The Armband: FPL Gameweek 34 Captain Analysis
The Armband: FPL Gameweek 34 Captain Analysis

This article is part of our The Armband series.

This isn't a normal double gameweek. Two teams have two matches in Gameweek 34, but you'll be hard pressed to give the armband to someone from either team. That's because it's rarely a good strategy to captain anyone from teams battling relegation, especially since Cardiff are away for both of their matches. Brighton have two excellent matchups against Bournemouth and Cardiff, respectively, but they're still barely scoring one goal per match. It doesn't help that top scorer Glenn Murray came off the bench last match and has one shot on goal in his last six starts. Pascal Gross would be the next choice, but he's returning from a hamstring injury and likely won't start both matches. If you think Brighton can grab a clean sheet or two, Shane Duffy would be the best defensive option, and he also has five goals this season.

The good news is that both Tottenham (v. Huddersfield) and Manchester United (v. West Ham) are at home in favorable spots. Even though Harry Kane limped off with an ankle injury Tuesday, Spurs still have a few options for captaincy mainly because they play Huddersfield, who just allowed four goals at home. If Kane can't go, it's a perfect spot for Son Heung-Min to add to his goal total. Prior to Kane returning from his previous ankle injury, Son was on a run of scoring in four straight matches at the end of January and early February. Helping even more is that he's found some form again with a goal in each of his last two starts, including the winner against Man City in the Champions League. If you need a new midfielder, Son is the perfect option and immediately becomes a viable captain. I'd put him slightly above Christian Eriksen, who is also on good form with one goal and three assists in his last three starts. Tottenham have the best chance for a clean sheet, so Kieran Trippier could be an option if you wanted to go against the grain.

It's not as clear for the Red Devils since they get one fewer day to prepare after hosting Barcelona on Wednesday, which is in addition to numerous injuries and a tougher opponent. Paul Pogba is no longer on the radar with just one appearance on the scoresheet in his last eight starts, while Romelu Lukaku is most likely to score and has 11 shots on goal in his last six starts. Marcus Rashford is dealing with a bum ankle, and most of his production has come when Lukaku isn't in the lineup.

There will always be some Sergio Aguero backers, but playing time is an issue as he just returned from a knock Tuesday. It also doesn't help that Crystal Palace have allowed just 17 goals in 16 home matches, so scoring multiple goals isn't guaranteed for City on a short week. I'd probably consider Raheem Sterling before Aguero  because he's more likely to play a full 90. At the least, City players are easier to trust than Arsenal (at Watford), who have lost their last four away matches, two of those coming at BATE and Rennes in the Europa League.

Leicester and Newcastle open the gameweek Friday and some fantasy bosses may want to get things over with by giving Jamie Vardy the armband. He has seven goals in his last six starts and should get a few opportunities against Newcastle, who have managed just two away wins this season and allowed two goals in each of their last three trips. Given his form, it's hard to argue Vardy isn't one of the top captains. You could make the same argument for Ashley Barnes or Chris Wood at home against Cardiff, but just when you think Burnley are playing well, they could easily come up scoreless.

Luckily, there doesn't have to be a decision between Liverpool's three attackers since there are much better options with better matchups.

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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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