Fantasy Premier League – GW36 Captaincy & Differential Pick of the Gameweek
Written by: FPLijah
Captaincy is the single most important aspect of Fantasy Premier League. A captaincy fail will more often than not, ruin your gameweek, to the point of a red arrow. A good captaincy return can improve an average week, into one that is amazing, or change your gameweek from bad to somewhat decent, as we’ve seen throughout this 2021/22 FPL Season, and most recently in Gameweek 35. FPL managers that captained Son Heung-Min are still easing themselves off from the highs of his 19-point haul, giving them a total of 38 points from just 1 player. Other FPL managers went through their worst gameweek of the season, and for some, even their worst gameweek in their entire Fantasy Premier League History, and that solely came down to captaincy.
The captaincy decision for Double Gameweek 36 is a little more straightforward than it’s been for some time but going against the crowd and effective ownership (EO) may just prove to be beneficial if you’re willing to go high-risk, high reward, particularly if you’re chasing in your mini-leagues or trying to achieve a specific overall rank.
In this article, we will go through the best captaincy options, as well as my differential pick of the gameweek.
The standout captaincy option in the biggest double gameweek of the season is comfortably Mohamed Salah.
After his very small goal drought, The Egyptian King is back to his best form. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in the last 3 Premier League games that he has started. With Son Heung-Min and Cristiano Ronaldo catching Salah for the Golden Boot award this season, being just 3 and 4 goals behind respectively, Salah has the form and motivation to extend his lead and ensure he wins this award. Salah is a confidence player, who does take satisfaction from personal achievements and reaching targets that he sets for himself.
In his interview after Liverpool’s triumph in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, he said: “I am below what I want, with 30 goals and 15 assists. I have never said this before, but before the season starts I said that I want to go for 40 goals and maybe 15 assists. I have hit the assists, so I need to focus on the goals now.” Let’s not forget that Salah not only leads in goals this season in the Premier League, but he is also 1st for assists, just one ahead of teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold, which he joked about as well. Liverpool is on course to achieving the nearly impossible Quadruple, which has never been done before. Salah was given a rest in GW35 and is certainly going to start for Liverpool in every game between this very moment and the end of the season. If you think Salah only cares about his performances on the field, you’re absolutely wrong. He is well aware of his records in the world of Fantasy Premier League and has a chance of breaking his own record of being the highest points scoring player in FPL History, a record he accomplished in the 2017/18 Season, which saw him amass 303 points.
He is just a mere 48 points away from breaking that record. With 3 gameweeks and 4 total games to go, it is very possible. Confidence will be sky high for The King of FPL, as he has just won the Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year for 2022. Mohamed Salah will have the highest effective ownership this gameweek because he is undoubtedly the standout captaincy and Triple Captaincy option. He is my preferred captain, and the captaincy option I’d recommend to anyone who isn’t too far behind in their mini-leagues or isn’t chasing in overall rank.
If you are indeed chasing, although Salah is the best captaincy option, it may be difficult to catch those far above you, especially if you aren’t playing a Chip in DGW36. A strategy that may work, is going against effective ownership and taking a punt on a different captaincy option.
First up, we have Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
After Manchester City’s shocking exit from the UEFA Champions League, due to conceding two goals in the dying minutes of the game, forcing the match into extra time, and then giving away a penalty that was converted, the only competition left for Manchester City to ensure success, is the Premier League. They are the favorites and in pole position, being one point above Liverpool, but the Title can only be won if Manchester City wins their remaining four fixtures. We don’t know how the Manchester City players will be mentally after such a loss in the UCL, but if we are to make an assumption, we can expect a strong reaction from Pep’s side in DGW36, which could see them absolutely smash Newcastle and Wolves (but do prepare yourself for points to be lost, since we can never truly predict football and the human/emotional aspect of it).
Kevin De Bruyne was taken off early in Manchester City’s Second Leg Semi-Final against Real Madrid, playing just 72 minutes in game that went to extra time. We can assume that De Bruyne will start in both DGW36 fixtures for Manchester City, as Pep will likely play his strongest starting XI from now until the end of the season (with the odd ‘Pep Roulette’ from time to time). Six double-digit hauls this season, with 11 goals and 6 assists, see Kevin De Bruyne as the strongest contender for captaincy to rival Mo Salah, as Manchester City has arguably the best DGW36 fixtures.
A decent captaincy shout despite difficult fixtures on paper is Son Heung-Min.
The Top 4 race is absolutely on! After Chelsea’s slip-up against Everton in GW35, both Arsenal and Spurs will look to pounce on that. Although Spurs face Liverpool and Arsenal, some managers may be tempted to avoid captaincy or even look to sell their Spurs players for others with better fixtures, but these are two fixtures that the Spurs team may thrive on. Liverpool and Arsenal will likely have the majority of the possession, allowing for Spurs to play on the counterattack. When Spurs counter, we so often see Son being the one to run in on goal, being on the receiving end of a Harry Kane pass, lob, through-ball, or cross. In the last 6 gameweeks, Son has blanked twice, but also had 4 mega double-digit hauls of 15, 12, 21, and 19 points, scoring 7 goals and 2 assists as well. Son is the second-highest FPL points scorer this season, only behind Mohamed Salah. He is the most in-form player and just 3 goals behind in the Golden Boot race. Worth a shot if you’re chasing and want to go a little different with a reliable FPL asset.
Last for captaincy, we’ll go differential in Richarlison.
Everton is fighting for survival and Richarlison is their biggest threat in attack. He is Everton’s talisman and by far their most important player based on recent form. A huge win against Chelsea in Gameweek 35, saw Richarlison score the winner, then come off injured, and at risk of being banned for throwing a flare into the crowd. Since then, it has been speculated that he will not be banned, and will receive a warning, as well as a fine (we will likely get confirmation on this from the manager’s press conferences). With regards to his injury, reports have come out earlier that he is fine and fit for DGW36. In the last 6 gameweeks, Richarlison ranks 1st for shots, shots on target, shots inside the box, and for expected goals in the Premier League amongst all players. He is single-handedly helping Everton avoid relegation this season. He faces 2 very open defenses against Leicester (who should rotate after their European fixture) and Watford in Gameweek 36. If you’re chasing and willing to take the punt, Richarlison could be that perfect differential captain that could save your season.
Differential of the Gameweek:
Luis Diaz was initially going to be my differential of the gameweek, and someone I was looking at bringing into my own team on a punt after being predicted to start both fixtures in DGW36 for Liverpool (possibly Sadio Mane getting a rest in 1 fixture), but it has since been reported that Roberto Firmino is back in full training and should be expected to start in Liverpool’s second fixture against Aston Villa.
My differential of gameweek is a player I wish started every game of the Premier League season, ensuring he would be 1 of the best FPL assets to own, but due to ‘Pep Roulette’ and Manchester City’s ambitions of winning the Champions League, he was always preferred in the UCL. He is part of Manchester City’s strongest XI… Riyad Mahrez.
He is an explosive player, and whenever given a start, always delivers. Pep Guardiola will very likely play his strongest XI going forward with the Premier League Title on the line, and Mahrez 100% makes that team. Mahrez scored what most thoughts was Manchester City’s winner against Real Madrid (but it was not to be as you now know). He was taken off with a few minutes to go in normal time before the momentum changed. With others playing a full 120 minutes, I predict that Mahrez will start both fixtures in DGW36, or at the very worst, start 1 and feature in 1. Manchester City will either drop points or maul Newcastle and Wolves, and if they are to score a ton of goals, Mahrez will likely be involved. He is my differential pick of Double Gameweek 36.
Look out for more articles by myself (FPLijah). Key Notes and Lessons Taken from GW35, as well as Transfer Activity (whether we should invest or sell certain players) are other articles for GW36. ‘How to Approach the End of Season Run-In’ is definitely worth a read as well, which is applicable for every Gameweek from now until the end of the season.
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