Fantasy Premier League

Who is the best FPL captain for Gameweek 9?

By The Scout 19 Oct 2023
FPL Captains composite

The Scout analyses player form and home/away data to determine the best armband pick

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After failing to produce a single shot against Arsenal last time out, Erling Haaland (£14.0m) faces stiff competition from a host of in-form players for the captaincy in Gameweek 9 of Fantasy Premier League.

The Manchester City forward’s 88 per cent ownership means he will again be the top captain pick at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.

However, Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), Son Heung-min (£9.5m) and Ollie Watkins (£8.2m) all have the form and favourable home fixtures to outscore Haaland.

Liverpool's Salah entertains Everton in the Merseyside derby, Tottenham Hotspur’s Son faces Fulham and Aston Villa's Watkins hosts West Ham United

Who's been the biggest threat?

The underlying numbers show Haaland has been far superior to his rivals for gilt-edged scoring opportunities over the last four Gameweeks.

The Man City forward has had eight big chances, twice the total of any other player in Fantasy apart from the seven of Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak (£7.5m).

Watkins has also impressed over the same period. Both his 15 shots in the box and seven shots on target place top among all players, while his eight chances created are double the total of both Haaland and Son.

Watkins' hat-trick v Brighton

Salah, meanwhile, fares poorly against Haaland in terms of big chances over the last four Gameweeks. He has managed only three, with two of those being converted penalties.

But Liverpool’s Egyptian is in a league of his own for creating big chances. His total of five over this spell is a league-high and has equalled the combined tallies of Haaland, Son and Watkins.

Stats over last four Gameweeks
Player Shots Shots in box Big chances Shots on target Key Passes Big chances created
Watkins 15 15 4 7 8 2
Son 13 9 4 7 4 2
Haaland 12 12 8 6 4 1
Salah 12 10 3 4 10 5

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

Who has the best home form?

The home data certainly strengthens Salah’s claim for the captaincy thanks to his all-round credentials.

The Liverpool star takes top spot for four of the six statistics here, leading the way with 14 shots, five big chances, eight shots on target and four big chances created.

There’s little to separate Watkins and Haaland for goal threat here, with the duo near-identical for a number of statistics.

Watkins’ creativity again highlights why he has been such a big success, with nine key passes to the three of Haaland at home. 

Son’s numbers are affected by his role as a left winger in the first of his three home outings.

Stats compared in home matches 23/24
Player Shots Shots in box Big chances Shots on target Key Passes Big chances created
Salah 14 10 5 8 6 4
Watkins 11 11 4 5 9 0
Haaland 10 10 4 6 3 1
Son 8 5 2 4 4 1

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

Assessing the opponents' defence

Finally, by also examining the data from each player’s upcoming opponents, managers can pinpoint any weaknesses to target.

Whereas Brighton, Fulham and Everton are almost identical for big chances conceded in their last four matches, West Ham have been far less resilient.

The Hammers have conceded 18 big chances and 51 shots in the box during that spell, both significantly more than the other three sides. However, they had a tough schedule and faced Man City, Liverpool and Newcastle in that run.

The numbers also suggest Brighton have perhaps been unfairly punished by conceding 10 goals over the same period. 

They have matched Everton’s eight big chances against and conceded just eight more shots in the box than the Toffees, who have allowed their opponents only four goals.

Opponents' stats last four Gameweeks
Team Goals conceded Clean sheets Shots in box conceded Big chances conceded
Brighton 10 0 40 8
West Ham 8 1 51 18
Fulham 3 2 22 7
Everton 4 1 32 8
What about the opponents' away form?

The away statistics give Salah backers every reason for encouragement.

Both Everton and Brighton have played three matches, yet the Toffees have allowed their hosts a total of 12 big chances – double the number of Roberto De Zerbi’s men. 

West Ham and Fulham have been very similar at the back in their four road trips, with the duo near-identical for conceding goals, shots in the box and big chances. 

Opponents' away form 23/24
Team Goals conceded Clean sheets Shots in box conceded Big chances conceded
Brighton 8 0 34 6
Fulham 7 2 41 12
Everton 7 0 28 12
West Ham 6 0 45 13

Ultimately, in terms of pure goal threat, Haaland’s recent raft of big chances looks ominous for Brighton this weekend. Yet the statistics show there are plenty of strong alternatives.

Watkins also looks set to exploit West Ham's troubles in defence.

But it is Salah’s all-round contribution, combined with his home data and Everton’s poor defensive numbers on the road, that looks the most encouraging here, suggesting there would be very little surprise if he outscored Haaland in Gameweek 9.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 9 in Fantasy Premier League

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