As much as some fantasy premier league managers complain about how the game has changed season to season, one truth has remained steadfast: the right captain pick will one hundred percent make or break your gameweek score. My own personal record of picking correctly has been pretty piss-poor in 2017, but I keep reminding myself that you have to play the best choice with the information at hand and not beat yourself up too much for getting it wrong. I’m hoping to improve and see green arrows again, and if not, then I will ask for support from this week’s theme and everyone’s favorite household object, whiskey! Best of luck!
Scotch – While Harry Kane is showing up at the top of a lotta captain polls, I think the case for Mr. Mo Salah is much stronger. Kane, under some forms of logic, is being viewed as a “safe” pick due to his history of scoring in the North London Derby and that he and Spurs have been road monsters this campaign. I get it also because the Gunners can’t play a full 90 minutes with good, consistent defence, and Wenger’s supposed tactics will surely have Arsenal chasing during the match. Chasing = good for the Spurs front line.
That being said, for me the captain decision is all about Salah. He is the form pick, has been destroying the competition all season, and home to Southampton is an absolutely wonderful fixture to adorn his arm with a C made from fine, Egyptian cotton. Furthermore, Mane returned to full training on Thursday after having a previous injury scare earlier in the week, and Coutinho played 68 minutes versus England at Wembley over the international break. Those two will feed Salah the rock and should set him up for a healthy offering of shots on target. The big four attacking options for Liverpool (lest we forget about Firmino) have yet to start a match together this season, and I think Klopp will want to see them together in some limited action this week with a champions league tilt with Sevilla next Tuesday, followed by Chelsea visiting Anfield the following weekend. I anticipate seeing his best side come to play as Liverpool gear up for a huge week followed by a very generous run of fixtures.
Bourbon – If you want to avoid a “popular” player, I think Richarlison home to West Ham is a great shout. We know his attacking this season has been off the charts, and a home fixture versus West Ham missing their best defender in Jose Fonte is an incredibly juicy matchup. While I wouldn’t captain him over Salah, I see the potential there for a big week as Watford look to rebound from a disappointing loss to Everton. My gut tells me a young player like Richarlison will respond well from their last match, especially with extra motiviation from how their last league tie ended with him earning the last second penalty, racing to the penalty marker to take it, and proceeding to watch Tom Cleverley shank the game-tieing opportunity. Richarlison would like his goal back, Tom.
Well – My cheap cheeky pick of the week is Glenn Murray! Kidding…
My kidding-but-not-kidding-but-actually-am-dreamily-dreaming-pick for this week is Alex Iwobi. The young Nigerian international with deep London roots has been nothing short of sensational for the Super Eagles, bagging a brace versus Argentina in a friendly played in Russia after already leading them to a World Cup birth in 2018. On the flip side, he’s only started 4 matches for Arsenal, but did play 77 minutes in their last premier league match versus Manchester City with Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez and Xhaka alongside him, and I think his performance versus Argentina shows he’s hungry to help turn Arsenal’s season around. Is he actually worth a captain arm band? Probably not compared to the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey, but still, I like the kid and wanted to give him a shoutout on my only avaiable digital platform.
If you have no faith in my Iwobi pick, then I’d say go with Wilfried Zaha. Crystal Palace hosts Everton, who may or may not have figured out their starting lineup. With Benteke out, Zaha featured as a false nine and scored two goals at home vs Chelsea and West Ham. However, Christian Benteke was back to training this week and might feature in their weekend match, and I expect Crystal Palace’s early season run of terrible play to turn around. Similar to last year, if Palace play well it will be because Zaha is returning some points for the 4.6% of fantasy managers that own him.