This game week, captaincy decisions are muddied by a host of doubles fighting for your attention; although there is no standout, ticks all of the boxes, perfect choice.

Therefore, you may benefit more from backing a single runner with Liverpool and Manchester City having nice fixtures…

FPL Captain Picks GW28:

Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks

Aston Villa

Villa assets are gleaning a lot of interest due to their reasonably attractive fixtures against Southampton and Leeds.

Both sides are rated as having a lowly 22 per cent chance of keeping a clean sheet, so that begs the question: who is the best choice for captain in GW28? 

Philippe Coutinho is nicely placed with a 69 per cent chance of any return combined with Top 6 predicted points.

The big attraction for the Brazilian is his creativity from open play plus the fact he is on set-pieces against Leeds, who have one of the worst records at defending dead-balls over the previous two seasons. 

However, there are other options. During his first six matches, Coutinho was outperformed by Emi Buendia, Ollie Watkins and Jacob Ramsey for xGI, the latter having the highest of all.

Buendia has had the most shots, and he ties with Watkins and Danny Ings for shots in the box. So, a case can be made for quite a few of their players. 
 
But every silver lining has a cloud, and context is critical here, and the Villa attack has not been consistent this season.

They have improved over the previous six, ranking eighth overall for xG, although they have faced four relegation-threatened sides, failing to score in two of those matches. 

Coutinho just edges it for me… but while Villa are a consideration, I think there are better prospects elsewhere. 

Allan Saint-Maximin or Chris Wood

With a recent upturn in form, plus a double-double coming up, Newcastle assets have piqued my interest, and these two players will be popular against relatively poor defensive sides.

But I again urge caution: particularly as Saint-Maximin is returning from injury, and by no means is he a guaranteed starter against Brighton. 
 
Eddie Howe has transformed the team from relegation fodder to a side with Top 10 data in both attack and defence. Therefore, these fixtures will be against teams in and around Newcastle, rather than way above them, as the league table suggests.

FPL Points Predictor Tool

The data of all these sides are incredibly close: Southampton (8th), Brighton 10th and Newcastle (11th) for xG over the last ten games.

Meanwhile, Brighton has better underlying defensive data, although no team has fewer goals conceded in 2022 than the Magpies.

The clean sheet odds also cast doubt over picking one of these two as Southampton are rated as having a 44 per cent chance, while the Seagulls are a little more appealing (22%).
 
Looking at the individual data, Saint-Maximin appears to be the better, although riskier punt, with a higher xG, xA and xGI, but again I'm not totally convinced that either option is worth the gamble.

Wolves

My final pick from the double game week comes from Wolves defenders. This is a far more conservative approach to the Aston Villa or Newcastle choices, but the likelihood of output is higher. 

Bruno Lage has made Wolves strong at the back. The team sit behind only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea for goals conceded, and they already have nine clean sheets.

The summer acquisition of Jose Sa has been a huge factor, with Wolves massively overperforming their defensive data.

The goalkeeper has the best xG prevented this season, and he has been an excellent asset for picking up clean sheets, save points and bonuses. 

However, I want to highlight the aforementioned overperformance; as may be, we are seeing a levelling of the numbers in recent weeks.

Wolves have regressed, going from a 38 per cent clean sheet ratio (up to GW19) down to 14 per cent from their last seven games. With only one clean sheet in eight, their xG difference has been Bottom 5 since mid-December. 

Max Kilman and Conor Coady are great options in a fairly settled backline, while I find it difficult to justify the extra outlay for a slightly more premium-priced Romain Saiss.

Wolves have decent clean sheet odds in both games; however, I'm not too fond of this pick for two reasons. Firstly, form is not with the side, so clean sheets are not as likely.

And secondly, sticking the armband on a defender just seems so dull, and I'd rather be cheering on goals than hoping for a shutout.

Mohamed Salah

We are almost back to a perma-captain with Salah. And the fixture is a good one for the Egyptian King, who will be in high spirits after the Reds lifted silverware for the first time this season.

The Hammers have the lowest clean sheet likelihood this game week, just 9 per cent, and therefore, the reasons why Salah should be in your thoughts does not need to be expanded upon.

He is currently the best player in the world, in a team top of the form table with the most goals scored.

Kevin De Bruyne

It has been a tough few weeks for owners of the Belgian, having seen him blank in two games coupled with a match in which he was rested completely. But there is nothing like a derby to get the juices flowing once again. 

De Bruyne was one of six changes in the FA Cup midweek, so we can expect a fully rested, firing on all cylinders, type of performance against their bitter rivals. 

Now I know many of you will point to Manchester United having "good underlying data" in recent matches, leading some to believe Ralph Ragnick's training methods are paying dividends.

But overall, results have been poor in games they should have been winning comfortably. The Red Devils struggled against Wolves, Aston Villa, Southampton, and most recently Watford.

Looking at the data, United were much better than their opponents, but they could not convert their dominance into three points. City will not afford their rivals such luxuries, and it could be a long day at the office. 

The Citizens have been fantastic all season, and despite recent blips against Southampton and Tottenham, their data shows that these were freak, anomalous results.

De Bruyne has the highest predicted points amongst his City teammates with the second-highest likelihood of any return. 

Best FPL Tips For Gameweek 28:


FIRST PUBLISHED: 11th August 2021

About the Author
By
Ben Dinnery Football Expert

Ben Dinnery is the founder of Premier Injuries, a website used to track and record injury data for the British Premier League.

Described by The Telegraph as the “country’s leading data injury analyst,” Ben provides statistic insight and data to a host of broadsheet outlets and some of the world’s leading media organisations.

A regular contributor on talkSPORT radio and BBC Radio 5 Live, Ben’s data is published globally through his work with Sky Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN plus a host of other leading media broadcasters.