Our final festive Captain Poll, covering Gameweek 20’s armband options, has now launched with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero currently leading the way.
The 18.2% owned striker, who returned from his four-match suspension last night away to Liverpool, appears to face a far easier fixture when Burnley visit the Etihad tomorrow.
No side has shipped more shots in the box away from home than the Clarets, who have also conceded 18 times on their travels. Meanwhile, Aguero boasts the fastest minutes per penalty are attempt rate among regular Premier League starter this term.
For those who are unable to afford the Argentine’s 12.8 price tag, we have included two other City assets for consideration.
Raheem Sterling’s (7.6) pair of assists against Hull City in Gameweek 18 served as a reminder of the 9.4% owned England winger’s potential, particularly against minnows. Two assists in his last five league matches means that the 8.9% owned Kevin De Bruyne (10.7) also offers the chance of a points haul for those backing him with the captaincy.
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (11.9) is another vying for the summit when he travels to Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.
The Cherries have conceded 12 goals in their nine home matches and will need be wary of the Sanchez threat given that the 36.9% owned Chilean boasts nine goals away from home this season. In addition, he also offers considerable assist potential, considering that, on the road, only Christian Eriksen and Dimitri Payet can match his 25 chances created.
Mesut Ozil (9.2), who has two goals and as many assists in away matches, offers the most secure cheaper Gunners alternative as there is uncertainty as to whether Theo Walcott (7.7) will recover from a calf injury to be in contention.
Liverpool’s midfielders will also doubtless attract attention as they drop by the Stadium of Light to take on a Sunderland side still licking the wounds from a 4-1 hammering at Burnley.
Sadio Mane (9.4), who will be representing Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations after his Gameweek 20 outing, and Adam Lallana (7.6), are the Reds’ top scoring players on the road and arguably the stand-out options for the armband among Jurgen Klopp’s charges.
This game is likely to come too soon for midfielder Philippe Coutinho as he boosts his fitness following an injury lay off, which could present 10.3% owned Divock Origi (6.9) with another chance to lead the line.
The young Belgian, who was rested from the first XI against Manchester City last night, has two goals and an assist on the road, while 12.5% owned Roberto Firmino (8.5) has also notched twice on his travels to further split the Liverpool vote.
Manchester United midfielders have shown more attacking intent of late but their 43% owned striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (11.6) remains the main draw.
The big Swede, who has led our last two Captain Polls and has eight goals and an assist in his last eight league starts, is set to once again be a popular option, when Jose Mourinho’s men raid the London Stadium to take on West Ham in Gameweek 20.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (8.9)’s “scorpion” flicked goal against Sunderland in Gameweek 18 and Paul Pogba (8.4)’s assist in the same fixture could ensure they also receive strong support, given that the Hammers have conceded 18 goals at home.
The Frenchman’s strike against Middlesbrough in Gameweek 19 further strengthens his cause. Pogba has now returned two goals and two assists in his last four, earning eight bonus points.
Chelsea’s visit to Spurs is likely to mute interest in their captaincy candidates such as striker Diego Costa (10.7) and Spurs schemer Christian Eriksen (8.6). The hosts have conceded just eight goals at White Hart Lane, and the Blues boast five clean sheets on the road.
With 39 goals shipped already this season, backing a forward who faces Hull City has proved a shrewd tactic, which is likely to garner votes for West Brom’s Salomon Rondon (6.7) when the Tigers visit the Hawthorns tomorrow.
The 8.4% owned Venezuelan, who was a substitute away to Southampton in Gameweek 19, has scored five of his seven goals at home, including a hat-trick against Swansea in Gameweek 16.
Given the poor quality of the visitors’ backline, we have also included Chris Brunt (5.0), who has a goal and three assists in his last three home outings, for consideration. Baggies midfielder Matt Phillips (5.6) is another to feature in the poll on the back of seven assists and four goals this term, one of each arrived against Southampton yesterday.
Swansea City’s perilously dire form continued at home to Bournemouth in Gameweek 19, when they shipped three goals and failed to score. The Welsh side next travel to Crystal Palace, which puts Eagles striker Christian Benteke (7.7) on the radar as a differential armband option, with eight goals scored already this campaign.
However, with the 9.7% owned Belgian missing his second penalty of the campaign, against Watford in Gameweek 18, he may find himself behind Yohan Cabaye (5.6) as the number one spot-kick taker. This was a duty the Frenchman held before the Belgian’s arrival.
Another alternative for the armband is Alvaro Negredo (6.4), for Middlesbrough’s home tie against a Leicester City outfit that has conceded 21 goals on the road. The 15.3% owned Spaniard is Boro’s top scorer with five goals and earned an assist at Old Trafford on Saturday.
We will be back to check in on progress in the poll when we deliver our usual pre-Gameweek “Captain Sensible” article tomorrow morning, offering an analysis of the results and the statistics behind the leading contenders.