Fantasy Premier League: Bolasie is back to fire Palace up the table

Will Welbeck make an appearance against his former club?
Will Welbeck make an appearance against his former club?

Fantasy Premier League is back with an eight fixture gameweek so Joe Dyer returns with his usual attempt to find the best buys...

"Marko Arnautovic has been the star man for Stoke this year, with seven goals and four assists. He can be the spark for a strong final third of the season, starting with Villa this weekend."

A smaller than average Gameweek awaits us on our return to Fantasy action following last weekend's FA Cup shenanigans.

The Capital One Cup final ensures we must do without our Manchester City and Liverpool players as well as those from Everton and Newcastle this week.

That makes transfers options trickier than usual to find, but we'll still take our usual look at the best opportunities regardless...


Spurs provide short-term hit but tough games await

The Betfair markets make Tottenham the shortest price to win a match in the top-fight this weekend, so those in search of Fantasy pointscorers should look to the Lane this gameweek.

A warning, however - the fixture list gives Spurs a pair of London derbies to follow this weekend's match against Swansea. First up is West Ham away, followed by a contender for biggest north London derby ever when Arsenal make the trip up the Seven Sisters Road next Sunday.

There's been little reason to doubt Spurs this season - their three defeats is still the joint best in the league alongside Leicester - but the games against their London rivals will be ultra-competitive so don't say you weren't warned!


Wel, Wel, Wel - Danny goes back to Old Trafford...but will he start?


Talking of Arsenal they have been handed a fine chance of beating Manchester United this weekend with Louis van Gaal's men side decimated by injuries. The back four is particularly bad with just one recognised first teamer - Marcos Rojo - fully fit, and David De Gea not a certain starter either.

That offers the Gunners a good chance of scoring and it'll be interesting to see how Danny Welbeck plays should he line up at his former ground. Welbeck was a scorer last time these two met at Old Trafford so don't expect him to go easy on his old side.

The problem with Welbeck is that he is no certain starter, certainly not while he is coming back from long-term injury - he only played 14 minutes against Barcelona in midweek, after eight against Leicester in GW26. However, he is a potent force and as the Gunners tire towards the end of the season may well force his way into first team action.


Put a Potter in your XI this weekend


Stoke looked like they were descending into a funk but snapped a three-game losing streak with a good win last time out at Bournemouth. The Potters have finished ninth in the last two campaigns but the club hierarchy will be desperate to beat that mark after some eye-catching recruitment in the off-season. Mark Hughes' side have a good chance of climbing the table as they embark on a relatively kindly run of fixtures, starting with bottom-placed Aston Villa at the Britannia on Saturday.

Stoke are suffering in defence where Glen Johnson, Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson are all out, and Marc Muniesa and Phil Bardsley are both doubts, too. That suggests attack is the place to look for your transfers.

Marko Arnautovic is the obvious purchase. Though he was a doubt during the week he looks to have recovered from a recent illness. And the Austrian has been the star man for Stoke this year, with seven goals and four assists. He can be the spark for a strong final third of the season, starting with Villa this weekend.


Bolasie back to kickstart Palace progression


Yannick Bolasie is another game changer who can power a turnaround in form for an out of sorts Premier League side. The Congolese has been out for nine gameweeks with a hip injury but is ready for his return, having played 14 minutes of Crystal Palace's upset win over Spurs in the FA Cup last weekend. Palace failed to win a Premier League match during Bolasie's absence.

Palace go to West Brom for a Saturday evening showdown in GW27, and while the Baggies have a reputation for defensive strength, the unit hasn't really excelled this season. With three of the home side's first choice central defenders doubtful starters there is every chance that Bolasie and new signing Emmanuel Adebayor will have an enjoyable 90 minutes.

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