With two goals, four bonuses and a combined 16-point haul preceding a hugely favourable encounter against Leeds United, record-breaking Erling Haaland (£12.4m) is the clear favourite for Gameweek 35’s Fantasy Premier League (FPL) armband.
Nevertheless, the Captain Sensible article is here to consider any chinks in his robotic armoury, whether the red-hot home form of Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) can challenge the Norwegian and also run the rule on some usual suspects and differential punts.
These alternative armband options might be all the more important, should we get any pre-deadline heads-up on a benching for Haaland.
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 13:30 BST deadline.
THE CAPTAIN POLL
Haaland dominates the poll, backed by just under three-quarters of the total votes cast by users at the time of writing.
No other player has garnered more than 8% of votes, with Salah providing the Norwegian’s main competition. Jack Grealish (£7.3m) occupies third place with 3.69% of the vote, closely followed by Julian Alvarez (£6.0m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£12.2m).
ERLING HAALAND/JULIAN ALVAREZ
Haaland’s deft chip against West Ham United on Wednesday night gave the Norwegian his 35th goal, already breaking the single-season Premier League record.
The Manchester City marksman received a guard of honour from teammates in acknowledgement of his superb debut season, with early-season questions about his suitability for Pep Guardiola’s system and the Premier League now a very distant memory.
While it’s almost churlish at this stage to examine Haaland’s recent underlying data, the Norwegian continues to dominate the majority of key metrics.
Over the last six matches, Haaland’s non-penalty expected goals (NPxG, 4.80), 13 big chances and 13 shots on target are all division-leading
In his current form and with a hugely favourable fixture, how do you oppose him?
A strong indication from Guardiola that the Norwegian will be preserved for Real Madrid – or a trusted team leak that he’s benched – represents the only opportunity without committing Fantasy suicide.
Man City’s title ambitions are firmly in their own hands, holding a slender one-point lead over Arsenal with a game in hand.
It’s no secret that Guardiola’s pursuit of Champions League glory has been a high priority for their Abu Dhabi ownership, so resting Haaland could be on the cards after three successive 90-minute outings.
Meanwhile, Alvarez produced a 12-point haul at Fulham last weekend, scoring a screamer from 25 yards to put Man City on top. With possible rotation taking place, the Argentinian may be afforded another opportunity to impress and continue his recent run of form. Again, we await a possible team leak.
Since Premier League action resumed in Gameweek 17, Alvarez has scored five goals, supplied three assists and collected seven bonus points – averaging 7.33 FPL points per start.
City’s opponents Leeds are under the new stewardship of Sam Allardyce but face an uphill battle for top-flight survival that starts at the Etihad Stadium. A five-game winless streak hastened the departure of Javi Gracia and, without a clean sheet in ten, their underlying defensive numbers look ominous.
The last half-dozen matches have seen Leeds concede the most goals (19) of everyone, ranking second-worst for non-penalty expected goals conceded (NPxGC, 12.52).