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 22 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.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE ESSENTIAL PICK
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 22: Essential Captain
Player: Jamie Vardy (LEI)
Fixture: Southampton (H)
Player Price: £10.1 million
Player Selection %: 48.8%
Captaincy poll results:
Reason for victory:
Are the New Year's resolutions of millions of FPL players around the world, forgiveness? With a combined zero minutes under his belt, due to the birth of his child and a minor injury that saw him miss Gameweek, Jamie Vardy, who was voted in as our essential captain, has been given a shot at redemption ahead of a Gameweek 23 home match against Southampton.
The 17-goal Forward's third roll of the dice comes after Brendan Rodgers declared that the former England international (who could very well be the man The Three Lions need at the Euro's later this year) is fit and firing again and was part of the squad that drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in their League Cup semi-final first-leg.
Vardy's last Premier League goal came against Man City away from home during Gameweek 18's 3-1 defeat at The Etihad, with many FPL players not second guessing Vardy as their main captaincy consideration, especially given that Leicester beat Southampton 9-0 in the reverse fixture this season - the largest away win in Premier League history.
Southampton's form over the last 4 league outings, however, shouldn't have you fooled that this 3pm showdown on Saturday will be another walk in the park for Leicester. The Saints haven't lost in their last 4 league outing, notably beating Chelsea 2-0 away from home during Gameweek 19, then later beating Spurs 1-0 at home last during Gameweek 21.
If anything, the form of Danny Ings should be catching the eye, with the former Liverpool attacker leading the chase behind Vardy with 13 league goals this campaign, scoring in 11 of his previous 15 league outings. This is all adding up to a chess match between two rapid Forward's with a consistent habit of finding the back of the net, in what *should* be a potentially high-scoring affair (or conversely, and most likely given the players, a goalless draw).
In light of the form and fixtures this week, there are a sea of options in case you aren't jumping on the Vardy hype train, though like a bad habit, you keep going back for more, even though you know it might not be good for you.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE ALTERNATIVE PICK
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 22: Alternative Captain
Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS)
Fixture: Crystal Palace (A)
Player Price: £10.8 million
Player Selection %: 19.4%
Reason for selection:
Patrick van Aanholt
If you followed professional wrestling at all in the coveted Attitude Era during the late 1990's, or love watching old clips of WCW and the then WWF (now WWE, of course) go head to head in the Monday Night Wars, the above list of injured Crystal Palace players gives us one particular throwback to when Chris Jericho, the current AEW World Heavyweight Champion, came out on WCW Nitro with a list as long as his body and started listing the number of wrestling holds he had mastered. We have similar images in our head of Roy Hodgson with a similarly comedic sized list on his desk, reading out the list of injured or suspended players that he is potentially missing ahead of a city clash against Arsenal at Selhurst Park during Saturday's early kick-off.
The former England Manager, Hodgson, was frank about his side's current player shortage, claiming that he only has 11 of his senior outfield players available, with the bench a likely assortment of youth team players that are probably foaming at the mouth at a potential opportunity against an Arsenal side that are showing signs of life under new management.
From what we have seen of Mikel Arteta, he is showing some real teeth and bite as Arsenal's new Head Coach and isn't happy to settle for second best, especially as the Spaniard has much to prove given that this is his first stab as the leading man at a club. Arsenal showed resolve and some tactical astuteness in their 1-0 home win over Leeds in the FA Cup, with much of it down to tweaks Arteta made, showing that The Gunners can show signs of growth and development as a squad.
Our immediate captaincy considerations, then, for potential Jamie Vardy alternatives, led our team to all nod in agreement that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was rested for the narrow cup win against Leeds, could really punish a depleted Palace side if the right Arsenal team show up on Saturday.
Auba's a pretty consistent scorer, and as mentioned above in our analysis of Vardy, is level with Danny Ings on 13 Premier League goals for the season. The Gabon attacker has scored in 2 of his last 3 matches and will likely play on the flanks in support of Alexandre Lacazette, a formula Arteta hasn't swayed from just yet. If you don't down Auba, you'll be hoping that the early kick-off proves to be a dull affair, as many are, but if you own the Forward in FPL, you'll be quietly confident of a potentially big haul as Arsenal look to pick at the carcass of mounting injuries on the other side of the city.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE DARK HORSE PICK
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 22: Dark Horse Captain
Player: Mohamed Salah (LIV)
Fixture: Spurs (A)
Player Price: £12.3 million
Player Selection %: 24.9%
Reason for selection:
Have you ever played GTA V? If not, then why not? The hit video game is a masterpiece that still has replay value in 2019 - the beautifully foul-mouthed characters, general game-play consistency, and expansive multiplayer has evolved year after year. GTA Online is continuously added too and bettered, and whilst the campaign story hasn't been touched on, its quality still holds true.
You might be wondering in what way this is at all relevant to Liverpool, the Fantasy Premier League, or football in general. We here at The Hype Train admire one train one than any, the near-indestructible train in GTA V. No matter the obstacle, or how many objects you put on the tracks, the train and its conductor always prevailed. The mechanics means that the train rams through anything on a relentless path to travel the map of Los Santos immune to the violence of the millions of players that grace its city. In any such case, the current Liverpool team are showing signs that they as a team might just be the real world equivalent of GTA's unstoppable train.
A team improved upon year after year through a mixture of good dealings in the transfer market and inspirational coaching, like our beloved train, Liverpool are knocking down everything in its path, designed after 30 years of near misses and lost hope, to be a relentless force in the Premier League, showing no mercy. Dropping only 2 points all season, in a 1-1 away draw at Man United during Gameweek 9, The Red's are showing no signs of slowing down, so why should a Spurs side that just convincingly lost 1-0 to Southampton last time out be any different?
Contrary to divided opinion on the internet that the Premier League has decreased in quality, Liverpool have actually dominated so much that they're in uncharted waters and if like the GTA train, they don't slow down in their pursuit of a first Premier League trophy, this Liverpool team could go down as one of the best teams to grace the English game. Not only that, but there are a chasing pack that look set to get 80+ points to end the season, a rarity in the game.
All of this of course leads to a smaller point about Mohamed Salah being our Dark Horse pick this week. Owned by less than Mane (39.4% ownership), the Egyptian King was Spurs's downfall in the Champions League final after just a couple of minutes, scored a Puskas worthy goal against them last season, and even scored against this week's home side during Liverpool's 2-1 home win over Spurs during Gameweek 10. Salah is a menace to a Spurs team that must overcome the loss of Harry Kane due to injury - how many times will journalists be writing something similar over the next few years unless The Hurrikane properly takes him to heal himself after a few bad ankle injuries.
We anticipate another Liverpool win during Saturday's late kick-off, so our final thought is that you shouldn't rule out the likes of Salah or Mane from captaincy consideration. Like Liverpool, the pair are just too good to keep down for very long at all, goals and assists for the pair seem a mere formality, and ahead of a Double Gameweek for Klopp's side, it would be a welcome boost if Mo or Mane returned big in the capital.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE DIFFERENTIAL PICK
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 22: Differential Captain
Player: Riyad Mahrez (MCI)
Fixture: Aston Villa (A)
Player Price: £8.4 million
Player Selection %: 4.9%
Reason for selection:
After last week’s disappointment with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, we learned that Everton are still Everton. And this week is very much the case of if you can’t beat them, join them. We turn to Manchester City for the differential captain this week, and the Algerian we have selected is a PFA Player of the Year award winning player. Riyad Mahrez is by no length of the imagination a differential player based on his talent, achievement, skill and acumen. Mahrez was a legend in the 2015/16 season when he inspired Leicester to a title win and is in the top ten players of the league. Everything is there…except a regular place in the City team, but we think that may change between now and the end of the season.
Manchester City are the worst team in the traditional ‘top six’ to rotate their team, and without notice five to seven of their regular players find themselves on the bench. Riyad Mahrez shouldn’t be a bench player, he is good enough to start every single match and can do what Leroy Sane use to do…force defences back five yards and take on defenders to create chances. Mahrez also has set piece potential on his side, and it is a real shame a breakout player of last decade is struggling to lock down that place.
Since GW18 Mahrez has been a real staple of the City team, and the eye-test has been extremely promising in that Pep Guardiola has found it hard to rotate the Algerian due to his ability to open space. He even started in the League Cup semi-final win over Manchester United. We also believe he is going to keep his place in the City team going forward, and the best bit is we shouldn’t have to convince you on Mahrez as a player and goal threat. All we can do is show you the patterns and statistics surrounding this match.
Riyad Mahrez: Premier League starting appearances 2019/20
GW1: 14pts vs. WHU (A)
GW4: 3pts vs. BHA (H)
GW6: 15pts vs. WAT (H)
GW7: 10pts vs. EVE (A)
GW8: 1pt vs. WOL (A)
GW13: 10pts vs. CHE (H)
GW14: 2pts vs. NEW (A)
GW18: 9pts vs. LEI (H)
GW20: 6pts vs. SHU (H)
GW22: 5pts vs. EVE (H)
Statistics: Aston Villa vs. Manchester City
Manchester City have won the last six consecutive Premier League games against Villa on an aggregate of 20-2, with Villa scoring in only one of these fixtures.
City have kept three consecutive Premier League clean sheets against Aston Villa.
GW22 is the reverse fixture ofGW10 when City beat Villa 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Sterling, Silva, and Gundogan were the scorers in this win.
Man City are on a run of scoring in 13 games in a row, last time the Citizens couldn’t find the back of the net was GW8 when Wolves beat City 2-0 at the Etihad, also the only time they hadn’t scored in a game this season.
5, 3, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 4, 3, 2 – Man City have scored in every away game this season, totalling 29 goals on the road.
Mahrez has yet to start three Premier League games in a row, and if he starts against Aston Villa it will be the first time the Algerian has managed to hold his place in the City team past two games.
Mahrez has 13 attacking returns this season (5 goals, 8 assists). Among the seven returns in his ten starts, five of them took place at home, and two of them away from home.
Mahrez has blanked only three of the times he has started a game, which happened against Brighton (GW3), Wolves (GW8), and Newcastle (GW14). This means the Algerian has a 70% return rate in the Premier League when he starts.
All-in-all, Mahrez is player of uncapped potential in this City team, and if he starts, the numbers are on the Algerian’s side. Mahrez has been effective most of the time, and that isn’t by accident in a billion-pound team. Aston Villa are without Wesley and Tom Heaton for the rest of the season, and there is a real fear that this injury dilemma could make or break their season. City are always in scoring form, and their record against Villa has been impeccable. The only factor is Pep Guardiola…and when City want to maintain their latest purple patch they can’t rotate out Riyad Mahrez who is great form.
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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