The less said about Gameweek 21, the better.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin blanked and Pep Guardiola benched John Stones, Joao Cancelo and Raheem Sterling on Saturday, before Sadio Mane missed Liverpool’s win over West Ham with a minor injury on Sunday.
Anyway, we’ve got no time to wallow in the disappointment with all 20 sides back in action from Tuesday in a full midweek schedule.
Here, Squawka considers some of the captaincy options for Gameweek 22.
Salah back on song
It’s no exaggeration to say successive trips to the capital proved just the tonic for Liverpool, who now look back to their ruthless best. That is good news for everyone who is rooting for a real title scrap this season, but bad news for Brighton ahead of their visit to Anfield on Wednesday.
Mohamed Salah tends to thrive when Sadio Mane is absent – as he proved with a brace against West Ham on Sunday – and fantasy fans will be waiting eagerly to learn if Mane has recovered from a minor muscle injury in time to face Graham Potter’s side. Add to that the fact that Brighton have taken just one point from seven Premier League meetings against Liverpool and things are starting to stack up against the south coast side.
Salah has more goals (15) and has taken more shots on target (31) than any player in the Premier League this season. Of course, he will also be on penalty duty and no side has conceded more spot-kicks than the Seagulls this term (8). Salah to score two or more against Brighton is 13/5.
Man City options?
In the absence of Kevin De Buryne, Manchester City are looking elsewhere for a creative spark in the final third. Raheem Sterling will go into Wednesday’s trip to Burnley feeling fresh after he was rested against Sheffield United. Sterling has more goal contributions (10) than every City player bar De Bruyne, while only three players have created more chances than the England international. Sterling to score first is 4/1.
If you don’t have the funds available to bring in Sterling, then Ilkay Gundogan is a worthwhile alternative option for the armband. He has a higher xG than Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres, plus more goals than Sterling. Gundogan is 3/1 to score last.
But City’s strength has been at the back of late, and it’s always worth considering a defender when selecting your captain. Pep Guardiola’s side have now kept 13 clean sheets in all competitions since the start of December. Ruben Dias has started 18 consecutive Premier League matches for Guardiola since returning from injury in October, but the stats suggest Joao Cancelo is more likely to bank attacking returns if you’re willing to take a punt on his inclusion after he was handed a breather in Gameweek 21. Cancelo to score any time is 8/1.
Leicester travel to Fulham licking their wounds after disappointing 3-1 reverse at home to Leeds. The Foxes are still looking for their first league win sice losing Jamie Vardy to injury earlier in January, but one player in particular is helping to fill the void.
Barnes is Leicester’s top-scoring midfielder on FPL this season with four goals and two assists in his last seven, while his tally of 10 goal contributions for the Foxes since September is only bettered by Vardy. James Maddison is another Leicester player to consider – with six goals and three assists this term – but the stats show Barnes is the far more clinical of the two. Barnes to score first at Craven Cottage is 9/2.
Take a punt on Cresswell?
Fancy going for a slightly rogue choice? West Ham have scored the most goals from set pieces this season and it is little wonder with dead-ball specialist Aaron Cresswell in their ranks. Cresswell is the highest-scoring defender on FPL this season (96 points) with eight assists, seven clean sheets, and 11 bonus points.
He averages just over seven points per Gameweek since the turn of the year and registered another assist in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at London Stadium. The Hammers travel to Aston Villa in midweek and have kept more clean sheets on the road (four) than in east London this season.
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