GW38 – 3 Shades of Captaincy

Patrick Bamford
cleansheetwipeout
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Hello and welcome to my new series for 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.

I thought I would give it a trial run for the remainder of the season, take on board any of your comments and then start a fresh going into the 21/22 season.

Last weeks picks went well didn’t they… Let’s not kid ourselves, it was a bit of a disaster for captaincy returns with the highly owned assets largely failing to deliver. With one game week left of the season, lets try and bag a clean sweep of captaincy hauls this time round. Plenty did return however in the likes of Antonio, Lingard, Bamford & Robertson, but we didn’t call them out last time round!

The picks for game week 37 scored the following points last week –

  • TOP PICK – Fernandes – 10pts
  • PIPPED AT THE POST – Kane – 2pts
  • DARK HORSE – Greenwood – 2pts

Now looking ahead, game week 38 is finally upon us. It is nice to see a schedule of fixtures all on the same day and at the same time. Plenty of dead rubbers to come but with fans in attendance for all of the home teams, I expect some may look to put in a performance in front of a crowd. There is also the fight for the UCL spots between Leicester, Chelsea & Liverpool, with the latter two looking likely favourites to clinch the spots after the results in GW37. However, I wouldn’t write off Aston Villa causing Chelsea a few problems in front of their fans, particularly after coming out of a 3-1 win against Spurs..  

TOP PICK – Mo Salah
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Once again, I expect Mo Salah will be the most highly owned captaincy option this week and his EO could be huge. Following the crazy last-minute winner against West Brom and then a comfortable 3-0 away win against Burnley in GW37, Liverpool have UCL qualification very much in their hands but they will not want to let that slip having fought to achieve it. The fact they play their final game at Anfield in front of a good-sized crowd should ensure that they do not take their foot off the gas. I expect finally getting to hear ‘You’ll never walk alone’ sung again by thousands of fans beforehand will give the players that little bit extra to get the job done.

The other reason that I expect Liverpool to win and win comfortably is the amount of injuries that Crystal Palace are having to deal with. Eze has an Achilles injury that could see him miss some of next season, whilst Benteke picked up a knock against Arsenal. That is on top of the injuries and knocks they already have within the squad. Palace tired towards the end of the game and conceded 2 very late goals to eventually lose 3-1. Their season is done, they have had the parade for Hodgson leaving and I can’t see them having the tenacity and drive required to give Liverpool a tough game this weekend.

Against Burnley, Salah didn’t exactly have his best game of the season. 4 shots in the box but none of them were on target. It was very much a game in which Liverpool created a lot but couldn’t hit the target generally. They had 20 shots on goal but scored with their only 3 shots on target. Largely wasteful but on the flip side they put their chances away when they hit the target. Salah is also joint in the race for the golden boot with Harry Kane, both of whom are sat on 22 goals. You would have to say that Salah is the firm favourite going into the final game of the season given the fixture, but I am sure he will want to put away a couple of goals to make it certain. That is why I, along with many many others no doubt, will be putting the armband on Mo Salah

PIPPED AT THE POST – Trent Alexander-Arnold
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Now this week’s pipped at the post is one that I often wouldn’t go for. In fact, the only defender that I have captained this season was Cancelo and that was a success… I am not sure why I don’t punt on defenders more often, particularly wing backs and those who play way out of position! But the player that is my ‘pipped at the post’ pick this week is Alexander-Arnold. With a point to prove to Southgate and only 1 game left to do so before the Euro squads are announced, I am expecting TAA to go big against Palace.

One of the main reasons over the past couple of seasons for paying such an inflated price tag for TAA has been his attacking output, as well as the possibility of clean sheets. However, for one reason or another this has not been a good year for Liverpool and it also shows in the attacking numbers for both TAA & Robertson. Trent has only accumulated 2 goals and 8 assists this season, which is far and away a poorer return than seasons gone by, which led people to question whether he was truly worth the price. But ever since game week 30, TAA has finally got going and has 5 assists and a goal in the 7 weeks! Now that is the player we all love to own. With those attacking returns come BPS and TAA has a habit of stealing of 3 bonus points when he picks up a return.

TAA has accumulated 61 points in those 7 weeks. He has also not been shy of shooting on site, taking 18 shots in the 7 weeks with 5 being inside the box. He has also played 28 key passes which have directly led to a teammate having an opportunity at goal and the 5 assists he does have could have been a lot more had they have taken their chances. In the reverse fixture, Liverpool beat Palace 7-0! Now I am not expecting this to be repeated, but I do believe we could see Liverpool put 3 or 4 past Palace so the attacking potential for TAA is there. Add that to a high probability of a clean sheet and we could very well see a double-digit haul from Trent to end the season. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off putting the armband on TAA to end the season.

DARK HORSE – PATRICK BAMFORD

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My final Dark Horse of the season goes to Patrick Bamford. Bamford has had an exceptional season for Leeds, scoring 16 goals and assisting 11. That goes hand in hand with a brilliant return to the premier league for Leeds. They have cemented a top 10 finish and depending on results elsewhere this weekend, they could well find themselves a little higher up the league come 6pm on Sunday. Leeds have been one of my favourite teams to watch this year and no doubt that has been the same for many. All this talk about ‘Bielsa Burnout’ but Leeds have gone from strength to strength and have thrived against those that wanted to break away to the nonsense that was the ESL, picking up points against all 6 of them across the season.

Bamford can often be a player that frustrates, seeing early substitutions or looking rather isolated in some games when Leeds cannot seem to get going. I for one have suffered this but when you then look to bench him the following week, he punishes you! He did this in game week 37, coming home with a 12-point return against Southampton. However quite a few of these frustrating games have come when Leeds have played at home on an awful surface both before and after they replaced the pitch. I just hope they manage to sort their issues over the summer and we can see the style of football Leeds enjoy playing week in week out.

Leeds play at home this week against West Brom and I have no doubt that the crowd at Elland Road will no doubt be buzzing and get right behind the boys. With West Brom relegated and coming out of a 3-1 defeat to West Ham, I can see Leeds running riot this week to end their season. In the reverse fixture, Leeds came away 5-0 winners against West Brom and ran riot with chance after chance on the day. With the likes of Raphinha, Harrison & Dallas alongside Bamford I have no doubt they will be creating plenty of opportunities. Bamford also has an outside chance of making the Euro squad, but I feel it would take some late injuries elsewhere to see him getting a call up. Personally, I believe he deserves his chance, but I just can’t see Southgate changing his mind.

I will be playing my triple up of Leeds stars this week and genuinely expect returns from each of them. We shall see if that comes true soon enough!

  • TOP PICK – Mo Salah
  • PIPPED AT THE POST – Trent Alexander-Arnold
  • DARK HORSE – Patrick Bamford

One last week, one last push to climb those mini leagues and take those bragging rights into next season! It has been great fun starting this weekly captaincy article and I cannot wait to start it fresh next season.

Get those teams locked in and good luck!

Thanks for reading.

Clean Sheet Wipeout – Co Host of the ‘Season Keepers’ podcast.

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