We have hit the end of the road on an amazing season which you could describe as “Vintage Barclays” for the seasoned veterans among us.
Arsenal have succumbed to the pressure of a title race and have faltered when it counted most and Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions once again. Don’t expect Jack Grealish and potentially some of the other Manchester City players to be in a state to perform at their peak on the weekend. It is well and truly party time in Manchester once again.
Usual form statistics need to be paired with overall team situations and motivations to really make the most of your Gameweek 38 captaincy choice.
Gameweek 38 has seen approximately 3.3 – 3.4 goals per game over the past five seasons compared to a usual season average of 2.7 goals per game. Start as many attackers as you can and play your attacking-minded defenders as clean sheets will be hard to come by.
We have grouped some teams by their potential motivations in this final gameweek.
Teams that are fighting for survival: Leeds, Leicester & Everton
Teams that are fighting for European positions: Aston Villa, Tottenham and Brentford.
Teams that are ‘on the beach’: Fulham, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Wolves, West Ham, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest & Southampton.
The first two categories are clear positive motivating factors in driving a team to perform well. The third grouping coined as teams that are ‘on the beach’ are teams who are safe from relegation but have no prospect of anything greater this season so are coasting home until their well-deserved time off. Also included is Southampton to have already been relegated.
Ideally, you want a player from one of the first two groupings coming up against a team that is ‘on the beach’.
Check out our roundup of goalscorer and clean sheet odds in gameweek 38 here
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Salah has returned in eight of his last nine appearances and has look revitalised in recent weeks as Liverpool have picked up their form.
Liverpool will say good-bye to the likes of Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The match will therefore have greater importance than a usual match as the team will look to send off their teammates in style.
Expect an electric Firmino to be involved with Salah to his side up front.
The bookies have given Salah a 55% chance of scoring
Erling Haaland, Manchester City
Haaland will always be in the captaincy conversation when all teams have a basic single gameweek.
His 36 goal and 8 assist season is etched into the record books already and he will be looking to add to these totals in the final fixture of the season as Manchester City celebrate their latest title victory.
Manchester City however travel to Brentford who have won four of their last five fixtures and are battling for a spot in the Europa Conference League.
Haaland and Pepe Guardiola will also have the Champions League final on their mind which is scheduled for just under two weeks after Gameweek 38.
Potential reduced minutes for Haaland and Brentford’s recent strong form is what has stopped us from choosing him as our top pick.
The Norwegian has been given a 54% chance of scoring and he is definitely a solid choice for captaincy.
Harry Kane, Tottenham
As we have mentioned previously, if it wasn’t for Erling Haaland’s record-breaking season, the spotlight would firmly be on Harry Kane this season.
Kane has recorded 28 goals and 8 assists in his 37 starts, an amazing return.
Kane has been the engine room for Spurs and this could potentially be his last appearance for the club he loves if he chooses to leave in the summer.
Tottenham will be fighting for a Europa Conference League qualification spot and face Leeds who must win their fixture to save themselves from relegation. Expect Leeds to play on the front foot in their search for goals in front of their home crowd and in turn allow space in behind their defence.
Kane has been assigned a 51% chance of scoring this week and is likely to be in the points once again.
James Maddison, Leicester
Maddison is Leceister’s talisman who will be pivotal in saving the team from relegation and getting a result on the weekend.
Maddison has been Leicester’s most influential player since signing and has provided ten goals and nine assists for the foxes in only 27 starts.
Maddison had recorded a goal or assist three weeks in a row before facing Liverpool and Newcastle in tough fixtures the previous two weeks.
Leicester manager Dean Smith rested Maddison and Vardy in what appears to be going all-in on getting a result against West Ham in Gameweek 38.
West Ham are now safe from relegation and have a Europa Conference League final game in less than two weeks which could see them switch off to an extent as they travel away to Leicester.
Maddison has been given a 36% chance of scoring and we believe he will be in the points this week.
Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal
The pressure is off Arsenal in the title race as Manchester City have now been crowned champions.
This home fixture for Arsenal could be used as an apology to the fans if they come out and smash Wolves to cap off what has been one of their best seasons this decade.
Wolves lost 6-0 to Brighton a few weeks ago and conceded 27 shots against Manchester United in their 2-0 loss. Wolves are safely ‘on the beach’ in mid-table and we could see Arsenal come out and take advantage of their indifference.
Jesus had scored five goals in six games before Arsenal’s recent poor run and this captaincy pick would be relying on Arsenal to show improvement compared to their recent few matches.
Jesus has been given a 45% chance of scoring by the bookies.
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