It’s the weekend, and the only thing that means is that we’re faced with another Fantasy captain conundrum. In this article, I ponder over the top 3 captain picks for Gameweek 4.
1. Sergio Aguero (vs NEW H)
Aguero, the second most-captained player last week, disappointed almost a million captainers with a blank against Wolves. But it could’ve been oh-so-different – Aguero hit the post twice, and had two contentious penalty calls not given, both of which another referee could have easily given. On another day, we could’ve been staring at another 20 point haul rather than a 2 point blank, but that’s just football for you. Sooner rather than later, fortune will even out for a class act.
But Aguero remains as good, and as explosive, a captain as ever. He still is in top form – let’s not forget the 20-point haul last time he played at the Etihad. Which brings me to another point – Aguero at Etihad is a different behemoth altogether. Last season, he scored 15 goals in his 15home appearances – with only 6 in 10 away. So are Man City – last season, they scored 61 goals at home, with a (relatively) meagre 45 away.
But perhaps the thing he’ll be most looking forward to is the opposition, Newcastle. Aguero loves Newcastle – having scored a mindboggling 14 goals in his 9 games against the Magpies. Last time they met at the Etihad, Aguero scored a vintage hat-trick in a 3-1 win. And who can forget his 25-point, 5-goal yielding smashing of Newcastle from a couple of seasons ago? With captain and defensive lynchpin Jamaal Lascelles reported to be out with a rift with Rafa Benitez, it could get ugly for Newcastle. They will, undoubtedly, park the bus like they did against Chelsea, but City face such challenges all year long.
Like I said last week – Aguero is the more explosive choice – more likely to yield a double-digit haul but also more likely to blank, whereas Salah is the safer choice – more likely to yield something, but more often than not a single digit score. Last week, that was spot on – Aguero could’ve had 20 points, but ended up with 2, while Salah got 8. It’s still the same this week – and it’s better to play your odds on the explosive option in the early season.
2. Mohamed Salah (vs LEI A)
It’s fast becoming the defining question of every single week – Aguero or Salah for captain. And every single week, we indeed do have to talk about how Salah’s consistency is the mixture of baffling, yet inevitable. Last season, the Egyptian winger returned in 27 out of 36 weeks he played in.
This season, he’s carried on right where he left off – with 3 in 3 so far. Salah has played the most advanced role in the slick attacking Liverpool side, with Jurgen Klopp even describing him as a striker in his “sort of 4-5-1”. And it’s showed – he’s been relentless in attack, taking 4, 6 and 6 shots in his first 3 games.
As Salah showed against Brighton, he doesn’t even need chances – half a chance will do for him to score. And in this Liverpool set-up, he will get chances all day long, as the focal point. Leicester away may not be the easiest fixture for mortals, but there’s seldom a tough fixture for Salah – he scored 3 in his 2 meetings with the Foxes last season.
Salah will always represent the safer, less explosive choice as compared to a Kane or an Aguero. You can count on him to deliver something, but the other choices are more boom or bust. Salah’s 55% ownership is a factor virtually neutralized too – even Aguero now has 50% ownership – so it really comes down to your style of play – Aguero is the all in or nothing play, while Salah is the safe and sound one.
3. Eden Hazard (vs BOU H) – Differential Punt
With two 50%+ ownership players headlining the week’s choices, a differential punt makes for a welcome change. You can be sure most of the game’s players will captain either Aguero or Salah, so if you want to back another horse, Hazard at 15.3% is a very viable differential punt for the Mavericks.
Hazard’s form has been slowly building up steam – after a Silver Ball winning effort at the World Cup, the Belgian wizard gave an assist coming off the bench in each of his first two weeks. On his first start against Newcastle, he was back at his sizzling best – scoring Chelsea’s opener. Although that was just a penalty, he was a livewire in open play too – taking 5 shots, in a slightly new central role under Maurizio Sarri, as the center of most of Chelsea’s attacks.
He’ll also relish his opponents this weekend, Bournemouth. Hazard has scored 5 goals and assisted 1 in his 6 appearances against the Cherries. With the south coast side adopting a more attacking style of play over their other lower table compatriots, there will certainly be spaces for Hazard to exploit – and playing in an attacking system under Maurizio Sarri seems to be a benefit too. There have been over 2.5 goals in 19 of Bournemouth’s 24 games – the Cherries are often involved in high scoring shootouts. Their 61 goals conceded last season, third highest, only backs that up.
As far as early season punts go, there are few better than Hazard.