As I mentioned a few weeks ago I hate double weeks when only two teams have two games, especially when they are two of the most boring and unrewarding fantasy points producers in the Premier League - Aston Villa and Bolton. Both sides play their first fixture at home before they square off at Villa Park, so with two home games it's advantage to Villa players.
Aston Villa - Sunderland (home), Bolton (home)
Bolton - Swansea (home), Villa (away)
Hardly exciting, but as we saw with Liverpool and Everton's double week last month, something strange often happens in double weeks like this and players who have previously done very little suddenly put up big scores out of nowhere via an unexpected goal or clean sheet. The fact that both Villa and Bolton are battling relegation and face two teams (Swansea & Sunderland) with little to play for in the first round of fixtures could be a key factor, so for that reason I'd suggest grabbing a selection of DGers but I'd also suggest you keep your key players held at discount for the run in (there are more double weeks on their way). If you need more help deciding which way you want to go, Neal has looked at the form of both sides in his EPL Picks.
Away from the double gamer, Manchester City have the stand-out fixture of the weekend as they travel to Wolves, while Manchester United are at home to a possibly deflated Everton side and Newcastle host Stoke. I'm not interested in any of the other fixtures and wouldn't recommend bringing in any new players from other teams this week.
This leads to a reasonably boring set of player picks ...
Given - Very cheap and could grab a clean sheet in one of the games, so I feel he should be your keeper unless you hold Krul or DDG at discount.
Reina - If for some reason you don't want a Villa keeper then Pepe is back from suspension and very cheap.
Collins - 100% certain to start both of Villa's games unless he gets injured or sent off,
Hutton - See above.
Wheater - He'll start both and is always a goal threat from set pieces.
Ream - Slightly less certain than Wheater but Zat Knight is the alternative, so I'd be pretty confident.
Lichaj - He been great since filling in and I think he's more likely to keep his place than Baker.
Ricketts - Seems to have cemented the left back spot for Bolton.
Richards - With the DG choices Micah is the only single game defender I'd look at - it's his turn to start ahead of Zabaleta.
Petrov - MPet has been starting every game on the left wing recently and takes most set pieces.
Bannan - N'Zogbia seems to have gone MIA so Bannan has a good chance of 2 starts and is the set piece taker.
Ireland - Never seems to do much but will probably play both matches so might be worth a punt
Miyiachi - Has looked tired in recent games but Bolton have had a week off so he should be refreshed.
Davies - Marky Mark Davies is regular in the middle of midfield and has been known to score the odd goal.
Silva - Showing signs that he's back to his best and faces Wolves.
Sigurdsson - I love him.
Valencia - Up against an Everton side missing the injured Leighton Baines.
Ben Arfa - Home to Stoke and in the form of his young career.
Aguero - In frightening form, Wolves will be having nightmares.
Tevez - 100% fresh, has revitalised City, Wolves will be having more nightmares.
Rooney - Not really playing that well but scoring goals for fun.
P.Cisse - I guarantee he will score at least once against Stoke.
Agbonlahor - The only striker certain to start both games from either Villa or Bolton.
Weimann - Should get at least one start and seems more direct than Gabby.
Carroll - Two goals in two games (from two yards) so will probably start against West Brom. Gamble.
Please note that the team news we get tomorrow regarding Cueller, Warnock, Clark, Albrighton, Herd & N’Zogbia could change some of the above, so check back for the press conference info tomorrow.
My team at the moment:
Given, Lichaj, Wheater, Collins, Sigurdsson, Valencia, M.Petrov, Miyiachi, Agbonlahor, Tevez, Aguero
4 Villa, 3 Bolton, 2 Man City, 1 Man Utd & 1 Swansea. It could well stay like that unless I choose to bring in a Villa midfielder (possibly Bannan).
How's your team shaping up?