Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 34
Welcome to Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 34. You always know you are coming to the business end of the season when the double gameweeks start coming thick and fast and this is the first of three in four weeks. It’s kind of an appetiser to the main course of DGW37 with just the three teams playing twice this time as opposed to ten of them in that one. And yet that fact may be an interesting one, as those lucky enough to have some valuable chips left will be eyeing up DGW37 as the perfect Bench Boost material. Which means if they have a Triple Captain chip left then it will most likely be deployed this week or on Sanchez in DGW36. Even if you aren’t in that situation then your captain will be all important in the closing weeks as you look to either win your mini league or just climb as high as you can in the rankings. Let’s be honest though, that all important mini league is the one though isn’t it?! It can be an awfully long summer in work, at home or indeed even in the supermarket (don’t ask ) if you lose that one. No pressure here then! As it’s such an important choice we thought we’d ask around for you this week and we’ve had no less than five of your regular writers all come to the rescue to tell us who their pick would be if money were no object. It’s an interesting mix too with both sides of the DGW argument debated. So without further ado…
Eden Hazard (home vs Southampton) – Cookie
Last week’s loss at Old Trafford has handed FPL managers a fantastic opportunity. While everyone is talking about Chelsea’s stuttering form and Spurs’ seven consecutive wins which has closed the gap to just 4pts as well as all the DGW captain opportunities (most of whom look awful if studied properly), I bring you Eden Hazard. Yep, the same Eden Hazard who was suffocated by Ander Herrera last weekend but will be free and back at home on Tuesday when Chelsea meet Southampton. The Saints don’t have a Herrera, nor do they have the appetite to carry out such disciplined tactics. Sunday’s loss at United was the first match in seven that Hazard has failed to register an assist or goal – the tiny Belgian has scored 14 goals this season and eight assists and you can include also 29 bonus points, a number only beaten by Lukaku who has played over 300mins more than Hazard. Ten of Hazard’s fourteen goals have come at the Bridge, six of his nine double-digit returns have come at home and he was instrumental in Chelsea’s win at Southampton in GW10 when he scored and assisted in the Blues’ 2-0 win at St. Mary’s. Should we be worried about Chelsea’s form though? In my view, the answer is ‘no’ – Conte will get them refocused and one look at their fixtures suggests they will be fine. There will be a reaction to the defeat at United and at times like this, the big players stand up and deliver and look no further than Hazard to drive Chelsea to the title, beginning with a resounding midweek win over the Saints, with the Belgian leading the charge. There is no finer captain this week.
Sergio Aguero (home vs Man Utd) – Gallant Pioneer
The Argentine is going about his business as quietly as a £13M region player possibly can in FPL terms. With the further strengthened claims of Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku this season, the tremendous debut made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a recent return to scoring of Jamie Vardy, many an FPL manager will feel they can justifiably ride without Sergio at this time. 22.7% of teams own him and one wonders how many of these are looking after their team still – I would estimate most of these owners have had him from the season’s beginning and they are FPL ‘ghost ships’. In this season’s climate and with the DGW here too, I would offer Sergio Aguero as a viable (and differential) Game-week 34 captain selection.
The fixture is their city rivals at home which to some might turn you off him right away. But stick with me. Aguero has only blanked once in his last eight games and to those worried about his game time, he has played 90 minutes in six of these (and 88 minutes in one of the others). For a striker who saw his growth stunted by his manager and the emergence of Jesus, he currently resides just fourth in the overall (strikers) Bonus Points chart and joint third in the goals scored column. Of the Citizens 33 matches in the league so far, Aguero has not played six times so this further bolsters a quite impressive points return, all things considered. Add in the attacking talent in support of him and also his record in such derby games – he has seven goals against the Red Devils – and there is obvious appeal.
He has 17 league goals this season and without turning this in to a ‘Tips’ piece, he has five really succulent fixtures after the Manc’ derby and I’m forecasting he could run his previous best total, 26 in 2014/15 very close indeed. I have news for you, this guy is back on form and he needs bought soon if you don’t own him.
A point of note in the interest of clarity and fairness, although Game-week 34 is not an FPL DGW for him, it is in reality as Manchester City play Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday but I do however expect the player to feature from the beginning in each of these two crucial games.
Christian Benteke (away vs Liverpool, home vs Spurs) – theswirly
Ah come on now guys, it’s a DGW, where’s your sense of fun and adventure?! And unlike some he certainly won’t be getting rested for either game. If I was to pick any DGW player it’d be Christian Benteke. Coming it at just £7.2m (as we speak) he’s also very affordable and so nobody should have any real issue fitting him in. Which they absolutely should do, and here is why. With a match against his previous club Liverpool on the horizon – as well as a visit by on-form Spurs – there are two tricky matches. Don’t let that put you off him though. With three goals and an assist contributing to 23 points in the past four matches, the Belgian striker is on some great form at the moment. That’s coupled with the fact Sam Allardyce is really starting to energise the midfield, with Zaha, Townsend and even Cabaye contributing to the Crystal Palace strikeforce. I can’t help but imagine Benteke will want to get one over on his previous employers and make it the third consecutive win for the Eagles at Anfield. And I’m not sure if I mentioned this but he’s also ON A DGW!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (away vs Burnley, away vs Man City) – FootyFantastic (Guy Sanchez)
I say Zlatan is the obvious pick because, as of this moment, he’s already owned by more than 30% of you in the game. And as the week moves along, I’m sure that number is sure to rise even a bit higher. He only trails Lukaku for ownership percentage amongst forwards, and he’s the 4th highest scoring striker on the board for fantasy points. Oh, and he has a DGW this round. Suffice to say, he’ll be getting his fair share of armbands this week from the herd.
And that’s not to say that the herd mentality doesn’t have some merit here. As I said yesterday, United have proven themselves perfectly capable on the road this season, and Ibra maybe even more so. Of the 17 goals that Ibra now has on the year, 10 of them have come whilst playing away. And that kind of makes sense when you think about it. To be successful, Ibra needs to be the center of attention, he needs everybody to know that he deserves every goal he gets. And my feeling is that the crowd at Old Trafford are just so full of self-entitlement and general haughtiness that is sort of drowns out Ibra’s ego a bit. And if his ego is muted, he’s just a tad less effective. But once he’s on the road and gets to be the true center of attention again? Bingo Bango.
This is all very scientific, by the way. We armchair analysts from the States have a very rigid methodology when judging such things.
I’m sure the rest of the writers on this panel have made some great cases for their picks this week (except Mito maybe, he drew short straw last I checked), but no matter what they say, Ibra will be one of the most popular choices for captaincy in practice. And that’s important to take into account. Picking a differential captain is good fun and all – but you’re not really betting on yourself being right. You’d be betting on the masses being wrong, and that can leave your board full of red arrows when the round ends if your bet was in error.
Harry Kane (away vs Crystal Palace) – Mito21
There was a story once about a young prince who would one day save England and
Arsenal sorry, save Spurs. I can’t completely be sure if they meant Harry Kane, but for the purpose of this article, we will say it is so. Harry is developing into a world class talent (just play along) and the world will soon be at his feet. This young Englishman should not only be a top consideration for your captaincy this week, he is reaching the stage of MUST OWN! There I said it, he is slowly becoming the one forward you can’t be without.
The case against the others: For all of Hazard’s greatness, consider these numbers. Since the turn of the year Hazard has 5 goals and 4 assists. With less minutes because of an injury, Harry has 12 goals and 5 assists. So Eden might be great, but he hasn’t been Kane good in the last 4 months. Benteke doesn’t have a history of major hauls or being consistent. When you factor in that he plays two very tough teams in his double and that 12 is his biggest haul of the season ( that is Kane’s lowest in his last 3 starts ) then you quickly start thinking, man that guy is not even worthy of a dry hump. The once feared Aguero, couldn’t scare an FPL novice at this point. His last big haul came in October, yeah October! If you have a dog, he has basically aged 3.5 years since Kun last posted double digits. Plus he plays Manchester United. They have only allowed one goal in April on top of not allowing 2 or more since October. Ibra might be the top pick this week for many. Managers really want to get that major haul from the Burnley game. Yet there is one catch to all that. Jose just sat him against Chelsea to keep him fresh. We know he will start Thursday in the Europa and plays City after Burnley. I wonder what game he is most likely to sit? Unless you think he starts 3 games in 7 days after watching him be rested for Chelsea. Plus the fact that United won vs the league leaders, doesn’t help the case for Ibra playing straight through. United showed Jose they could win without him against the top team, why play Zlatan against lowly Burnley instead of having him fresh for City?
Well after covering all the pretenders to the throne, let us turn to the future king, Prince Harry. His last 3 starts have produced 20, 13 and 12 points. For you mathematically challenged individuals that is an average of 15 points per game. Tottenham has scored 22 goals in their last 7 games, so they are turning into a scoring machine, which is great, because all you can ask is that your captain of choice gets chances and he will. In his last 18 starts Kane has 18 goals and 4 assists. Oh sweet Jesus!! That’s a roll that would have him in 300 FPL point territory if he had played all games and started out like he has been for the last 18. By the way, Palace at home vs the top 5, 4 losses in 4 and have allowed 9 goals in them games.
It is up to you now, will you join me in feasting on the innocence of so many in going for them other choices? I think you will, if not please tweet me your address so I can mail you a shovel so you can dig your own grave.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks Gameweek 34. This article was written by Cookie, GP, Swirly, Guy Sanchez and Mito
The Fixture Tracker in full…