I missed last week’s matchups article and in preparation for this article it struck me how much I missed writing this. So this week is a throwback to what started this, an analysis of defensive matchups in specific areas of the field in order to inform our captain selection. Let’s do this. 

  • SHU/MCI 
  • LIV/WHU 
  • TOT/BHA 
  • Bonus player punt 


I feel a need to say if you are considering a MCI asset for your captain this week, it is because you believe in their potential for explosive results. Their poor recent form is hence a conversation not worth having. Let us turn to which MCI player promises to benefit most from the matchup. 

I have 3 interesting stats that I believe will play a role in this match: 

  1. SHU have conceded the 5th most BC (13), just 1 fewer than MUN and LIV who have conceded the 3rd most (14). 
  1. SHU have conceded the most headed goal attempts (24). An incredible 6 more than 2nd most LEI (18). 
  1. SHU have conceded the most chances from the right side (the opponents left). 

Sterling wins the selection in this matchup. With KDB returning, I actually like Sterling quite a bit as a differential captain that could really haul this week.  


I have been vocal about how good WHU defense is when playing a deep 5 at the back, so this is by no means an easy matchup for LIV. WHU have only conceded 8 big chances all season. Only BUR have conceded fewer and they played 1 fewer match. WHU also have the 5th lowest xGC (6.38), again BUR is one of the lower ones with 1 fewer match. 

When looking for a weakness in WHU, all one can find is the fact that they have conceded almost twice as many chances from the right than the left. A stingy defense whose strength is their left side does not suit Salah and is the reason I will not put the armband on him this week. Mane, on the other hand, could see some production here if he gets some decent balls into whatever space opens for him on the left. Mane also has better stats than Salah. Despite missing GW4, Mane is still tied for the most BC (8), and has the 6th highest xG (4.03), higher than Salah’s. 

Mane is the standout pick for me in this matchup because Coufal isn’t really a defender per se and the stats show it. At this point, given his stats, I would possibly go Mane over Salah in a matchup where the two sides are even. 


Son could make it a very long day for BHA if he is able to exploit the space behind Lamptey. To add, Dunk is suspended, so Kane could truly tear BHA apart in the middle as well. Many managers have both, so which do we choose? 

BHA are a deceptively good defense with an xGC Delta of +5.97. They have conceded almost 6 more goals than expected in 6 matches: 1 more per game. They are middle of the pack in most other defensive stats. Without Dunk, however, I think Kane is the way to go this week. Son will face a pacey Lamptey, while Kane will encounter Veltman who is more used to playing a right sided CB in a 4-3-3. While I like BHAs fortunes to turn defensively, I don’t think it will be this week. 

Kane in good form up against a depleted back line is a must for me. 

BONUS – The Little Prince 

This one is for fun. Sometimes FPL gives you a situation where you have 2 FT and nothing obvious to do before a plan takes effect the following week. These rare moments are to be harnessed. So the little prince pick of the week is a nod to @FPLMarinerMitrovic has an excellent matchup against a WBA team that, according to my Min/Opportunity FDR allows 2 clear goal opportunities every 80.80 minutes. The league average is 119.2 minutes. 

In the last 2 games, Mitro has the 2nd most BC (3), the 2nd most goal attempts (10), the 2nd most shots inside the box, the 4th highest xG (1.68), and the lowest xG Delta (-1.68) because he has not scored. He is due. 

Mitrovic is my pick to catch a shooting star – The Little Prince. 


Gabriel Penaloza

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