Nik Argiropoulos

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AM's Week 9 Player Picks

Thursday, October 24, 2013

As you will have noticed I've started splitting my AM's Player Picks column in to two parts, with the fixture analysis taking place in part 1 and the player picks right here in part 2. Just as a reminder, here are the fixtures:


Check out The Week 9 Danger Zone | First XI: Week 9


Week 9 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Everton
Chelsea v Man City
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Liverpool v West Brom
Man Utd v Stoke
Norwich v Cardiff
Southampton v Fulham
Sunderland v Newcastle
Swansea v West Ham
Tottenham v Hull

Remember Arsenal v Crystal Palace is the early Saturday kick-off so we'll get both team's line-ups before the Yahoo deadline. Click here for my Week 9 fixture predictions and keep reading below for my Week 9 player recommendations:


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Michel Vorm - He was my top keeper pick in Week 8 and I'm likely to keep Vorm again at home to West Ham in Week 9. Swansea had a bit of a topsy-turvy start but they are looking really good now and another victory to nil is possible against a side who are unlikely to field a recognised striker until Andy Carroll returns.
Artur Boruc - Although I'm keeping Vorm (because I'm holding him at a nice discount now) one could argue that Boruc is actually the slightly better pick at home to Fulham. Southampton have conceded just 3 goals all season in the league and Martin Jol's side had scored just 1 goal away from home until the Palace thrashing.
Hugo Lloris - The last time I recommended Lloris he conceded 3 goals against the Hammers but I think that has to be viewed as an anomaly as the keeper has kept 5 clean sheets from 8 matches (a record matched only by the man above). Hull are undoubtedly more dangerous with Robbie Brady back in their side but Spurs are still big favourites here and another clean sheet is possible.


Dejan Lovren - Quickly catching Baines as the top scoring defender in the Yahoo game, Lovren had been one of the signings of the season. Not only does he form part of a defence that loves keeping out the opposition, he is also picking up points for goals and assists and has the chance of another big week against Fulham.
Neil Taylor - Bargain alert! The excellent Ben Davies has been ruled out for at least three weeks with injury so Taylor will replace him at left-back for the next few games and he costs less than £3.5millon. It's worth noting that Taylor was first choice for Swansea and a solid fantasy performer before suffering a badly broken ankle at the start of last season, so we know he's more than capable of returning points and will be looking to impress Michael Laudrup to give himself a chance of a regular first team return.
Mathieu Debuchy - As mentioned last week, the Newcastle man has been pretty quiet recently but Debuchy remains one of the cheapest ways to get a guaranteed starting defender in your team, and he faces Sunderland in Week 9.
Kieran Gibbs - Given the fixture it is tempting to fit an Arsenal defender in your team this week, and Kieran Gibbs would be my choice as he should have plenty of chances to raid down the left wing. However, I reckon there is a small chance that Nacho Monreal will get a start, and if he does (remember we'll see the starting line-ups before the deadline) I'll be all over him at £8.34million.
Jose Fonte - Not as productive as his defensive team-mate at the top of this list but he's also not as expensive and represents another good option of you want to cover the potential Southampton clean sheet.
Michael Dawson - Tottenham's captain is a guaranteed starter in the Premier League and faces Hull at home, which makes him a good option.
Aly Cissokho - For some reason Brendan Rodgers doesn't like Jose Enrique, which means Cissokho (on loan from Valencia) was thrust straight into the left-wing back role against Newcastle just days after returning from an injury lay-off. He's likely to continue there against West Brom and is therefore well worth considering.
Phil Jones - Manchester United will probably field their tallest defenders to combat Stoke's height, which would probably means Jones shifts to right back in place of Rafael if Rio Ferdinand and / or Nemanja Vidic are fit to return in the middle. If this is the case, Jones represents good value, although we'll need to check team news on Friday as Chris Smalling is another option for David Moyes.


Mesut Ozil - I imagine everyone already owns Ozil. If not, why not? Anyway, there's a slight chance he could get a rest at Palace, but we'll have confirmation of that possibility before the deadline so it makes sense to have a half decent midfielder on your bench to quickly swap out Ozil for if my fears become reality.
Aaron Ramsey - Arsene Wenger had planned to rest Ramsey for the Norwich game but was forced to bring him on due to Mathieu Flamini's injury after 37 minutes, so like Ozil there is a teeny tiny risk the Arsenal manager tries again at Selhust Park. However, as I've already mentioned countless times we'll know the answer before kick-off and if Ramsey does play you probably have to fit him in your fantasy team.
Adam Lallana - I recommended the Southampton captain last weekend and he scored, albeit slightly fortuitously, but as a result his price has sky-rocketed. Is Lallana worth almost £20million? Given the fixture at home to Fulham I think he may just be.
Michu - It was a surprise that he didn't score in the 4-0 rout in Week 8 but that fact has left his price at a reasonable level. I will admit that Bony taking over penalty duty impacts Michu's value slightly but he's still a massive danger in and around the box so I wouldn't blame you for giving him another chance.
Jonathan De Guzman - If it hadn't been for the phenomenal Arsenal team goal and Pajtim Kasami and Steve Sidwell's technically perfect volleys I think a lot more would've been made of De Guzman's wonder strike and all round excellent performance against Sunderland. Most people interested in Swansea players will plump for Michu so you could perhaps go in a different direction with the Dutch attacker.
Andros Townsend - Ok, when does a purple patch of form become the norm? The winger tore the usually-reliable Antonio Luna a new one at Villa Park and seems to be getting better in each game he plays. Quite where Aaron Lennon and Erik Lamela are going to fit in is a question even AVB can't answer, so for now Townsend is the Tottenham midfielder you should be focusing on.
Oscar - It's a tough match for Chelsea, but Oscar is in goalscoring form playing just behind the striker, so he's still worth a look as Manchester City have been leaky away from the Etihad.
Adnan Januza - No goals for the young man against Southampton, but some lovely passing including a key one to set up United's goal, more powerful and accurate shooting and a reasonable 8 fantasy points means Januza should be on your radar at home to Stoke.
Yohan Cabaye - The best of the Newcastle midfielders for their winnable trip to Sunderland. Pricey but taking set pieces and generally capable of the spectacular on his day.

Steven Gerrard - Even the most loyal Liverpool fan will admit he's not having his best season and age will start catching up with the Anfield captain, but Gerrard is still capable of goals from set pieces and continues to take the penalties (converting two in his last two matches) so he cannot be dismissed, especially for home matches.


Olivier Giroud - I probably sound like a broken record, but at some point Wenger will rest Giroud and give Nicolas Bendtner a start. Could it be at Palace? Maybe, although it's perhaps more likely that the French striker is given a day off for the Carling Cup tie in midweek instead. If he's in the starting line-up he's a must-have this week.
Luis Suarez - 19 points without a goal at Newcastle in Week 8 suggests Suarez is close to getting back to his peak, which is when he's involved in virtually everything Liverpool do and stacks up fantasy points for fun. If he remains fit and avoids a long suspension I can see him staying in my team for the rest of the season and I expect a big week again at home to West Brom. Currently my captain, although he's competing with Ozil and Giroud for that honour.
Wayne Rooney - Playing as well as he done for many years, Rooney was superb again in the Champions League and with doubt remaining over Robin van Persie's fitness there's a possibility the England man will be the focal point of everything against Stoke.
Loic Remy - Securing the QPR striker on loan appears to be one of the shrewdest moves of the entire summer transfer window as Newcastle benefit from Remy's classy finishing ability. If he gets the service he will punish Sunderland this weekend.
Wilfried Bony - Being handed penalty duty raises his stock somewhat and Bony has another nice fixture against West Ham so he could be your differential pick if you're looking to make up ground on those above you.
Daniel Sturridge - The one half of the SAS to score against Newcastle, his ninth goal of the season, but aside from that he was fairly quiet and returned just the 10 points after a yellow card. He's still a fine option for Week 9 but as Suarez's sharpness and confidence return I feel he'll start accumulating a larger proportion Liverpool's fantasy points which would reduce Sturridge's value.
Sergio Aguero - He scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season in the Champions League on Wednesday and appears to be in the same form that helped the club win the Premier League title two seasons ago. Aguero has a very difficult match and he cost is high, but you may feel he's worth it with the way he's playing.
Ricky Lambert - Things have gone a bit quite for Lambert since he exploded on to the international scene back in September, but he's performing well and remains on penalty duty for Southampton so he's worth considering against Fulham.

Roberto Soldado - A lovely finish against Villa proved what Valencia fans already knew - if thw midfield can get Soldado the ball in the box he will score goals. His confidence will be up and he'll be hoping to build on his 3 for the season against Hull on Sunday.


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So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 9 Yahoo team. For now I have the following saved on my own team page:

Starting XI: Vorm, N.Taylor, Debuchy, Lovren, Lallana, Townsend, Ramsey, Ozil, Sturridge, Suarez, Giroud

Subs: Barkley, Bardsley, Spence, Elliot


I'm generally pretty happy with it, but will have my laptop and twitter account at the ready at 11:50GMT on Saturday just in case any last minute Arsenal changes are required, and I'm toying with the idea of switching Sturridge to Rooney or a less obvious forward such as Remy or Bony. Hopefully the fantasy gods will be kind and provide AM FC with a better fantasy week to assist in my birthday celebrations on Sunday. I'll actually miss the Tottenham match as I'm at Wembley to watch the 49ers take on the Jaguars, my first 'live' NFL experience and something I'm very much looking forward to - go Niners!


Check back here on Rotoworld on Friday for all the team and injury news coming out of the manager's press conferences to assist you with your final decisions. There is likely to be a fair amount of information to process as we had a full fixture list for the Champions League and Europa League this week, including some long journeys to Russia and the like.


How's your Week 9 team looking? Who's your captain choice?

Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos

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