The early kick-off on Saturday doesn’t promise a lot of goals, with 2 of the league’s tightest defences meeting at Vicarage Road when Watford (12 goals conceded and 5 clean sheets) take on Manchester United (8 goals conceded and 8 clean sheets). Craig Cathcart (£4.5m) and Heurelho Gomes (£4.7m) have both played every minute of Watford’s Premier League campaign so far and are great options at the back at bargain prices. For United, David De Gea (£5.6m) has been impressive since his recall to the side after almost completing a move to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window, and Marcos Rojo (£5.5m) seems to be in favour at the moment. His versatility across the defence makes him a popular option for Louis Van Gaal, and he’s been involved from the start in all four of United’s league games (and clean sheets) since their 3-0 capitulation to Arsenal at the start of last month.
Later in the day we have a fixture that at the start of the season would have had Fantasy Managers captaining Chelsea players without hesitation, but that takes on a very different feel this weekend. It’s Chelsea v Norwich at Stamford Bridge, and incredibly the Blues are actually below Saturday’s visitors in the Premier League table after another poor performance last time out. This is a must-win game for Chelsea, as last season’s champions sit just 2 places and 3 points above the relegation zone with almost a third of the season played. Surely they will turn the corner at some stage though, and the attacking talents that they boast will be confident of goals against a side that have kept just one clean sheet so far this season. With the collapse in form plenty of Chelsea players’ prices have also collapsed, which means that if you believe that corner is to be turned on Saturday now is the time to put your faith in the likes of Hazard (£10.9m), Fàbregas (£8.4m), Pedro (£9.0m) and Costa (£10.9m).
Romelu Lukaku (£8.6m) is a player who would certainly merit consideration for your team, and potentially for captain this week. Everton’s form has been good this season, with only Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs defeating them in their opening 12 games (in which they have played all of last season’s top 8). They have a relatively straight-forward fixture list from now until the end of the year, starting with Saturday’s visit of bottom of the table Aston Villa. Lukaku has 7 goals and 4 assists in the league already this season, including 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 6 matches, and Everton will be looking to him to fire the goals that push them into the hunt for European places.
The late kick-off on Saturday is the big game of the weekend – Manchester City v Liverpool. Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat to Crystal Palace just before the international break, but Saturday’s assignment looks ominous. Man City are undefeated in their last 9 games in all competitions, are top of the Premier League table, and you have to go back to October 2008 for the last time the away side emerged victors in a Premier League meeting between these two. Team news later in the week will be interesting, as Sergio Agüero (£13.0m), David Silva (£9.9m), Samir Nasri (£6.8m) and Pablo Zabaleta (£5.7m) are all working on regaining fitness and have a chance of being available for selection at the weekend. Vincent Kompany (£6.4m), Fabian Delph (£5.4m) and Wilfried Bony (£8.3m) are also hoping to be fit but by no means certain, so it would be wise to leave your selections as late as possible in relation to this match.
There’s one game on Sunday and one game on Monday to wrap up the action for the weekend. On Sunday Tottenham’s game against West Ham will see a lot of attention on Bamidele Alli (£4.9m) after his goalscoring exploits for England on Tuesday evening. He’s started the last 8 games for Spurs in the league and his stunning strike for his country in his first start will put him at the forefront of fantasy managers’ minds for gameweek 13. On Monday Crystal Palace will be looking to heap more misery on Sunderland, who have a woeful away record this season (5 defeats and 1 draw from their 6 away matches in the league, with the draw coming against the only side below them in the table). With Palace’s strikers not exactly firing on all cylinders it would be wise to turn to Yohan Cabaye (£6.6m), who takes penalties and has 4 goals and an assist to his name so far since his move to Selhurst Park.