Captain Salah Gameweek 9?

Ryan from Football Chatbox shares his thoughts on leaving the captains armband with Salah against Manchester United in Gameweek 9.

What if I was to tell you that a player playing for the best attacking team in the premier league was playing against a team with the second worst defense in the league in the last 4 GWs based on xG and xGC.

Would you captain that player for the upcoming gameweek?

This is something even I have to make a decision on and in this article, we will try to see if there is any reason why we should captain Salah over Lukaku for the upcoming gameweek. 

This season it’s fair to say salah has been nothing short of sensational and probably the best player in the premier league right now. He currently has 7 goals, 5 assists (including one FPL assist), an xGI of 6.95 and is the highest FPL point scorer from 8 games, but how does his performance this season compare to the past. 

Last season Salah had 8 goals and 0 assists in his first 8 games with an xGI of 7.76. In his best FPL season in 17/18 he only had 4 goals and 2 assists in his first 8 with an xGI of 5.26. So currently with this form he is on course to beat his best points tally.

The question however is can he score against united or score enough against united to be a better captain option over others, especially Lukaku who would be the most captained this weekend?

Liverpool and Salah vs Top 8 (2020/21 Season)

Let’s have a look at how Salah performed against some of the tougher team’s last season. For this article we will be looking at his performances in the prem against last season’s Top 8 teams. 

  1. Manchester City
  2. Manchester United
  3. Liverpool
  4. Chelsea
  5. Leicester
  6. West Ham
  7. Spurs
  8. Arsenal

He scored against City and West Ham on both occasions and in the other games he scored only once out of the two games while failing to score against Chelsea on both occasions. The breakdown is as below.

Manchester City – 2 Goals

Manchester United – 1 Goal

Leicester City – 1 Goal

West Ham – 3 Goals

Tottenham – 1 Goal

Arsenal – 1 Goal, 1 Assist

To compare Salah against his teammates they returned with the following goal contributions against the same teams. Salah still edges them over goal contributions, but it was close.

Firmino – 5 Goals, 3 Assist

Mane – 4 Goals, 4 Assist

Jota – 6 Goals

Salah v United

In the last 4 games Salah has played against United including one FA Cup game he has had 4 goals and 0 assists

2020/21

Manchester United 2 – 4 Liverpool (PL GW35) – 1 Goal

Manchester United 3 – 2 Liverpool (FA Cup) – 2 Goals

Liverpool 0 – 0 Manchester United (PL GW19) 

2019/20

Liverpool 2 – 0 Manchester United (PL GW23) – 1 Goal

So almost a goal a game which isn’t bad, and we would usually take that in most gameweeks especially in a tough fixture. However, does that warrant the armband? 

Like mentioned earlier Salah on current form is predicted to beat his best FPL points tally and this season he has already played Chelsea (10 points – 1 Goal) and Manchester City (13 points – 1 Goal 1 Assist) and returned double digit hauls in both. Both teams had better defensive stats when they faced Liverpool, Manchester City had a xGC of 1.59 in the last 4 GWs and hadn’t conceded a goal, while Chelsea had an xGC of 0.63 after their opening two games and hadn’t conceded a goal as well. Meanwhile Manchester United have a xGC of 6.63 in the last 4 GWs and as mentioned at the start are the second worst defense in the last 4 based on xGC having conceded 7 goals and have only managed to keep one clean sheet all season against a misfiring wolves at the time.

Salah v Lukaku

So how does Salah (12.8m) compare to Lukaku (11.7m)

Based on the last 4 gameweeks its not looking good. Lukaku has gone on a dry spell and hasn’t returned a single goal contribution. 

The same can be said for the xGI. Salah has an xGI of 3.19 while Lukaku has an xGI of 1.64 in the last 4 game weeks. All of this is proving Salah to be the better captaincy option ahead of GW9.

Conclusion 

Something I like to use in my captaincy videos are comparing the teams xG vs xGC in the last 4 game weeks.

To get more info on this picture and see my explanations into it and the comparisons of Lukaku and Salah in more detail check out my captaincy video on YouTube, but in short, I’ve currently ranked the Chelsea game as the more favorite for returns compared to the Liverpool game for the only reason being that United’s attack isn’t too bad and it could probably push Liverpool back at times. While Norwich are bad at both attack and defense. I don’t think you could go wrong captaining Salah against United. He has proved against Chelsea and Manchester City that he can return and I would probably expect him to do the same. I would also keep an eye out on Manchester United’s UCL game against Atalanta as that could give us an indication of what to expect as Atalanta are also a very attacking team.

Video link – https://youtu.be/IH1rtqg-njg

Fantasy Football Community