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06 Dec 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 16 – Captain Picks

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Rotation rumblings dominate the Gameweek 16 captain picks after many FPL bosses suffered in GW15. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a juicy home fixture this weekend as Alexandre Lacazette looms, while Harry Kane will look to prove his rotation immunity. Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling could both benefit from midweek benchings, though fantasy managers will be reluctant to trust real-life counterparts Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.2m) vs Huddersfield (H)

The Gabon striker blanked away to Manchester United after being GW15’s most transferred in player. Aubameyang failed to convert from point-blank range as David de Gea (£5.7m) ended the Arsenal forward’s run of scoring with consecutive shots on target.

The United stopper also kept out Aubameyang’s only other effort (from outside the box) at Old Trafford. Despite a two-point return, the forward currently tops the GW16 transfers-in chart ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to the Emirates. The Terriers have shipped 16 times on their travels this season. David Wagner’s men did restrict Bournemouth to just six shots on Tuesday, but four of those were inside the box as the Cherries converted both of their big chances.

The league’s top goalscorer, ‘Auba’ has bagged 10 goals from 15 shots on target. While regression is a worry, no player has netted more times (20) than the Gabonese attacker – who has often been used in a wide-left position – since his Arsenal debut. Unai Emery has challenged the striker to win the Golden Boot this season. The Gunners boss said: “I want him to continue improving; his challenge is collective and individual. I want his challenge to be that he has the opportunity to be the best scorer in the Premier League. We want to help him achieve this and that is because, if he is scoring, he is helping us.”

Considering the onslaught of rotation in GW15, there are legitimate fears in the FPL community that Aubameyang could be benched this Saturday. While that could happen, the possibility of Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) and Mesut Ozil (£8.2m) missing out may work in the forward’s favour. The Welshman suffered a “small injury” last night while the German was not part of the matchday squad due to a back problem. Both are being assessed ahead of Saturday. Alex Lacazette (£9.6m) has played 70 minutes in the last two gameweeks as Emery appears to be easing the French striker back in following a groin problem.

But as the Arsenal manager points out, Aubameyang has the ability to hurt teams in limited pitch time. After the Gunners’ North London derby win in GW14, the Spaniard explained: “In his career, he has played as a winger on the right, on the left and like a striker. He [has] played with two strikers. I use with him in every position for us.

“And sometimes his best performance is starting the match on the bench and then playing 20 or 25 minutes. In the last two matches he has had a very big performance, working and scoring. I want to say to him and also to everyone, ‘Don't stop, continue with this commitment every match’. It is also important that he takes confidence from matches like [Tottenham], not only from scoring but also from helping with pressing against them and [competing] well with the head against them. Now is the moment to say to him, ‘Don't stop’.”

While the threat of rotation hangs over almost every FPL asset amid the current fixture glut, Aubameyang’s form and fixture make him a standout captaincy option in Gameweek 16.

Harry Kane (£12.5m) vs Leicester (a)

The one premium player that might just be immune to rotation fever is the Tottenham striker. Fernando Llorente (£5.6m) – Kane’s only legitimate competition – has seen just 13 minutes of league action this season.

Spurs’ trip to Leicester on Saturday evening could be a true test of Kane’s immunity, as the London outfit travel to Barcelona for a must-win Champions League clash next Tuesday night. The striker completed the full 90 at home to Southampton yesterday, despite Mauricio Pochettino’s team going 3-0 up after 55 minutes.

Before that victory, ‘Poch’ said on rotation: “We come from a competitive week and we are going to face another competitive week. Wednesday Southampton, Saturday Leicester and a must-win game against Barcelona and keep going. We're going to play a lot of games before January. It's so important to keep all involved and in the best condition to compete. Some players maybe we cannot rotate for different circumstances. But players that we believe we can rotate we will give the possibility, players who maybe need to rest. You know me, I'm not going to change my mind because we win or lose. Always it's so important the health of the squad and the players and because we believe we can win with one or another names on the pitch.”

Leicester have conceded 18 times this season, though just a third of those have been scored at the King Power stadium. Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m), who was at fault for Fulham’s goal against the Foxes last night, may line out again on Saturday if Jonny Evans (£4.8m) is ruled out for a second gameweek in a row. Harry Maguire (£5.4m) has missed the last four gameweeks with a knee injury.

Kane made it four goals and two assists in five gameweeks with a 12-point haul against the Saints, his first double-digit score since GW7. The England man also loves playing Leicester, having scored 11 times in seven Premier League appearances against the Foxes. The in-form striker is set to be heavily bought and captained ahead of Saturday’s 11.30am deadline.

Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) vs Chelsea (a)

Afforded an evening on the bench as Manchester City beat Watford 2-1 on Tuesday, the attacker looks well placed to make a starting XI return in GW16. Nothing is guaranteed with Guardiola but Sterling was put straight back into the Spaniard’s line-up after being rotated in GW2 and GW9.

His GW15 replacement Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) certainly impressed, scoring and providing an assist for Leroy Sane (£9.4m). On the other hand, the Citizens endured a nervy ending after failing to kill off a game which they dominated for large periods. With Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) a doubt for the trip to Chelsea, Guardiola could even field all three of his wingmen with Sterling operating as a ‘false nine’.

Maurizio Sarri’s men have won just once in the last four gameweeks, conceding five times. That period includes two clean sheets but the Blues’ backline was dismantled by Kane and co in GW13 and came unstuck again last night against Wolves in a 2-1 defeat.

With 48 points scored in his last four starts, Sterling is in absolutely red-hot form. City have the added bonus of already being qualified for the Champions League knockout stages. Despite a fixture that may not look entirely favourable on paper, FPL’s top scorer looks to be strong armband material as part of a league-leading team scoring three goals a game so far.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs Bournemouth (a)

The Egyptian saved some face for captainers at Turf Moor last night, coming off the bench to assist a Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) goal.

Salah’s 25-minute cameo should mean that he starts at Bournemouth, particularly if Sadio Mane (£9.8m) is unable to feature again. Liverpool also have a massive UCL tie on Tuesday, with the Reds’ qualification hopes pinned on a permutation-busting victory at home to Napoli. FPL’s most expensive player has been substituted before 80 minutes three times in 14 starts, while GW15 was the first time Jurgen Klopp did not pick Salah in his starting XI.

The midfielder could prosper against a Cherries outfit allowing opponents almost 15 goal attempts a game on average. Eddie Howe’s men conceded 23 shots to Huddersfield on Tuesday, with 17 of those inside the area. Bournemouth are without a clean sheet since GW10.

Along with making three key passes after his introduction against Burnley, Salah also managed two on-target shots inside the box. The attacker may have stung owners this week but a trip to the south coast could end up soothing the pain.

DIFFERENTIAL CHOICE

Florin Andone (£5.0m) vs Burnley (a)

Having scored on his first league start in GW14, Andone made it two in two after replacing the injured Glenn Murray (£6.7m) on Tuesday.

Brighton’s first-choice striker went off after 34 minutes of the 3-1 win against Crystal Palace with a shoulder injury. Chris Hughton said of the 35-year-old forward today: “We'll assess Glenn in the morning – today it wasn't as bad as we thought – we'll give him every opportunity to be fit. He went over on his shoulder but it's not dislocated or anything. It's a bit sore but better than what it could have been.”

While Murray could be available, the short turnaround between fixtures this week may benefit Andone. The striker picked up a single bonus point in both GW14 and GW15 as Hughton’s men bagged five goals in two fixtures. Gameweek 16 opponents Burnley continue to lead the league for shots conceded, allowing just over 21 efforts per fixture on average.

Owned by just 0.2% of managers, Andone is an uber-differential. Some might say handing a Brighton player the armband is a sign of madness but for those seeking a crazy punt, Andone could cure your Romania.

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