This is the start of one of my weekly features highlighting possible captain’s plays for the week. Besides the obvious research in suggesting potential captaincy choices, including sleepers, triple players, and matchup players, the real difficulty in this column is clearly making sure I pick a snazzy title. Captain’s Call? Too on-the-nose. In the Captain’s Chair? No pop to it. Oh Captain My Captain? Too obscure. I’m losing readers already!
So with that sad build up and a modestly appropriate amount of fanfare, I present to you Tapping Your Captain. It has the benefit of sort of rhyming while sounding moderately dirty, which is a win-win in my book. No matter the title and your affinity for it, we all get the point of the column at least, right? Each week I’ll point out a star that you’d probably want to captain anyway if you roster them (a clear-cut captain), a player who is a great choice based on his matchup for the week (compelling, no?), and a pick out of left field I don’t expect anyone to actually use (and chaos ensues!). Throughout the year, I’ll do my best to keep tally of these picks and their performance over the season for the mockery and amusement of readers.
Captain Clear-cut: Romelo Lukaku, Manchester United. The whole intent of this category is to not overthink things. We have a proven goal scorer at the head of an offense centered on him, playing at home against a team coming into the year with some nagging injuries. And even when they were healthy, West Ham wasn’t necessarily locking down opponents anyway. Condolences to runners up like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, who unfortunately take away just enough value from each other to be clear-cut captains for this week.
Captain Compelling: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool. The new face in Liverpool may be primed for a first week explosion as Coutinho looks to be on his way out and has been out of training. Watford leaked 13 goals over their last 4 games of the campaign last year and may be slow out of the gate this year and with new management implementing a new system it would be the perfect time to prey on this team.
Captain Chaos: Tammy Abraham, Swansea. Now we’re talking. Fernando Llorente is hurt, Gylfi Siggurdson has a foot out the door, and Abraham’s been pretty electric so far this preseason with three goals scored. Beyond that, he’s dirt-cheap for a striker and going against a Southampton defense that is definitely feeling the strains of transfer rumors pulling at their club right now. On another day maybe I’d pick a Wayne Rooney at home against an underwhelming Stoke side or Wilfried Zaha manning the middle at Selhurst Park against newcomers Huddersfield. But picking a 19 year old striker in his first real bit of premier league action on the road? That’s what we mean by chaos. Of course, no one hold me to this throughout the season.