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04 Mar 2019 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 30 – Captain Picks

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Sergio Aguero’s devastating home form will see the striker heavily captained for Watford’s visit, while Mohamed Salah is on his longest blanking streak this season ahead of Burnley’s trip to Anfield. Jamie Vardy could earn armbands if ruled fit for GW30, Harry Kane will be aiming to net for the third time in four gameweeks and Josh King can put himself in the frame for those building their squad for the blanks.

PREMIUM OPTIONS

Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) vs Watford (H)

The Manchester City hitman took five shots (two on target) away to Bournemouth in GW29, hitting the woodwork with one effort that was either an overhit pass or a genius attempt to outwit Artur Boruc (£4.0m).

Pep Guardiola’s side racked up 23 goal attempts at the Vitality stadium but neither Aguero nor Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) managed attacking returns as a surprisingly stubborn Cherries outfit held City to just a Riyad Mahrez (£8.2m) goal.

Despite concerns over his pitch time, the Argentine striker lasted 89 minutes at the weekend as injuries to Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) and John Stones (£5.2m) forced Guardiola’s hand in terms of substitutions. The Citizens have a clear schedule ahead of the Watford clash, before Schalke visit the Etihad for a Champions League last 16 second-leg next Tuesday.

Aguero’s blank against Bournemouth was just his second in seven gameweeks, both of which came in away fixtures. Incredibly, the forward has returned attacking points in every home start this season. His two Etihad blanks came in substitute appearances against Crystal Palace (40 minutes) and Wolves (14 minutes). In those ten starts Aguero has returned a ludicrous 11.6 points per match, with his three hat-tricks this campaign all scored at home.

Watford have conceded seven times in the past four gameweeks, with five of those shipped away to Liverpool in GW28. Javi Gracia’s side have not kept a clean sheet in eight games against top-six opposition this season. While there is always the possibility of managed minutes for Aguero when Gabriel Jesus (£9.9m) is available, he has begun 10 of 11 league games since his first post-injury start in GW19. With such a fearsome home record, Aguero is undoubtedly one of the top armband picks for Gameweek 30.

Mohamed Salah (£13.5m) vs Burnley (H)

A fifth blank in six gameweeks has the patience of Salah owners wearing thin. The Liverpool attacker missed two big chances at Goodison Park in a 0-0 draw against Everton in GW29.

After the Merseyside derby stalemate, Jurgen Klopp said of Salah: “It's difficult. When you see the situation on the iPad he is doing everything right and then in the last moment, the decision, [if] you make it a millisecond earlier and the defender can still jump in…We had our moments. There is no reason for him taking it or not taking it. On the pitch, sometimes, the boys are able to score in situations like this but it's [down to] an inch on the boot. On another day he scores two or three. That's how it is.”

A failure to post attacking returns against the Toffees made it the first time this season that Salah has blanked in three consecutive games. But with Burnley visiting Anfield this weekend, the Egyptian remains worthy of consideration in the captaincy debate.

Sean Dyche’s outfit have conceded seven times in the past four gameweeks. Despite a clear defensive improvement since Tom Heaton (£4.8m) became first-choice keeper in GW20, the Clarets’ last clean sheet came in Gameweek 23.

Salah has scored three goals in his last four home starts, averaging 7 PPM. While he blanked at Anfield against Leicester and Watford over that period, the midfielder looked menacing in the latter fixture despite not getting in on any of the Reds’ five goals.

Klopp does have a Champions League clash to consider following GW30, as Liverpool travel to play Bayern Munich on Wednesday week following a 0-0 draw in the first leg. But with City now a point ahead in the league, the ever-present Salah should log enough minutes to ensure he doesn’t shoot four blanks in a row.

Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) vs Fulham (H)

The Leicester City striker netted a third goal in four gameweeks away to Watford in GW29 before leaving the pitch with a head injury in the 82nd minute. After the game, new Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers said of the striker’s knock: “He looks okay in the changing room. I think with the collision he had, he just felt it a little bit in the second half. He couldn’t just quite continue, so it was unfortunate for him, but we’ll assess him and hopefully he’ll be okay to train on Tuesday.”

Once ruled fit, the 5.7%-owned forward makes it into GW30’s premium picks despite his low ownership. Leicester welcome the league’s worst defence in Fulham to the King Power stadium on Saturday. The Cottagers have conceded at least two goals in each fixture since their last clean sheet at home to Huddersfield in GW20. Scott Parker’s first game in charge last weekend saw Fulham allow Chelsea 20 shots (15 inside the box) at Craven Cottage in a 2-1 defeat.

Rodgers added on Vardy’s role in his team: “He’s a player I’ve always loved, we’ve seen in the last number of years, he’s a born goalscorer, but he is perfect for us in the intensity in which he presses and his running ability. He showed what he is great at, the pass by Youri Tielemans (£6.0m), great speed and a wonderful finish, so it is just about getting players in and around him, so he is not on his own and we did that in the second half.”

The striker’s goal was his only shot against Watford as Leicester struggled to regularly find their hitman in space, though Rodgers’ comments are encouraging for owners and potential investors. With such a favourable home tie for the Foxes – who only have league fixtures remaining this season – Vardy could garner some real armband attention for GW30.

Harry Kane (£12.4m) vs Southampton (a)

The Spurs striker made it two goals in three gameweeks since returning from injury with a penalty in GW29. Kane also netted a bullet header against Arsenal but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

The forward’s return has coincided with a poor run of Spurs form. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have lost twice and drawn once since GW27, with Kane their only goalscorer over that period. The north London outfit have gone from title chasers to top-four contenders, with a win away to Southampton looking vital ahead of blank Gameweek 31.

The Saints could prove obliging opponents for Spurs, with only one clean sheet – at home to Fulham in GW28 – since shutting out Chelsea in Gameweek 21. Those two instances have been the only times Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have kept their opponents scoreless since the Austrian took charge in Gameweek 16.

Kane owners and potential captainers will need to keep a close eye on Spurs’ Champions League clash away to Dortmund tomorrow. Once the striker emerges from Germany unscathed, he looks extremely likely to play 90 minutes at St Mary’s considering Spurs’ following fixture is on March 31.

DIFFERENTIAL CHOICE

Josh King (£6.4m) vs Huddersfield (a)

Owned by 6.1% of managers, the Bournemouth forward catches the eye as a differential captaincy pick in GW30 as the Cherries beginning a run of very appealing fixtures.

King has three goals and an assist in the last six gameweeks. One of those strikes was a penalty against Wolves in GW27, with the striker missing the second spot-kick awarded to Bournemouth in that clash.

Despite Eddie Howe sounding positive on the potential return of Callum Wilson (£6.3m), the Englishman was not part of the Cherries’ GW29 squad. That means King should retain penalty-taking duties and his place at the head of Howe’s attack for the trip to Huddersfield at least.

The Terriers have improved defensively in the last two gameweeks, conceding just one goal. Jan Siewert’s men did allow Brighton 13 shots (seven inside the box) in GW29, which suggests King and co will be afforded opportunities to score at the John Smith’s stadium. For FPL bosses seeking a captaincy punt in GW30, the Norwegian striker is an option as Bournemouth assets aim to put themselves in the shop window for blank gameweeks 31 and 33.

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