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18 Sep 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 6 – Captain Picks

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Liverpool provide two captain contenders in Gameweek 6, though Eden Hazard and Man City assets have the fixture and form to rival the returns of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

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Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) vs SOU (H)

The Liverpool attacker has suffered severe sales (now over 165,000) after a second consecutive blank, despite a favourable home fixture at home to Southampton on Saturday.

Salah was tied with Sadio Mane (£10.0m) for the most shots in the box (4) against Spurs in GW5, though neither player capitalised FPL-wise from the Reds’ dominance at Wembley. The Egyptian missed one big chance in the game – for a total of five so far this season – shooting straight at Michel Vorm (£5.4m) after seizing on a wayward Eric Dier (£4.9m) pass.

Only Sergio Aguero (£11.4m), with 25, has fired more attempts at goal so far this season than Salah (23). Liverpool’s GW6 opponents Southampton have allowed their opposition an average of 13.8 shots per game.

Despite the fact that his attackers failed to put Spurs away in GW5, Jurgen Klopp’s assessment of the game further backs up the idea that the goals will start flowing for Liverpool. After the 2-1 win, the Liverpool boss said: "It was the best game of the season for us, for sure. In all the games, we have had some really good moments, but today we had 85 brilliant minutes."

Salah is averaging 3.2 shots inside the box per game, double the rate of Eden Hazard (£10.8m). However, the £13.0m man will need to return against the Saints to avoid the itchy trigger fingers of his 47% ownership ahead of fixtures against Chelsea (a) and Man City (H) in GW7 and GW8.

Eden Hazard (£10.8m) vs WHU (a)

The Chelsea star provided immediate rewards for his horde of new owners with a massive 20-point haul against Cardiff City. Blues boss Maurizio Sarri believes Hazard can challenge for the Golden Boot this season if the Belgian stops dropping deep to receive the ball.

Along with his five goals and two assists so far in the league, Hazard also scored twice and created a goal for his country over the international break. A penalty apiece for Chelsea and Belgium means spot-kicks are one of many strings in the midfielder’s attacking bow.

However, Hazard’s five strikes for Chelsea have come from just six shots on target (including his penalty at the weekend). The attacker has managed 14 attempts at goal so far in 306 minutes, with eight of those taken from inside the area.

The conundrum for Hazard non-owners is whether the Belgium man sustain such a high conversion rate. However, it’s clear that the world-class forward is flourishing under Sarri’s attacking philosophy. Olivier Giroud (£7.8m), who assisted both of Hazard’s goals against Cardiff, looks like the perfect foil for the Belgian.

The Blues travel to take on a West Ham side that looked decidedly more solid in GW5 with Declan Rice (£4.4m) protecting the back-line. Manuel Pellegrini laid his troops out in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Mark Noble (£4.9m) and the impressive Pedro Obiang (£4.4m) in central midfield.

But the Hammers were still vulnerable at times, particularly down their right-hand side as Everton left-back Lucas Digne (£4.8m) continued to deliver quality ball past Pablo Zabaleta (£4.3m). The Frenchman put in seven crosses (four accurate) from the left wing, creating big chances for Cenk Tosun (£6.9m) and Oumar Niasse (£5.3m) in the process.

Hazard and Marcos Alonso (£6.8m) could wreak havoc from that area of the London Stadium pitch, while Ryan Fredericks (£4.8m) may be redrafted at right-back for his pace alone against Chelsea’s deadly duo.

The Belgian’s consistency – seven attacking returns in three starts and two sub appearances – is another big plus. Thursday will tell much about Sarri’s Europa League strategy but if Hazard is rested, it will only further his captaincy credentials at a time when fellow heavy-hitters are also playing Champions League football during the week.

Sergio Aguero (£11.4m) vs CAR (a)

Pending an injury update from Pep Guardiola, Aguero once again looks an excellent captain choice as the Citizens travel to take on Cardiff. The striker assisted goals for David Silva (£8.5m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.0m) against Fulham before leaving the pitch early in the second half with an ankle knock.

The early diagnosis sounds promising, though owners should wait for an official update from City and consider Guardiola’s line-up in the Champions League against Lyon on Wednesday night. The manager will face the press twice before GW6, so FPL bosses will hopefully get further information on Aguero and Benjamin Mendy (£6.5m).

Aguero, who leads the overall shots chart, has now failed to score in four out of five fixtures this season. However, three assists in the last two gameweeks have kept the Argentine’s points tally ticking over.

Since switching to a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 set-up in GW4, City’s GW6 opponents Cardiff have conceded seven goals. Neil Warnock sounds determined to continue playing that system, saying after the Chelsea hammering: "I don’t want to go with everybody behind the ball, not have a shot. We tried as hard as we could to attack with what we’ve got against a very good team. And we’re going to do that. We’ll do that next week against Manchester City."

If fit, Aguero could wreak havoc against the promoted club’s defence in what would be a sixth straight start for the striker this season.

Sadio Mane (£10.0m) vs SOU (H)

Liverpool’s plum home fixture sees a second member of the Reds’ attacking trio come into contention for the GW6 armband.

Mane was somewhat unlucky not to record an assist in GW5, as his cross pinballed near Spurs’ goalmouth before Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) applied the finishing touch.

The Senegalese attacker recorded a second blank of the season against Spurs, as he failed to make any of his four shots in the box count for points on the board.

Southampton have recorded two clean sheets so far this season but, like Cardiff, are currently lining up in a 4-4-2 set-up. However, with Danny Ings (£5.7m) ineligible to face his parent club in GW6, Mark Hughes could opt for a more defensive line-up in an attempt to combat Liverpool’s potency in attack.

One of the Saints’ shut-outs came at home to a Burnley outfit that have scored just three goals this season, while the other was against a Wilfried Zaha-less Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Like Salah, Mane’s Champions League minutes should be monitored but the midfielder is undoubtedly one of the standout captain choices for Gameweek 6.

Differential choice

Ryan Fraser (£5.7m) vs BUR (a)

GW5’s second-highest scorer, Fraser recovered from a hamstring problem to rack up 18 points at home to Leicester.

Unfortunately for owners who benched the Scot and potential investors, Eddie Howe played his cards close to his chest in Friday’s press conference – labelling Fraser a doubt. The below video explains in detail how the winger went from working with the Bournemouth physios during the week to starting on Saturday.

Now owned by 9.9% of managers after gaining over 260,000 transfers in since the weekend, Fraser could easily rise in price again before Saturday’s 11.30am deadline. The Scotland international's days as a differential are numbered as FPL bosses swoop ahead of sweet Cherries' fixture run.

Up against a winless Burnley side that have conceded an average of 20.6 shots per game, Fraser has the form and fixtures to continue making a mockery of his lowly price tag.

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