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CAPTAINCY PICKS 2019/20: FPL Gameweek 4

Picking the right captain in FPL can make or break your season and has a massive impact on your final overall rank come the end of the season. We attempt to ease the burden of any potential captaincy stress by offering a host of worthy selections ahead of each Gameweek - an Essential that is voted by the FPL Community, an alternative of our choosing, a Dark Horse who might spring a surprise, and a lowly selected Differential - to cover the bases. All aboard.

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 4 Deadline

For the 2019/20 Premier League season, the FPL deadline will be one hour before the commencement of the week's first game. Our website provides a real-world countdown timer for the the upcoming Gameweek, whilst you can read our latest Fantasy articles from the season on our 2019/20 FPL weekly hype sub-section.


Our Essential picks for captain are selected each and every week on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain, with four highly selected FPL options battling it out for alpha status amongst fellow FPL players.

Gameweek 4: Essential Captain

Player: Raheem Sterling (MCI)

Position: Midfielder

Fixture: Brighton (H)

Player Price: £12.3 million +

Player Selection %: 46.9%

Captaincy poll results:

Reason for victory:

If you read or listen to a lot of fantasy football content, you'll most likely try to justify Raheem Sterling by points out his 'xGA' or some other metric that attempts to predict the nature of football, though Gameweek 4 offers nothing more than the good old-fashioned eye-test and why it might be deemed a criminal offence to not find a way to get Sterling in to your FPL squads.

4 goals from 3 games. Good fixtures and a home game against Brighton. Leroy Sane is injured and rotation looks to be off the table (until it isn't, and players go in to meltdown) ahead of The Seagulls clash.

Sterling's playing at the highest of levels right now, and though we doubt he'll reach Salah level points this season due to the inevitable 'R' word, the Englishman is at the peak of his powers right now and with international duty beckoning, there is no godly reason why Pep wouldn't play him to help build on his early season form.

There's not a lot of other justification needed with Sterling this week, other than knowing that your mates and mini-league rivals will captain the Englishman, so the captaincy is a welcome blanket to keep pace in your leagues.


Our Alternative selection for captain typically commands a smaller FPL ownership percentage than our Essential poll winner, though this pick is usually reserved for The Hype Train's own gut instincts on who could be captaincy inspiration for the upcoming Gameweek.

Gameweek 4: Alternative Captain

Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS)

Position: Forward

Fixture: Spurs (H)

Player Price: £11.0 million

Player Selection %: 23.4%

Reason for selection:

Behind Raheem Sterling in the captaincy pecking order this weekend, our first stop has to be to the North London derby between Arsenal and Spurs.

The team here all rate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Forward to have in the coming weeks and months. Arsenal have a favourable fixture list and the Gabon international is showing signs that his form from last season won't slow down.

Auba has returns in all 3 games so far this season, with 2 goals and 1 assist to his name already. The bonus points (1) haven't picked up, but that was never going to be the case in a low-scoring Arsenal team to date.

Arsenal's Fixture List:

GW4: Spurs (H)

GW5: Watford (A)

GW6: Aston Villa (H)

GW7: Man United (A)

GW8: Bournemouth (H)

GW9: Sheffield United (A)

GW10: Crystal Palace (H)

Besides the fixtures against Spurs and Man United, Auba has a clear path of fixtures and an undeniable attraction for FPL players from now until Gameweek 16. If you're going for a premium forward, Aubameyang is a set and forget option until another hot property rises to the occasion.

Spurs have been less than convincing this season and are lucky to have a single point. The natural story to follow up a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle is to get destroyed by an Arsenal team that are good at home, with Pepe looking for an occasion to announce his arrival.


A new captaincy selection this season sees us introduce a Dark Horse pick, which will be a player who typically has a good scoring record against an opposing team, or a player in good form that is being overlooked due to other popular captaincy picks.

Gameweek 4: Dark Horse Captain

Player: Jamie Vardy (LEI)

Position: Forward

Fixture: Bournemouth (H)

Player Price: £8.9 million -

Player Selection %: 7.7%

Reason for selection:

Looking at dicey fixtures this weekend, Leicester hosting Bournemouth is an evenly-matched fixture on paper, with two attacking sides coached by progressive British managers that are looking to build on a good start to the season with equally young and progressive English players.

One head that is not so young is the veteran Forward, Jami Vardy, whose incision could prove vital against a Bournemouth side that just like last season, look set to struggle in their pursuit of clean sheets due to their attacking nature. Vardy, who scored in the win away at Sheffield United, will face a similar style of side and shouldn't have a problem being provided ample service by James Maddison and Ayoze Perez.

Leicester are also riding a high after Vardy scored the winning penalty at Newcastle in the League Cup earlier this week, so there's no better occasion to build upon than a home game against winnable opposition.


Our Wildcard selection is one of the ten differential picks that is featured in our Weekly Wildcard Differentials article. This captaincy selection has a very small percentage of owners in the FPL, and is our left-field option.

Gameweek 4: Differential Captain

Player: Sebastien Haller (WHU)

Position: Forward

Fixture: Norwich (H)

Player Price: £7.4 million

Player Selection %: 4.2%

Reason for selection:

West Ham are a great footballing myth for many reasons. The Hammers have a Premier League winning manager in charge, decent players at their disposal, and a big stadium to play in. The problem is their DNA as a football club…and their defence. West Ham are red hot one week, namely when you have fantasy assets coming up against them and they surprise you. The next week, West Ham can’t string five passes together and can get drummed by any team in the league. We have discussed it many times that the London club are the league’s most combustible and inconsistent team in the Premier League.

Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have featured as differential captain before, to a mixed bag of success which isn’t surprising. The Hammers regularly bring on players that have a good pedigree, players from top six clubs around Europe like Wilshere from Arsenal, Hernandez formerly of Man United and Real Madrid, Zabaleta from City, Ogbonna from Juventus, and Yarmolenko from Dortmund currently in their senior squad. They also target the ‘best of the rest’ from around the Premier League, just like when they brought in Arnautovic from Stoke City, Fabianski from Swansea, Carlos Sanchez from Aston Villa and Robert Snodgrass from Hull.

Only since Manuel Pellegrini arrived in London did the club hierarchy start looking for rising talents instead of established players. Felipe Anderson was the first, and now they have signed Sébastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany.

The Frenchman has widely spoke to the media of his high standards and was brought to West Ham to remove the debate over their forward position. Haller scored 24 goals for Frankfurt in 60 appearances which is very good for Bundesliga standards, and was part of the DFB-Pokal winning team last season (the equivalent of the FA Cup in England). Everywhere he has been there has been outrageous scoring from the Frenchman when he was at Auxerre in France, FC Utrecht of the Netherlands, and most recently Frankfurt. Scoring 67 goals since the start of the 2015 season is good numbers, and consistency is something that the Hammers have been crying out for.

During the 2015/16 season the West Ham forward line consisted of Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Emmanuel Emenike. Combined, these four strikers only scored 18 league goals between them, and Emenike didn’t score of those players. Haller scored 17 goals that year for FC Utrecht. Just to compare, here is a comparison between Haller’s league goals, and those of comparative Hammers strikers of the same seasons:

2015/16 – FC Utrecht: 17 goals:

2015/16 West Ham Striker Goals: 18 goals (4 players)

2016/17 – FC Utrecht: 13 goals:

2016/17 West Ham Striker Goals: 16 goals (5 players)

2017/18 – Frankfurt: 9 goals:

2017/18 West Ham Striker Goals: 27 goals (7 players)

2018/19 – Frankfurt: 15 goals:

2018/19 West Ham Striker Goals: 20 goals (3 players)

Total Haller League Goals: 54

Total West Ham Striker League Goals: 81

Marko Arnautovic of the 2017/18 season scored 11 league goals, many of which the Austrian scored from the left-midfield position, and the only time an individual striker has bested Haller in terms of out-and-out goal scoring for a league season. If Haller had scored those 54 league goals for West Ham in the last four seasons it would equate to 66.6% of West Ham’s entire striking output, and he would have done this in comparison to over a dozen players in that period.

Essentially, Haller is a huge increase in goalscoring expectations at West Ham. Arnautovic is the only forward in four years to get double-digit returns for West Ham as a forward, and with Haller having already scored two goals against Watford, he only needs eight more goals to already be better than pretty much any striker has in the last four years. Diafra Sakho was the last out-and-out striker to get ten league goals for West Ham, so to be pretty frank the goal scoring has been scattered and reliant on several people to give West Ham a sharp edge.

Haller looks like to have broken out of that mould, and it is good buying on the Hammers part to identify this weakness. It is good to see that instead of relying on hyped up Premier League misfits that they go for a legitimate prospect.

Haller is a great differential this week because of the fixture. Newly promoted Norwich have found their own goal scorer in Teemu Pukki who has quickly adapted to the Premier League with five goals in three games. Everyone will be looking at Norwich to be the favourites in this fixture to satisfy their fantasy points cravings, but as already stated West Ham are a team that you don’t know what you’re going to get from a week-to-week basis.

Surely there is an element that a newly promoted teams luck runs out. Pukki won’t score every week, to believe a striker from a promoted team will regularly score is wishful thinking in the long term. We think there is a shock on the cards with the high standards of Haller to trump the form of Pukki. West Ham must win these games against promoted teams, it is what every manager expects of an established club. Manuel Pellegrini has acquired a pedigree striker for this exact type of game.

We find it ironic that the differential in the Haller vs Pukki debate is the Frenchman and not the striker from a promoted club, but here we are.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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All aboard.