Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers take a break from the helter-skelter of relentless Double Gameweeks to take stock of their current position and consider strategy as chip season approaches.
Ahead of Gameweek 24, Manchester City options dominate the armband conversation with Erling Haaland (£12.2m) understandably in pole position.
This week we examine the Norwegian, along with alternative options from Pep Guardiola’s side, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to solve the captaincy conundrum.
As usual, the Captain Sensible article is here to highlight which assets have the best chance of hauling.
First, we will assess the fallout of the captain poll, before then analysing the best options, Rate My Team (RMT) and the Premier Fantasy Tools ratings ahead of Saturday’s 11:00 GMT deadline.
THE CAPTAIN POLL
Erling Haaland tops the captain poll in Gameweek 24 backed by just under half of the total votes cast by our users at the time of writing.
Marcus Rashford (£7.3m) sits currently in second place, backed by 17.7% of the electorate.
No other player has garnered more than 6% of votes at this stage, with Harry Kane (£11.8m) occupying third place aheaf of Arsenal duo Bukayo Saka (£8.3m) and Martin Odegaard (£7.0m).
THE MAIN CANDIDATES
ERLING HAALAND/KEVIN DE BRUYNE/RIYAD MAHREZ
Fantasy Premier League managers who used the Triple Captain chip on Erling Haaland were treated to a rollercoaster ride of emotions in Double Gameweek 23.
The Norwegian was withdrawn at half-time in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa, but not before watching Riyad Mahrez (£7.8m) dispatch from the penalty spot.
The Norwegian shook off a thigh complaint to make a goalscoring return in City’s 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates, flipping the script at the summit of the Premier League.
Haaland’s performance was agricultural, with both his physicality and elbows a constant threat to the Arsenal backline.
Examining the recent underlying data, the Nordic sharpshooter’s 13 shots over the last six matches is a total bettered by 27 other players.
But it is very much a case of quality over quantity for Haaland, who leads the division for big chances received (nine) over the same period, with the Norwegian’s five goals all converted big chances.
Haaland’s expected data makes for dismal reading with his non-penalty expected goal tally (NPxG, 2.07) bettered by 15 players over that same period.
However, context is key, as over this six-game period Haaland has faced “big six” opposition on four occasions: Tottenham Hotspur (twice), Arsenal and Manchester United.
Ahead of Saturday’s visit to the City Ground, it is worth noting that 23 of Haaland’s 30 attacking returns this season have come against opponents outside the traditional top six.
Above: Erling Haaland’s nine big chances received and five big chances scored are both division-leading totals over the last six matches
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.4m) opened the scoring against Arsenal with a sublime pitching wedge lob – amazingly the Belgian’s first Premier League goal since October.
A cursory glance at De Bruyne’s recent shot numbers explains the barren spell with the playmaker registering just one shot in the box over his last six matches.
Chance creation is the midfield maestro’s bread and butter with De Bruyne placing in the top two for big chances created (five) and total assists (three) over that same period.
The Belgium international leads the division for expected assists (xA, 2.79) over the last six matches, with creativity largely carrying De Bruyne to seventh for non-penalty involvement (NPxGI, 3.32).
Riyad Mahrez converted from the penalty spot and supplied an assist in City’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa returning a 12-point haul – his second double-digit score since the restart.
The Algerian has started eight of City’s nine Premier League matches since the World Cup with Mahrez demonstrating a huge uptick in production.
Notably, nine of Mahrez’s total attacking returns (11) have arrived since the resumption of domestic top-flight action.
Since Gameweek 17, Mahrez has bettered Haaland for total points (60 to 58) with the Algerian showing strong underlying numbers.
Over the last six matches, Mahrez places in the top two among Guardiola’s troops for big chances received (four) and total assists (three).
The recent mini-revival of City’s immediate opponents was halted at Craven Cottage with Fulham’s 2-0 victory ending Nottingham Forest’s five-game win streak.
Over the last six matches, Forest’s clean sheet tally (three) is bettered by Newcastle United and Brentford (four each) with Cooper’s charges demonstrating improved underlying numbers.
Notably, Forest place in the top four for shots on target conceded (13) and non-penalty expected goals conceded (NPxGC, 6.31) over that same period.