The business end of FPL 2017/18 season is truly upon our heads as the final international break of the ongoing season gets wrapped up. A fully-fledged set of fixtures in store for this gameweek means normalcy is restored but the constant pressure of getting the better of your peers continues to give headaches to every manager out there. As usual, we have come up with five captaincy options for gameweek 32 who could help fulfil your quest of remaining ahead of the queue:
MOHAMED SALAH (vs CRYSTAL PALACE) [A]
Salah’s 63% owners will be hoping that the Egyptian still has a lot left in his tank following an incredible 29-point haul against Watford last gameweek. Liverpool have a tricky game on their hands as they play away to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace. The Eagles, like the visitors, emerged victorious in gameweek 31 as the London club won their first game and kept a shutout after going seven league games without one.
However, Palace have one of the leakiest defences in the division especially at home (fourth-worst with 23 goals conceded) and considering only Bournemouth and Stoke City have kept fewer cleansheets this season pretty much confirms their defensive woes. The Reds, on the other hand, are the division’s most-prolific attack on the road with 35 goals while their Egyptian ace having a hand in 15 of them (11 goals and 4 assists). Another Salah masterclass to commemorate Jurgen Klopp’s 100th Premier League game in-charge will be the demand from the red half of the Merseyside and FPL managers alike.
RIYAD MAHREZ (vs BRIGHTON) [A]
With a couple of goals and an assist coming in his last two league appearances, the Algerian seems to have put his mid-season troubles behind him. Leicester City returns to Premier League action after a 3-week hiatus with a trip to the Amex to face Brighton. After being on a seven-match unbeaten run across all competitions, the Seagulls were brought crashing down to Earth following back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester United. Despite looking fairly solid at the back, Chris Hughton’s men are yet to keep a league cleansheet in 2018.
Talking of the Foxes, they boast the most prolific attack outside the top-six and one of the reasons behind it has been Mahrez’ dazzling form, with him having a hand in 21 of Leicester’s 45 league strikes this term (10 goals and 11 assists). The Algerian was among the assists when the two teams met earlier this campaign. Having scored against both newly-promoted clubs Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town, Mahrez would be gunning to make it a perfect three versus the hosts.
ROMELU LUKAKU (vs SWANSEA CITY)[H]
The Belgian has been on a roll this year with 12 goals and 5 assists in 15 games for club and country combined. The in-form striker should no doubt take to the field when the Red Devils host Swansea City this gameweek. In their penultimate game before the international break, the resurgent Swans ended their 11-match run without a league cleansheet on the road but remain winless in their last four away games.
In contrast, the hosts have won each of their four home league matches in 2018, netting 9 goals in the process – with Lukaku being involved in 5 of those (3 goals and 2 assists). The United number nine holds a modest record of 4 goals in 10 Premier League matches against Swansea City – including one at the Liberty earlier this campaign. But the record may improve come Saturday if Lukaku carries on with his red-hot form.
RAHEEM STERLING (vs EVERTON) [A]
With Sergio Aguero still a doubt, the focus on City’s armband prospects shifts onto their second-highest goalscorer this term: Raheem Sterling. The former Liverpool man made his return from injury in his side’s last game before the international break at Stoke City where he registered an assist. Now fit and running, he is expected to start away at Everton this weekend. The Toffees have endured mixed fortunes this season but they boast the best home record outside the top-six.
Despite the home comforts, Sam Allardyce’s men have been abysmal whenever they have come across a top-six club this season – no wins, 3 draws, 7 defeats and 27 goals shipped. The reverse fixture at the Etihad earlier this term saw Sterling come off the bench and grab his first-ever career goal versus Everton. Everton’s woeful top-six face-off record coupled with City’s silky-smooth front line could mean Sterling being the difference-maker once more.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (vs STOKE CITY) [H]
Racking up 3 goals and an assist in first 5 league appearances, Aubameyang has certainly made a dream start to life in English football. With Gabon not being involved in any match during the international break, the former Dortmund star should be fresh and raring to go when relegation-threatened Stoke City visits the Emirates.
The Aubameyang bandwagon keeps on rolling. Are you on board?
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) March 27, 2018
The Potters are on a seven-match winless run in the league and desperately need to win this match in order to keep their survival hopes intact. However, they also happen to have the leakiest defence in the division (58 goals conceded) and have kept the joint-fewest number of cleansheets alongside Bournemouth with five this term. Over the years, this fixture at the Emirates has been a guaranteed three-pointer for the Gunners and taking into account their strong home form this term, the Gabonese looks destined to deliver a good return this gameweek.