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28 Aug 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 4 – Captain Picks

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It is head-to-head between the explosive Sergio Aguero and the consistent Mohamed Salah for the armband once again in GW4, while Eden Hazard’s return to the Chelsea XI provides another premium captaincy option for FPL bosses.

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Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) vs NEW (H)

The Argentine twice struck the woodwork away to Wolves but made it two blanks in three gameweeks at Molineux.

Aguero also brought a save from Rui Patricio (£4.5m) with one shot, while also seeing an effort blocked in the box. Wolves, set up in a 5-4-1 formation when City had the ball, frustrated Pep Guardiola’s side but Aguero still came extremely close to posting FPL returns.

The striker’s 20-point GW2 haul and home record against GW4 opponents Newcastle will ensure he is heavily backed with the armband this week – with the Triple Captain chip under consideration for some FPL bosses.

Aguero’s 90-minute showing in GW3 is also encouraging for owners. Guardiola reverted to a more familiar 4-3-3 against Wolves, with the £11.3m man spearheading the attack as Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) had to settle for a place on the bench.

The Magpies set up in a 5-4-1 formation in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, and it would be no surprise to see Rafa Benitez roll out that set-up again at the Etihad.

But Aguero’s record against Newcastle and City’s attacking prowess mean owners are unlikely to be deterred putting the armband on the striker for such a favourable fixture.

Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs LEI (a)

The Egyptian rewarded GW3 captainers with a goal but eventually dropped out of the bonus-point reckoning, having missed the target with two shots late on against a dogged Brighton.

The Seagulls were extremely compact at Anfield, with a minor lapse in concentration allowing Salah the space to convert first time from Roberto Firmino’s (£9.5m) pass.

Liverpool’s GW4 opponents Leicester have kept one clean sheet in three fixtures, shutting out Wolves at the King Power stadium in GW2. Claude Puel’s side have allowed their opponents an average of 10.7 attempts per game, while Salah sits level with Aguero on shots taken so far (16).

The Liverpool star has picked up where he left off last season in terms of consistency, averaging 8.3 points per game so far as he continues to look a stand-out armband choice.

Eden Hazard (£10.6m) vs BOU (H)

Despite Maurizio Sarri’s claims that the Belgian might only be ready for 60 minutes, Hazard lasted the full 90 in GW3 as Chelsea struggled to break Newcastle down.

While the Blues boss had to use his third substitution bringing Mateo Kovacic (£6.0m) off, it is unclear whether Hazard would have been hooked in such a tight game.

The Belgium attacker was central to Chelsea’s attacking play, and may only be afforded less minutes in matches where the Blues have a healthy lead.

A penalty rewarded owners, with no doubt now that Jorginho (£5.1m) sits behind Hazard in Chelsea's spot-kick pecking order.

At home to a Bournemouth side that have conceded three times so far, allowing opponents an average of 10.7 shots per game, Hazard will have the chance to post attacking returns for the fourth gameweek in a row.

Eddie Howe is unlikely to replicate Benitez’s hyper-defensive tactics for the Cherries’ trip to Stamford Bridge – though a three-man backline could be employed.

Chelsea and Hazard should be afforded greater space to attack in GW4, while also being put under considerably more pressure at the back.

Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) vs BUR (a)

The striker missed a glorious opportunity to put Manchester United ahead against Brighton in GW2, before heading past Mat Ryan (£4.5m) from close range as Jose Mourinho’s team eventually lost 3-2 to the Seagulls.

Lukaku, owned by just 7.5% of managers, failed to score against Tottenham on Monday night despite being presented with an open goal in the first half. The Belgian striker hit the target with two of five attempts as United took 23 shots (five on target) at Old Trafford.

GW4 opponents Burnley have conceded an average of 17.6 shots per game so far, as Europa League duties appear to be impacting on the Clarets’ league performances. Fulham managed 12 shots on target from 25 efforts against Sean Dyche’s men on Sunday.

Down 3-1 on aggregate, Burnley must overcome Olympiakos on Thursday to qualify for the UEL group stages. Despite United’s struggles in attack so far this season, a visit to Turf Moor on Sunday should provide Lukaku and co plenty of opportunities to bank a second win of the season.

Differential choice

Nacho Monreal (£5.5m) vs CAR (a)

The Spanish full-back was left unmarked at the back post by West Ham to strike Arsenal’s equaliser in a 3-1 victory at the Emirates. The Hammers had plenty of opportunities to score against a Gunners backline that looked non-existent at times.

Part of that was down to the advanced positioning of Monreal and Hector Bellerin (£5.5m), who grabbed an assist. However, GW4 sees Arsenal travel to a Cardiff side yet to register a goal this season.

Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock said last week: "The worry is we were in very good positions at times last week [0-0 draw against Newcastle] and it didn't materialise to anything substantial. There were one or two good heading situations which were like a damp squib. It was disappointing in that last third.”

Cardiff failed to score against ten men for the second week running on Saturday as the struggles in front of goal continued against Huddersfield. Warnock’s side have managed an average of just two shots on target per game so far.

The 1%-owned Monreal could potentially bank clean sheet points on Saturday then, while attacking returns are evidently in the Spaniard’s locker as Emery allows his full-backs attacking freedom.

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