We turn our attentions to North London and plunder a couple of overlooked alternatives ahead of the weekend deadline. Our third option will be expecting a start up top for City as Manuel Pellegrini’s side look for a tenth-straight win in front of their own supporters:
As the festive fixtures arrive thick and fast, Manuel Pellegrini’s lack of forwards could prove beneficial to the big Bosnian’s short-term prospects. With Sergio Aguero sidelined and Stevan Jovetic doubtful once again, the City boss has been all too reliant on Alvaro Negredo to produce the goods up top and keep his side in the title race.
Having shifted to a 4-2-3-1 for the Boxing Day visit of Liverpool, Pellegrini now has the option of retaining the formation or returning to his preferred 4-4-2 as City prepare for the visit of Crystal Palace tomorrow afternoon. Certainly, the Eagles game looks the ideal opportunity to unleash Dzeko, either as the lone forward or alongside Negredo, with Pellegrini intent on maintaining the attacking verve which has seen his side average more than four goals per home game thus far.
Coming in at 6.7 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), Dzeko (who sets you back 8.5 in the Sky Sports game and 4.0 in the Sun Dream Team), also has a trip to Swansea on his agenda before the winter wildcard kicks in and could be worth a punt for those Fantasy managers frustrated by the recent displays of Olivier Giroud and Romelu Lukaku in their three-man frontlines.
A peripheral figure in the league under Andre Villas-Boas, Eriksen has been earmarked as key to Tim Sherwood’s new-look attacking approach. After arriving from Ajax at the end of the summer transfer window, Eriksen was afforded 90 minutes just once by Villas-Boas as the former Tottenham boss chopped and changed personnel with a frustrating regularity.
Since the Portuguese’s departure, Eriksen’s Fantasy prospects have taken a shot in the arm. Installed as a central midfield playmaker in Sherwood’s 4-4-2, he’s played every minute of the new manager’s two matches in charge and, with set-piece duties also part of his repertoire, fired a superb free-kick in Thursday’s draw against West Brom to serve a reminder of the talents that produced 17 goals and 36 assists in his final two seasons in the Dutch top-flight.
Priced at just 7.1 in FPL (7.0 in the Sky Sports game and 4.0 in the Sun Dream Team), he has home games against Stoke and Palace in the next three to arrive on our radars in perfect time for the winter wildcard.
In his only start of the season, the German international bagged a brace in Arsenal’s 3-1 win at Fulham back in Gameweek 2. Before August was out, however, Podolski was stuck in the Emirates treatment room after sustaining a hamstring injury on Champions League duties – a bitter blow for a player who had racked up 11 goals and 10 assists in just 1,986 minutes across his debut season.
Finally recovered, Podolski needed just 26 minutes at West Ham on Boxing Day to demonstrate his capabilities. A devastating substitute appearance produced a goal and assist as the Gunners turned around a one-goal deficit to send Big Sam’s side into the drop zone and propel themselves back to the summit.
As Olivier Giroud toils up top, with two goals from open play in 14 starts, Podolski’s explosive display at Upton Park has made a real claim for consideration as the Gunners lone striker for the weekend trip to Newcastle. Arsene Wenger could also shift Santi Cazorla to the centre and allow the German the left flank berth if he chooses to finally rest Mesut Ozil but, either way, Podolski’s eye for goal could be just as vital as Theo Walcott’s to his side’s title aspirations.
With home games against Cardiff, Fulham and Palace and a trip to Villa in the five games following the Newcastle clash, the schedule is certainly in favour of the fit-again striker, who would set you back just 8.1 in FPL, 8.7 in the Sky Sports game and 4.0 in the Sun Dream Team.