Hello and welcome back to my series for game week captaincy selection! Each week I will be picking 3 captaincy options for the upcoming game week, broken down as the following –
TOP PICK – The captaincy whom I believe will be the most highly owned and is therefore a risk to go against.
PIPPED AT THE POST – The captaincy which I believe could also haul but may well be a lower EO than we expect.
DARK HORSE – The maverick pick that may have murmurs of anticipation across the community but many will be worried to gamble on.
After what has felt like a very long summer with the Euro’s, the Olympics and a ridiculously early release of the FPL game, football is FINALLY back this weekend and with that comes some key decisions. No doubt you are all frantically ploughing away at your drafts before Fridays clash between Brentford & Arsenal, which kicks off the 21/22 Premier League campaign.
Looking ahead to game week 1, there are some very promising fixtures that we could and should be targeting this week. Manchester United vs Leeds is the pick of the bunch in terms of action, with the same fixture last season producing 8 goals in a 6-2 win for Man United. Could we see a similar score line this time round or will Bielsa have learnt a valuable lesson on how not to approach the tie against Man United? Brentford host Arsenal in the opener on Friday night and I can see this game being full of goals. Brentford will be keen to impress in front of the home fans, whilst Arsenal will be looking to get off to a good start, especially without European football this season. Chelsea v Palace could be a great tie and if Lukaku is available (he hasn’t officially signed at the time of writing) then what a game to start for him! Norwich host Liverpool in a game that I fully expect the majority of captaincies to come from, before we end the weekend of football with Spurs vs Man City and the two clubs that are fighting over the transfer of Harry Kane. That is one that could drag on for a little while longer and we will no doubt come back to soon.
So, without further ado, here are my 3 picks for Game Week 1.
TOP PICK – Mo SalahEmbed from Getty Images
I had to pick him as my top pick this week didn’t I! I fully expect Mo Salah to be well over 50% owned going into this first round of fixtures and I have no doubt that his EO will be well over 100% post that Friday night deadline. He has had a summer to rest and recuperate after a very tough season in which he still managed to score 22 goals and bag 6 assists. Although he hasn’t set the world on fire in pre-season, I just get the feeling that this away tie against Norwich could be the perfect start for him. In front of the canaries’ home fans, I don’t think Norwich will come out parking the bus and Salah could very well exploit any space left in behind that defence. If you chose to go against Salah from the off then you are a braver person than I am, that is for sure!
Looking at Liverpool’s first 6 fixtures, I think it would be ambitious to go against Salah not hauling in any of them and that is why I will not be going without him. Arguably, you would be looking to captain him 4 times in the first 6 weeks and you run the risk of dropping way behind early on if he goes big in at least 50% of them. I don’t doubt that Salah will once again be targeting the golden boot this season and if he is to get it, he needs to produce the goods against teams that Liverpool would be expected to comfortably beat. For that reason, Salah is my top pick for the week.
PIPPED AT THE POST – Bruno FernandesEmbed from Getty Images
Bruno Fernandes is a very close 2nd choice this week for me. There has been a lot of debate amongst the Twitter community as to whether it is Bruno or BruNO. I too have drafted several options without him, but I just can’t bring myself to stick with that decision. At almost 50% ownership prior to game week 1, it would hurt if he were to bag a few double pointers in the first 6 weeks. As I said previously, the Man United v Leeds game last time round was a thriller and I am not expecting it to be any different this time round either. Plus, with Sancho getting up to full fitness and likely ready from GW2, it is simply another player for Bruno to feed or even benefit from potential penalty wins. Sancho is certainly the type of player who could draw fouls with his pace and trickery.
Again, the start of the season for Man United is relatively comfortable before they then face 4 rivals back to back in GW 8-11 for those top 4 spots. From GW15 however, I fully expect we will ALL be on triple United as they have a glorious run of fixtures from GW15 all the way to GW27. If you go without Bruno from the start, you could potentially be priced out of him by the time those fixtures come around.
We all watched the Euro’s and he wasn’t particularly impressive, but Bruno is a very different beast with this United squad and for that reason he is just pipped at the post for me.
DARK HORSE – Jamie VardyEmbed from Getty Images
My first Dark Horse of the season goes to Jamie Vardy. I personally feel he has been priced out of the game somewhat with his £10.5m price tag from the off, but he wont care. With Iheanacho & Daka as options up top, as well as a returning Harvey Barnes amongst others, I think Leicester could have a great season in the league and in Europe. Vardy is unlikely to be slogged for 90 minutes week in week out with the options Rogers has and this could be beneficial to Vardy and his owners. Yes, we could see him taken off after 60-70 minutes regularly, but this allows him to be explosive for the duration he is on the pitch and do what he does best, score goals!
At the time of writing, just under 12% are looking to gamble on Vardy and I can certainly see why. It is a mixed start to the season which includes West Ham, Man City & Man United in the first 8 games but Leicester have proven they can go toe to toe with anyone on their day. The opening fixture against a Wolves side with a new manager and a squad that seemingly hasn’t recovered following key departures over the last couple of seasons is one that can be targeted. Personally, I will be on Harvey Barnes from the off but I genuinely feel that Jamie Vardy could haul in this one. For those willing to take the punt, I wish you all the best!
So, in summary, my picks are as follows –
TOP PICK – Mo Salah
PIPPED AT THE POST – Bruno Fernandes
DARK HORSE – Jamie Vardy
Get those teams locked in and good luck for the season!
Thanks for reading!
Clean Sheet Wipeout – Co Host of the ‘Season Keepers’ podcast.