With City, Liverpool and Arsenal all looking forward to some tasty looking home fixtures, it takes a mind like Clarke Hutchison’s to separate the wheat from the chaff. The numbers have been ran, the stats have been crunched and the verdict on who to captain in Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 8 is in.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | £11.0m
Arsenal vs Bournemouth
As discussed in the latest Fantasy Weekly Podcast, Aubameyang is the guy you would hate not to own in Gameweek 8. He is yet to blank in the Premier League and is fresh to lead the line versus a leaky Bournemouth defence.
The in-form striker has played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s seven fixtures, scoring seven times. He now has 19 goals in his last 22 Premier League starts and also found the net versus Bournemouth in both of their meetings last season.
With Lacazette out injured, Aubameyang has relished the responsibility of being the ‘main man’. He is not sharing goals with a striker partner, he is not drifting in from wide positions to supplement the build-up. Instead he is the one putting the finishing touches on just about everything, as the rest of the squad look to find him before all others.
Aubameyang hit the back of the net four minutes after Lacazette went off injured in the North London derby and has returned explosively ever since he has occupied the lone CF role, averaging 9 base points and 2.1 bonus points per game.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last season Aubameyang scored the most points of any forward, despite playing just 2722 minutes. He also received the most bonus points of any player (32) and has averaged a 28% conversion rate over the last two seasons. For comparison, Kane has a 16.5% conversion rate over the same period.
Unai Emery also confirmed that the French born Gabonese striker is still the designated penalty taker at the club. He unselfishly handed the duty to Pepe in Gameweek 6, but should step up for the next one – regardless of the circumstances. Aubameyang also converted a freekick in their last Premier League outing, so will be hovering over them in the near future.
There are few negatives for Aubameyang owners, except the unpredictability of Arsenal and his sharp increase in ownership. On their day, Arsenal could score multiple times versus Bournemouth. With that said, their reliability doesn’t compare to Liverpool and Man City.
Raheem Sterling | £12.1m
Man City vs Wolves
Raheem Sterling showcased his importance to Man City in their midweek Champions League fixture. He was substituted in the 56th minute and broke the deadlock 10 minutes later, before recording an assist to put the final nail in Dinamo Zagreb’s coffin.
He turned the game on its head and his goal, instinctive in movement and finish, was very encouraging for FPL managers. This was the type of action which made Sterling so irresistible on the back-end of pre-season and the start of the new season. This goal will have given him a huge boost in confidence.
Pep Guardiola acknowledged this influence last season and began to field him in almost every match. Sterling’s knack of scoring late winners further cemented his time on the pitch. That final 15 minutes of a match are hugely important for FPL returns, as teams begin to flag with fatigue under City’s possession dominance, and Sterling more often than not plays the full 90 nowadays.
Sterling’s involvement this season
In general, when Sterling features for Man City or England, he will either score or be presented with a chance he should be scoring in every single match. If he was as clinical as Aguero, his energy and movement would be rewarded with many more goals.
At this stage last season, Wolves had six goals, 39 shots inside the box and four big chances conceded. These numbers have worsened significantly this campaign, with 11 goals, 57 shots inside the box and 12 big chances conceded.
Their European venture is not healthy for their standing in the league and Sterling is ready to pounce after their mammoth effort to defeat Besiktas away from home on Thursday evening.
Looking for the ‘safe’ captaincy choice this week? Then Sterling is your man. He is owned by almost 40% of managers and will likely have the highest captaincy percentage when the deadline passes.
If you are content with your rank and want to limit fluctuation, Sterling offers excellent potential of returns, but also with the fall back of if he fails, a large percentage of managers fail with you. If he succeeds, however, and one of your more ‘out there’ picks for captaincy blanks, your rank could plummet.
Mohamed Salah | £12.5m
Liverpool vs Leicester
Leicester are tough opposition this week for Salah, but his home form coupled with Liverpool’s flawless start to the Premier League season can’t be ignored.
Salah has picked up 36 points at Anfield so far this season, which is 68% of his total points tally. This is very impressive; made even more so by the fact he has actually played just three home games in the league compared to four away fixtures.
|Norwich (H)||12 points|
|Southampton (a)||3 points|
|Arsenal (H)||15 points|
|Burnley (a)||6 points|
|Newcastle (H)||9 points|
|Chelsea (a)||5 points|
|Sheffield United (a)||3 points|
|Salzberg (H)||2 goals|
Salah is averaging 12 points per game at home and 4.25 points per game on the road. It’s clear that he is feeding off Liverpool’s prolific tendencies at Anfield. They average 3.3 goals at home compared to 2 on their travels. He also hit a brace in their most recent home UCL fixture.
There’s this readily accepted belief that Leicester away is not a fixture to consider captaining in, but I’d argue against that. Brendan Rodgers has managed eight away fixtures since taking charge and has conceded in every single one of them – including in a trip to Huddersfield.
If Oli McBurnie, a guy who is known by Scotland fans as the forward on a permanent goal-drought, can score at home to Leicester this season, then Salah shouldn’t have any problems in converting. At the very least, he should be getting into positions to convert.
The fact remains that Leicester are a stronger opposition – especially in defence – than Aubameyang and Sterling’s home fixtures.
This is a very open week for captaincy, with Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool all playing at home. If you are trailing by a large margin or else don’t own either of the other two on this list, then this is the perfect opportunity to place your faith in Salah and Liverpool’s superb home form.