FPL Captain Metric: Triple Gameweek 35

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Triple Gameweek 35 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our new captain metric – who will you choose this FPL Gameweek?

Article written by FPL Rover.

BRAND NEW METRIC EXPLAINED: This article (hit the link) explains the concept and working fully >> https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/07/the-captain-metric-explained-2/

Results of the Poll

The following underlying statistics are taken from FantasyFootballHub.co.uk. If you want to gain access to these stats yourself, register to become a member here >> https://fantasyfootballhub.co.uk/freetrial/.

Bruno Fernandes

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 4 appearances
  • 16 penalty area touches
  • 2 big chance created
  • 2 big chances
  • 0 goals
  • 1 assist

Mo Salah

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 4 appearances
  • 35 penalty area touches
  • 2 big chances created
  • 6 big chances
  • 3 goals
  • 0 assists

Kelechi Iheanacho

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 5 appearances
  • 29 penalty box touches
  • 3 big chances created
  • 3 big chances
  • 4 goals
  • 2 assists

Captain Metric

The winner of this weeks Captain Metric will be revealed later in the article.

Spurs forward Harry Kane won the metric in gameweek 34 by some distance; strong form coupled with a great fixture in relegated Sheffield United was the ideal recipe for captaincy. As it unfolded, he went without a return despite Spurs cruising to a 4-0 victory. A hattrick from Gareth Bale and a lovely goal from Heung-Min Son did the damage.

Despite no goal involvement, Kane still posted impressive underlying numbers and should still be considered one of the best options in FPL for the remainder of the season. Against Sheffield United he had twice as many penalty box touches as the next best Spurs player (8), while his six shots were level with hattrick hero Bale.

Turning our focus to gameweek 35, nine teams are scheduled to have two or more fixtures. The postponed Man Utd v Liverpool fixture has now been rescheduled, which means Man Utd will have a triple gameweek in 35. With that in mind, lets take a look at who the best captaincy options are for this gameweek.

Who are the top performers?

We have summarised the data from the past five gameweeks for selected players ahead of the double gameweek in the table below.

Key attacking stats for select captaincy candidates between Gameweeks 30-34

Please note the all data in the article is based on the past five gameweeks unless stated otherwise.

Please note that this shortlist of captaincy options had been populated before the announcement of Man Utd v Liverpool featuring in gameweek 35 (the stats are updated but the chosen group remained the same). As such, you may wish to consider other options outside of this core group if you own (or plan to bring in) other Man Utd or Liverpool players.

Calvert-Lewin (DCL) and Zaha were both included given their team will play twice this week and may have been considered as a differential captaincy option for some. However, the underlying data is extremely underwhelming for both. DCL in particular hasn’t looked very involved recently; just 2.7 penalty box touches per 90 (PBT90) and 2 shots per 90 are much weaker than some of the more in-form players. Zaha himself has only managed 1 shot per 90 which is indicative of Palace’s attacking woes of late.

Looking at the stronger options, Mo Salah is the standout player from an underlying data perspective. 10.9 PBT90 and 5.3 shots per 90 are the highest in the list, while 1.9 big chances per 90 have fallen his way. With a double gameweek coming up and Liverpool pushing for top 4, you wouldn’t back against Salah cashing in on these promising numbers. Creatively, he is also improving with 1.6 key passes per 90, but no assists as a result.

Two of the captaincy options on the list have a triple gameweek; Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. Of the two, Greenwood is posting the more encouraging numbers as a goal threat, while Bruno is certainly better at creating chances for others. Greenwood has excelled at getting into threatening positions (8.1 PBT90), and has scored 1.3 goals per 90 despite only recording 0.57 xG90. Bruno’s attacking threat is much weaker, but his xG90 of 0.32 is on par with Vardy.

Harry Kane is worth a mention just for the fact he has posted exactly 1.00 xG90 and scored 1 goal per 90. It is a shame that Spurs only have a single fixture (vs Leeds) this gameweek given the strength of his goal threat. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he ended up outperforming many who play twice.

Which fixtures should be targeted?

Firstly, here is a reminder of the teams who have two or more fixtures in gameweek 35:

  • Arsenal | WBA (H) & CHE (A)
  • Aston Villa | MUN (H) & EVE (H)
  • Chelsea | MCI (A) & ARS (H)
  • Palace | SHU (A) & SOU (A)
  • Everton | WHU (A) & AVL (A)
  • Leicester | NEW (H) & MUN (A)
  • Liverpool | SOU (H) & MUN (A)
  • Man Utd | AVL (A) & LEI (H) & LIV (H)
  • Southampton | LIV (A) & CRY (H)
Average xG (expected goals) for and against per 90 minutes between Gameweeks 30 & 34

We have to start with Man Utd, who are the first team in around 15 seasons to play three fixtures in one gameweek. United are currently 3rd for attacking threat, behind Chelsea and Liverpool, so that puts them in good standing to score goals. However, with a Europe League semi final on Thursday, followed by PL fixtures on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, rotation is inevitable. The question is whether United have the depth to make multiple changes and still maintain attacking momentum from one game to the next. Man City are arguably the only side who could cope with that schedule.

United’s three fixtures are against Aston Villa (Sunday), Leicester (Tuesday) and Liverpool (Thursday). Of the three, Villa are perhaps the ‘easiest’ given they fall within the ‘weak defence’ category in the xG table (above). Both Leicester and Liverpool are among the better defensive sides of late, while securing European football remains the ultimate objective this season. Expect both to provide a tough game, especially if United are forced to rotate.

For that reason, you may decide that targeting a captain from a team who plays twice is more appealing than going for a United player who may play three times. That team, from a statistical perspective, is Liverpool. Liverpool are 2nd (behind Chelsea) for xG90 in recent games (2.26 per 90). They have endured some tricky spells with poor results, but attacking sharpness appears to have returned in time for a strong finish.

Liverpool recent results (Source: FFScout & Understat (xG)

Just looking at their past three results, they have hit 2+ xG in each game and had 14 big chances. Yes, they only scored six goals, but with the abundance of chances being created they should continue to score. Their first opponent, Southampton, have looked good at times but will no doubt be relishing the summer break. The Saints are 4th for xG90 conceded with 2.02; definitely a team Liverpool could put a few past this weekend.

Man Utd, Liverpool’s second fixture, should be much tougher. In general, United’s games against the ‘big six’ have yielded few goals this season and that trend may continue when they face Liverpool next Thursday. However, with it being United’s fourth fixture in seven days, pride in a derby fixture may be the only fuel they have left in the tank. This may be a rare opportunity for Liverpool to dominate at Old Trafford.

Another team who have a pair of appealing fixtures is Everton, who play West Ham and Aston Villa, both away from home. Only Man City have won more away games than Everton this season, so playing two games away from Goodison Park boots their appeal in the double gameweek. Both West Ham and Villa have looked vulnerable defensively, so would an Everton player make a good captain this week?

Everton recent results (Source: FFScout & Understat (xG)

In short, their attacking form is a massive red flag. They’ve scored just 9 goals from their past 11 games, winning only four times. The most damning stat comes in the form of their goals per game; the 2-0 win at Anfield was the only time Everton managed to score more than one goal in their past 11 games. They certainly feel like a team to avoid despite the appeal of two away fixtures this week.

Who wins the Captaincy Metric?

The winner of the captaincy metric for triple gameweek 35 is Mason Greenwood, with Bruno Fernandes and Mo Salah taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.

You can see the results for all candidates in the table below, broken down by their individual and team contributions towards the metric score. For a more detailed understanding of how the metric is calculated, please click here.

It is also important to note that because some players have two or more fixtures this week, their team score reflects all fixtures and therefore carries the weight of the metric score. In a single gameweek, individual vs team contributions are typically more balanced.

Please note: Individual bias (IB), highlights how balanced their score is between team and individual form. A score below 50% suggests the team has contributed the most weight to their score, while a score above 50% shows individual performances that outweigh that of the team.

With three fixtures this gameweek, the Man Utd pair of Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes are the top statistical choices for captaincy. Individually, Greenwood has shown much stronger underlying numbers which explains why he sits ahead of Bruno in the metric table. While both are strong options for captaincy, please consider that the metric assumes they feature heavily in all three fixtures. In reality, this is unlikely to be the case.

Mo Salah comes out with the highest individual metric score, which suggests he is the most likely to pick up attacking returns this week. Ignoring United, Liverpool also score highest on the team metric which suggests Salah is the best option outside of the triple gameweek players by some distance.

Iheanacho, while not as strong as Salah on the metric, could also be a strong captaincy contender. His first fixture against Newcastle is certainly one of the most appealing in the gameweek, while United’s fixture congestion could mean Leicester have more of a chance to dominate if they choose to rotate heavily. Definitely not one to write off.

My view

The announcement of a triple gameweek for Man Utd will have thrown many well laid plans into chaos as FPL managers scramble to find room for them in their squads. While there could be a huge benefit for doing so this week, it is worth considering the bigger picture before pulling the trigger.

Firstly, United will be playing four games in seven days starting this Thursday in the Europa League. While they don’t have the backup resources afforded to Man City, changes are inevitable in order to prevent high injury risk to key players. If you plan to transfer in or captain United players, be prepared for rest and early substitutions, particularly for attacking players.

Secondly, Man Utd blank in gameweek 36 which means any players you bring in this week won’t have a game next week. Most managers will also have Leicester and Chelsea players blanking in gameweek 36, so adding United players could leave a huge problem to solve next week. It is advisable to assess the impact of any transfers on your future plans to avoid big hits down the road. This could potentially cancel out any gains made from the triple gameweek.

Personally, I feel the best two options for captaincy this week are Bruno Fernandes and Mo Salah. Bruno, while not in great form, should play a significant number of minutes to allow goalscoring and creative opportunities. The fixtures aren’t great for United, and it will be interesting to see how they line up in their Europa League game tonight which could indicate who is likely to start in their ‘easiest’ fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday.

I only own Salah, but even if I had Bruno too I would probably still captain the Liverpool midfielder this week. Liverpool have sole focus on winning their remaining Premier League games, albeit with an outside chance of finishing in the top four. You would imagine Salah plays the majority of minutes across both games, and could be up against a weary or rotated United defence next Thursday evening.

Of the other options who play twice this week, I’d be avoiding the likes of DCL and Zaha with captaincy. Both Everton and Palace have been goal shy for a long period of time, and there’s not much to suggest that will change in the coming days. I’d be keeping it simple this week and backing a United player or Salah; the potential output could be huge!

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