Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers are refocusing their attention on the welcome resumption of top-flight domestic action on Boxing Day, with the frenzy of Christmas games punctuating a joyful time of family, feasting and festive excess .
Familiar enemies of the captaincy Erling Haaland (£12.2 million) and Mohammad Salah (£12.8m) are naturally seen as the main protagonists, with alternate options Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United making up the supporting cast in the Gameweek 17 captaincy conundrum.
As usual, Captain Sensible’s article is here to highlight which assets have the best chance of being transported.
First, we’ll assess the fallout from the captain’s poll, before then analyzing the best options, Rate My Team (RMT) and Premier Fantasy Tools ratings ahead of Monday’s 11:00 GMT deadline.
THE CAPTAIN’S SURVEY
Erling Haaland dominates the captain’s poll, with a mite under three quarters of the total votes cast by users at the time of writing.
No other player has garnered more than 8% of the vote at this stage, with Mohammad Salah currently in second place, supported by around one in 13 users.
Dejan Kulusevsky (£8.0m) surprisingly takes third place with 4.87% of the vote, followed by a group of five players who each have between 1% and 4% of the support.
THE MAIN CANDIDATES
ERLING HAALAND/KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Erling Haaland wasted no time in imposing his authority on the Premier League with the Norwegian quickly earning the moniker ‘permanent captain’.
The former Borussia Dortmund forward produced a masterclass of the centre-forward game ahead of the World Cup break, scoring 18 goals and providing three assists in just 13 appearances.
Haaland’s 49 shots, 21 big chances and 28 shots on target are all division-leading goal threat figures this season – the Norwegian’s dominance being a recurring theme.
The underlying expected data reaffirms Haaland’s vital importance to Guardiola’s squad: he ranks first in the division in expected goal involvement (xG) and expected goal involvement (xGI), with respectively 11.05 and 13.15.
Haaland was given an extended rest period due to Norway’s failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which gave the Norwegian time to recover from a lingering foot injury .
However, when bringing up the topic of possible burnout for World Cup participants, Pep Guardiola alluded to Erling Haaland’s lack of fitness:
“We’ll see. I have World Cup players who are in better condition than [those who didn’t go]. Sergio, Erling, Riyadh are missing a bit.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.6m) has been a model of consistency for Manchester City this season, registering 13 attacking returns, scoring three goals and providing 10 assists.
Impressively, the Belgian has shut out in just three of his 13 starts this campaign with his underlying creative numbers a driving force for the Manchester City juggernaut’s attack.
The 45 chances created by De Bruyne, the 15 big chances created and the 10 assists in total are all top distribution numbers among outfield players this term – the Belgian’s masterclass showed its strength in the victory of Manchester City’s EFL Cup against Liverpool on Wednesday.
Above: Kevin De Bruyne tops in chances created (45), big chances created (15) and total assists (10) this Fantasy Premier League season
The Belgian can also shoot, ranking in the top three among Guardiola’s squad in shots (39), shots on target (12) and goals expected (xG, 2.50) this term.
Manchester City hosts Leeds United have been particularly poor defensively this season, with their Gameweek 17 tie rating a highly favorable game for Guardiola’s charges.
Marsch’s troops rank second in clean sheets (two) and big chances conceded (41) this season, a worrying stat given that no team has produced more big chances than Manchester City (47) .
Moreover, the expected goals data reaffirms Leeds’ defensive concerns, with Los Blancos ranking fourth in minutes per expected goal without penalty conceded (NPxGC, 66.7) in this campaign.