GW26 Captain Choice – The Analysis

Posted: February 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your captain for any given gameweek. Firstly, it is crucial to pick a player that is certain to start and play at least 75 minutes (to maximize any bonus point return). Secondly, the fixture must be in the favour of the captain-elect. Preferably, a player with a home time against one of the weaker/defensively poor sides should be selected. Finally, the captain should have shown reasonable signs of form and/or his team should have shown superior attacking threat in recent game weeks.

While the usual gameweek structure of one game per team allows for easier comparison of the potential captain choices, a double gameweek for two or more teams throws up a number of new factors that affects our choice more than usual. With both Liverpool and Swansea playing twice this gameweek due to Swansea’s upcoming showdown with Bradford City on the 24th of February in the Capital One Cup final, we find ourselves with some great choices for captain this week. However, some choices seem to be better than others. We need cold hard facts at hand to determine who is worth of one of the most important captaincy choices of the season. Shall we begin?

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard was recently highlighted as a superb differential in a recent article here on strategist ( which highlighted his incredible return as a bona-fide fantasy prospect over the course of this season. In the 4 gameweeks that have passed since that article was published, he has amassed another 25 points. What is incredible is that this recent tally, which averages 6.25 points per game, has been scored during away fixtures at Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City, as well as a home tie with Norwich. These facts are highly indicative that Gerrard can score against any team on any ground in the country. While Van Persie rightly merits the “fixtureproof” tag, it is amazing that Gerrard is not held in the same light. Certainly, the stats suggests that he is as good a fantasy prospect as the Dutchman. He has played every single minute of the Premiership season so far for Liverpool and it is unlikely that he will be rested for either game in the double gameweek. In those minutes, he has scored 7 goals, 12 assists and 15 bonus points, (not to mention 9 clean sheet bonus points), and has been booked on four occasions. He is the penalty taker, and with two home games, he could be in line to score from the spot over the next two games. It is worth noting however, that he seems more likely to assist than score these days. This means that, although he will usually figure in the bonus points in any Liverpool win, he doesn’t do enough to get three bonus in any game, a feat he has only managed once all season. His overall scoring, as well as his incredible consistency, makes him a great candidate for captaincy this week.

Minutes: 2250
Total Points: 139

Recent form over last 5 games:
Points: 35 (7 points per game)
Goals: 2
Assists: 4
Bonus: 3

+ Should start and play 180 minutes
+ Excellent recent form
+ Has scored or assisted in 9 of his last 10 games
+ Club penalty taker, with an excellent scoring record
+ Will score 1 bonus point per clean sheet
+ Incredibly consistent returns over the season
+ Regularly scores (or is very close to scoring) bonus points in Liverpool wins
+ Not likely to be booked (good disciplinary record)
+ Two very favourable fixtures

– Seems to be more likely to assist (3 points) than score (5 points) from open play
– Could be a little tired from international duty (90 mins vs Brazil)
– Has only scored 3 bonus in a single game once all season
– Not likely to return an explosive score (12 points or more) in a single game

Daniel Sturridge
It is impossible to not be impressed by how Daniel Sturridge has seamlessly fitted into the Liverpool set-up since his move from Chelsea. Have been cast aside by the Blues, it would be safe to assume that Liverpool would be taking on board a striker short on confidence after a second successive club showed little faith in him. However, the Daniel Sturridge we have seen so far has shown all the attributes that many pundits knew he possessed, but only showed in spurts. He has been a revelation since he swapped Stamford Bridge for Anfield with 3 goals and an assist in his last 4 games. Brendan Rogers has shown immediate faith in his new number 15, so much so that Luis Suarez has been moved to a wide role to accommodate the new man as the most forward attacking player. He is the most transferred in player this week, despite the fact that he was clearly struggling with a knock during the Manchester City game last week. However, with a full week of recuperation under his belt, I expect him to be fit for the first of the two games this week. The only worrying statistic about Sturridge is that, despite his goal scoring heroics, he has not scored a single bonus point in his 4 games so far. However, this is probably due to two factors – firstly, he has played more than 75 minutes in only 1 of this 4 games which affects his chances of getting bonus, and secondly, because Liverpool have been scoring so freely recently, there are many different players vying for bonus in each game. For example, in the Norwich game where Liverpool cruised to a 5-0 victory, 8 different players were responsible for the 4 goals and 4 assists (the fifth was an own goal). Although we have only 4 games to base his form on, he looks like a super purchase for the

Statistics (since joining Liverpool)
Minutes : 273
Total Points: 21

Recent form over last 4 games:
Points: 21 (5.25 points per game)
Goals: 3
Assists: 1
Bonus: 0

+ Has taken the main strikers role at Liverpool
+ Should start both games
+ Has scored 3 goals in his last 4
+ Has scored or assisted in 4 of his last 4 games
+ Two very favourable fixtures
+ Not likely to be booked (good disciplinary record)
+ Rested during Internationals

– Slight concern over knock sustained in-game vs Man City
– Performance not registering as bonus points just yet
– Not certain to play 90 minutes in each game

Luiz Suarez
The new season has shown Luiz Suarez for what he truly is…a world class striker who is capable of destroying any defence in the league. As a player, the Uruguayan has silenced the vast majority of his detractors who have focused less on football and more on some of the controversial issues that have plagued Suarez in recent years. With an incredible 17 goals to go along with 5 assists and 22 bonus, it is clear that he has been a revelation for Liverpool this season. He has easily surpassed last seasons tally of 11 goals, and I would not be surprised if Suarez was closing in on 30 goals by the end of the season. His single-mindedness and ruthlessness in front of goals means that he is not as likely as Gerrard to weigh in with assists, but Suarez is there to score goals and no one can have any complaints on this front. He strongly features in the bonus point allocations, and has scored 3 bonus points on six different occasions this year. Given the way he plays, Suarez is seen as an explosive fantasy player. A quiet patch of 2 games without returns can easily be followed by a hat trick and 17 points for his managers. While Gerrard has scored or assisted in 9 of his last 10 games, Suarez has done the same in 7 games. However, Suarez has more potential to get a massive score than any of his Liverpool team mates in a single game. Although he has been shifted out wide to accommodate Daniel Sturridge, he has still scored two goals and an assist since then. Given the diving controversy recently, it is felt that Suarez is being scrutinized by referees a little more than most and is therefore more likely to fall foul of a yellow card when he hits the ground than either Gerrard of Sturridge, and has been cautioned 7 times so far this season.

Minutes : 2156
Total Points: 146

Recent form over last 5 games:
Points: 35 (7 points per game)
Goals: 5
Assists: 1
Bonus: 6

+ Should start and play 180 minutes
+ Second highest goal scorer for the season (17 goals)
+ Has scored or assisted in 7 of his last 10 games
+ Two very favourable fixtures
+ Most likely to provide an explosive return over the course of 1 game
+ Excellent recent form

– Change in position might hamper returns (data set of 4 games is too small)
– Discipline
– Could be a little tired from international duty (90 mins vs Spain in Qatar)

Miguel Michu
Michu has had the most impressive debut season for many years, and has impacted the FPL game irrevocably this year. Those who gambled on the Spaniard were handsomely rewarded, and it took him just 8 minutes for him to repay the faith of those managers who had correctly identified him as a massive bargain. Having been the top scoring midfielder in La Liga last year with 15 goals despite his former club Rayo Vallecano finishing 15th in the league, he filled the gap left by Gylfi Siggurdsson’s departure to Spurs with aplomb. Two months ago, it would be hard to imagine any double gameweek scenario where Michu was not the automatic captain choice, especially given the two decent fixtures afforded to him this week. And yet, here we are on the eve of a potentially profitable double gameweek, and Michu is well down the pecking list on potential captain choices. In fact, many top players have stated that captaining Michu this gameweek, at the expense of any of the Liverpool trifecta mentioned above, is nothing short of a wild gamble. To put it in simple terms, Michu’s form has been nothing short of terrible in recent weeks. It’s fair to say that many managers have already made up their minds to cash in on Michu but have held out for this double gameweek before doing so. In 2013, he has just one assist to his name, and has not scored since a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on the 23rd of December. There are many theories which attempt to explain his shocking downturn in form, but there is no concrete reason. Some say that Swansea’s demeanour has changes in recent weeks. All but safe from relegation, they are now focused on the Capital One Cup Final, where a place in the Europa League is awarded to the winner. Essentially, Swansea have very little to play for apart for their game at Wembley. Others say that, now that almost all teams have played Michu once and have been able to study his style, they are figuring out how to keep him from scoring and are doing so. Finally, others think that it is highly unfair to expect a new arrival to the Premier League to continue such a phenomenal scoring record. Whatever the reason, the stats speak for themselves. He is not producing for his managers and I think we will see a rush next gameweek to sell Michu. I would expect a £0.3m drop in price next week alone.

Minutes : 2058
Total Points: 135
Recent form over last 5 games: 15 points (3 points per game)
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
Bonus: 0

+ Two decent fixtures
+ Classed as a midfielder, but playing as a striker
+ Not likely to be booked (good disciplinary record)
+ Rested during Internationals

– Very poor recent form
– Slight chance of being rested in Liverpool game due to cup final
– Swansea not looking focused on league

Having focused on the four players above, it would be unwise not to mention a few other double gameweek players, but I would consider these as differential picks. Firstly, Glen Johnson could provide both defensive and attacking points over the two weeks, and given the fact that defenders figure highly in the bonus point selections if they return any attacking points, he could be a super differential. Those of you who owned Ivanovic in Chelseas double gameweek in week 1 will fondly remember his 24-point haul. If you are looking for a differential from Swansea, take a look at Jonathan De Guzman who has eclipsed Michu in recent weeks.

It might seem odd to even consider a player who has one game when others have two games, but both Juan Mata and Gareth Bale have favourable home fixtures and could easily outscore thir double gameweek counterparts. Certainly, for those who do not have Liverpool or Swansea players, both of those two players are great captain choices in their own right. Turning our attention back to the four players who are the centrepiece of this article, it is safe to say that there is a lot to think about between now and the Saturday morning deadline. Much of your choice will depend on the type of player you are and the level of risk you are willing to take.

If you are on top of your league and looking to consolidate your rank, I can’t help but think that Steven Gerrard is the best choice of captain for this week. His consistency is proven, and he has a better chances of scoring some attacking points over the 180 minutes than either Sturridge or Suarez. However, I think Suarez has more potential to explode in any single game, and where he would be less likely to return attacking points than Gerrard in any one game, he is more likely to score higher if he does. I feel that those managers looking to make up ground on a rival might find that Luis is a better fit. He is a fractionally more risky choice than Gerrard, but a superb captains choice in his own right. While Sturridge is also a great choice of captain, I do feel that either Suarez or Gerrard is a better choice.

Unless you have none of the above Liverpool players, I think Michu should NOT be chosen as captain. His recent form has been very poor and Swansea seem to have one eye on Wembley. I am in agreement with the top players on this one. Michu as captain is a silly gamble this week. If he does well and you profit from it, you should count your blessings and move on. Certainly, such gambles will not work out every week and similar moves will have a negative effect on your standing at the end of the season.

No matter how your Liverpool and Swansea players do this week, rest assured that once they have their blank gameweek out of the way in GW27, they both have a good run of fixtures to help you get the most from your acquisitions.

This week has all the feel of one where leads will crumble and new challengers will rise. Best of luck to all my readers!



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