FPL Gameweek 11 – Captain Picks

A home fixture against Southampton promotes the prospects of Manchester City attackers for the captain’s armband, while Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard could be fit to take on Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.


Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) vs Southampton (H)

The Argentinian continued two worrying trends against Spurs at Wembley; Aguero has now failed to score in four of five away games this season and has been substituted by the 70-minute mark in each of the last six gameweeks.

However, the striker’s home form coupled with a visit from Southampton necessitates his inclusion in the GW11 captain picks. Aguero has bagged 47 of his 60 points at the Etihad, scoring five goals and providing four assists.

The Saints have kept two clean sheets in a row with 0-0 draws against Bournemouth and Newcastle. However, Mark Hughes’ side conceded eight goals between GW6 and GW8, shipping three times to both Liverpool and Chelsea.

City are the league’s highest-scoring team with 27 goals so far. While Aguero’s managed pitch time is frustrating owners, the fact that he has started every league game so far is encouraging.

The Saints are conceding an average of 13 shots per game, while only three teams have allowed more efforts in the box since GW7. The signs are positive for Aguero – who still leads the shot charts with 47 efforts on goal so far – to pick up more home returns, despite the strong possibility of reduced minutes.

Eden Hazard (£11.3m) vs Crystal Palace (H)

The Belgian is unlikely to feature in the club’s Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Derby tonight but Chelsea assistant boss Gianfranco Zola has said Hazard “should be okay for the weekend”. While FPL owners would dearly love a further update from Maurizio Sarri on Friday, Zola’s quote means the £11.3m midfielder is under consideration for the armband.

Hazard posted just a second blank of the season in GW9, though the back injury he was either carrying or picked up could have been a mitigating factor in a quieter-than-usual display. The Belgium star still got off four shots (two blocked, three inside the box, one on target) in that 2-2 draw at home to Manchester United.

Alvaro Morata (£8.7m) started that game and the 4-0 win away to Burnley in GW10, which Hazard missed through injury. It remains to be seen how the Spanish striker will affect the Belgian’s output, considering how effective Olivier Giroud’s (£7.8m) hold-up play has been for Hazard in the early gameweeks of this season. The Frenchman is also struggling with a leg problem at the moment.

On Sunday, the Blues take on a Palace side that have shipped 13 goals so far. That is the same number of shots Roy Hodgson’s side concede per match on average. Hazard has fired off 27 attempts on goal so far, one every 24.6 minutes, hitting the target with 11 of those.

If passed fit, the Chelsea talisman – who was pictured in training on Tuesday – will be afforded the opportunity to post attacking returns for the seventh time in ten gameweeks. However, picking a vice-captain that will definitely play when armbanding a potential injury doubt is essential.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs Arsenal (a)

The Egyptian posted his first double-figure score of the season with a 15-point haul at home to Cardiff last Saturday. Like Aguero, Salah is fond of home comforts; the midfielder has scored in four of five Anfield fixtures so far, with a blank against Man City in GW8.

Salah comes up against an Arsenal defence that has conceded 13 times so far (four at home home, nine away), allowing opponents 14 attempts at goal on average. Granit Xhaka (£5.3m) began at left-back in the Gunners’ 2-2 draw away to Crystal Palace in GW10 as Nacho Monreal (£5.5m) and Sead Kolasinac (£4.9m) struggle for fitness. Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) went off injured at Selhurst Park to further Unai Emery’s issues in defence. The right-back has been ruled out of Arsenal’s cup tie against Blackpool tonight and his thigh injury will be assessed ahead of GW11.

Only 23 of Salah’s 65 points have come away from home this season, though two of those fixtures were against tighter defences in Spurs and Chelsea. However, 23 points of that total score have come in the past two gameweeks as the Liverpool attacker begins to capitalise on his underlying statistics. Fixtures away to Huddersfield (GW9) and at home to the Bluebirds (GW10) were clearly accommodating but Salah’s form is certainly improving.

Up against an Arsenal side that could potentially have Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.6m) in the full-back positions, Jurgen Klopp’s attack could do real damage. With Salah often operating centrally for the Reds, Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m) and Rob Holding (£4.4m) could also be in for a long evening. With the North London side playing out from the back under Emery and tending to employ a high defensive line, this fixture could potentially play well to Salah’s strengths.

Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) vs Burnley (H)

The Austrian is another player who will be firmly in contention for many armbands should he prove his fitness. Arnautovic missed GW10 with a “viral illness” and is being checked ahead of the Hammers’ cup clash with Spurs this evening. Manuel Pellegrini has said: “We need to continue monitoring the situation with Marko and his virus."

Arnie has blanked in his last two outings but fired off 10 shots over fixtures away to Brighton (GW8) and at home to Mauricio Pochettino’s side in GW9. The West Ham striker was denied by Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) on several occasions at the London Stadium.

West Ham take on a Burnley outfit this weekend that have conceded the most shots in the league so far, averaging almost 21 attempts allowed per fixture. The Clarets have shipped 11 times in the last four gameweeks, with nine of those coming against quality opposition in Man City and Chelsea across GW9 and GW10.

Arnautovic has totalled 26 shots so far, just over one attempt every 24 minutes, with 12 of those on target. Having scored four of West Ham’s nine goals so far, the Austrian is integral to the Irons’ attacking prospects. He has the potential to add to that tally against the Clarets if deemed fit to play, with reports suggesting he could even feature at home to Tottenham tonight.


Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) vs Southampton (H)

The 2.6%-owned Algerian posted a second consecutive double-figure haul in GW10 as City won 1-0 away at Spurs thanks to his strike. Mahrez has now started each of the Citizens’ last three league ties despite missing a penalty at Anfield in GW8.

Like Raheem Sterling (£11.1m), who is also lowly selected at 6.7%, Mahrez currently looks first-choice under Pep Guardiola but has serious competition for his place. Leroy Sane (£9.2m) is the main contender for one of two wing spots in Guardiola’s three-man attack, though Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) and Gabriel Jesus (£10.2m) are further options in those positions. The City boss can also roll out a 3-5-2 on occasion, with the squad depth possessed by the league champions making life tough for FPL managers.

All of this means captaining Mahrez, or Sterling, comes with a degree of risk that is not currently associated with team-mate Aguero (in terms of starts). However, the ex-Leicester star is one of the top FPL scorers (21) over the last two gameweeks, and the juicy home tie against Southampton on Sunday means Mahrez has both form and fixture in his favour.

Guardiola’s team selection for the cup tie against Fulham on Thursday evening might give some hint to his GW11 line-up, though a Champions League clash at home to Shakhtar Donetsk next Wednesday could further cloud the issue.