A long international break is finally drawing to a close and excitement for the resumption of the 2023-24 FPL season is building. The two-week gap has no doubt given FPL managers plenty to think about, not least what to do with Erling Haaland (£14.0m) after a second consecutive blank in Gameweek 8. There’s also the dilemma on how to fit the expensive Mo Salah (£12.7m) into one’s team as he continued to underline his fantasy potency with a brace away at Brighton last time out. Unfortunately, our excellent record when it comes to differential captain picks suffered a blow after Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.8m) blanked in Gameweek 8 despite Everton comfortably beating Bournemouth 3-0.
Without wasting any more time, we’re immediately diving into Gameweek 9 with the selection of three premium captaincy options, alongside the usual differential choice ahead of Saturday’s 11:00 deadline.
Mo Salah (£12.7m) vs EVE (H)
They say never back the early kick-off, but if any FPL asset has earned the right to buck that trend when it comes to the captaincy, it’s Mo Salah. Eight gameweeks in and the Egyptian is back at the top of the FPL tree when it comes to highest-scoring assets with only Ollie Watkins having equalled his total of 59 points. Three of those eight gameweeks have seen Salah accrue double-figure returns including 15 points most recently against Brighton.
Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday lunchtime, the first Gameweek 9 fixture of the weekend and a game that the Reds will be expected to win. Salah is yet to blank at Anfield this season, gaining 23 points from three home appearances, scoring on each occasion. Lots of fantasy managers will have brought in the Liverpool star, many using their wildcard in order to do so. Captaining Salah guarantees full value when considering his premium price-tag.
Kieran Trippier (£6.9m) vs CRY (H)
The last time we hyped up Kieran Trippier (£6.9m) as a worthwhile premium captain pick, the Newcastle full-back lived up to our expectations, accumulating an assist, a clean sheet and 12 fantasy points against Burnley a few weeks back. The Magpies are back at home in the Premier League come Gameweek 9 against Crystal Palace and once again, Newcastle’s most lucrative FPL option is well worth entrusting with the armband.
Trippier’s recent assist record has been incredible, setting up five goals across his last three league appearances, two of which ended in clean sheets and double-figure FPL returns. Since Gameweek 6, Trippier has racked up a whopping 36 points and is now owned by almost half the entire FPL player-base. The best way to capitalise on owning such a popular defender is to captain him.
Erling Haaland (£14.0m) vs BHA (H)
With Mo Salah currently the talk of the town, the ownership of Erling Haaland has decreased following two consecutive Premier League defeats for Man City, both of which saw the Norwegian fail to pick up an attacking return. At such a high cost, this has proven the tipping point for a number of impatient FPL managers. But in contrast, many have held firm in their belief that this is just a short blip and that Haaland, who remains this season’s top scorer in the Premier League will be back with a vengeance come Gameweek 9.
Haaland is the best captaincy pick for this week— FPL Olympian (@FPLOlympian) October 19, 2023
Plays Brighton who have conceded 16 goals this season - 4th most in the league
No Estupinan is also a huge loss for BHA, with no natural backup LB
City have scored 6 goals in their last 2 home games v Brighton pic.twitter.com/hDta3t7Ord
Opponents Brighton have not covered themselves in glory defensively so far this campaign and look to have regressed as the season has gone on. Their last three games in all competitions have seen the Seagulls ship ten goals in total, including a 6-1 battering at the hands of Aston Villa. Under Roberto De Zerbi, don’t expect them to park the bus at the Etihad Stadium, which may well play into the hands of Haaland.
Rasmus Hojlund (£7.2m) vs SHU (a)
Despite having already established himself as a prolific goalscorer for Man Utd in the 2023-24 Champions League group stage so far, Rasmus Hojlund (£7.2m) is still yet to find the net in the Premier League. The Dane backed up his first goal for United away at Bayern Munich with a brace vs Galatasaray, although both European games ended in defeat for Erik ten Hag’s side. But having now played 90 minutes in each of Man Utd’s last three league fixtures, he is likely to get the nod again in Gameweek 9.
The Red Devils travel to Sheffield Utd, who sit rock bottom of the Premier League table with just a point to their name, not to mention the worst defensive record in the top flight. The Blades’ last home match saw them concede a whopping eight goals against Newcastle and across eight league games, have shipped 22 goals in total. They are the perfect opponents on paper for Hojlund to open his Premier League account against and make him a worthy differential captain pick.