As always on a Saturday morning, we scour the market for some overlooked options as the minutes tick down on another Gameweek’s deadline. All of our trio have left it late in the season but are finally starting to fulfil expectations and play a key part in their respective sides’ fortunes.
In his first start of the season back in Gameweek 2, the Arsenal forward was quick off the mark and grabbed a two-goal haul and maximum bonus points in a 3-1 win over Fulham. Podolski’s campaign was immediately brought to an abrupt halt with a hamstring injury sustained against Fenerbahce in late August, however, and he failed to feature again until mid-December – climbing off the bench to bag a goal and assist against West Ham.
Having flitted in and out of the Gunners’ first XI over the subsequent few months, he finally seems to have nailed down a regular role, and with a security of starts boosting his match sharpness, the German international has finally flourished. Five goals and two assists in the last five Gameweeks, with a brace in each of his last two appearances, is indicative of Podolski’s current form – despite a role on the left of the attacking midfield three, he has still racked up the returns and looks a key figure in Arsenal’s push for a fourth-place finish.
Available for 7.9 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), 8.7 in the Sky Sports game and 4.0 in the Sun Dream Team, he now welcomes Newcastle and West Brom to the Emirates, and with a final day trip to Norwich also on the Gunners’ agenda, Podolski looks poised to continue his fine recent showings.
A somewhat enigmatic figure, the Austrian struggled to adjust to his new surrounds after arriving at Stoke last summer. With the Potters in a period of transition under new manager Mark Hughes, Arnautovic managed just a goal and two assists in his first five months in the English top-flight and showed little of the talents that persuaded the likes of Inter to shell out for his services in seasons gone by.
As Hughes’ tactics finally clicked, Arnautovic stepped up and has since become a crucial member of a side that has tasted defeat just twice in the last 12 matches and has comfortably secured their survival for yet another season. With two goals, three assists and five bonus points in his last six, the Austrian is now up to eight assists for the season and, as we witnessed in last week’s draw at Cardiff, is also now on spot-kick duties for the Staffordshire outfit.
Available for just 5.1 in FPL, 4.9 in the Sky Sports game and 2.0 in the Sun Dream Team, Arnautovic now welcomes Spurs and Fulham to the Britannia – where Stoke have already beaten the likes of United, Chelsea and Arsenal – whilst a trip to neighbours West Brom on the final day of the season affords further reason for optimism, bearing in mind the Baggies have conceded three times in each of their last three at the Hawthorns.
Just two Gameweeks ago, Sunderland seemed dead and buried, but thanks to a couple of gritty away displays, Gus Poyet’s great escape looks very much on the cards. A draw at City was followed by an incredible victory at Chelsea, where Borini grabbed a vital spot-kick winner as the Black Cats moved to within three points of safety.
Whilst Connor Wickham may have been a little more prolific over the past fortnight, the Italian’s underlying statistics have been far more impressive and suggest he could be the cannier acquisition for those eyeing up the Wearsiders for the run-in.
Poyet’s side have three home games still to play and, crucially, all are against relegation rivals. Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea have yet to make their way to the Stadium of Light, and with a double Gameweek 37 trip to Old Trafford also thrown in, Sunderland’s recent exploits suggest they have the momentum on side to secure their survival. If the Wearsiders are to retain their palce in the Premier League for another season, Borini – priced at 6.2 in FPL, 7.5 in the Sky Sports game and 2.0 in the Sun Dream Team – will surely have a part to play.