean sheet since GW11 (vs. Fulham), their only home win this season – of course they have the worst home record in the league.
The home fans will hope for a response after the 5-0 drubbing at Chelsea, but Arsenal need to respond too. The Gunners have won their last three following defeats, scoring 3, 4 and 2 goals respectively.
With a top four place at risk following defeat to Man City and Aubameyang chasing the Golden Boot, there’s a myriad of reasons to justify captaining the Arsenal man.
Son Heung-min vs. Leicester (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Insane form: 9 goals in last 10 Spurs starts (all comps)
> Spurs scored 14 goals in last 4 vs. Leicester
> Son has 3 goals, 2 assists in 3 starts vs. Foxes
> Leicester’s upturn against Liverpool, Man U
Consider this: in January Son Heung-min started five games for Spurs in all competitions and three games for South Korea in the Asian Cup.
The guy admitted he was “physically exhausted” before his goal against Watford, then he played another 89 minutes and scored the winner against Newcastle in GW25,
That he is arguably essential despite running on empty is ridiculous.
Earlier this week Mauricio Pochettino compared him to a “battery”, and if being knackered is key to his form then keep playing Sonny! (joke, well-being important etc)
In his last 10 Spurs games in all competitions the man with the smile who could make even Donald Trump confess his grimy secrets has scored nine goals (7 in the league).
Son’s returned double-figure hauls in five of his last eight league starts; in the other three he scored nine, five and two points. And speaking of goalscoring form, Spurs love playing Leicester.
Tottenham have 14 goals in their last four games with the Foxes, winning three.
Son scored in December’s reverse fixture, and in three starts vs. Leicester he has three goals and two assists.
Having been rinsed defensively against Wolves in GW23, Leicester recovered with a 1-1 draw at Anfield and a narrow 1-0 defeat to Man United, so it’s hard to know which Claude Puel team will turn up at Wembley. But Son’s form almost makes it irrelevant.
Raul Jimenez vs. Newcastle (H)
Pros for captaining:
> Now 4th-highest scoring striker in FPL
> 18.2 points per million – highest among strikers
> Wolves won last 3, scoring 10
> Newcastle conceded 15 away goals – sixth best in PL
It’s hard to really talk up just good how Raul Jimenez has been this season without resorting to caps lock or exclamation marks, and REST ASSURED these techniques will not be used in place of excellent stats!
To put the Mexican’s form into context, he’s now been involved in more league goals this season (16) than Roberto Firmino (14). At £6.7m, his points per million is a staggering 18.2 and his penchant for bonus points (20 – second behind Aubameyang) has made Jimenez the fourth-highest scoring FPL striker (122 points).
Suffice to say, Jimenez merits serious captaincy thought this week. Wolves have won their last three and scored 10 goals in the process, four of which coming from Jimenez involvement.
They’re in barnstorming form, and the return of Diogo Jota has supplemented Wolves’s attack significantly.
Newcastle are crafty so and sos when it comes to “nailed-on” fixtures though. They were valiant in recent narrow 2-1 and 1-0 defeats to Chelsea and Spurs respectively, and have only conceded 15 away goals – the sixth-best in the league. Captain with caution.
Marcus Rashford vs. Fulham (A)
Pros for captaining:
> United + Rashford’s goalscoring form
> Fulham’s goal conceding form
> Fulham’s reasonable home form
There are two fairly obvious reasons why Rashford is in this list: the United striker is scoring a lot, and Fulham concede even more.
In his last 10 league games Rashford has scored seven and assisted four. His average points per game in the eight games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is an impressive 6.8.
Admittedly, Fulham are far better at home (4 wins) than they are away (no wins). However, the Cottagers have let in 12 goals in their past five league games, no one has shipped more goals this season (55 – an average of 2.75 goals per game), and no team has a worse xGA (47.73).
They also have the fewest clean sheets (2) and, curiously, have made the third-least tackles in the league (359) – a stat that indicates United’s delicious new passing game could have great impact at Craven Cottage.
Over 41% of FPL players own Rashford, and given United’s goalscoring form – they’ve scored in every game since GW13 – captaining the Red Devils striker could steal an ownership march. It’s of course a gamble though given the fixtures and season-long form of Salah and Aubameyang.
Last week’s captain points: 38
Average captain score: 14.5
Total captain points: 364
This week’s Captain Obvious: Mohamed Salah
Last week I wrote, “Pep will insist upon a barnstorming performance against Arsenal, and even a prospective cameo against Everton is enough for me to feel confident with the blonde bombshell as skipper this week.”
Frankly, I’ve never fluked a prediction so well, and said bombshell Aguero put in a gift of a gameweek.
It was between Aguero and Salah last week, and the Egyptian gets the nod this week. Bournemouth’s miserable record on their travels and Liverpool’s need to return to winning ways, plus the various stats above, make Salah the inescapable GW26 captain choice.
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