Caveat - Captaincy picks are in the below format:
- Number one pick predicted as per the Fix Algorithm
- Differential pick (Under 25% ownership)
- 'Out there' pick (Under 15% ownership)
Mohamed Salah (NOR)
The highest-scorer of the last two seasons is the standout pick for the first gameweek of the season and the Egyptian will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing AFCON (African Cup of Nations) with Egypt. 54 goals and 36 assists over the last two seasons is astounding. During the final six weeks of the 2018/19 campaign, no midfielder took more shots (28) or shots in the box (SiB) (21) than the Egyptian. He was also top for goals scored amongst midfielders (five) and only Hazard (59) registered more penalty box touches than Salah’s 51. The Liverpool winger created 12 chances, no other Liverpool midfielder managed more. The Reds were top for goals scored (17) in those last six gameweeks and only Man. City (35) and Leicester (36) managed more shots on target (SoT) than Liverpool’s 34. Norwich could have hardly asked for a more daunting away trip to start the season with the reds undefeated at Anfield for over a year. The Canaries are a team with an attack-minded philosophy, this led to them conceding 57 goals in the Championship last year while only keeping 13 clean sheets, the eighth-best in the division. 14 of their matches involved four or more goals and their most frequent full-time scoreline was 2-2 which indicates that the opening fixture of the season might be a goal fest. Our Fix Algorithm projects a point score of 9.4 for the Egyptian.
Callum Wilson (SHU)
Wilson enjoyed a stellar 2018/19 campaign with 14 goals, 12 assists and 22 bonus points. His underlying numbers show that these returns were no fluke. As the Custom Stats table shows, only Jimenez (14) created more 'big chances' than the Englishman's 13 and no forward registered more assists than his 12. Only Aubameyang (36) and Vardy (33) registered more 'big chances' than his 28. The Cherries were the most attacking team outside the 'top six', scoring 56 goals and only four teams (Chelsea, 96, Man. Utd, 98, Liverpool, 108 and Man. City, 125) registered more 'big chances' than their 95. Sheffield Utd. had the best defence in the Championship last season, keeping 21 clean sheets and conceding just 41 goals in 46 games. However, only nine of those 21 clean sheets were away from home and the Premier League is a huge step up from the Championship. Bournemouth enjoyed a similar opening fixture against Cardiff last season winning 2-0 and will be looking for a repeat of that. Our Fix Algorithm projects a point score of 5.4 for Wilson.
Jamie Vardy (WOL)
Vardy had a strong finish to last season after the appointment of Rodgers as he scored nine goals in Leicester's last 10 games. A stat unmatched by any other forward during this time-frame. As the Custom Stats table shows, no forward attempted more than his 25 shots in the box or registered more 'big chances' than his 12 over this period. Only Crystal Palace (19), Man. City (20) and Liverpool (25) scored more goals than the Foxes' 17 and only Everton (56), Chelsea (59) and Man. City (68) landed more SoT than their 54. Wolves have already started playing competitive games in the Europa League and face a 6000+ mile round-trip to Armenia just three days before this game (Thursday). The Birmingham outfit kept only nine clean sheets last season and it would be a stiff task to keep the Foxes' attack out especially with the strengthening in attacking areas over the Summer. New signings such as Perez and Tielemans have all the necessary attributes to cause Wolves problems and Vardy should benefit. Our Fix Algorithm backs Vardy to get attacking points in his season opener with a point score of 4.4.