Last week’s torrent of rescheduling wrought merry havoc on the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) landscape and, as we emerge bleary-eyed to survey our newfound surroundings, the prospect of bumper double Gameweek harvests and blank Gameweek droughts dominate our horizons. Sewing your hopes where long term goals are married with short term gain is not easy when few fields are sheltered from the inconstant temper of the resculpted fixture list, but Bolton Wanderers have surfaced from the maelstrom well placed to offer Fantasy managers that elusive opportunity.
Back-to-back doubles in Gameweeks 35 (SWA, avl) and 36 (sun, TOT) dangle a juicy carrot for those long term investors willing to brave the stick of a Gameweek 34 blank. In the short term, a visit from a Fulham outfit with just two away wins all season, and a cruise up to Tyneside to probe Alan Pardew’s patchwork rearguard could prove fertile furrows for a Trotters side with three wins and seven goals in their last three Premier League encounters.
Central to the late upturn in Bolton’s fortunes has been the resurgence of Martin Petrov. Recently re-installed on the left by Owen Coyle, the Bulgarian international has broken into a canter after a somewhat pedestrian season thus far. A goal, an assist and three bonus points over his last two outings bear testimony to the reinvigorated threat of a player boasting more shots than the rest of the Bolton midfield combined between Gameweeks 30-31.
Petrov’s cultivated left foot has long ensured him a decent slice of the set-piece pie. An indirect free kick specialist, he currently shares corner kicks with recent Watchlistee Ryo Miyaichi, and with the faltering form of Ivan Klasnic and Kevin Davies regularly consigning both to the bench, Petrov has grabbed the chance to add spot-kick duties to his extensive repertoire.
With injuries rife at the Reebok, Petrov’s fine form should secure a berth wide left for the foreseeable future and with transfer targets stacking up for Fantasy managers in preparation for the Gameweek 36 bonanza, cheap differentials with strong form and consistent fixtures are more sought after now than ever.
Currently priced at 5.1 and owned by a mere 4%, Petrov costs marginally more than his immediate competitors in the Bolton midfield Ryo Myaichi (4.9) and Mark Davies (4.8). Considering his set-piece potential and recent domination of the Bolton midfield from open play, however, an additional outlay of 0.3 is unlikely to constitute a prohibitive premium, with the Bulgarian looking set to play a pivotal part in Coyle’s quest for top-flight safety.