WITH ANOTHER ROUND OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GAMES PAST US, IT’S AGAIN TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS WITH OUR FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE SIDES. WITH FOUR OF THE TOP SIX TEAMS FACING EACH OTHER, IT’S BOUND TO BE ANOTHER TRICKY WEEK FOR CAPTAINCY CHOICES. I LOOK AT MY TOP 3 CANDIDATES FOR THE ARMBAND.
1) Harry Kane : [ vs CRY , £10.7M , 31.5% ]
After a week’s absence, he’s back; and back at the top of the captain picks. The last game he played, Kane crushed the Wembley curse theory to bits with a 16-point haul against Liverpool. In a week where 4 of the top 6 square off against each other, it’s hard to look past the the top scorer facing the bottom side at home.
Although Kane has scored 6 away goals compared to his 2 at Spurs’ adopted home, his stats are actually better at Wembley. He takes 7 shots per game, 4.4 in the box and 2.4 on target at home. Away, it’s 5.5, 3 and 2.3 respectively. With the ‘hoodoo’ now firmly broken, Kane should be converting those underlying statistics into more and more goals. It has been a similar trend for his side too. Even though they’ve scored only 7 of their 19 league goals at home, they take 20.8 shots per game at Wembley, as compared to 15 away. And both will be sky high on confidence, after a massive win over European champions Real Madrid at the very same Wembley on Saturday.
The opponent is as good as it can be too. Despite a seeming resurgence, Crystal Palace still lie bottom of the table. Having conceded 21 goals, they’ve conceded the most. On the road, they’ve conceded 14 in the last 4 in all competitions. An encounter against a Spurs side who have now scored 7 in their last 2 home games – against Liverpool and Real Madrid, might be a challenge too far for them. And if there’s anything Kane loves, it’s a London derby. His goals per game ratio in London derbies is now 21 goals in 29 games, and is only second to Thierry Henry for players with minimum 10 apperance.
Even for this season’s standards, Kane seems too obvious to overlook.
2) Mo Salah : [ vs WHU , £9.3M , 36.4% ]
Despite leaving a slightly bitter taste in captainers’ mouths after his penalty miss last week, Salah remains in second place for GW11. The Egyptian has still maintained his good form, and with his assist, has now notched up almost a return every start – 5 goals and 3 assists in 9 starts. With Phillippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane still expected to be out, the Egyptian should again be the main man for Liverpool. He’s still getting a tonne of chances. He is now 4th in shots taken (34), behind Kane, Lukaku and Richarlison, while he’s now jumped level with Kane on most shots on target (21), despite much fewer minutes than all the other 3. In all competitions, Salah has kept his consistency running – he now has a goal or an assist in each of his last 3 games, and warmed up for this encounter by scoring Liverpool’s opener against Maribor in midweek.
In West Ham, he faces an opponent he’d be licking his lips against. Much like Crystal Palace, their ‘resurgence’ has mostly been attacking too. The Hammers have conceded 19 goals so far, only less than bottom 2 sides Everton (20) and Palace (21), both of whom have already sacked their managers. For most teams, a home clash is something they look forward to; for West Ham, it’s the other way round. It hasn’t been easy settling in to the London Stadium for them. The last game they played here, they were embarrassed 3-0 by newly promoted Brighton. They conceded 3 in their last derby at home too, against Spurs. In what could perhaps be Slaven Bilic’s last game, Salah in particular, a speedy winger, will definitely enjoy the huge width of the pitch.
If you don’t own Kane, Salah’s the outstanding choice.
3) Tammy Abraham : [ vs BRI , £5.9 , 15.2% ]
In a week where a majority of the top sides clash against each other, Tammy Abraham rises to the fore as the differential punt. In the past few weeks, the youngster has started to show signs of his massive potential. Almost all Swansea do seem to be through the Chelsea loanee. He has now directly contributed to 5 of their 7 goals, with 4 goals and an assist. And against newly promoted Brighton, you can again expect him to be in the thick of things. Abraham’s involvement has been growing slowly but steadily. He has taken 7 shots in the last 3 games; he took 9 in all the first 7 put together. And with 2 goals and an assist in the same last 3, he’ll be high on confidence.
In Brighton, the striker who spent last season in the Championship will face opponents more up to his speed. They may have a solid record so far, but it’s down to two things – Mat Ryan’s heroics and mostly negative opponents. At home, in dire need of a win, you can bet Swansea will go for it. And if they d0, it’ll very likely be through Abraham.
A risky pick for certain; but that’s what differential punts are, aren’t they?
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