It’s no coincidence that Everton’s recent dip in form has coincided with influential midfielder James Rodriguez (£7.9m) not registering an attacking return in the last three gameweeks, with the Colombian absent through injury for one of those fixtures.
The influence of Ross Barkley (£6.0m) at Aston Villa cannot be underestimated also. Barkley has scored twice and gained one assist for Dean Smith’s side since his signing on loan and that assist came in Gameweek 8 as Villa stunned Arsenal with a comprehensive 0-3 win at the Emirates Stadium.
Everton travel to Fulham in Gameweek 9 and Rodriguez will be determined to play his part and help the Toffees end a three match losing streak.
Fulham have conceded 15 goals in their opening eight Premier League games compared to Aston Villa’s opponents Brighton, who have conceded 14.
On paper, Rodriguez appears the more enticing pick. However, with Everton in poor form and Aston Villa in form not to mention Barkley’s £1.9m cheaper price, the value here lies with the Chelsea loanee.
Verdict: Ross Barkley
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