FPL Gameweek 5 – Captain Picks

The GW5 picks feature two players from both Manchester City and Chelsea, as the fixture list suggests backing a Citizen or a Blue with the armband this weekend could be profitable for FPL managers.

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Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) vs FUL (H)

The Argentine rewarded GW4 captainers with an assist, while seeing a second chalked off as Gabriel Jesus (£10.4m) scored from an offside position.

Aguero also picked up one bonus point for his display against the Magpies, though he failed to hit the target with any of his four shots (two off target, two blocked) at the Etihad.

Only Huddersfield and West Ham (both 10) have conceded more goals than City's GW5 visitors Fulham (9) so far this season. The Cottagers have allowed opponents an average of 16 shots per match over four gameweeks.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic is keenly aware of his team’s need for defensive improvement and he planned to use the international break specifically to work on that area.

Jokanovic said: “This international break, I will probably try to use it as a mini pre-season because I didn’t have the opportunity to work with many players before the Premier League started.

“When we check the players who will be part of the international game or not, 95% of my defensive line will stay with me.

“This is a moment where I can make extra work with them and send them some message of what we need to do to improve and make some practice in the training ground to keep going on this improvement process. You ask me about Mawson – all the players, not just him, need work and adaptation to our style.”

Alfie Mawson (£5.0m) made his Fulham debut in GW4, as Jokanovic’s side let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 with Brighton. Following the match, the defender said: "We are conceding too many cheap goals. It has to stop - I won’t allow it.”

While the promoted side’s intentions are clear, it’s hard to see the defensive work paying immediate dividends against a City side firing off a league-high 22.8 shots per game.

Having been one of several star names rested from the Argentina squad for this international break, Aguero should be fighting fit to severely test a Fulham outfit that have conceded 12 big chances so far.

Eden Hazard (£10.7m) vs CAR (H)

The Chelsea star left if late to bag an 11-point haul in GW4, firing home from a Marcos Alonso (£6.8m) pass in the 85th minute against Bournemouth.

Now approaching the 20% ownership mark, Hazard – along with Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) – is the only midfielder in double figures for both shots (10) and chances created (10).

The Egyptian has fired off 19 efforts on goal and created three more chances than the Chelsea man, but his clock shows 338 minutes to Hazard’s 223.

Chelsea host Cardiff, who have already kept two clean sheets this season, in GW5. However, both Newcastle in GW2 and Huddersfield in GW3 were reduced to 10 men for 30-odd minutes against the Bluebirds, while Kenedy (£5.0m) missed a penalty for the Magpies.

Up against a Blues side that have scored at least two goals per game so far, Neil Warnock’s men will face a massive test to make it three shut-outs in five fixtures.

Hazard, who scored a stunner for Belgium against Scotland last Friday, will be aiming to post attacking returns for the fifth gameweek in a row.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs TOT (a)

The Egyptian has suffered over 185,000 transfers out since a first blank of the season in GW4, but the aforementioned shot and chance-creation statistics suggest it will not be long before another points haul.

While expected goals and assists are just one piece of the puzzle in regard to figuring out the best players to select for your FPL squad, Salah’s numbers over four games (xG 3.11, xA 1.72) are persuasive.

All three of Liverpool’s goals against Spurs last season were scored by Salah, in a 4-1 defeat and a 2-2 draw. Mauricio Pochettino’s team have kept just one clean sheet so far this season, against Manchester United in GW3.

While the Spurs boss expects Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) to be fit for GW5 after missing the Watford defeat with a thigh injury, the stopper also dropped out of the France squad due to the knock.

Pochettino’s press conference on Thursday will be an interesting one for any Salah owners tempted to armband the Liverpool attacker, despite City and Chelsea’s seemingly more lucrative fixtures.

Marcos Alonso (£6.8m) vs CAR (H)

FPL’s top scorer has a great chance to make it a third clean sheet of the season against a Cardiff side that failed to score in the opening three gameweeks.

The Bluebirds’ first two goals this season came from three shots on target, as Arsenal’s porous defence faltered against the league’s joint-weakest attack so far.

Warnock alluded to his concerns over Cardiff’s goalscoring prowess ahead of GW4 before opting for a more attacking outlook against the Gunners. After the game, the Bluebirds boss said: "I want us to compete and try and score goals. People would have expected us to park the bus today, but we missed some great chances.

"I don't think we are good enough to park the bus, we would have lost one, two or 3-0 anyhow, so we decided to have a go. It was old-fashioned stuff today, we attacked when we could and wanted to give the fans something to cheer about…we have worked on our forward play.”

However, Warnock also added: "We won’t see much of the ball in the next two games."

The Cardiff manager has a decision to make on his system for the Stamford Bridge clash, either sticking with the 4-4-2 used against Arsenal or reverting to a more familiar 4-3-3.

The two-striker system could reduce Alonso’s clean-sheet potential but will also see Cardiff cough up more chances to the Blues. Either way, the defender looks likely to further beef up his current tally of 44 points.

Differential choice

David Silva (£8.5m) vs FUL (H)

The Spaniard has clocked up 242 minutes for Pep Guardiola’s side after missing GW1 with a leg issue.

With Kevin De Bruyne now down in price to £9.7m – absent until November at least with a knee injury, Silva’s pitch time should be somewhat more secure (though upcoming Champions League fixtures could cloud the issue).

Despite a GW4 blank, Silva – owned by just 6.9% of FPL bosses – dominated proceedings against Newcastle. The Spanish wizard tallied more shots, attempts in the box and touches in the area than any of his City team-mates.

Those stats are indicative of Silva’s advanced positioning. With the City maestro third behind Salah and Raheem Sterling (£11.0m) for penalty-box activity so far this season, Silva should continue to operate mainly in the final third of the field regardless of what formation Guardiola chooses in a particular gameweek.