Fantasy Premier League

Who is the best FPL captain for Gameweek 22?

By The Scout 27 Jan 2024
Richarlison, De Bruyne, Jota

The Scout focuses on Man City, Liverpool and Spurs stars ahead of their very favourable home matches

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Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) has the form and fixture to offer managers a big-hitting captaincy option in Gameweek 22 of Fantasy Premier League.

Manchester City’s playmaker has earned over 1.1million new owners after his match-winning cameo in the Premier League against Newcastle United last time out.

De Bruyne needed only 21 minutes off the bench to deliver a goal and an assist in Man City's 3-2 victory at St James’ Park.

In just his second outing of 2023/24, the Belgian delivered a 12-point haul, matching his team-mate Phil Foden’s (£8.0m) best score of the campaign. 

After featuring off the bench yet again in the FA Cup on Friday evening, De Bruyne could finally be poised for his first start of the season since Gameweek 1. 

Assessing the playmaker’s home displays last season give an indication of his importance to Pep Guardiola’s side.

At Etihad Stadium, his 105 points, 14 goal involvements and 15 big chance involvements all ranked second only to Erling Haaland (£13.9m).

Even if Haaland is fit to return, as Guardiola confirmed today, his minutes are still at risk due to the injury, so De Bruyne could prove the best Man City armband option against Burnley.

De Bruyne's home form, 2022/23
  Total City rank
FPL points 105 2
Goal involvements 14 2
Shots 30 4
Key passes 51 1
Big-chance involvements 15 =2

At a point where popular picks Ollie Watkins (£8.9m) and Bukayo Saka (£9.1m) have struggled for form for a number of weeks, and Cole Palmer (£5.8m) faces a tough visit to Anfield, it may prove a better tactic to also consider the Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur attacks. 

Both have favourable home matches, entertaining Chelsea and Brentford respectively, and are among the most reliable sides for goals this season.

Liverpool have scored at least twice in 15 of their 17 fixtures at home across all competitions, while Spurs have scored at least twice in 15 of their 21 league matches under Ange Postecoglou.

Diogo Jota (£7.9m) is the form player in Fantasy among those three sides, producing 32 points in his three outings thanks to three goals and three assists.

What’s all the more remarkable is that he started only one of those encounters, against AFC Bournemouth last time out, delivering a huge 19-point haul.

His team-mate Darwin Nunez (£7.5m) has also scored three goals in that period, Spurs’ Richarlison (£7.0m) netted twice, while Foden has combined a goal with two assists.

Players' form in last three matches
Player Pts Goal involvement G A Bonus
Jota 32 6 3 3 3
Foden 22 3 1 2 4
Nunez 24 4 3 1 4
Richarlison 17 2 2 0 1
Alvarez 17 2 2 0 3

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

The underlying data highlights the all-round potential of Foden and Julian Alvarez (£7.0m) for Man City.

They are the only two players in the analysis to record double-figures for both shots and key passes, while the Argentinian’s five big chances place joint-top with Nunez here. 

Nunez's 21.4 per cent goal conversion is a significant improvement on his recent displays, and certainly looks more sustainable than the 75 per cent of Jota, who has scored with three of his four shots.

Although Jota had his minutes markedly limited, his average of 46.8 minutes per shot in the box in this run is more than twice as slow as Nunez's 24 minutes, which is the quickest among the featured players.

Attacking stats in last four matches
Player Shots (in box) Big chances Goal conversion Key passes
Foden 17 (8) 0 5.9% 14
Alvarez 16 (13) 5 12.5% 10
Nunez 14 (11) 5 21.4% 8
Richarlison 10 (9) 3 30.0% 3
Jota 4 (4) 0 75.0% 4

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

What about the home form?

In terms of underlying numbers, at least, Nunez has been the most impressive performer in home matches in the analysis.

His 27 shots in the box and 18 big chance involvements both place top here, while Nunez's 12 key passes are bettered only by the 20 of Foden.

However, his unreliable finishing skills are in evidence – he has converted a mere 6.5 per cent of his shots at Anfield in 2023/24.

Richarlison takes second place for shots in the box and big-chance involvement, with his 20.8 per cent goal-conversion rate helping him to five goals at home, joint-top with Son Heung-min (£9.7m).

Jota’s goal threat certainly looks more encouraging than Foden or Alvarez. His 15 shots in the box leads the duo, who have 11 each, while his 21.1 minutes per shot is far quicker than either of the Man City pair.

Home stats compared in 23/24
Player Shots in box Big chance involvements Goal conversion Min/shot Key passes
Nunez  27 18 6.5%  19.9 12
Richarlison 21 9 20.8%  21.0 6
Jota 15 4 22.2% 21.1 10
Alvarez 11 5 20.0% 37.6 18
Foden 11 4 17.6% 43.5 20

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

Assessing the opponents’ defences

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

The recent data team looks encouraging for both Richarlison and the Man City attackers.

Spurs’ visitors Brentford have conceded 11 goals in their last four fixtures, equalling the combined total of Chelsea and Burnley.

The Bees are also the worst off for conceding big chances, although Burnley have been the most porous allowing their opponents shots in the box.

Indeed, they have conceded 19 more shots in the box than Brentford in that period.

Opponents’ defensive stats, last four matches
Team Goals conceded Clean sheets Shots in box conceded Big chances conceded
Brentford 11 0 29 12
Burnley 6 1 48 7
Chelsea 5 1 37 8

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

Burnley’s away numbers add further appeal to investing in Man City’s key attackers.

The Clarets have conceded 127 shots in the box on the road, the second-worst total in the league, and over 50 more than Brentford’s 72, albeit in one more match.

In terms of conceding goals and big chances in away fixtures, Chelsea’s numbers are near-identical to Burnley, which lifts the prospects of Nunez and Jota.

Opponents’ away defending in 23/24
Team Goals conceded Clean sheets Shots in box conceded Big chances conceded
Burnley 17 1 127 25
Chelsea 17 2 90 24
Brentford 13 2 72 15

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

So, who is the best captain?

De Bruyne’s huge involvement in big chances in home matches last season suggests he can immediately reward managers with the armband.

The Belgian created 15 such opportunities at the Etihad last season and it’s fair to say his absence has been sorely felt – indeed, no Man City player has created more than three big chances in home fixtures in 2023/24.

Although there would be no surprise if Foden and Alvarez earned more minutes, De Bruyne simply has a higher ceiling for Fantasy returns and Burnley’s dire record on the road only adds to his appeal.

Meanwhile, Richarlison and Jota’s impressive goal conversion rates indicate they can extend their fine form, with Nunez's erratic finishing making him an unnecessary armband risk.

Richarlison’s clear advantage over Jota when it comes to big chances suggests the Spurs star is a stronger option. 

Combined with Brentford’s poor defensive form, and the return of James Maddison (£7.8m), Richarlison seems well placed to add to his run of six goals in the last six Gameweeks. 

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 22 in Fantasy Premier League

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