IT’S TIME TO PONDER UPON OUR CAPTAIN CHOICES AGAIN – AS WE MOVE INTO THE SECOND GAMEWEEK OF THE NEW SEASON.
1. MOHAMED SALAH (VS CRY A)
In a world of increasing chaos, there seems to have emerged one certainty – one you can take to the bank, virtually every week – Mohamed Salah scoring. Many say there’s a second season syndrome for players who take the league by storm one year. However, nothing like this seems to have affected Salah – it was the very same Salah, at the Anfield, against West Ham. Last season, he scored or assisted one in 27 out of 36 games – this season, he’s started with one already.
Although Sadio Mane might have outscored him for the one game last week, we’ve seen over last season Salah is indeed the more reliable choice overall. Salah looked as sharp as he ever had, taking 4 shots on target. He was extremely unfortunate to score just one, as Lukasz Fabianski denied him point-blank on one occasion. The Egyptian only picked up where he left off from last season.
Against Crystal Palace, he’ll fancy his chances again. Although last season Liverpool might have only beaten Palace by 1 goal margins twice, Salah took a shine to the Eagles. The winger scored the winner both times against them, home and away. And although Palace might have emerged 2-0 victors to newly promoted Fulham, the scoreline certainly flattered the visitors – they conceded 15 shots, 6th most in the first week – as only an inspired Wayne Hennessey effort rescued them.
Owned by 54.8% of all players, his ownership only continues to soar. Which makes him the safe pick – you won’t fall much, even if he doesn’t do that well.
2. EDEN HAZARD (VS ARS H)
Representing the middle ground between the safe pick, and the maverick punt, is Eden Hazard. The Belgian forward scythed through defenses at his sizzling best in the World Cup, claiming the Silver Ball. Although he was benched against Huddersfield, owing to post-tournament fatigue – he started from where he left off in Russia, taking just minutes to set up Pedro.
Winds of change had engulfed Stamford Bridge over the summer, as Maurizio Sarri was installed as coach. Sarri-ball, as it is fondly called – took no time to implement, as they won their first match 3-0. The attacking style will no doubt also effect Hazard.
And lastly, Hazard will love this fixture. He’s recently developed a liking for Arsenal, having scored 6 and assisted 2 against them. 2 of them came in the clubs’ last 3 meetings. Arsenal, despite managerial changes of their own, looked resigned to a defeat against Man City. It should have been much worse than just 2, as their new look defense had a sense of doom. It will be interesting to see how they cope in another big game.
Any signs of unsettlement, and Hazard will punish them.
3. ALEXIS SANCHEZ (VS BHA A) – DIFFERENTIAL PUNT
In the eyes of a football fan, Alexis had a horror game against Leicester. But for a Fantasy manager, there were signs of promise. With 4, Sanchez created the third most chances of all players last week. He had an assist, and could have had another had Romelu Lukaku finished an easy chance.
Sanchez, crucially, got in dangerous positions all game long. He had shown signs of his electric best in pre-season, pointing towards the fact Leicester might have just been an off-game.
He will relish the prospect of a Brighton side, who conceded the most shots last week – 19, against lowly Watford. Brighton did not make many additions in the summer, and the lack of reinforcements makes them one of the weakest teams in the league.
At 8% ownership, Sanchez is still an enticing early season differential.
THE SERGIO AGUERO CONUNDRUM
Many wished to captain Aguero this week, with a plum home fixture against Huddersfield. However, with reports of his benching, he is not a safe choice anymore. One thing you want absolute certain is your captain starting – not the case with Aguero. Picking captains is all about maximizing odds – there is no bigger minimizer than a doubtful start.