Gameweek 30 throws up an interesting captaincy selection. Three of the top four teams in the Premier League face the three bottom teams. Furthermore, those top teams have three of the top four Premier League goalscorers spread between them.
My gut is telling me to put the armband on Harry Kane but my head is telling me to put it on Agüero as he is likely to be the most popular option among the players I am competing against.
I thought I would dive into the statistics to see if they can help me make a decision. I’ve added Jamie Vardy into the mix because he also looks a great option this week. I stopped short of including Riyad Mahrez as I liked the idea of a straight comparison between strikers who are also their club’s current designated penalty takers.
The chart shows 11 types of data. The first seven are shown by the bars charted against the left axis and they show actions per 90 minutes played (P90): goals (G), shots on target (SoT), shots in box (SiB), shots (Sh), chances created (CC), assists (A) and penalties taken (PenT). The remaining data shows percentages against the right axis: the proportion of penalties converted (PenConv%), the proportion of games with no goal (Blank%), the proportion of games with two or more goals (2G+%) and the proportion of their team’s goals the player has been involved in by scoring or assisting (TGI%).
It is important to note here that the percentage stats for Kane and Vardy are based on all their performances in the Premier League this season, but the data for Agüero, who has played fewer minutes this season, is based on Premier League games in which he has played at least 60 minutes. This may not be ideal, but seemed fair. His proportions might be a little different if you include the two Premier League games in which he played less than 30 minutes.
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The chart shows why Agüero is great, even when being compared to two other strikers having good seasons. In all the P90 shooting metrics he comes out ahead. He is more explosive than the other two and more involved in his team’s goals.
As you would expect from a player who broke a Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive games this season, Vardy has notched more consistently than Agüero or Kane. Agüero’s penalty miss last week leaves him lagging behind the other two in terms of penalty conversion.
The second part of this analysis focuses on the fixtures. The Team Goals Involvement percentage (TGI%) showed what proportion of a team’s scoring pie a player has a hand in, but it helps to know how big the pie is.
In this case, Agüero’s team, Manchester City (MCI), have a slightly larger pie but there is not much in it. Tottenham Hotspur (TOT) test the opposition more frequently than the other two teams, but tend do so from long range more often – a pattern shared by their striker Kane. The most interesting data here comes from Leicester City (LEI). They blank less frequently than the other two sides and have punished their opponents heavily more often.
Remember, though, that this is data from all games this season and there can be variations within that. Leicester, for example, haven’t been punishing teams as frequently in the second half of the season so far as they were in the first half. While every team has played each other at least once, this data has not been adjusted for strength of schedule, nor have I broken it down by home and away performance.
Finally, let’s look at the opposition, the teams we hope will be scored upon multiple times by our captain.
All three teams like to concede goals (GC), though Aston Villa (AVL) and Norwich City (NOR) tend to do so off fewer shots conceded (ShC). Despite their reputation, Villa and Newcastle United (NEW) have been better at keeping clean sheets (CS) than Norwich. But Villa have conceded two or more goals (2GC+) more often.
All in all, this run through has made me excited for the gameweek, but not made the captaincy choice much more obvious. All three look good for different reasons, but the differences between them are not huge. Anything can happen in one game, so it could be luck of the draw.
I have to put the armband on someone though and I think it will be Agüero. His shooting metrics are ahead of the rest, he is more involved in his team’s goals and Norwich rarely keep a clean sheet.