Premier League football returns this weekend and the Gameweek 5 deadline is just hours away, but captaincy’s decision this weekend will not be as easy because Erling Haaland faces competition against Tottenham Hotspur assets for the armband choice.
Erling Haaland this season has been a set-and-forget captain for the majority of FPL teams this season which has narrowed the captaincy point swing potential up until now.
But Manchester City’s fixture run only gets tougher from this point forward facing the likes of Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham all through Gameweek 8 to 14.
With the reigning league champions also facing West Ham United this weekend, who astonishingly sit fourth in the league and have defeated the likes of Chelsea and Brighton already, will prove to be a tough match-up.
FPL managers looking to climb up the ranks will be looking for a differential captain, and the in-form Tottenham Hotspur assets seem to be the best option as they face a newly promoted Sheffield United who have looked bleak in their performances.
Talking about the oppositions first, Sheffield United this season are 19th in the league for Expected goals conceded per 90 minutes and have conceded more shots (85) than any other team in the first 4 Gameweeks.
The stats indicate that even though they might sit deep, the Spurs’ high press will make them concede plenty of chances which should sweat managers who do not currently own any Spurs assets.
But who are the best captain options for this Gameweek? There are a couple of options in the midfield who have the potential for a haul in this match-up.
Best Differential Captains
First up is the Spurs captain Son Heung-Min. Struggling to provide a return while playing as a left-winger after the departure of his best mate Harry Kane, he bagged an impressive hattrick against Burnley scoring 20 points while being deployed as a centre-forward.
When Son played out from the left in the first 3 games, he had a total of 5 shots with an x G of a mere 0.27, but against Burnley alone he had 5 shots and accumulated an x G of 1.1. If he continues to be used as a #9, his ceiling as an FPL pick knows no bounds.
Though it is not his natural position, it doesn’t look like Postecoglou would change his role after the impressive display he put on at Turf Moor.
An interesting fact to note is that every time Son has played against Sheffield United, he has provided an attacking return every match scoring 2 goals and 3 assists against them.
Transferred in by over 650k managers already ahead of the transfer deadline, and with the Spurs boss admitting that Son could also be on penalties a few weeks ago, he becomes a strong captaincy choice this week for those eyeing a differential captain.
The other option to target is the exceptional English playmaker James Maddison.
Scoring two goals and providing two assists in his first 4 matches, with expected assists of 1.81 ranking third in the league, it is fair to say he has settled into his new team comfortably.
Being bought over by 600k managers, the 7.8m midfielder is an affordable transfer to make and a great captain choice ahead of the Gameweek 5 deadline.
He ranks second in the whole league for expected Goals involvement up until now right behind Mbuemo and has even won the Premier League Player of the Month award for August as a cherry on top to boost his confidence.
With 10 shots and 12 attempted assists in his first four Gameweeks and a league-high total of 53 passes into the opposition box, it is evident that Maddison pulls all the strings in the North London side.
Sheffield have also given away the most freekicks in dangerous areas, and it is well-known how much of a threat Maddison is from set pieces, which makes him a player bound to rack up a lot of points this Gameweek and another potential captain choice for managers who like to play the game risky.
Sheffield United’s opponent’s shot maps this season have shown that most of the volume of shots conceded come from the central areas of the pitch, which makes players in central positions like Maddison, Sarr, and whoever starts as the striker, which is likely to be Son, are most likely to haul.
Is trusting Haaland blindly with Captaincy a smart choice?
Regardless of the differentials, Haaland still is a nonstop goalscoring machine and is in great form.
Scoring a hattrick against Fulham before the international break and averaging 9.8 points per match, he still remains the best striker in the league and even though he does not have a lot of touches or passes in the buildup, he ranks fourth in the league for expected goal involvements.
But there aren’t many Gameweeks in which you can go against Haaland for captaincy, but this is one of them.
Manchester City have scored only 5 goals in their last 4 away matches against West Ham United. The Hammers also had a strong pre-season and have added quality reinforcements in their backline and midfield.
David Moyes must also have planned to park the bus as he does against big teams and use the agile and physical presence of Aguerd and Zouma to unsettle Haaland and give him a tough time.
There are also a lot of first-team players injured for Manchester City this match with Kovacic, Stones, De Bruyne, Grealish, and Alvarez not available to feature in the game against West Ham which puts doubt on the creativity and service Haaland would be provided to convert the chances into goals.
In conclusion, the type of FPL manager you are should dictate your captaincy choice.
If you are a risk-averse, safe-playing manager, it makes little sense to not captain the player to whom most of the other FPL managers would turn.
But if you like playing aggressively, chase the higher upside for points, and do not fear the potential downside of your differential underperforming, Son or Maddison are perfectly sensible captaincy choices for this Gameweek.
With Manchester City having the toughest run of fixtures out of all teams in the league facing six of last season’s top 8 ranked teams along with Chelsea, other players in the game with favourable fixtures will definitely be in contention for the armband choice in your FPL teams.
For this week it is the Tottenham attacking maestros versus the Norwegian poacher, so trust your judgment and make a wise decision to settle this FPL dilemma.