Welcome to AM's Perfect XI - Week 9 player picks. This column focuses on Togga's Perfect XI game, which you can play via their IOS and Android app. Find the apps here and make sure you update regularly to take advantage of the constant enhancements: https://www.playtogga.com
In case you missed it we've set up a Rotoworld PL Private League where you can challenge myself and the rest of the RW PL team over the course of the season. To join it download the app and then click the below link from your device, or find us from the Featured Leagues tab:
Each week I provide a Perfect XI of my own for the upcoming gameweek, recommending 11 players to consider along with some honourable mentions. The players listed won't necessarily be the exact 11 selected for my own Perfect XI fantasy side. The point of this column isn't to tell you exactly who to pick; it's to present some ideas and get your brain whirring. I'll be listing a combination of the must-haves and slightly riskier options, alongside the odd hunch. Hopefully you'll find this useful whether you're playing Togga's game or looking at potential transfers for your official Fantasy Premier League team.
Week 8 was a bit of horror show for my PXI team. It lined-up as follows ...
Cech, Walker, Davies, Koscielny, van Dijk, Tadic, Puncheon, Payet, Eriksen, Iheanacho, Sanchez
Plans were thrown in to chaos when Rose, Son and Aguero were all benched, forcing some quick changes prior to the 3pm kick-offs here in the UK. These changes weren't very well thought through and it showed, with a disappointing 102 points returned for the week. Van Dijk, Tadic and Eriksen all performed well but Curtis Davies (-9) was a disaster and the switch from Aguero to Iheanacho failed miserably. I've dropped out of the Overall Top 50 as a result, and need to find some consistency to stand any chance of a Top 10 finish come the end of the season.
Week 9 begins with a standard Saturday 12:30 BST (British Summer Time) kick off and it's a potentially fascinating clash between Eddie Howe's in-form Bournemouth and Mauricio Pochettino's early title challengers Tottenham. It's important to have your fantasy team locked in ready for this match but remember in Perfect XI you can swap out a player right up to one minute before their match kicks off and bring in an alternative player whose match is also yet to kick off. This flexibility will allow you to prevent the pain of a surprise benching or unreported last minute injury and a big fat zero. Ensure you keep your eyes on the RW PL Twitter account for line-ups one hour prior to matches.
Here are your fixtures ...
Bournemouth v Tottenham
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Burnley v Everton
Hull v Stoke
Leicester v Crystal Palace
Swansea v Watford
West Ham v Sunderland
Liverpool v West Brom
Man City v Southampton
Chelsea v Man Utd
And the picks ...
Petr Cech - It didn't go to plan in Week 8 as Petr Cech conceded twice against Swansea but I'm betting on him again in Week 9 as struggling Middlesbrough visit the Emirates. Boro haven't won for six matches and have scored just four goal since August. Clean sheet claxon.
Honourable Mentions: Adrian at home to Sunderland, Loris Karius at home to West Brom
Hector Bellerin - Arsenal's right-back Hector Bellerin spent more time in the opposition's half than his own last weekend and picked up an assist for his efforts. Expect more of the same attacking intent against Boro in a comfortable Gunners victory.
Winston Reid - We needed a West Ham defensive option for their home games with bottom side Sunderland and so I'd initially pencilled in Aaron Cresswell, before recalling his ridiculous sending off in Week 8. The next best choice is Winston Reid, who has been averaging double digits in the Perfect XI fantasy format and should be able to achieve another high score this weekend with a combination of interceptions, tackles, blocks and maybe a clean sheet. The Kiwi is also due a goal given his aerial ability at set pieces.
Nathaniel Clyne - So you want a Liverpool defender to cover the potential clean sheet against West Brom? Then look no further than Nathaniel Clyne, who will be able to supplement his defensive fantasy output by playing a more attacking role against the cautious Baggies.
Seamus Coleman - Another right-back who should spend most of his time attacking this weekend is Everton's Seamus Coleman, and like Bellerin and Clyne the Irishman has a decent chance of picking up clean sheet points too.
Dimitri Payet - One thing that remained consistent through West Ham's woeful start to the season were the fantasy returns of Dimitri Payet. Even on a bad day the midfielder was still racking up the points thanks to his pinpoint deliveries in to the box and shots from distance, averaging a mammoth 20 PPG in PXI. The Hammers showed signs of a return to form against Palace and face rock-bottom Sunderland this weekend, so Payet was the first name on my team sheet.
Mesut Ozil - This list of players was written on Wednesday morning before Ozil's Champions League hat-trick. If he was tempting before, he's a no-brainer now, with the attacking quartet of Iwobi-Ozil-Walcott-Sanchez working like a dream for Arsene Wenger.
Philippe Coutinho - While Monday's night's Liverpool v Man Utd clash was a borefest it still took a world class save from David De Gea to keep our Philippe Coutinho's stunning late strike, and it's those moments of magic out of nowhere that make the Brazilian such an attractive fantasy option. I expect Jurgen Klopp's men to dominate West Brom at Anfield this weekend and feel confident we'll see Coutinho on the scoresheet.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - New Swansea boss Bob Bradley employed Sigurdsson as a "false 9" at the Emirates and the Icelander repaid him with a goal and all-round positive performance, despite the defeat. This should ensure Siggy starts in the same role against Watford, plus he'll continue on set piece and penalty duty. What's not to like?
Honourable Mentions: Heung-min Son away at Bournemouth, Ryan Snodgrass at home to Stoke, Kevin De Bruyne at home to Southampton
Theo Walcott - The vast majority of fantasy managers will be focusing on Alexis Sanchez this week but Theo Walcott's performance against Swansea has swayed me. The England attacker could've (should've) had two hat-tricks in Week 8, he added another goal last night, he's bang in form and his pace and movement will cause Boro all sorts of problems. If you can't decide between the two, why not go with both? I'm considering it. Although with Ozil already nailed on for a midfield spot it may be too many eggs in one basket.
Romelu Lukaku - While I am considering going with both Arsenal attackers it's more likely that Romelu Lukaku will take the second striker spot for Week 9. Rom had one chance against Manchester City last weekend (which he created himself), taking it wonderfully, and I would expect his Everton teammates to create far more opportunities for him against a spirited but limited Burnley defence. The Belgian should also be on penalty duty in the continued absence of Leighton Baines.
Honourable Mentions: Alexis Sanchez at home to Middlesbrough, Sergio Aguero at home to Southampton, Roberto Firmino at home to West Brom
That's it for Week 9. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to see a whole bunch of great content to get you ready for the weekend ahead. Feel free to comment below to us know how you're getting on so far. And of course, good luck to all managers this week.