Upon the announcement of the fixtures for Double Gameweek 37, there was only really one man that came to people’s minds for their captaincy option: Harry Kane. This also includes many who earmarked their Triple Captain chip for “Sir Harold” during his fixtures against West Brom and Newcastle, which look hugely promising. The memory of last season’s hauls against Hull (hat trick in a 7-1 win) and Leicester (four goals in a 6-1 victory) remain top of mind for many an FPL manager.
There were, of course, other options in people’s minds initially, one being Romelu Lukaku. However, inconsistent form, continual lack of explosiveness and an injury picked up in the Arsenal game has dropped him off most people’s radars. Similarly, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal also garnered initial interest, however the Gunners’ extended stint in European competition seemingly damns the Gabonese striker to playing with the second string reducing his appeal.
Two further protagonists have emerged as alternatives to Kane for the armband this Gameweek. They are Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. Both have been in fantastic form, and fixtures for a rampaging Manchester City – at home to Brighton and Huddersfield – couldn’t be any better.
Is it possible that they could be the best options for the captaincy pick, wrestling the armband from the Spurs and England forward?
We have analysed all three and assessed their potential as the captain pick for the Double Gameweek, with an infographic designed by our designer Marco:
The in-form pick, Sterling has been intimidating defences week in, week out and illustrated his explosive potential in a swashbuckling performance against West Ham where he delivered a hattrick of assists. He could easily have a couple more, and also should have won a penalty as the West Ham defence just couldn’t handle the much-improved winger!
He could also have netted a couple of goals and had more shots than any other player in the last Gameweek with six, two of which were on target. Sterling is a player that can always generate an opportunity out of nowhere and, though he has been criticised in the past for his lack of end product, a total of 18 goals is certainly not to be sniffed at. Only Mo Salah has outscored him this season for midfielders.
His underlying stats in the last six gameweeks are also insanely impressive. In five appearances, he’s had 20 goal attempts, 16 of which came inside the box. This translates into a chance every 20.3 minutes.
Adding to the fact that he will score additional points for a clean sheet picked up and for any goal scored over the strikers, the underlying stats suggest he is the stand out pick with the biggest points ceiling.
The biggest risk for those who are captaining him, perhaps, is the danger that he may not start both games. There are fears that he will be given a rest in what is a tight turnaround in fixtures, with just three days separating the Huddersfield and Brighton fixtures. He has started the last six games in the Premier League but, with the title sewn up and many others like Bernardo Silva knocking on the door for more game time, there are worries he could be given his rest.
For those who play the Football Index (18+, sign up here via our affiliate link), Sterling is priced at £3.93 at the time of writing, having risen 7p in the last week. Good performances in the next couple of games will no doubt boost his price even further, especially with the World Cup on the horizon which will garner lots of media attention.
The Brazilian is the other big option for City. He unexpectedly entered our thoughts a few weeks ago, benefiting from the injury to Sergio Aguero. Rotation is unlikely, with Jesus nailed down for the number 9 position until the end of the season. Lukaku’s injury has given many managers the excuse to draft the striker into their squads with over 100,000 transfers in so far this Gameweek – more than any other player.
However, do we trust him enough to give him the captaincy in such a crucial Double Gamweek? He certainly has the form, having registered four goals and three assists in his last five starts in the league, which is a very decent return. He has had plenty of opportunities in front of goal too, as he’s also fired in 12 goal attempts, 10 of which were inside the box – a chance every 29.5 minutes. When City played Huddersfield and Brighton away from home in the league, they only scored 2 goals a piece. However, at the Etihad, in the form City are in (nine goals in the last two games!), you have to expect them to score big across the Double Gameweek.
On the Football Index, Jesus has also been rising. He is currently priced at £4.37, a 5p rise over the last 7 days, and 2p rise in the last 24 hours.
Finally we take a look at the man leading the line for Spurs. Fixtures against West Brom and Newcastle look very easy on paper, with West Brom are all but relegated and Newcastle are on the beach – though there has been a slight resurgence for the Baggies in recent weeks.
Over the past few seasons, Kane has proved himself a top notch FPL asset. He has done this yet again this season, accumulating 197 points so far this season from 27 goals and two assists. However, since returning from injury, Kane’s performance haven’t been quite as swashbuckling as we may expect from him – two goals in four games (excluding the ‘ghost’ goal scored in the Stoke game) has not impressed many managers.
When looking at his underlying stats as well, there is a drop in numbers compared to what we have come to expect from Kane. Over the course of the season he has been the most prolific of all active strikers in term of letting fly with shots – he has had an insane 173 goal attempts – 16.3 minutes per chance – which is nearly twice as many as the second most active forward (Aguero). However, the last six game weeks have seen him produce a chance every 33.5 minutes from 11 goal attempts, seven of which came inside the box. This is still high, but below his average for the season – and also outshone boys in Sky Blue.
Another key advantage for Kane over the City men is that, up until now, if he’s fit he seems to play and not be rotated despite Fernando Llorente being brought in for the summer as a backup.
In regards to the Football Index, Kane’s valuation has also seen an increase. The England man costs £9.23 a share, which has risen by 4p in the last 24 hours and 8p over the last seven days. This isn’t quite the £10.00 valuation we saw earlier in the year but, as the World Cup approaches, there is plenty of potential for further rises as well as media and performance buzz dividends.
Harry Kane would look like the most obvious pick and the safest option out there.
Despite looking not his best in recent weeks, the 35.8% owned striker has still notched 26 goals and has plenty of opportunity to make this his most prolific season yet and beat the 29 goals he scored last season.
Could he still also challenge Salah for the golden boot he so desperately craves?
Other options mooted in the forums – the likes of Mahrez, Lukaku, Sanchez, Hazard – do not appeal to the masses in the same way that Kane does.
However, Sterling and Jesus are two real differential options – both have the better form and better fixtures and could easily outscore Kane.
Sterling has particularly strong underlying stats, but managers will have to judge for themselves the risk of rotation. In terms of the opponents, there isn’t much in it.
West Brom and Newcastle have conceded 98 goals, whereas Brighton and Huddersfield have conceded 103. However, it could be argued that both Huddersfield and Brighton will have more to play for, as will Spurs who are still looking to ensure that they secure a top 4 position.
For this writer, Kane is my pick. However, for those chasing points, a punt on one of the City boys doesn’t look like a bad idea at all.
Data from fantasyfootballscout.co.uk
For more information on captaincy picks, FPL Connect also publish a strong article weekly – find the latest installment here.