Goal takes a look at the best players to select or avoid, the bargain buys and the top choice for captain's double points ahead of this weekend's Premier League action
|START 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU PICK?
Manchester City playmaker David Silva (9.0) scored or assisted five goals in October in all competitions and will be keen to continue that form this month. The Spaniard, the difference for City in their Capital One Cup win over Newcastle United - according to defeated boss Alan Pardew, is presented with a favourable home clash with Norwich City on Saturday; the Canaries, 18th in the league, have shipped 17 goals in their last four matches against the Etihad Stadium outfit.
No longer a figure of ridicule, Fernando Torres (8.0) is also starting to show signs of his old, brilliant self. The 29-year-old created Chelsea's first goal against City last week and scored the second, ending his wait for a Premier League goal this season. The Blues face a hapless and depleted Newcastle defence at the weekend and Torres – likely to start after being rested in midweek – looks set to profit.
Statistically, West Ham have the third-best defence in the Premier League, with only Southampton and Tottenham (both six) recording fewer clean sheets than the Hammers (five). Kiwi centre-back Winston Reid (4.0) has been central to his side's solidity and the east London club enter a favourable run of fixtures that begins with a visit from Aston Villa. The 25-year-old also boasts a goal threat, having netted against Tottenham in the club's 3-0 win at White Hart Lane.
Meanwhile, reigning champions Manchester United travel to Craven Cottage to take on misfiring Fulham, who have only scored two or more goals twice this season and are amongst the league's lowest scorers. For Patrice Evra (6.5) and the rest of the Red Devils backline, it presents an opportunity for a clean sheet, while the French full-back has two assists in his last two games and has accrued 10 more points than any other United defender or midfielder.
|SIT 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU AVOID?
Dropped from the staring XI in Tottenham's last two league outings, Christian Eriksen (7.5) is quickly losing appeal. The Dane played in midweek, with Lewis Holtby rested, and seems likely to miss out in Sunday's tough trip to face Everton too. After impressing against Norwich on his debut, the former Ajax playmaker has struggled, failing to register another goal or assist in the Premier League.
Norwich are currently sat in the relegation zone and, on Saturday, face the daunting proposition of trying to stop Manchester City, the league's highest scorers. Manuel Pellegrini's men have been particularly potent at home, averaging over three goals per game, and Sebastien Bassong (4.5) & co. are unlikely to be able to deal with the ferocity of City's attack.
After a mini resurgence, Fulham are struggling once again. The Cottagers gave a tame performance in a 2-0 defeat against Southampton, looking especially vulnerable to set-pieces, before a strong line-up conceded four times to Leicester City and crashed out of the Capital One Cup. Philippe Senderos (4.0) may have earned the most points per game of the club's backline but he, like the rest of the Fulham defence, should be avoided, especially as Saturday's opponents, Manchester Unitd, begin to find their feet under David Moyes.
Elsewhere, Newcastle have only won one of their last five league games, having been knocked out of the Capital One Cup after a gruelling 120-minute encounter, and now face an in-form Chelsea side who have won their last six games. Papiss Cisse (7.0), yet to score in the Premier League this term, has also been desperately out of form and looks totally incapable of matching his previous heroics against the Blues, assuming he even starts with Loic Remy carrying the Magpies.
|THE BARGAIN BASEMENT
After a man-of-the-match display against Newcastle, Costel Pantilimon (4.0) could be rewarded with an extended run in the Manchester City first team following a string of gaffes from usual No.1 Joe Hart. At the weekend, Pellegrini's men take on a Norwich side that have scored just six goals - the joint-worst in the division - and only two of those strikes have come away from home. Whoever starts between the sticks isn't likely to be troubled, then.
Meanwhile, injury to first-choice left-back Jose Enrique has seen Aly Cissokho (4.5) earn a spot in Liverpool's starting XI. The former Valencia defender has started Liverpool's last two games and, with Brendan Rodgers using wing-backs, has gone forward with freedom. The 26-year-old set-up Luis Suarez's second goal in the 4-1 demolition of West Brom and is excellent value even accounting for the Merseysiders' trip to the Emirates.
Sunderland have desperately missed Steven Fletcher (7.0) while the Scot has been sidelined but, back to full fitness, the striker has displayed his goalscoring instincts, netting twice in his five games this season. On Saturday the Black Cats travel to Hull City buoyed by their Tyne-Wear derby win, with Fletcher and Jozy Altidore beginning to form a bullish, powerful partnership.
West Brom attacker Stephane Sessegnon (6.5) enjoyed a dream debut for the Baggies, netting against former club Sunderland in a 3-0 win. The Benin forward has not added to his tally since then but he has remained a lively force. No Albion player has successfully completed more dribbles or attempted more shots and the club's next opponent is strugglers Crystal Palace, who are bottom of the Premier League table.
|CAPTAIN'S CHOICE - TOP TIP FOR DOUBLE POINTS
Manchester City's sparkling striker Sergio Aguero (10.5) has averaged the second-most points per game of any player in the Premier League. That run is likely to continue when he faces a Norwich defence that have struggled both this season and against City in the past; the Canaries have conceded 4.25 goals per game against the Etihad outfit since winning promotion.
Aguero has been particularly fond of Norwich in previous encounters, scoring or assisting five goals in their last four meetings. The Argentina international has also been in sensational form recently, scoring nine goals in his last seven games in all competitions (plus three assists) and seems certain to start after being rested for the midweek Capital One Cup win against Newcastle.
|GAMEWEEK 10 - BEST XI
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