FPL Gameweek 2 Captain Options

Raheem Sterling
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Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appears to be the consensus FPL Gameweek 2 captain, but is City’s Raheem Sterling flying under the radar?

The first weekend of FPL is in the books, and managers are already scrambling to fix their teams. If you followed our captaincy advice last week, you’re probably sitting pretty on the back of a Mohamed Salah hat-trick. If you didn’t then don’t be discouraged – it is a long season with plenty of opportunities to regain ground.

Heading into Gameweek 2, FPL managers will be closely monitoring Manchester City and Manchester United, as both teams kick of their 20/21 season. In fact, many managers have already made their moves as Bruno Fernandes (400,000) and Kevin De Bruyne (370,000) are the top two players transferred in this week.

With the Gameweek 2 fixtures in mind, the FPL community has focused their attention on Arsenal and Manchester United for captaincy this week. Understandably so as Liverpool are set to clash with Chelsea, while Manchester City visit a stubborn Wolves defense. However, a review of the stats suggests we may not be overlooking some exceptional captaincy options.

So who is the best FPL Gameweek 2 captain? First, let’s look at our candidates.

As always, be sure to check out our FPL Captaincy Guide for more tips on selecting your FPL captain.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – WHU (H)

It’s become pretty clear that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is becoming the consensus FPL Gameweek 2 captain in the FPL community.

The Arsenal captain looked solid in his season debut, scoring a wonderful goal and securing a respectable 7 FPL points for his owners. And while managers were disappointed to not walk away with more, the Gunners certainly looked fluid in attack suggesting there will be plenty more to come.

Veteran FPL managers will point to this weekend’s matchup against a porous West Ham team as a golden opportunity for a big haul. Last year, West Ham led the league in most big chances conceded (103), and allowed a woeful 62 goals against. Supporters of Aubameyang also point to his strong record against weaker teams (more on that later) as a strong argument for the armband. Fair to say, the Arsenal star is an excellent FPL Gameweek 2 captain.

Raheem Sterling – WOL (A)

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Posted by Raheem Sterling on Friday, August 7, 2020

Before you dismiss the idea, let me make a case for Raheem Sterling.

According to last season’s stats, the Manchester City winger actually boasts better numbers against mid-to-low table opposition than Aubameyang. Sterling’s 7.78 points per game against non-Top-7 (MCI, LIV, CHE, MUN, TOT, LEI, ARS) opposition is far better than Aubameyang’s 6.28. The gap only widens further when considering this week’s Home/Away splits. If Aubameyang is the “flat-track bully” then Sterling is the “flat-track tyrant”.

Critics will point to a difficult Gameweek 2 fixture against a formidable Wolves defense as an argument Sterling. While this is a valid point, it is worth remembering that Sterling did bag two goals in a Gameweek 19 visit to the Molineux Stadium last season.

We already talked about how Raheem Sterling is flying under the radar this season, but now it appears he may also be an overlooked FPL Gameweek 2 captain.

Heung-Min Son – SOU (A)

Perhaps another surprise this week, but we’re backing Heung-Min Son as a viable FPL Gameweek 2 captain.

Tottenham may have failed to impress against Everton last weekend, but a trip to Southampton this week could turn FPL heads. The Korean boasts an exceptional record against the Saints, having scored 6 goals and 4 assists in just 11 games played.

Southampton’s have struggled coming out of the gate this season. A dreadful 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in Gameweek 1 was quickly followed up with a 2-0 loss to Brentford in the EFL Cup on Wednesday. Conceding goals is a worrying defense trend that continues from last season, as the Saints ranked near the bottom for both big chances conceded (88) and goals conceded (60).

Southampton’s poor defensive form, coupled with excellent career record against the Saints, makes Son another neglected FPL Gameweek 2 captain.

By the Numbers:

Aubameyang is the popular FPL Gameweek 2 captain pick, but what do the numbers say?

Lets start by comparing last season’s key stats against mid-to-low table competition. This means we are excluding the following teams: MCI, LIV, CHE, MUN, TOT, ARS, LEI. Stats are averaged per 90 mins played.

Key StatAubameyang Sterling Son
Shots (S)2.983.682.99
Shots in Box (SiB)2.203.092.05
Big Chances (BC)0.901.280.50
Expected Goals (xG)0.560.730.43
Goals (G)0.730.850.50
Expected Assists (xA)0.210.340.38
Assists (A)0.160.160.44
Expected Points (xPts)5.88.16.6
Points (Pts)6.287.786.75
Table 1: Key offensive stats against mid to low table competition in the 2019/2020 season. Stats are per 90 minutes played. (Source: FFHub)

As you can see, Sterling dominates in nearly every offensive statistic when playing against weaker competition. Despite Aubameyang’s reputation for dominating weaker teams, last year’s statistics suggest that Sterling is actually the bigger threat. More interestingly, Son also scored higher than the Arsenal star in both expected points, and actual points per 90.

Now, let’s take a look at how the numbers change when considering the Gameweek 2 Home/Away match ups.

Key StatAubameyang
(Home)
Sterling
(Away)
Son
(Away)
xG0.571.040.41
G0.841.170.44
xA0.210.360.37
A0.250.180.33
xPts5.99.76.4
Pts7.149.365.74
Table 2: Key stats (per 90) against mid to low table competition split into Home/Away based on GW2 matches. (Source: FFHub)

Interestingly enough, when considering Home/Away splits the gap widens between Sterling and Aubameyang. It is clear from the data that Sterling’s form improved away from home, while Son’s worsened.

Next, lets look at the opposition. Below are last year’s defensive stats for our FPL Gameweek 2 captain’s opposition:

Team StatWest Ham (WHU)Wolves (WOL)Southampton (SOU)
Big Chances Conceded 1034988
Expected Goals Conceded (xGC)68.841.5160.58
Goals Conceded (GC)624060
Table 3: Team defensive stats from the 2019/20 season. (Source: FFHub)

West Ham were by far the worst defensive team of the lot, conceding a league-worst 103 big chances. Their defensive record suggests that they are significantly more vulnerable than a resolute Wolves defense.

Finally, let’s look at the player’s career offensive numbers against the opposition.

Record
vs. Team
Aubameyang
vs. WHU
Sterling
vs. WOL
Son
vs. SOU
Games Played5511
Goals
Goals/Game
1
0.20
2
0.40
6
0.55
Assists
Assists/Game
2
0.40
1
0.20
4
0.36
Returns
Returns/Game
3
0.60
3
0.60
10
0.91
Career offensive stats vs. GW2 opponents. (Source: Transfermarkt)

Here Son comes out well on top, averaging nearly one offensive return per game against the Saints. Meanwhile, Aubameyang and Sterling come out level with just a bit over one return every two games.

Our Pick: Raheem Sterling

Looking at the numbers, it is difficult for me to not recommend Raheem Sterling as the FPL Gameweek 2 captain. Averaging approximately 9.3 points (per 90) away to weaker opposition is significantly better than Aubameyang’s 7.14 (per 90) at home. And while Wolves are certainly a much stronger defensive team than West Ham, Sterling’s brace last season at the Molineux proves that this should not be a deterrent. Aubameyang is still an excellent pick, and an excellent Gameweek 2 captain alternative to those without the City winger. Finally, Son may be severely overlooked as a viable captaincy option, simply due to his Gameweek 1 performance.

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