Fantasy football advice: Week nine

Sports Mole selects the best and worst players to pick as far as fantasy football is concerned ahead of week nine of the Premier League.

Okay, Sports Mole will be the first to admit that our advice from last week was by no means the most astute that we have given.

Even so, Oscar did score for Chelsea, while there was an assist for Olivier Giroud and Michel Vorm kept a clean sheet for Swansea City at home to Sunderland.

We did much better where our players to avoid selection was concerned. John Ruddy and Steven Caulker were both part of sides that shipped four goals each. At the same time, Jozy Altidore, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Papiss Cisse either didn't feature or failed to find the net.

So, with the ninth round of matches fast approaching, here is our advice to those with a fantasy football team.

Who to pick

1. John Terry: With the exception of a 4-2 victory in February 2010, Manchester City have struggled for goals at Stamford Bridge. In fact, that fixture aside, City have scored just once away to the West Londoners since the year 2000. While the visitors have much more firepower than they once did, it's still expected to be a tight affair with limited goals. Not only could Terry keep a clean sheet, he is also a threat up the other end from corners and free kicks.

John Terry of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on August 26, 2013© Getty Images

2. Olivier Giroud: Whatever Giroud has been having for his breakfast this season, I think we all want some! The Frenchman has scored seven goals to date and laid on numerous chances for his teammates. With that sort of form in mind, the 27-year-old is likely to be rubbing his hands at the prospect of facing Crystal Palace. They've conceded 17 goals already, including four last time out against Fulham, who had previously scored just the one goal on the road.

3. Steven Fletcher: It may seem a little odd to have included the striker of a side that has scored just five times this campaign in this list, but bear with us. Fletcher has been injured for the majority of the campaign, but even upon his return against Swansea, he looked sharp. Sunderland play host to rivals Newcastle United at the weekend. With the home crowd behind them more than ever, the Black Cats could well record their first victory. If that happens, expect Fletcher to be heavily involved.

4. Angel Rangel: The brilliantly-named Rangel is a typical modern-day Premier League full-back. Not only is the Spaniard an able defender, he is also a threat in attack - highlighted by his part in one of Swansea's goals against Sunderland last weekend. This weekend the Swans play host to West Ham United, who apart from Tottenham Hotspur, have not caused many problems to their hosts.

Angel Rangel of Swansea City celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Sunderland at Liberty Stadium on October 19, 2013© Getty Images

5. Roberto Soldado: Has the Spanish striker finally got his eye in? On the evidence of Tottenham Hotspur's last match against Aston Villa, the answer could well be yes. Prior to that he'd only scored two penalties for Spurs, but now he is off and running as far as open play goals are concerned, which should provide him with confidence. On Sunday afternoon the North Londoners play host to Hull City, who have conceded eight times from their four matches away from home.

Who to avoid

1. Julian Speroni: The Palace goalkeeper is going to need the phone number of a good chiropractor at this rate. Although not often through any fault of his own, the Argentine has picked the ball out of his net 17 times this season. In contrast, Arsenal, who visit Selhurst Park, have been rampant on occasions. If the likes of Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla hit top gear, you'd have to fear for the Eagles.

2. Lee Cattermole: The sacking of Paolo Di Canio has resulted in Cattermole returning to the Sunderland fold. What's more, to be fair to the 25-year-old, he's proved himself to be an asset in the midfield. Having said that, he has a reputation as a player that can get too involved and when the red mist descends, it often ends with a caution or worse. In what is likely to be a fiery Tyne-Wear derby, it may be worth avoiding Cattermole for disciplinary reasons alone.

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole in action during the FA Cup Third Round Replay between Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers at Stadium of Light on January 15, 2013© Getty Images

3. Ron Vlaar: For reasons unknown, Villa have struggled to produce the goods in front of their own supporters so far. They've won just once and conceded seven goals from four outings at Villa Park. It doesn't get much easier this weekend with the visit of Everton. Vlaar is likely to be handed the responsibility of shackling Romelu Lukaku - a job that many centre-backs have failed to complete with 100% success since his loan switch to the Toffees.

4. Dwight Gayle: With the greatest of respect to Palace and Gayle, one would not expect them to see too much of the ball when Arsenal make the short trip to Selhurst Park. The Gunners often dominate the possession against any team that they play, which if that continues against Palace, is likely to see Gayle cut a forlorn and lonely figure in attack for the home side.

5. Robert Huth: Old Trafford has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Stoke City since they were promoted to the Premier League back in 2008. They've made the trip on five occasions and have shipped 17 goals during that time. Manchester United have not set the world alight this season, but they can still boast the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Nani within their attacking ranks. If the Red Devils score early, it may very well be a long afternoon for the visitors.

Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs and Manchester City's James Milner battle for the ball during a friendly match on August 10, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City87102942522
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd86202121920
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Watford84311313015
5Chelsea8413138513
6Arsenal84131210213
7Burnley834186213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle832398111
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom824279-210
11Southampton823379-29
12Huddersfield TownHuddersfield823359-49
13Swansea CitySwansea822458-38
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224610-48
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8224814-68
16Everton8224513-88
17Stoke CityStoke8224918-98
18Leicester CityLeicester81341013-36
19Bournemouth8116412-84
20Crystal Palace8107218-163