GW12 Captain Quandry

Breakfast time in America and I still have no decision on who will grab the captain’s armband for Gameweek 12. To date, I have hit on just 3 captain selections through 12 weeks resulting in 80 total captain points. Harry Kane in Gameweek 7 returned 26 points, while on my Free Hit in Gameweek 9, Romelu Lukaku returned 10 points and during Gameweek 11, Richarlison posted 14 points. Looking at my starting XI, Harry Kane should be the unanimous selection weekly, but his returns have been nothing less than disappointing, especially costing me £12.6. At this point of the season, we need to step back and potentially look elsewhere for a viable captain option.

Looking over my starting XI, I feel there are only 4 players who could potentially wear the armband. It comes as no surprise that Harry Kane tops the list. His 72 penalty touches and 59 goal attempts, with 39 from inside the box, leading all forwards. He’s scored 8 goals on 6 big chances. While the underlying statistics are positive, his performance on the pitch has been erratic at best.

Kane began the season with no returns over the first 3 fixtures, followed by 4 braces over the next 6 fixtures before missing out on the Man United fixtures and posting another no return before the international break. The more telling statistic, no returns against Burnley, Swansea City, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, all at home in Wembley.

This week it’s the north London derby at Arsenal, where is he not failed to return at least one goal. Arsenal have conceded just 4 goals in 5 home games, while keeping 3 clean sheets against Brighton, WBA and Bournemouth. Unbeaten at home on the season, Arsenal will face their toughest home fixture to date. However, the Gunners haven’t favored well against the better clubs, loses to Man City and Liverpool, with a draw, all away from the Emirates  against Chelsea.

Mohammad Salah is the next option to don the captain’s armband. Coming off a season high 15 point performance in Gameweek 11 against West ham, Salah has posted 7 goals and 3 assists on the season. Salah has 72 penalty touches, 37 goal attempts of which 10 have come from inside the box. Of his 7 goals, he’s score on 4 of his big chances.

The early knock on Salah was his erratic shooting, missing often, but he’s shown to be more consistent over 11 weeks than Kane. Like Kane, he too, has posted 4 braces on the season. Unfortunately, the head to head statistics against So’ton don’t fair well for Liverpool.  Just 1 win against So’ton in their last 5 games, the last 2 ending in 0-0 draws. We have to go back to February 22 for the last time Liverpool defeated So’ton, 2-0. The Reds did post 2 goals on March 20, 2016, but it was Sadio Mane hitting for the brace in a 3-2 loss.

As a Watford supporter, I probably include Richarlison Andrade more with my heart than I do my head, but the midfielder has been a top budget performer all season. With 4 goals and 4 assists, he’s on 58 points for the season and has been the key to Watford’s winning way. The knock against him, he can’t score at Vicarage Road, posting just 2 assists through 11 games. In the last 6 gameweeks he’s posted 3 goals and 3 assists.

Like Kane and Salah, Richarlison’s underlying statistics make him a strong contender for captain in Gameweek 12. He leads all players with 82 touches in the penalty box, 39 total goal attempts, with 30 shots inside the box. Yet his shot conversion rate of 17.9% isn’t impressive with a total of 10 big chances, he’s only converted 4 times.

Watford has posted 3 goals in 2  games at Vicarage Road against West Ham going back to 2015. Not great numbers, but the Hammers have leaked 8 goals in the last 5 away from home with the Toons dropping 3 goals early in the season and Palace posting 2 goals in Gameweek 11. Slaven Bilic is now out and David Moyes is in, with his first match against the Hornets.

Finally, Christian Eriksen, on a punt after leading Denmark over the Republic Ireland to reach the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. He finished with game with 7 shots, 3 goals, 3 key passes, 3 dribbles and 3 tackles! Lifted by this performance, he returns to Spurs on a high note and in form to face the Gunners.

Unfortunately, Eriksen hasn’t returned any attacking points in his last 3 fixtures. More importantly, his last assists came way back in Gameweek 2. Thankfully 3 goals Gameweeks 4-8 helped make up for the lack of creativity for the Dane. Now on 3 goals and 3 assists for the season, his World Cup playoff performance might be the spark needed to reignite Eriksen to lead the Spurs in Gameweek 12.

Looking at three fantasy sites I follow on a regular basis, there appears to be a reoccurring theme this week in the direction we go with the armband. Romelu Lukaku tops two of the three and is less than a percentage point behind on the third site. Mohammad Salah and Harry Kane, with a shout out to Leroy Sane round out the top captain options from these pundits.

Now that we have come full circle, the question remains. Who do you captain for Gameweek 12? In all honesty, I am shying away from Kane and Salah and looking at Richarlison and Eriksen. Both would be legitimate punts to carry the armband into the gameweek, but I just don’t have much confidence in Kane and Salah to feature big this weekend. Now if I owned Alvaro Morata, he would be my captain, however it would require a -4 point hit to move Kolasinac for a £4.5-ish defender (Duffy, Mee, Dann), to free up the necessary budget and swap Jamie Vardy for Morata. I am backing Vardy this weekend against an Otamendi-less Man City team, so I am torn to take a hit for that reason.

It will be a wait and see as Friday morning turns to evening if my decision is any further rectified. Right now, Richalison and Eriksen are the listed as captain and vice-captain, just in case I get hit by a bus (Right @hailcheaters?), but by no means are they set in stone. Your thoughts are welcomed.

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