We had a shakeup at the top of the league during the week with Manchester City taking over the top spot. We all saw this coming, right? No need to dwell on the fact that Arsenal drew a match against Southampton that they mightily needed to keep up in the title race. Let's see if the Gunners can respond or if this is the beginning of the end.
Biggest match of the weekend is Manchester City-Chelsea. Can the Blues go into Etihad and get three points or will City keep marching? We shall see. Let's take a look at who is in form going into the weekend and who I would stay away from:
- Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) - It's a battle of American goalies in the Everton-Villa matchup this weekend. Villa is coming off a win against West Brom but not without giving up 3 goals. Look for more of the same against Everton at Goodison Park. (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham) - This is not a do or die match for Fulham, but it is damn near close to it. Anything but three points out of a home match against Southampton will be fatal to the Cottagers' fight to stay in the top flight. Stekelenburg needs and WILL step up. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Petr Cech (Chelsea) - Big games needs big moments from big players. Cech is that man in this crucial match. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Michael Williamson (Newcastle) - What in Alan Pardew's name is going on at Newcastle? They seemed like a contender just weeks ago. Luckily, they have a weak Sunderland side coming in to St. James' Park. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) - If he wants that big offer from Man City, he needs to continue to play well. Facing Crystal Palace will help his cause. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Ashley Cole (Chelsea) - Oh Ashley, why do you have to continue to upset Mourinho? You are not getting any younger. Mr. Cole will look his age this weekend against that stellar City attack. (VERDICT: BENCH) (Note: I know this goes against my advice that Cech will have a great game. Just trust me on this.)
- Liam Rosenior (Hull City) - The mighty Tigers have lost four straight and host Spurs this weekend. Make it five straight with Rosenior getting at least a yellow. (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Patrice Evra (Manchester United) - Most likely the only United defender I would allow on the pitch right now. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Juan Mata (Manchester United) - No advice on this weekend but I am just wanting to hear whether or not you think he will make an impact for David Moyes. For all that money, he better. Be sure to answer the poll question I have included with this column.
- Leon Osman (Everton) - What a god awful performance by Everton in the Merseyside Derby against Liverpool. Look for the Toffees to rebound and their leader Osman to have a good game. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) - Sigghhhhh.....is it sad that I have already accepted the fact that my boys will probably be relegated? I don't want it to happen but, when watching them play, they look like a lower-tier Championship League team. Prove me wrong boys! (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Scott Parker (Fulham) - ONE SCOTTY PARKER! THERE'S ONLY ONE SCOTTY PARKER!!! If we are going down, we are going down in flames. COME ON SCOTTY! (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Charlie Adam (Stoke City) - Guarantee of the Week! (My family asked me to stop using our last name because my guarantees were starting to embarrass them.) Adam will score against a weak United defense. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Gary Medel (Cardiff City) - This man may be legally insane. I would stay away at all costs unless you get fantasy points for actual murder. (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) - I find that I agree with Piers Morgan on many more things than I disagree with him. Arsenal needing a striker is one of those things we agree on. (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) - For what seems like the 11th time, Rooney is at a crossroads in his career. Will he stay true to United? I know he is going to go out blazing either way. (VERDICT: BENCH)
- Clint Dempsey (Fulham) - Are we sure he actually knows that he is back at Fulham? His play has been abysmal since his return. (Of course you could say that about the entire team.) WE NEED YOU CLINT!!! He won't stay down long. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Luis Suarez (Liverpool) - Suarez will be angry when Gary Medel becomes the go-to "Insane EPL Player". Suarez will also continue to score. (VERDICT: PLAY)
- Roberto Soldado (Tottenham Hotspur) - I miss living in NYC for a lot of reasons but one of them is heading to a pub on Saturday and Sunday mornings to catch the EPL action with other fans. I miss Perdition (48th Street and 10th Avenue) a lot even though it is a Spurs bar. My man Sean was always there to get me quickly hydrated. This pick is for him! (VERDICT: PLAY)
Nabae and I are in the midst of planning a day for a live chat so all you EPL fantasy fans can have a crack at us. We will have more details once we find out a day that will work for both of us. As always, feel free to tweet me (@brianjstultz) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions, comments or trash talk. My friend Joe, you know, the die-hard Arsenal fan, has already given up on the Gunners' title hopes.
Have a great weekend!