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19 Nov 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 13 – Captain Picks

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With the league’s top three sides all playing away in GW13, picking a captain is a difficult task for FPL bosses. Mohamed Salah scored a late winner for Egypt last Friday, while Sergio Aguero is yet to be selected for an Argentina squad this campaign. Anthony Martial pulled out of France duty amid a rake of international break injuries, while Richarlison travelled with Brazil despite a picking up a groin problem in GW12.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs Watford (a)

The attacker’s 90th-minute strike saw his country defeat Tunisia 3-2 last week in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. With Egypt’s other scheduled game of the international break cancelled, Salah will return to Liverpool earlier than expected ahead of the trip to Watford on Saturday.

FPL’s most expensive player totalled eight points at home to Fulham in GW12, scoring seconds after a disallowed Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m) goal. As is the norm, a single attacking return was not enough to garner bonus points for the midfielder.

The Reds take on a Hornets outfit that conceded once to both Southampton and Newcastle in the last two gameweeks, though Javi Gracia’s side did shut out Wolves and Huddersfield in GW9 and GW10. Watford have let in eight of their 14 goals at Vicarage Road, though four of those were scored by Bournemouth in GW8 as the home side played with 10 men for 60 minutes. Salah bagged four goals against Gracia’s side at Anfield in March as Liverpool won 5-0.

The Hornets have conceded 42 attempts in the box and 25 shots on target in six home games so far. Only Sergio Aguero (54) has fired off more efforts than Salah (48) so far this season, while the Egyptian sits joint-top for shots on target with 20.

Away form is a slight concern for those captaining Salah, with four of his five blanks this season arriving on the road. The midfielder was taken off early away to Leicester (70 mins) and Chelsea (65 mins), while he also failed to return points at Tottenham and Arsenal. But with three goals and two assists in the last four gameweeks, Salah has the form to go with a reasonable fixture for the Reds.

Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) vs West Ham (a)

Much like Salah, Aguero has struggled on the road this season. But like the Reds, Manchester City’s away fixtures have been relatively difficult. The Argentine’s four blanks this season have all come away from the Etihad in ties against Arsenal, Wolves, Liverpool and Spurs. Aguero only lasted the full 90 minutes at Molineux. Having played the full game against Southampton in GW11 as City cruised to a 6-1 victory, it is possible that the foot problem which was curtailing the striker’s minutes might be solved.

Having scored in City’s only other away fixture so far against Cardiff in a 60-minute showing, Aguero should get opportunities against a Hammers outfit conceding an average of almost 14 shots per game. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have let in seven (of 18 total) goals at the London Stadium.

The comparisons between Aguero and Salah continue in terms of attacking output, with the Citizens hitman also notching three goals and two assists in the last four gameweeks. City’s domination of goals scored (36 to Liverpool’s 23) and expected goals (xG) is indicative of a team in excellent attacking form, which may hand Aguero the advantage in a gameweek where choosing who to armband is tough.

One caveat with Aguero is that reports following the 3-1 Manchester derby win in GW12 suggest the forward was withdrawn after 74 minutes due to a hamstring issue – though nothing has been confirmed. Owners and potential captainers will need to monitor the situation and hope for an update from Man City or Pep Guardiola before Saturday’s 2pm deadline.

Richarlison (£6.9m) vs Cardiff (H)

Marco Silva’s first-choice striker played 23 minutes for Brazil last Friday to ease any injury worries.

Richarlison departed the GW12 action late on with a groin issue as Everton drew 0-0 away to Chelsea. Fellow midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) left Stamford Bridge in a protective boot and is considered a big doubt for GW13, having missed Iceland duty with the ankle injury.

Since moving into the No 9 role in GW8, Richarlison has scored three goals and provided an assist via winning a penalty. Two of those strikes came at home to Brighton in GW11, while Everton managed just six shots in total at Stamford Bridge last time out in a pragmatic performance.

The Toffees’ GW13 opponents Cardiff are allowing teams an average of 13 shots per game, while Richarlison has landed ten of his 23 shots so far this season on target – firing off an effort on goal every 36 minutes. Neil Warnock’s men have shipped 25 goals so far this season, with 11 of those let in on the road.

Brazil play Cameroon in a friendly on Tuesday evening, while Richarlison owners will also be hoping for a definitive update from Silva ahead of Saturday’s fixture. If fully fit, the attacker represents an intriguing captain pick with both form and fixture on his side.

Anthony Martial (£7.6m) vs Crystal Palace (H)

The Frenchman withdrew from his national squad with a groin injury. Martial, now owned by 12.1% of managers, has scored at least seven points in each of the last five gameweeks. That period includes three double-figure hauls, with the winger netting 54 of his 58-point total since GW8.

Martial has scored six goals from just 14 shots so far this season, with nine of those efforts hitting the target. While the midfielder's conversion rate is likely unsustainable, his form is extremely hard to ignore at the moment.

The United star is also in the penalty-taking mix at Old Trafford, as he slotted home a spot-kick won by Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) against Man City in GW12 with Paul Pogba (£8.0m) absent.

Palace arrive at Old Trafford in GW13 having conceded nine goals (of 17 total) on the road. Roy Hodgson’s defence has been breached eight times in the last four gameweeks and the Eagles are without a clean sheet since GW6.

A definitive update from United or Jose Mourinho on Martial’s fitness is essential for owners and investors. If declared available, the player topping FPL’s form standings may well gain several thousand armbands this weekend.

DIFFERENTIAL CHOICE

Salomon Rondon (£5.7m) vs Burnley (a)

The Venezuelan striker bagged a brace at home to Bournemouth in GW12 as Newcastle notched a second consecutive victory. Rondon played 90 minutes in both of those fixtures, having recovered from injury to make the bench in GW10.

The forward played 66 minutes for his country in a friendly against Japan last Friday, with Venezuela set for another away friendly against Iran tomorrow. The Magpies do not travel to Burnley until Monday for GW13’s final fixture, so Rondon should have every chance of starting a third league tie in a row.

The Clarets continue to allow more shots on goal than any other side in the league, averaging 21 attempts conceded per game so far. Rondon took eight shots against the Cherries in GW12. Seven of those were inside the box, with four hitting the target.

If the striker can post such statistics in the coming gameweeks, he could certainly become a contender in the budget forward bracket. A trip to Burnley appears to be the perfect fixture for Rondon to show that his double against the Cherries is just a sign of returns to come.

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