Captaincy & Booster strategies for Gameweek 23: Is Erling Haaland once again default skipper?

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THE spotlight is firmly on Manchester City in the world of Dream Team right now.

The defending champions are the only team with two fixtures to fulfil in Gameweek 23 and so gaffers should stock up on Pep Guardiola’s favourites.

Everton visit the Etihad on Saturday in the first Premier League game of the weekend before the treble winners travel to Copenhagen for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie in midweek.

With that in mind, let’s talk captaincy options.

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Dream TeamAn ominous figure[/caption]

Dream Team bosses have had to think carefully about which players to elect for double points in recent weeks while Erling Haaland (£7.6m) was sidelined with a foot injury but the prolific poacher’s return may simplify the conversation.

The Norwegian No9 was the default captain for the vast majority of switched-on gaffers throughout the first half of the campaign and with good reason.

Haaland averages 9.2 points-per-game in 2023/24 – a figure only matched by the injury-prone Michael Olise (£4.1m) – and no player was able to surpass his tally of 19 goals in all competitions while he was unavailable.

He’s looked a tad rusty in his last two outings but with City purring (nine straight wins in all competitions) it surely won’t be long before he’s back among the goals.

Some gaffers may be tempted to take Haaland on in regards to captaincy in Gameweek 23 by strapping the armband to the in-form Phil Foden (£5m).

ReutersStatistically City’s most in-form Dream Team asset[/caption]

The England international bagged a hat-trick against Brentford on Monday night to draw level with Bukayo Saka (£5.5m) at the top of the overall rankings.

With 13 goals and ten assists to his name this season, Foden is certainly an appealing option.

Any concerns that Haaland’s return would dampen the midfielder’s eye for goal were thoroughly dispatched at the Gtech Community Stadium and he looks well placed for a double-digit return this coming Gameweek.

Then there’s Kevin De Bruyne (£6m).

The Belgian’s return from injury has contributed to a feeling of inevitability about City’s form going forward.

He’s provided 27 points across the last three Gameweeks via a goal and four assists.

PAA class act[/caption]

In terms of playmaking, De Bruyne is unrivalled but, if anything, his relentless chance creation only makes Haaland a more attractive captaincy option as it’s the latter who usually benefits.

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It surely has to be one of City’s superstars for the armband in Gameweek 23 and, despite Foden’s impressive form, it’s hard to look past Haaland.

BOOSTER STRATEGIES

Many gaffers will be eyeing up City’s double header as an opportunity to reap the rewards of Park the Bus.

It’s a nice idea on paper but Guardiola’s rotation policy introduces a certain degree of risk.

Setting up an XI with Kyle Walker (£3.1m), Josko Gvardiol (£3.3m), Ruben Dias (£3.1m) and Nathan Ake (£3.2m) – plus either Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.5m) or Kieran Trippier (£4.8m) – has huge potential but it wouldn’t be all that surprising if significant minutes for John Stones (£3.3m), Manuel Akanji (£3.6m) and/or Rico Lewis (£2.9m) scuppered such a plan.

Plus, City have actually found clean sheets relatively hard to come this term.

Looking ahead, there are other double Gameweeks to come that look ripe for less risky Park the Bus combinations.

Unless you feel extremely confident you can strike the right balance of City defenders, it’s probably best to keep the strongest Booster in the holster.

AlamyAll eyes on Man City[/caption]

12th Man is certainly a viable Booster to activate ahead of the deadline.

If your standard XI looks a little light on City players ahead of what should be a high-scoring Gameweek then simply play 12th Man and select one of the aforementioned superstars as your secret weapon.

Even those with Haaland, De Bruyne and Foden already in their team might think about electing Julian Alvarez (£4.3m) as 12th Man given the schedule.

Finally, if you’re helplessly undecided between the heavy hitters then activating Max Captain will guarantee the optimum choice.

However, be warned that if you go down this route and Haaland (the default option) goes big then you may end up wasting one of your precious Boosters.

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