Fantasy Premier League managers face a number of selection quandaries as they put the finishing touches to their squads ahead of tonight’s 19:00 BST deadline, one of which, of course, concerns who to captain.
While one, all-too-familiar name leaps out as the leading candidate for the armband this week, there are plenty of other FPL assets whose cases ought to be presented.
We will first assess the fallout of the Gameweek 1 Captain Poll, then analyse the Opta data and Rate My Team (RMT) ratings ahead of this evening’s curtain-raiser at Old Trafford.
The Captain Poll
The percentage of votes cast for Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) in the Fantasy Football Scout Captain Poll actually outstrips his ownership in FPL, with 59.1% of the nominations on our site heading the way of the Egyptian.
Liverpool put a combined eight goals past this weekend’s opponents, West Ham United, in two league meetings last season, with Salah registering three of those strikes.
The Hammers’ defensive record was the joint-worst in the top flight in 2017/18 (68 goals conceded) and though Manuel Pellegrini has strengthened his backline with the acquisitions of Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena (all £4.5m) and Ryan Fredericks (£5.0m), the Chilean manager’s reputation for playing attacking football doesn’t suggest the Irons will completely close ranks at Anfield on Sunday.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino (both £9.5m) are alternative captaincy picks for the Reds, with 4.4% and 3.5% of the communal vote respectively. Both players were on target in the 4-1 home victory over the Hammers last season, while Mane also provided two assists in the reverse fixture in east London.
With 7.9% of the FFS vote, Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) is a distant second in our Captain Poll behind the runaway Salah.
The Argentinian striker’s brace in the Community Shield win over Chelsea last weekend has seen his FPL ownership soar, with Aguero outstripping Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) to become the fourth-most popular forward option in the game and featuring in 30% of Gameweek 1 squads.
While a trip to the Emirates poses a stern test, it should be said that City comfortably beat the Gunners on their own turf last season, with Aguero picking up an assist in that 3-0 victory. The striker also scored from the spot in the 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Etihad earlier in the campaign.
It should also be noted that the Gunners’ first home matches in the past two seasons have been seven-goal thrillers, with Arsenal prevailing 4-3 against Leicester City in 2017/18 and losing out to Liverpool by the same scoreline the preceding campaign.
A repeat of those scorelines would surely spell FPL points for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m), who has garnered over 1,000 votes to become the third-most popular captaincy selection (5.2%) of the Gameweek.
A rare beast among premium forwards this season in having the summer off from international duty – of the nine strikers priced at £9.0m or above, only he, team-mate Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m) and Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata (£9.0m) weren’t involved in the World Cup – Aubameyang would also appear to be as close to rotation-proof as any of the heavy hitters in attack.
The one concern is Aubameyang’s starting position, with the possibility of the Gabonese forward being stationed on the left flank to accommodate Lacazette in attack.
That being said, no forward scored more goals than the former Borussia Dortmund striker (ten) after his debut in Gameweek 26 last season. Aubameyang also has six goals to his name in pre-season, the same amount as Lacazette.
Leicester City’s problems in central defence – Harry Maguire (£5.5m) having just returned from his post-World Cup break and Jonny Evans (£5.0m) facing a late fitness test before tonight’s match at Old Trafford – could mean that the somewhat unconvincing partnership of Yohan Benalouane (£4.0m) and Wes Morgan (£4.5m) might be pressed into action at the heart of the Foxes’ backline.
That would increase the appeal of Alexis Sanchez (£10.5m), who has attracted 4.8% of the vote in our Captain Poll. The Chilean midfielder was Manchester United’s form player in pre-season, scoring on two occasions and setting up another goal.
Only four sides had a leakier defence last season than Leicester, who shipped more Premier League goals (60) than relegated West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.
Harry Kane (£12.5m), curiously, has attracted almost 3% of the FFS community’s nominations, despite doubts about his pitch-time following a belated return to training on Monday. The “August drought” – Kane has failed to find the net in 13 league appearances in this month – also hasn’t deterred well over 600 voters from backing the England striker for the armband.
Mid-price forwards Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m), Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) and Joshua King (£6.5m) have some backing (all around the 1% mark), following their successful pre-seasons. Arnautovic, whose West Ham side face a tricky trip to Anfield this weekend, found the back of the net on five occasions over the summer, while King and Zaha both scored four summer friendly goals.
King’s fixture is perhaps the most appealing, with newly promoted Cardiff City the visitors to the south coast. Zaha and Palace, meanwhile, make the trip to west London to face Fulham.
Read more with Scout
Pick your FPL team for 2018/19 using our list of best available players, sorted for your convenience by position and price:
Also check out our detailed statistical analysis articles on every team comparing data for the last two seasons to highlight the players to sign and the players to avoid:
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Cardiff City | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Tottenham Hotspur | Watford | West Ham | Wolves
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2018/19 campaign are now available for the pre-season price of just £12.50. This will increase to the regular price of £15 after the first Gameweek of the season.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 130+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.