The Armband: FPL Gameweek 33 Captain Analysis
The Armband: FPL Gameweek 33 Captain Analysis

This article is part of our The Armband series.

It's back to normal for fantasy Premier League, and that means picking a captain won't be as easy as closing your eyes and throwing a dart at the Man City roster. After half the clubs had two matches in Gameweek 32, there are just six total matches in Gameweek 33. While we don't have to worry about Raheem Sterling, we also don't get the luxury of blindly giving Sergio Aguero the armband. Even worse is that none of the matchups stand out. 

Liverpool have one of the more favorable matches, but it's not like they've been great away from home with just five goals in their last six league trips. As for Southampton, they've won their last two, including one at home against Tottenham. That still won't stop fantasy managers from backing Mohamed Salah, who again failed to make the scoresheet last match, finishing with one shot on goal and zero chances created. I'm sticking with Sadio Mane even though he had worse numbers against Spurs. Mane still has three braces in the last six matches, while Salah has one assist in that period. Roberto Firmino could also get some love, but he's less consistent than the other two.

Chelsea are the biggest favorite against West Ham, but Eden Hazard is always a mystery. He came off the bench last weekend and then grabbed a goal and assist against Brighton on Wednesday. As for Gonzalo Higuain, he hasn't made the scoresheet in his last three starts and Olivier Giroud found the back of the net in his place Wednesday. If you don't have any of the Liverpool players, it'd be hard to pass on Hazard or Higuain, mainly because the Hammers are terrible away, losing five of their last six by a combined 11-1 score line. That means a clean sheet is possible for Cesar Azpilicueta, the easiest defender to trust. I would look more into that, but I'm not sure I can trust Chelsea's back line, even after holding Brighton scoreless.

Arsenal are next on the list of major clubs, and Alexandre Lacazette is the best option with an appearance on the scoresheet in his last six matches. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has come off the bench in three of the last five and hasn't gone more than 80 minutes in either of his starts. That's a worry, as is Arsenal's negative away goal differential  and Everton's back-to-back home clean sheets against Liverpool and Chelsea.

This could be a better week to focus on one of the smaller clubs, with Bournemouth (v. Burnley) and Leicester (at Huddersfield) in the best position to score a few. The Cherries have had a tough recent schedule, but they're still a much better team at home and Burnley's back line has been all over. Burnley held Wolverhampton scoreless last match (at home), but gave up multiple goals in their prior four contests. Callum Wilson is struggling to return to form since his injury, but this is the perfect spot to bounce back. At the least, he's a safer choice than Joshua King and Ryan Fraser, both boom-or-bust options. If you wanted to test your luck in that match, Ashley Barnes scored a brace in 21 minutes off the bench in the first meeting, a 4-0 Burnley win.

Elsewhere, you could take a stab at relegated Huddersfield, who don't have much of a home-field advantage. I rarely suggest Jamie Vardy away, but he has five goals in his last five starts, so he'll get an opportunity or two. James Maddison may be safer because he racks up corners, but I'd rather take the guy who is more likely to score.

There's no telling how the Newcastle-Crystal Palace match will go, though it's worth considering Newcastle's recent home run, having won their last five, scoring multiple goals in each. Palace have played well away, but this feels more like a spot for Salomon Rondon, who has three goals and three assists in his last five home starts. Otherwise, I'm not sure you can trust anyone for the Magpies. Ayoze Perez had a huge performance last home match, but that was rare occurrence.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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