It’s that time of the week again – where we sit down and assess the top captaincy picks for the Gameweek. I look into and analyze my top 3 picks for Gameweek 10.
1. Mohamed Salah (HUD H)
In a week where Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane, the two most popularly owned forwards and regular candidates for this article, face each other, a midfielder rises to the fore. My top pick for this week is Mohamed Salah. Although the common rhetoric is that Liverpool tend to do better against bigger sides than smaller ones, offensively, it has been quite the opposite. And especially at home, where in recent seasons, they have meted out thrashings to the minnows for fun. Last season, out of the 45 goals they scored at home, 31 came in the 10 games they faced bottom 10 sides. In half of those games, they scored 3 or more goals. That’s the sort of result I expect when they take on newly promoted Huddersfield, and Salah should be at the forefront of it.
In 8 starts so far, Salah has been ticking along, with 5 goals and 2 assists. If only the summer signing took his chances better – it is apparent that his finishing is not his strongest suit, yet the sheer amount of chances he gets results in high output. The remarkable amount of chances he gets is apparent in his stats. He has taken 31 shots so far. This is only fewer than Kane’s 57, Lukaku’s 34 and Richarlison’s 32, where he has played 131 less minutes than Lukaku and 71 fewer than Richarlison. His 18 shots on targets are second, again to Kane’s 21. In recent games, he has been in top form as well. He was perhaps unlucky not to score against Man Utd, a game he was a relentless threat in. The Egyptian did score last Gameweek – against Spurs. But the best reminder of his capabilities came in the Champions League game sandwiched in the middle of these two games – 2 goals and an assist in just 54 minutes against Maribor.
The opposition could prove to be conducive as well. Although Huddersfield notched up a remarkable victory against Man Utd last week, it might just have been a flash in the pan. They have still conceded 7 goals in their last 3 games, and the gulf between their defenders and top quality attackers was ruthlessly exposed by Spurs a few weeks back. A battle against Liverpool at Anfield might just prove to be too much.
In the most open Gameweek for captaincy picks so far, Salah seems to be the safest option.
2. Alexis Sanchez (SWA H) – Differential Punt
This week’s differential punt is the 2.4% owned Alexis Sanchez. Even though he has not yet reached the heights of last season yet, Sanchez has now scored 1 and assisted 3 in his last 3 starts. Last week against Everton, he looked more like the player who was the Fantasy top scorer last season, notching up a goal and assist. His constant menace down the left was too hot to handle for Everton, and it could prove to be the same for Swansea. It also bodes well for Sanchez that Arsenal are at home, where they tend to fare better in front of the goal. They have scored 9 of their 15 goals in their 4 home games so far – 5 of their 6 away goals came last week.
Swansea provide the ideal opposition for Sanchez to build on his impressive form. Although they have conceded just 10 goals, it has perhaps been more down to luck. They have given up an average of 15.4 shots per game, 20 away – both numbers only fewer than Burnley and Leicester’s. Arsenal have taken 21.3 shots per game at home, only next to Liverpool. And to make matters even worse for Swansea, their left-back Martin Olsson is likely to miss this encounter. This means that Kyle Naughton will have to shift to the left, leaving the old legs of Angel Rangel at right back to combat Sanchez running at him.
Sanchez provides a differential of undoubted pedigree and explosion potential.
3. Alvaro Morata (BOU A)
Despite his disappointing 1-pointer last week, I plump for Morata as my third choice. The Spaniard appears to be the best route into the Chelsea attack for this fixture, with Eden Hazard usually quieter in away games. Chelsea have looked convincing going forward lately, having scored 7 goals in their last 2 games. There were concerns that Michy Batshuayi, who scored a brace last game, might take his spot. But with Batshuayi having started and played over 80 minutes in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup clash, Morata should spearhead the Chelsea attack again. He comes into this clash with impressive away form, having scored 5 goals in 4 away games in all competitions. This includes a hattrick in his last away start in the Premier League against Stoke.
He, too, faces a straightforward opponent in Bournemouth. The Cherries haven’t looked solid defensively yet, having only kept one clean sheet this far. If you don’t own a Liverpool or an Arsenal player, Morata seems like the best bet for the week.
Note – Man City players
Given the way Man City are playing, there’s a very good chance their assets will be in the goals again. However, I ignore them for my captaincy picks because of the lack of surety about their starts. The risk that the player you pick – be it Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus or Raheem Sterling – as captain, and then him being benched and earning a 1 pointer is too high to outweigh the reward. All 3 started in the Carabao Cup tie, so anyone could be benched. Although Aguero has played 210 minutes in the week; Jesus, only 83, after last week’s curveballs from Pep Guardiola, he has proven that he is impossible to second guess. Just avoid captaining them till there is more certainty.