AS WE MOVE INTO A SUPER HECTIC SCHEDULE OF BACK TO BACK GAMEWEEKS, IT’S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE TOP MEN FOR OUR ARMBANDS FOR GAMEWEEK 13. A REMINDER – FRIDAY 19:45 GMT IS THE DEADLINE FOR THIS WEEK.
1. ROMELU LUKAKU (VS BHA H)
As a Fantasy asset, Lukaku, unlike his contemporary Harry Kane (who, spoiler alert, I’m overlooking for this week), is delightfully predictable. You know exactly when he’ll deliver – against the weaker sides, which makes him the ideal captaincy proposition in such fixtures. His consistency against the weaker sides has been nothing short of remarkable. With his goal against Newcastle last week, he brought his tally up to 8 goals and 2 assists in 10 games against non-top 6 opposition. Against the Toons, Lukaku looked extremely sharp in his movement and link up play too. He perhaps should’ve had more than one, and set up Paul Pogba’s goal with a delightful cross to Marcus Rashford.
Another predictable feature of Lukaku’s output is how most of his success comes at home. In 6 home games, he has 5 goals and 2 assists; in contrast to 2 goals and 1 assist in 6 away games. He takes 4.3 shots per game at home, 3.5 in the box and 1.7 on target; in contrast to 2.7, 2 and 1.2 away. It goes hand in hand with his club’s dominance at home; Man Utd have scored 19 goals at Old Trafford, compared to 8 away.
For Brighton, a showdown at the Theater of Dreams must have been a far-fetched dream a couple of years ago; it has now become a reality. However, they might be in for a harsh reality check as they face off against genuine top quality opposition. Although their defense has held solid so far, it has largely been against fellow weaker opposition.
Still the highest owned player in the game at 48.0%, Lukaku is as safe a play as it can get.
2. LEROY SANE (VS HUD A)
In second place, and for a more explosive, exciting option, I plump for a new face – Leroy Sane. I could go on and on about the irresistible juggernaut Manchester City are turning out to be, but I needn’t say any more than 40 goals in 12 games, with 9 in their last 3 away games in all competitions. They’ve made almost a mockery of the league with their attacking verve, and expect nothing lesser than a cricket score when they turn out at Huddersfield. Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling played in mid-week against Feyenoord, and could face a rest. Gabriel Jesus rarely ever plays beyond the 60 minute mark. This leaves Leroy Sane as the most secure City attacking weapon of choice for this week.
Sane has shown immense form in his breakout season, scoring 6 and assisting 6 in order to become the 2nd top scorer points wise this season, despite limited game time at the start. In just 8 starts, he has 4 10+ point hauls; he also has a 5th, which he managed off the bench in 33 minutes. 3 of them have come in the last 5 games, pointing to strong form. His propensity for explosive hauls will doubtless hold him in good stead as a captaincy option.
In Huddersfield, he faces the exact kind of opposition City could end up scarring for life. Like Brighton, Huddersfield did start off well defensively, but since have had a stark reality check. In the last 2 weeks, they have conceded 7 goals, with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of a 10-men Bournemouth the most deep wound. Before that game, Bournemouth had scored 7 goals in 11 games. Imagine the Terriers against a side that have 40 in 12.
Sane provides the middle ground between dull, safe and maverick, risky.
3. RICHARLISON (VS NEW A) – DIFFERENTIAL PUNT
As the customary differential punt of the week, Richarlison features again, after an impressive showing against West Ham which earned him a goal. The Brazilian starlet has taken to the Premier League like a duck takes to water. He has been a relentless threat down the left wing for Watford. With 43 shots this season, he ranks second in that regard in the league – only next to Kane (64). In terms of touches in the opposition box, with 112, he has the league highest. His form away from home has been especially brilliant – his last 4 away games have yielded 3 goals and 2 assists. He takes 4.3 shots per game away from home, compared to 2.8 at home.
Richarlison will gun to continue his impressive vein of form
The opposition could also prove to be kind. Although Newcastle had been solid thus far, with captain Jamaal Lascelles out, Paul Dummett only just returning and Mikel Merino also unlikely to start, there may be cracks in that side. Their cracks were thoroughly exposed by Man Utd last week, in an off game for the Red Devils. And that is what Marco Silva’s impressive Hornets side will just aim to do.
A risky move for sure, but he’s shown more than once that he can pay off.
NOTE – HARRY KANE
I’m expecting a lot of backlash about the exclusion of Kane this week, but I just cannot justify putting the armband on him again. Whatever his potential may be, the pure facts read that he’s blanked in 5 out of 6 home games. And those 5 include the likes of Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, exactly the kind of profile West Brom fit. He’s continuously struggled against weaker sides at home, and in a week of many alternatives, I don’t think he’s worth a consideration.
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