Fantasy Premier League

Who is the best FPL captain for Gameweek 17?

By The Scout 15 Dec 2023

The Scout looks at the player and club home/away data to determine the best armband pick

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Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) and Son Heung-min (£9.7m) both make very strong cases for the captaincy if Erling Haaland (£14.0m) fails to recover from injury for Gameweek 17 in Fantasy Premier League.

Manchester City’s Norwegian has suffered huge sales due to concerns over his fitness ahead of a very favorable home encounter with Crystal Palace.

More than 695,000 managers have moved him on, also in part due to Man City’s upcoming Blank Gameweek 18.

Liverpool’s Salah, meanwhile, entertains Manchester United as the top-scoring player in home matches this season. The Egyptian has averaged 9.7 points per match (ppm) at Anfield, producing eight goals and an assist in seven outings. 

Son visits Nottingham Forest as the top-scoring player in away matches. He has seven goals and an assist in Tottenham Hotspur's eight road trips, averaging 8.0ppm.

In terms of recent form, there’s very little to separate the trio over their last four matches.

Haaland has the slightest of edges over Son by 32 points to 31. Both have supplied three assists, with the former leading by three goals to two.

Salah has also delivered a trio of assists and scored once to sit six points behind the Norwegian. 

Players' form compared, last four matches
Player Pts Goal Involvements Goals Assists
Haaland 32 6 3 3
Son 31 5 2 3
Salah 26 4 1 3

The underlying numbers show that Haaland is simply in a league of his own for goal threat.

His 16 shots in the box in his last four matches are more than the combined 15 of Salah and Son, while his nine big chances are three times that of each of his premium rivals.

But in terms of goal conversion, it’s Son who has been the form player over this period. Two goals from eight shots equates to a 25 per cent conversion rate, more than double Salah’s 11.1 per cent.

The Spurs star is also the most impressive of the trio for creativity. His 11 key passes are more than double the five of Haaland, while he betters Salah by four big chances created to two.

Attacking stats compared, last four matches
Player Shots in box Big chances Goal conversion % Big chances created
Haaland 16 9 18.8% 1
Salah 8 3 11.1% 2
Son 7 3 25.0% 4

When it comes to home matches, however, Salah has a clear all-round advantage over Haaland.

The Liverpool winger has had 13 big chances and also created six big chances at Anfield this season. This essentially means he has been involved in 19 big chances in home matches, compared with the nine of Haaland.

Son’s numbers again highlight he is keeping pace with his fellow big-hitters due to his outstanding finishing.

The South Korean boasts an impressive 36.8 per cent goal conversion rate on the road, scoring from seven of his 19 efforts.  

Home/away stats compared in 23/24
Player Shots in box Big chances Goal conversion % Big chances created
Salah (H) 20 13 30.8%  6
Haaland (H) 24 7 24.0%  2
Son (A) 14 6 36.8% 3
Assessing the opponents’ defence

Analysing each player’s Gameweek opponents can help identify any weaknesses to target.

Man Utd's recent numbers offer plenty of encouragement for Salah. The Red Devils may have conceded only five goals in their last four contests, yet they rank among the bottom three sides for conceding both shots in the box and big chances.

By contrast, Palace and Nott’m Forest place among the best four sides for conceding shots in the box in that period, suggesting Forest in particular have been unlucky to concede 10 goals.

Opponents’ defending, GW13-16
Team Goals conc. Clean sheets Shots in box conc. Big chances conc.
Man Utd 5 1 46 14
Crystal Palace 7 0 29 7
Nott'm Forest 10 0 28 8
Opponents' defence home and away

Palace and Man Utd are both away from home this weekend, and their underlying defensive numbers on the road are near-identical for conceding shots in the box and big chances.

However, the Eagles have played eight away matches to the Red Devils’ seven, giving Salah a slight edge over Haaland.

Forest are at home against Spurs and have the best numbers of all three sides here. At home, they have conceded only 11 big chances this season, the joint third-best record in the league.

Opponents’ home/away defending in 23/24
Team Goals conc. Clean sheets Shots in box conc. Big chances conc.
Crystal Palace (A) 11 3 76 18
Man Utd (A) 7 3 75 16
Nott'm Forest (H) 9 1 56 11
So, who is the best captain?

Salah has the most key factors in his favour. His home record, combined with Man Utd’s recent form and their away data, looks to give him an advantage.

Haaland has boasted the greatest threat of all three and could easily punish Palace, but it remains to be seen whether his minutes will be managed ahead of Man City’s participation in the FIFA Club World Cup. If there are any doubts at all over his fitness, captaining him is an unnecessary risk. 

Son’s world-class finishing is very much in evidence, both in the recent numbers and across the season away from home.

While his impressive creativity will also trouble Nott’m Forest, they are likely to prove far more stubborn opponents at home than Man Utd will be on the road, with Salah likelier to have more opportunities at Anfield to continue his fine campaign.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 17 in Fantasy Premier League

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