Fixture analysis: Game-week seven starts with a humdinger of a match between Manchester City and Everton. Given the Toffees' outstanding recent record against the Blues, don’t bet against them maintaining their unbeaten start to the league campaign.
Hull City and Aston Villa both have the chance to climb into the top six as they face each other at the KC Stadium, while Manchester United and Chelsea both face potentially tricky away days as they take on Sunderland and Norwich City respectively.
Liverpool will expect to overcome Crystal Palace at Anfield, and should they win they will return to the top of the table at least until Sunday – when Arsenal travel to West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur entertain West Ham United.
Player analysis: Romelu Lukaku (7.7) has now well and truly found his feet at Goodison Park, and will be hoping to further dent Manchester City’s title hopes in the weekend’s early kick-off. Ross Barkley (5.4) continues to impress, and if Roberto Martinez’s side do get a result at the Etihad, expect the young Englishman to play a vital role.
With Leighton Baines (7.6) not coming cheap, a punt on Seamus Coleman (5.6) could pay dividends if Everton can keep City’s strikers at bay.
Then again, if you feel Manuel Pellegrini can end the Toffees' hoodoo over the Blues, it is simply a case of deciding which of his strikers he will plump for. I expect to see Sergio Aguero (11.1) and Alvaro Negredo (9.3) in the starting line-up, although Samir Nasri is (8.0) is a cheaper but potentially just-as-effective alternative.
Given Fulham’s poor recent form, I am tipping Stoke City to earn all three points (and a clean-sheet) at Craven Cottage, and if you feel the same, both Ryan Shawcross (5.5) and Geoff Cameron (5.0) could be worth investing in.
Hull City’s Robbie Brady (5.3) would have been a shoo-in for this week’s team, but now out for around a month, it is up to the likes of Sone Aluko (5.0) to step up in his absence. But if you think Villa can keep a second consecutive away clean-sheet, Brad Guzan (5.0) and Ron Vlaar (4.4) will be pivotal.
In Saturday’s late kick-off, Manchester United will hope Nemanja Vidic (6.0) can replicate the fine form he showed against Shakhtar Donetsk. While I am also tipping Antonio Valencia (7.5) to have a good game against the Black Cats, and for Shinji Kagawa (7.4) to continue slowly playing his way into David Moyes’ long-term plans.
There are two potentially great matches at 4:00pm on Sunday, and expect goals as Spurs face West Ham at White Hart Lane. Can Andre Vills-Boas keep ignoring Jermain Defoe (8.1) in the league, considering his goal-scoring form in Europe?
Gylfi Sigurdsson (7.2) is also worthy of consideration, while the Hammers’ top points-scorers are Kevin Nolan (7.1) and Winston Reid (5.0).
It is the usual suspects for Arsenal’s match against the Baggies, with Aaron Ramsey (6.5), Mesut Ozil (10.6) and Olivier Giroud (9.5) all likely to be on your shopping list if you do not already have them. But I expect West Brom to give Arsenal quite a game and come away with at least a point, and both Liam Ridgewell (5.0) and Morgan Amalfitano (5.0) could be worth investing in if they can replicate their recent form.
Captain choice: Given the way he returned to legue football, and considering this weekend’s opposition, I think it would be foolish to look beyond Luis Suarez (11.1).
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