Running into an ex is never the most comfortable of experiences, but it usually makes you want to prove that you’re doing well for yourself.
Take Jermain Defoe (£7.8m) this weekend, as the Spurs forward faces up to a West Ham outfit he once represented.
The faces, names and replica shirts will have changed, but the frosty reception that Defoe will get from the away fans at White Hart Lane will make him determined to get one over on his former employers, and provided that he comes through Thursday evening’s Europa League tie with Lazio in one piece then he is certain to start on Sunday afternoon and beyond given that Emmanuel Adebayor’s brain explosion at the Emirates Stadium last Saturday leaves Tottenham a little thin up top for their next three fixtures (West Ham H, Liverpool H, Fulham A).
Whilst ‘biting the hand that used to feed you’ is an expression that Defoe may have taken a little too literally when he has faced up to West Ham in the past, with the help of the likes of Gareth Bale (£9.7m) and Aaron Lennon (£7.0m) around him this time he could cause some damage to a West Ham side who admittedly start the weekend ahead of Spurs in the table.
A home win at White Hart Lane would change all that though, and Defoe looks to be central to Tottenham’s hopes of achieving that as the England forward hopes to leave his former love pining for him.
Mark Hughes is another who’ll be taking on a former club this weekend, although the QPR boss will probably wish that he was anywhere other than Old Trafford.
With pressure mounting on the Welshman following the dismal 3-1 loss at home to Southampton last weekend, Hughes heads to Manchester still in the hottest of Rangers hotseats despite a week which brought about rumours of his demise.
Having not won in 12 league matches this season then Old Trafford would be a fine place for QPR to strike a lucky thirteenth, but that is incredibly unlikely and the home side should be backed to leave their ex-forward with more than a few regrets.
That should of course mean more points for Robin van Persie (£13.7m), but if you can’t afford the Dutchman then it is well worth keeping an eye on the fitness of Wayne Rooney (£11.7m), who should return to the Manchester United starting XI against opponents that he scored home and away against last season.
Others bumping into old friends include Brendan Rodgers, who takes Liverpool to Swansea in a match which could prove to be a shootout between Luis Suarez (£10.3m) and Michu (£7.3m), and Rafael Benitez, who returns to the Premier League and is reunited with Fernando Torres (£9.6m) at Chelsea.
There will be those who feel that Benitez will instantly restore Torres to the player of old, but putting him back in your team does come with the warning that Chelsea will miss out on Gameweek 17 due to World Club Championship commitments, whilst they also face the tough test posed by champions Manchester City this weekend.
Elsewhere, there will be those wondering what to do with the absence of Marouane Fellaini through suspension for Everton’s game with Norwich – not least David Moyes – and whilst Steven Naismith (£5.9m) might be worth a gamble were he listed as a midfielder, perhaps the absence of the big Belgian will see former Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy (£4.7m) – another visiting old friends – keep a fourth straight clean sheet and a fifth in six games.
Further forward, Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (£9.4m) might not have any connection to Aston Villa, but after three goals and two assists in the Gunners’ six away games this season then he’ll be worth keeping an eye on at Villa Park, whilst Stoke’s Jonathan Walters (£6.3m) and Charlie Adam (£6.6m) could exploit Fulham’s frequent away struggles at the Britannia Stadium, and having broken his goalscoring duck last weekend then Stephane Sessegnon (£7.3m) will look to shine as Sunderland host West Brom.