Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 31
Welcome to Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 31. Ah this is more like it. No sooner has one GW finished then another is immediately upon us. If GW30 treated you well then you only have a day or two of gloating in your office, or home or supermarket, or wherever you normally do this! If it didn’t go quite as planned, let’s say for arguments sake if you inexplicably captained a left back or something, then fear not as you only have a day or two to hide also. If we tell you nothing else of importance this week then this is the key message to remember – The GW31 Deadline is on Tuesday evening (4th April) at 6.45pm UK time. But that’s just between us though, yeah? You know the rules with midweek games – don’t let on, even slightly, to your ML rivals. No hints, no mentions of Captains, etc. If they’re oblivious then you might just prompt them to wonder why you’re mentioning it on a Tuesday. Leave them to their ignorant bliss…
And so onto this weeks Captain Picks. Rather than having just one person tell you who they fancy we thought it’d be a bit of fun to ask 5! We’ve given 5 of our regular writers free reign to tell us who they would pick to captain this week… Over to Mito, Cookie, Kop, GP and Init.
Mito – Sanchez, Home versus West Ham
Chileno!! Chileno!! Chileno!!
If you are wondering how I winded up with Alexis in this article, it is simple really, he demanded it. Sanchez was overheard saying “I’m happy at FF247 and I want to stay there, but with a winning writer.”
Listen fellas, the other guys are going to probably quote a John and talk about a Serbian who might one day play out a full game. Worse, most will probably secretly captain Alexis when push comes to shove. I am no mathematical physicists, but I understand that 30, 85 92 and 102 is a big margin and so do they. That by the way is how far ahead Alexis is in total points from the other 4 choices in this article. Captaining anyone else this upcoming week is like dancing while slapping your own butt, is not only weird, but a touch sad. Let us not overcomplicate matters folks, Alexis has the biggest one game haul of the season for any player in FPL. With a staggering 23 points in GW14, that game he had 3 goals and 1 assist. Why is that relevant now? Because he did it versus the same opponent he is playing this GW. That’s right he dropped 23 on The Hammers. He also scored in the last game he had vs them last season, so that is 4 goals and 1 assists in his last two outings against West Ham, for a sweet 30 points. Sure he didn’t score well vs City, but he had 3 goals and 1 assist in the previous 3 games before City. And that doesn’t even include the master class he put on in the qualifiers. Where in one game he scored on a free kick, had an assist, set up everything in another goal even if he didn’t get credit for the assist, did an elastico and missed a pen. Well, I said he did everything, so yeah he missed one, but so what, it just shows his involvement in everything. So go on and captain someone else while Alexis and his personal writer (me) feast on the blood of the innocent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
*Insert evil laugh here….
Cookie – Alli, Away versus Swansea
‘One team in London’, Wenger said – oooops. Sorry Arsene but the two teams at the top are so far away from you that a new contract for Mesut and a loving bear-hug for Alexis seem more likely than your lads qualifying for anything bar a Europa spot. Poor old Alexis looked shattered on Sunday vs City – all that travelling and doing ‘everything’ for Chile just days before and then another 2pts dropped ain’t going to help the mood of our favourite Chilean. So I bring you Dele Alli, the best young English hope since errrr Jack Wilshere. Now Alli flies somewhat under the radar in these captaincy discussions – but one look at his stats suggest that view should be revised as he prepares to play at Swansea on Wednesday. Of his five double-digit scores so far this season, three have come on the road, including a 15pt haul at Southampton and a 14pt return at Watford. Spurs played Swansea at the Lane in GW14, beating them 5-0 with Alli delivering 9pts. This is a Swansea side who could have lost at home to Boro on Sunday if Negredo and Gestede weren’t their strikers. Spurs face their second road trip of the week, but if a team without their leading marksman can win comfortably at Burnley, then they can repeat that feat at Swansea. Just seven points separate Spurs to leaders Chelsea and with the Blues facing City on the same night a win is crucial for the Spurs and Alli will be at the heart of it. With Son likely recalled alongside him and the Viking on the supply line, expect young Alli to score or assist (or both) for the fifth game in a row. Now double that up with the armband – dare you ignore him?
Kop – Vardy, Home versus Sunderland
As John Steinbeck once wrote “…it is generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended.” This was certainly the case with Jamie Vardy’s party! He finished last season with 24 goals but managed just five between game-weeks 1&25 this season meaning the maître d’ of last season’s party, Claudio Ranieri, got the boot. Enter stage left, Craig Shakespeare. The new gaffer has worked wonders and has won his first four league games, the fourth being Saturday’s 2-0 win over Stoke. I watched the highlights of the game on MOTD and I’ll be honest I didn’t see much of Vardy, so I’ve had a quick look at his stats from the game. He only had four touches in the Stoke penalty area and had just one shot on target. However, this solitary shot resulted in a goal and it was clearly the strike of a player who is once more full of confidence. In the four games since Shakespeare has been in charge Vardy has scored four and picked up two assists while his underlying stats over the entire season against the last four games bear no comparison. It must be said that in these four games he’s had just eight goal attempts, five of which were on target and four of which ended up in the net. So, while he may not be getting many chances he’s been bloody clinical!
I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of chances falling Vardy’s way because as a team Leicester are creating plenty of chances, 65 over their last four games, a total only bettered by United, Spurs & Chelsea. Clearly Leicester are one of the leagues form teams, but what of Sunderland? Despite what David Moyes reckons they’re as good as relegated. They sit bottom of the table with just 20pts and have conceded 51 goals. But they’re showing some fighting spirit, right? Not quite, they’ve won just one game in 2017. They have however conceded just five goals in their last four away games so Vardy & Leicester will have to work for their goals. But I do expect the goals to come as Sunderland have given up 73 attempts during their last four games.
For what it’s worth I’ll probably captain Vardy myself although Sanchez against West Ham might yet convince me otherwise…
The Gallant Pioneer – Tadic, Home versus Crystal Palace
The Serbian had a well-publicised meeting with Claude Puel in the past week regarding the amount of times he has been substituted in the league this season (he has only played 90 full minutes four times out of twenty-four) so it was reassuring to see his manager show there was no ill-feeling by starting him on Saturday against Bournemouth, before promptly withdrawing him again on 80 minutes with the score still at 0-0!
In those 80 minutes he had three ‘near-assists’ and was named man of the match by the broadcaster. He is a very good player who is not going to ever be too far away from a big return. Granted he only has 3 goals and5 assists so far this season and in comparison to his 8 goals and 13 assists last season and that is a touch disappointing return with only 10 matches to go for the Saints this season. But he did manage to grab 16 points just three game-weeks ago with a goal and two assists in his sides 4-3 win at Watford. On the 22 January in the match against Leicester he also scored Southampton’s last league penalty. The return of Manolo Gabbiadini on Wednesday for the visit of Crystal Palace should perhaps see a deserved end product to the good work of Tadic.
Their South London opponents have probably left everything they have on the Stamford Bridge pitch and to ask them to raise their game again so soon after a monumental effort at the home of the Champions-elect is perhaps playing in to Southampton’s hands. An amazing goalkeeping display during the Chelsea victory and potential injuries to two defenders in the backline also favour Saints here – especially if Oriol Romeu continues in his brilliant form this season and bosses the middle area of the pitch – this will hopefully allow Tadic to interchange with Redmond, Boufal and the strikers ahead of him to bear better fruit than the goalless draw with South Coast neighbours Bournemouth.
Differential? Du-san-thing different and captain this guy…
Inittowinit – Coutinho, Home versus Bournemouth
Stupid little Brazilian. Ahem, sorry… Hi, let’s start again. Just coming off the back of him destroying my team Everton here so forgive me if this is a difficult one to write up! Putting my impartial hat on here he was bloody impressive against us. Then again it’s difficult not be when you are up against a defence willing to let you cut in from the left into your favourite shooting position. Time, and time again. And again. And again. Also helps when the opposing keeper seems to think he’s won some prize draw to simply have the best seat in the house from which to witness each goal. No Joel, you’re in goal. Stop watching them go past you and try and do something about them perhaps? Those things protruding from your shoulders. They’re called arms. Maybe stick one out occasionally?! Yeah ok he had all the help in the world here but he still had to execute and that he did with one fantastic goal and perhaps an even better assist with a sublime pass for Origi.
Now then, I’ll be candid here, and try not to completely ruin the premise of the article itself in doing so! Right now, as we speak, I don’t actually own Coutinho. I do however have a Mane sized hole in my team. One which Coutinho may yet fill. I haven’t made that decision yet as the whole scenario needs scrutinising with the DGW’s ahead in relation to my current squad. He may come in, he may not. However, my job here is to pick a captain for the week from all available options, and then justify it, which I will, as many will have him and given his fixture this week he is most certainly up there for consideration.
Starting with the basics here Liverpool have scored the most goals of any team overall this season with 61 so far and the joint most at home with 36, which is average of just over 2.5 per game. Their opponents Bournemouth have conceded 31 on their travels which is an average of 2.2 per game. They are the 3rd worst in the league in this respect. This is staring to look rosy already. As for Coutinho himself he has contributed with 7 goals and 7 assists. To put that in perspective Sigurdsson has the most assists with 11 and has had a hand in 19 goals in total. Coutinho has had a hand in 14 yet he’s missed a fair chunk of the season due to injury and he has 7 less appearances than Siggy too. But obviously Liverpool just score more, almost a rate double to that of Swansea so his chances of being involved in a goal are more. To put Liverpool’s scoring record in perspective here, Man United have only got 42. So we are looking at a potential Captain here who is in form and part of a high scoring team, who up against the 3rd worst defence in the league. What could possibly go wrong… Well, worst case scenario is that this week is Firmino’s turn to pitch in and score big. They do tend to rotate the points in this manner, somewhat annoyingly.
In all honesty, again undermining the article somewhat (!), I’ll be captaining Vardy this week. I really wanted to write up Vardy but Kop picked him first. But if I didn’t have him, then Coutinho would definitely be my pick. Or at least in my top 3 or 4… I’m not helping here am I?! I’ll get my coat… #gocoutinho
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 31. This article was written by GP, Innit, Kop, Cookie and Mito
The Tracker in full…
DGW34 IS ON THERE AS CONFIRMED BUT DGW37 IS VERY MUCH PROVISIONAL!
That’s our best guess as to how it will pan out and there is still Southampton vs Arsenal to be rearranged. That looks likely to be in GW35 or 36. The FPL site itself has said that they expect the remaining games to be confirmed on or around the 7th April.
Teams with DGW’s ahead… (with thanks to Rosco)