Who to captain in Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 5 - Haaland, Salah and Son among best options

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Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-Min are among the best captain contenders ahead of gameweek five of the FPL.

It’s one of the most important questions in Fantasy Premier League each week – who should you captain? The double points can make a massive difference to your final score, and picking the right player each week will see you soar up the standings. Sadly, it isn’t easy to get it right every time.

There are any number of websites which claim to offer predicted points totals for players, all of which use different models of varying mathematical value. The fact is that there is no perfect way to predict a player’s score. All you can do is take the raw numbers, check the formbook, and sprinkle in a bit of basic common sense. So let’s take a look at some of the main options for your armband this week, and see who we think should be given the job - and if you want some more detailed strategic advice for the FPL, check out our weekly advice column as well.

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Erling Haaland

Here’s a rule of thumb for the season – when in doubt, captain Haaland. He simply scores so frequently and reliably that he can’t even be a bad call, regardless of the opposition. But then again, West Ham away doesn’t look like the easiest game right now, right? Well, they’ve been getting a little lucky and are running at an xG against per game of over 1.5, so they’re not actually keeping it all that tight at the back. Haaland, meanwhile, has already racked up a combined xG and xA of 5.7 – which works out at nearly 5 points’ worth per game before appearance and bonuses are applied. Nobody in the league has more. In other words, go with Haaland unless your gut tells you that West Ham will pull a massive performance out of the bag.

Captain Grade: A

Son Heung-Min

Fresh from a hat-trick last week, Spurs’ captain has taken to the central striker’s role like a duck to water, and a home fixture against Sheffield United looks like a juicy option. It’s hard to make good use of Son’s personal statistics because they’re largely confined to his games on the left wing, but Sheffield United’s defence is allowing expected goals at a worrying rate of 2.3 per match. Given how well Spurs are playing and how vulnerable the Blades are, we’d say this is a rare example of a player who’s a better call than Haaland. Just for this week, mind you…

Captain Grade: A+

Bukayo Saka

An away game to Everton could be a good opportunity for Saka to set up a big haul given the home team’s travails so far this season, but the Arsenal man has a combined expected goal contribution rate of 0.85 so far and Everton’s poor results have belied their performances to a certain extent – they have a better xG for and against than West Ham! The numbers just don’t suggest the chance of a two-goal or better performance are high enough.

Captain Grade: C

Mohamed Salah

Salah is currently on a record run of consecutive games with at least one goal or assist, and is just about the most reliable hauler in the game – even Haaland blanks from time to time, but Salah seldom does. Wolves have a weak defence, shipping nearly two goals per game worth of xG, while Salah is running at just under one expected goal contribution per game, even while visibly not at his absolute best. The fact that we’re looking at an early kick-off – often slightly lower-scoring – means that while Salah is a safe enough choice, it still doesn’t look all that inspiring.

Captain Grade: B

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Raheem Sterling

Sterling has a great record against Bournemouth, scoring 14 goals in 14 games against the Dorset club, and this is a Cherries side whose defence is pretty suspect, allowing an xG against of 9.1 already this season – in other words, the numbers look good for Chelsea to have a big game in terms of FPL points at the very least. Sterling’s personal performance outside of his haul against Luton Town hasn’t been that great, however, and he’s only going at 0.5 combined xG and xA per game so far.

Captain Grade: C+

Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford

The blunt fact is that as good as Fernandes and Rashford are, Manchester United as a whole are playing pretty badly right now, and it seems a little far-fetched to think that they’ll put up huge numbers against Brighton, even at home. The Seagulls do have a slightly questionable defensive record and don’t have a clean sheet just yet, but both the eye test and the raw numbers say that either player netting a brace or better just isn’t very likely. Avoid, and even consider transferring them out until United find some better form.

Captain Grade: D

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