With just four matches taking place in Gameweek 31, our latest Captain Poll is without an array of regular favourites for the Fantasy Premier League armband.
This should ensure that Mohamed Salah (10.6) dominates voting as Liverpool entertain a Watford side that has just one clean sheet in their last six away days.
The winger last failed to deliver attacking returns at Anfield back in Gameweek 17, while, at home, only Sergio Aguero has scored more goals than the Egyptian (15 to 13), who is the top midfielder in home matches terms of shots (72), penalty area shots (54) and attempts on target (33).
Owned by 61%, Salah looks certain to be the most popular captain pick once again, having surrendered that status to Harry Kane for Gameweek 30.
As the only top-eight side taking part in this limited set of fixtures, Salah’s team-mates, Roberto Firmino (9.4) and Sadio Mane (9.4), could emerge as his main challengers.
Over the last eight Gameweeks, Firmino has amassed four goals and three assists and is this week’s most popular transfer target, with more than 45,000 new owners.
Mane is also in fine form, with two goals and an assist in his last three domestic encounters, in addition to a recent Champions League treble against Porto.
The Merseysiders’ centre-half Virgil van Dijk (5.6) may also votes as a differential. He has recorded nine goal attempts and two clean sheets from his six league matches for Liverpool.
For those seeking further alternatives, Gameweek 31 offers up an array of intriguing options, particularly among Bournemouth’s attack.
Eddie Howe’s side have one of the most favourable fixtures, thanks to a home clash against the league’s bottom side West Brom. The Baggies were humbled 4-1 at home by Leicester at the weekend and, across their last six matches, have conceded a league-high 16 goals.
Junior Stanislas (5.9) seems the man most likely to exploit the visitors’ frailties, having supplied three goals and two assists in seven since returning from injury. The winger has started each of the last six Gameweeks and has registered more shots (22), penalty area efforts (10), attempts on target (eight) and key passes (eight) than any team-mate in that run.
Josh King (7.0) may also pick up interest with two goals in his last three starts, particularly if he fully recovers from the neck injury that saw his role in yesterday’s 4-1 home defeat to Spurs reduced to just a 23-minute cameo from the bench.
That heavy loss to the London side, coupled with the Cherries concession of a record 99 shots over the last six Gameweeks, may tempt some to consider punting on Baggies striker Solomon Rondon (6.0). The Venezuelan has scored three in his last six appearances in all competitions.
Crystal Palace’s trip to Huddersfield Town presents further differential captaincy candidates with the chance of strong returns. With no clean sheets on the road since Gameweek 18, the Eagles defence may struggle to keep the hosts at bay.
For the hosts, striker Steve Mounie (5.8) looks the main attraction, with two goals and an assist over the last four Gameweeks. During that period, he has fired 12 close penalty area shots – ranked fourth overall and second only to Salah’s 13 among the Gameweek 31 contingent.
Terriers’ winger Rajiv van La Parra (4.8)’s two goals and seven shots in the box over his last four has also impressed.
Among Roy Hodgson’s troops, Wilfried Zaha’s (6.8) return to action has been well timed.
The winger notched an assist off the bench against Chelsea at the weekend, which was his first appearance since suffering an injury ahead of Gameweek 27. Four goals and a further three assists across the season may also tempt voters.
Given that Zaha was introduced in that Blues clash at the expense of striker Christian Benteke (7.6), interest in the Belgian is likely to be muted. However, with attacking returns in seven of the last nine matches, the Belgian could profit against a defence that has shipped eight goals in their last four at home.
Eagles defender Patrick van Aanholt (5.1) may also poll well with two goals in as many matches. Among defenders over the last four Gameweeks, he has fired off a record four attempts on target.
The underlying statistics suggest Everton may struggle to find the net against a resilient Stoke side at the Bet365 stadium.
Over their last four home encounters, the Potters have two clean sheets and conceded just two goals. Meanwhile, across their last quartet of road trips, the Toffees have the second worst record in terms of shots on target (eight) and have scored just twice, with only Watford and West Brom recording fewer over that timeframe.
Nevertheless, with a goal in each of his last two run-outs, including a trip to Burnley, Everton’s Cenk Tosun (6.7) looks to have finally found form since joining in January. Given this upturn in his fortunes, the Turkish striker is likely to be the top choice for those keen to captain a Toffees asset.
If fit, Theo Walcott can’t be overlooked. Since arriving at Goodison, he’s produced more shots (13), efforts in the box (ten) and attempts on target (six) than any team-mate.
For the hosts, playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri (6.3) looks the key target, with three goals in his last four starts. On the road Sam Allardyce’s backline has been extremely generous, shipping 12 times over their last four away days, an unwelcome record they share with West Ham.
Tonight’s final Gameweek 30 clash, between Stoke and Manchester City, will give voters a further chance to monitor Potters assets.
The poll is now live in the middle column on your homepage on desktop, or via the slide-in menu on mobile and tablet under recent comments.
Remember, we are looking for your vote for the player you think will be most effective, regardless of whether you own them or not.
We will be back to check in on progress in the poll later ahead of the Gameweek 31 deadline when we deliver our “Captain Sensible” article offering an analysis of the results and the statistics behind the leading contenders.