AS WE MOVE INTO THE FIRST OF ANOTHER 3 GAMEWEEKS IN 7 DAYS, IT’S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT OUR TOP 3 CAPTAIN PICKS FOR THE GAMEWEEK.
1. MOHAMED SALAH (VS EVE H)
In a week where many heavy hitters are top contenders, in first place, I go for the safest choice of them all – Salah. 113 points – 22 more than any other player. 56 points in the last 5, and now owned by 54.5% of all players – 17.1% more than any other outfielder, the numbers portray the Liverpool forward as the safest play.
Although Salah may not have scored in Liverpool’s 5-1 rout of Brighton, and only one in their 7-0 victory against Spartak Moscow, he’s still most definitely the Reds’ main man. The Egyptian forward has taken 20 shots in his last 5 games, compared to Coutinho’s 16 and Firmino’s 12. In all competitions, Liverpool have scored a remarkable 40 goals in their last 11 men. Expect Jurgen Klopp’s men to be as free-scoring as they have been, and expect Salah to be at the forefront of it. It could be boosted if Liverpool line up the same way they did against Spartak – with Salah operating in a front two with Firmino.
And despite the hype around the Merseyside derby, the fearsome Liverpool attack will have their way with the Everton defense. Although Sam Allardyce’s men have not conceded in their last 2, they’re still the same side that conceded 17 in the 5 games before (all competitions). And this time it won’t be Huddersfield or West Ham – it’ll be a Liverpool side in absolutely red hot form.
Owned by over half the game, it can’t get safer.
2. EDEN HAZARD (VS WHU A) – DIFFERENTIAL PUNT
If the safe pick’s not your cup of tea, here’s a pick at the other end of the spectrum. Only owned by 13.7%, Hazard promises to be a differential, despite his own red hot form. In his last 4 starts, Hazard has a remarkable 47 points – the most in the period, including 3 double digit hauls.
The new role, partnering Alvaro Morata up front, seems to have reinvigorated the Belgian. A proven commodity in Fantasy football before, it seems to have added a new dimension to his game. With Chelsea now in great form, he seems to be the best pick. Over Morata, he gets an extra point per goal, a point for a clean sheet, and finds it much easier to fetch bonus points. That’s perhaps the best thing about Hazard too – his floor is high. Against Liverpool, just one assist fetched him 8 points. And his ceiling, as we all know, is remarkably high.
And West Ham. I needn’t say much about West Ham, should I? 32 goals conceded, the most this season. 4-0 to Everton. 4-1 to Liverpool. 3-0 to Brighton. 3-0 to Newcastle. 4-0 to Man Utd. I think you know where I’m going with this.
The riskier pick from the three main men for this week.
3. HARRY KANE (VS STK H)
Some might call it blind faith at this point – but let’s be honest, Kane isn’t in form as bad as we portray him to be. He’s only failed to score 1 time in the last 3 games. And that’s a testament to what the man can do, that what would be considered great form for others, is considered poor form for him.
Although Spurs and Kane have both blown more cold than hot at Wembley, it’s not because of a lack of talent, it’s just because of a lack of luck. And that’s why we continually back them. Kane has just somehow managed to not blow apart opposition in the Premier League. In the Champions League, he’s scored 2 and assisted 2 in 2 games at Wembley – against Dortmund and Real Madrid. Spurs too – topped the group with this opposition in Europe, but can’t beat the likes of West Brom or Swansea at ‘home’.
When they do click though, it comes in the form of a windfall – like Kane and Spurs blew Liverpool apart 4-1 at Wembley, with a 16-point-haul for the man. It’s not a lack of trying either. Kane has taken 6.4 shots per game at home. It’s 5 away. Putting that into context, the player with the next highest shots at home is Salah. With only 4.6. Games like Liverpool have to come more often eventually, it’s just pure statistics.
Against Stoke, it might well be that case. The Potters have conceded 30 goals this season, only second to West Ham’s 32. Their roll of thrashings reads similar too – 3-0 to Liverpool. 4-0 to Chelsea. 7-2 to Man City. Kane seems to have a soft spot for Stoke too, having scored 6 and assisted 1 in his last 3 encounters against them.
He just has to come off, one of these days.
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