With the dust settled on the Champions League games, it is again time to get our focus back to our Fantasy Premier League sides. And as every week, I take a look at and analyze my top 3 captain picks for the Gameweek.
1. ROMELU LUKAKU (HUD A)
Lukaku is out of form, you might have heard. 7 goals in 8, the top scorer in the league currently, 5 in the last 6, and he has only failed to score twice the entire season. The man has set himself standards so high, that this is considered to be out of form for him. A lot of this narrative stems from his performance, or lack of it, against Liverpool. That was just how Jose Mourinho sets his team up against the big sides. Not the likes of Huddersfield.
The Liverpool bus parking seems to have blurred our view on both Lukaku, and United as a whole. Let’s not forget Lukaku still has 11 in 12 in all competitions this season. Let’s not forget he’s the focal point of a United team who were blitzing weaker teams before. A United team that had scored 21 in 7, who were making 4-0’s a regular occurrence, and were matching Man City blow for blow. Don’t let the Liverpool game distract you – they’re both still very much in form.
The opponent, too, couldn’t be much kinder. For the first time in the Premier League era, Huddersfield will take on Man Utd. The new boys did start off well, only conceding 2 in their opening 6 games. However, those were the easier teams. Their frailties have since been exposed by Spurs, the only big team they have faced so far, at the very scene of Saturday’s encounter, their home. Spurs coasted 4-0 past the Terriers, with effortless ease. It was a scoreline that flattered the new boys as they met the harsh realities of life in the top flight. Since then, they even conceded 2 to a Swansea side that had scored 3 in their opening 7.
Still in 58% of all teams, last week was the first Gameweek of the season Lukaku wasn’t the most captained player in. He’s going to be the safest choice, again.
2. GABRIEL JESUS (BUR H)
5-0. 5-0. 7-2. These are not cricket scores from this morning, these are Man City’s scorelines from their last 3 home games. Even calling them absolutely red hot doesn’t do justice to their incredible, unstoppable goal scoring form. 24 goals in the last 5 games. Scintillating, astronomical, unheard of numbers. And there’s no reason that Burnley won’t be the next side destroyed by this Incredible Hulk incarnate juggernaut called Manchester City. Sergio Aguero, an unused substitute in the last two games, is clearly not fit to start yet after his broken rib injury. This means that this juggernaut will again be headed by Gabriel Jesus.
Jesus isn’t the flashy goalscorer. His goals are often tap-ins, from close range. Perhaps that’s why he goes under the radar. Out of every player that has played 15 Premier League games in history, his goals per 90 ratio is the best. The Brazilian has scored 6 goals and assisted 1 in his last 5 league games. He has warmed up for this clash with a goal against Napoli in mid-week, a side with a perfect start in the Serie A so far. Jesus thrives on Aguero being sidelined. During his Man City career, when he has started without Aguero, he has scored in all but 2 games. He was injured in the 15th minute and had to be taken off in one; the other was against champions Chelsea 2 weeks ago, where he made do with an assist.
Opponents Burnley may have admirable away form this season, but the numbers point elsewhere. They have conceded 19.5 shots per game on an average; 3 more than any other side in the league. Away, it’s 26.8 shots per game; 6 more than any other side. The only reasons Jesus is 2nd, and not Lukaku, is that he tends to get substituted off around the 60th minute mark. He’ll still do the damage in the 60 minutes, it just might not be as much damage as Lukaku does.
All aboard, the Man City train.
3. EDEN HAZARD (WAT H) – DIFFERENTIAL PUNT
As the customary differential captain punt of the week, Eden Hazard returns again, at #3. Although the Belgian disappointed against Crystal Palace last week, it was Chelsea as a whole that looked disjointed. Perhaps it was because of the lack of Alvaro Morata, they lacked a man in attack to play off of. But with the Spaniard back, Chelsea, and Hazard, looked back to their attacking best. Hazard, especially, showed signs of scintillating form, as he scored a brace past Roma, usually a solid side. His link-up play with Morata was again delightful, especially in the second goal, where Hazard nicked possession, linked up with Morata, who teed him off for a delightful half volley. The Belgian is a proven commodity in these parts, and last night, he showed just why.
The opponents, Watford, may too seem in form, having beaten Arsenal last week. However, there are underlying defensive concerns there too. They still have 4 centre-backs, in Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl and Tommie Hoban out. Defensive midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is also on the sidelines. The Hornets’ defensive problems were ruthlessly exposed by Man City a few Gameweeks back, as they smashed 6 past them, as well as Liverpool to an extent, who scored 3.
If the commonplace options aren’t your style of play, the 4% owned Hazard should be.