This will be an exciting weekend for the Premier League, specifically for early title race contenders Chelsea and Manchester City, but also for bottom dwellers Sunderland who face bitter rivals Newcastle. We also have some real value in some of the other home matches as well as some you should probably just avoid. Let us start by taking a quick look at the upcoming fixtures for week 9 with the best match ups highlighted:
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Manchester United v Stoke
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion
Southampton v Fulham
Sunderland v Newcastle
Tottenham v Hull City
Chelsea v Manchester City
Obviously we should be focusing on Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United as they have the best match ups of the group. However Southampton and Swansea City all have decent chances for the win and should be taken into consideration. I am going to avoid Chelsea v Manchester City as you cannot predict the outcome of that match. Although if you hold a strong discount on a player like Aguero, there is no fault if you decided to keep him. Norwich City v Cardiff City has bore 1-1 draw written all over it and Aston Villa v Everton seems just as unpredictable as the top of the table clash. With that being said, let's move onto which players you should be considering for this week!
Hugo Lloris - My top goalkeeper pick for the week and still reasonably priced. Tottenham have been very strong defensively this season and will look to continue that against a Hull city side that will struggle on the road.
Simon Mignolet - Liverpool's defense hasn't been what it was in the first couple of matches and they have started to leak goals. However, Mignolet still offers good value this week albiet at a higher price than Lloris. I tip Liverpool to not only get back to winning ways but keep the CS here to a wasteful West Brom side that really could have taken the win at Stoke last match.
De Gea - If you have the money, look no further than David De Gea. Playing at home and facing an atrocious Stoke attack that has hardly convinced ANY ONE that they can score. The only worry is here that De Gea won't get many saves as Stoke don't often get many on target. So if Stoke were to pull a play out of Southampton's book like last week and score, you will be left frustrated. But United should still prove too much for Stoke at home, so the win looks likely.
Michel Vorm - I am going to tip Swansea to take this home win against West Ham while keeping the clean sheet. He is the cheapest option of the above picks no less. West Ham are still missing striker Andy Carrol and honestly don't have a striker able to consistently find the back of the net. I may end up holding Vorm from his previous week if I decide I need to save some funds for other players.
Kyle Walker - He is expensive, but his attacking threat makes him a solid buy this weak and should easily bomb down the flanks making short work of Hull City's wide men. If you find yourself with some extra funds, he is your man.
Vidic - Should be back into the side for United's home clash with Stoke and was the preferred CB paired with Ferdinand early on. His price is affordable and should get the CS. But oh how we miss the Vidic of old that was such an areal threat from corners. His physical presence and size will surely be needed against similarly gritty Stoke defenders.
Patrice Evra - Another United defender (seeing a theme here?) and again a premium pick. But he offers much more attacking potential to Vidic and will get crosses into the box. Again, Stoke are terrible in front of goal so I tip United for the CS here.
Sahko/Toure - Still very reasonably priced and a solid way into Liverpool's home match against West Brom. Not and high of a chance for the CS as United, but certainly not a huge risk either. One will be in my team for sure.
N. Taylor - Came on for the injured Ben Davies in the Swansea's demolition of Sunderland and represents a solid CS shout at an outrageous price under 4mil. Should he get the nod, he will be the bargain pick of the defenders this week and allow for further usage of funds in midfield or forward picks.
Mertesaker - Slightly more expensive but still cheaper than Walker/Evra, but offers a nice way into Arsenal's backline. He is always a goal threat from the set piece and with Ozil's delivery could wreak havok on an out of sorts Crystal Palace. He will most likely fit into my side this week.
Yohan Cabaye - He had a spectacular effort against Liverpool and a sumptuous free kick delivery that assisted the second goal. There is no reason to think he cannot weave that kind of magic against a rock bottom side. Never mind that this is a bitter derby, he will certainly be the main man for Newcastle's attack.
Ozil/Ramsey - You have Ozil (obviously) but if you haven't gotten in on Aaron Ramsey then now is the time to do it. His price is getting into the premium category, especially if he keeps scoring (which looks likely) but Crystal Palace are relegation candidates and you wouldn't be against either player to make some contribution to the scoreline.
Steven Gerrard - Another premium pick, but coming off his 100th league goal at Newcastle and retaining penalty duties, the match up is right for Liverpool's talisman.
Erikson - He was left on the bench for the win against Aston Villa last time out, but I expect him to be re-instated to the starting line up for the clash with Hull City. Obviously Andros Townsend is the form player right now, but if you failed to get him on the BD (like myself), then Erikson offers your bargain route into Spurs midfield. Just for a reference I rate Tottenham's midfield from order of preference as follows: Townsend/Paulinho/Erikson/Siggy - I feel at least one will be required this week and I may opt for two.
Adan Januzaj - Still priced under 10mil and offers managers the only United midfielder worth having this week. He is fast becoming a favorite among the fantasy circles and will offer attacking threats with phantom point production. Good job if you picked him up early at his lower price, but he will definitely be in my side this week.
Michu - He was quiet in the Sunderland route and didn't get on the score sheet, but Swansea's form and the home match means he should probably get another shot. I feel he will be back to scoring ways against West Ham.
Hatem Ben Arfa - A cheaper way into the Newcastle midfield, especially if you cannot afford Cabaye, but slightly riskier as he tends to fade in and out of matches. However given the importance of the game, his trickery and skill will be needed to punish an already suffering Sunderland.
Pilkington/Redmond - Two key players that will be needed to steady the ship for Norwich City. I don't think this will be a high scoring match, but both provide good differential at reasonable prices. Pilkington is listed with an injury but should be okay for the match against Cardiff. If not, Redmond should come straight back into the side. This is one to watch team news on for clues to starting statuses.
Sturridge/Suarez - The deadliest partnership in the Premier League right now and forming a fantastic understanding with one another. SAS (as we are now calling the duo) demand inclusion to your side this week, if not most weeks. Which one is up to you, but if you have held both at discount, now is not the time to jump off as both continue to be involved in the bulk of Liverpool's goals/assists.
Olivier Giroud - He had a solid contribution to the onslaught against Norwich City last time out and scored mid week in the Champions League. As Arsenal's only striker (no Bendtner you don't count) I tip the Arsenal front man to get back onto the score sheet this week. He will most likely be in my team.
Robin van Persie/Rooney - One should be fine for this week, but which one is the tough question. Rooney has undoubtably been United's best player this season and is much cheaper in price. However RvP is RvP and when he wants to score he does. Backing up his inclusion to your team will be penalty duty and Stoke love a rash challenge in the box. If you have the funds I'd give RvP the nod, however Rooney will be the more bargain option.
Soldado - He finally scored from open play last week and will lead the line again this week against a suspect Hull City defense. He is still a reasonably priced option and will look to build off his recent goal. I may not be able to fit him in, but if you cannot afford other premium options, then he is your man.
Loic Remy - The main front man threat for Newcastle and having a solid start to the Premier League campaign. He has showed the qualities that should have kept up QPR but he is obviously enjoying his new lease with Newcastle. With Cisse utter fantasy rubbish (he'll probably score now), Remy is your man if you want in on what should be a goal fest against Sunderland.
Benteke - Back for Aston Villa and will be the key man if they hope to overcome a strong Everton side. I won't be including him in my team this week, but I have already heard murmurings of interest from other managers. He will offer a solid differential pick especially since Everton haven't exactly been tight at the back.
That does it for another round of player picks! I haven't had a chance to change my team yet (no barn door work is going to cost me) but will likely take from the players I have listed above. I am hoping to continue my good run of form and push up from my current position of 131th overall. How is your team shaping up? What are some players you would like to highlight for this weekend?