It's been an eventful two weeks in the world of soccer, as World Cup qualifying has been in full swing. Now, it's time for players to return to their club football, and this weekend brings us some terrific matchups to get things back into full swing in the Premier League!
Right off the bat, Manchester United will host Arsenal in the early Saturday morning match. The last time we saw United, they secured a 3-1 victory over Swansea in a match that saw Paul Pogba finally show up. Meanwhile, the Gunners were involved in a 1-1 draw with Spurs in the North London Derby, and they will be keen to get back to their winning ways.
The 10 am EST matches have some intriguing storylines. Everton will host Swansea City, as Ashley Williams will face his old club for the first time. Romelu Lukaku will be a very interesting choice for captaincy as he will go against a Swans back line that has conceded twenty-one times in eleven matches, second-most so far this campaign.
The majority of owners will likely captain Sergio Aguero, yet again, as Manchester City will travel to lowly Crystal Palace, losers in their last three Premier League matches. Seeing as the hosts have conceded ten goals in those three matches, Aguero and company will be looking to light up the scoreboard, while Palace will look to avoid slipping into the relegation positions.
Sunderland and Hull City will square off in a relegation six-pointer. Both sides will want the three points from this one, but for the Black Cats, this is as close to a must-win as you will get this early in the season. A win would give them eight points through twelve matches, after having the fewest points in Premier League history through ten weeks.
Elsewhere, Southampton will host Liverpool, a matchup that sees one of the stingiest defenses in the league hosting the top goal-scoring club in the Premier League. The Reds are on fire right now, having scored ten goals in their last two matches, and they will be looking to win their fifth match on the trot. They will also be hoping to stay atop the table, as a loss or draw could see them slide down to fourth place.
Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth will square off as both try to break into the top half of the table. Stoke City have rebounded solidly from a horrid start, as Xherdan Shaqiri continues to shine. Elsewhere, Watford will host Leicester City. With the Foxes having a Champions League match on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see if they continue their Jekyll and Hyde run of form, or if they will actually get a win in the Premier League after earning just four points out of a possible twelve and sitting only two points clear of the drop zone.
The late match will see a London showdown, as Spurs host West Ham United. Tottenham will look to keep pace with the leaders, while West Ham will try to continue their decent run of form and climb back up the table. After a start that saw some calling for a managerial change, the Hammers have picked up two wins and a draw in their last four matches.
It is always interesting to see who gets the start coming out of an international break, so team selection for managers is crucial. With that in mind, here are my lineups for FPL and Fantrax this weekend.
OFFICIAL FPL GAME
Walker, Matip, Lovren, Fuchs
Allen, Payet, Coutinho, Capoue
Lukaku, AGUERO (C)
Lovren, Janmaat, Smith
Shaqiri, Coutinho, Pogba, Son
Lukaku, Firmino, Vokes
Who will you be playing this week? What matchups on Saturday are you most looking forward to? Join us in the comments section below for Week 12's Premier League action!