By Neil Leverett
- Manchester visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Spurs in Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 25’s headline act
- AFC Bournemouth host Aston Villa in yet another relegation six-pointer, as Watford entertain Everton
- Burnley face Arsenal at Turf Moor, whilst Newcastle United seek another character-building win at home to struggling Norwich City
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – As another round of league fixtures cascade into view this weekend, who are we tipping to make an impact in Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 25?
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If you haven’t already pulled the trigger on Sergio Aguero, now is surely the time to invest. Despite his rather lofty price-tag of 12.0, the Argentine is a cheaper alternative to both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, as Manchester City travel to Spurs on Sunday.
Having looked to have now come through a combination of injury issues and squad rotation, Aguero has again appeared in the category ‘must-have’ for fantasy managers across the board, and with six goals in his last three game looks to be back to his lethal best.
Aguero has scored 11 Premier League goals in 15 appearances against the Lilywhites, and as Pep Guardiola takes his men south to North London, a still far from ship-shape Spurs defence will be tested to the maximum here – set to be spear-headed by the City front-man.
With a surge of over 270,000 owners in the space of a week, the Argentine is likely to be hot property for the remainder of the campaign, and given his stats against his opponents this weekend – coupled with his penchant for a run of prolific goals-to-game ratio in the top flight when on form – Aguero looks a no-brainer once more.
Resisting the gnawing temptation to go for a Aguero-Salah double in attack, one of the more cheaper alternatives lies in Callum Wilson, who despite having netted just once since Gameweek 8, the Bournemouth front man will be looking to hit form and guide the Cherries out of the relegation quagmire.
A full 5.2 cheaper than Salah – for those pondering his inclusion with Sadio Mane injured – Wilson ended his lengthy goal drought against Brighton last time out, and with another real six-pointer against Aston Villa in Gameweek 25, the England international will be keen on building momentum in front of goal.
If the Cherries are to somehow dig their way out of trouble and retain their Premier League status come May, Wilson will surely be at the centre of the efforts of Eddie Howe’s men, and though a defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup was a setback, Monday night was realistically not a priority.
Bournemouth know how big this game is against the Villans, and whilst the visitors themselves are experiencing something of a positive moment having bounced away from the bottom six, we are backing the Cherries and Wilson to pick up the win and indeed the fantasy points.
For Watford, after finally tasting defeat for the first time under Nigel Pearson, now may prove a pivotal moment in their season and as Everton roll into Vicarage Road fresh from their stoppage time collapse against Newcastle, Abdoulaye Doucoure is our tip this weekend.
Much has been sung about the hosts returning ability in front of goal in the shape of Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, but in truth, Doucoure has again resumed his role as the Hornets’ dynamo in midfield and as Watford’s driving force.
Boasting two goals and two assists since Pearson’s arrival, the Frenchman grabbed a goal and assist double away to Bournemouth earlier this month in a Man of the Match showing.
In his pomp for the Hertforshire side, Doucoure became something of a bargain fantasy buy two seasons ago when he scored seven times that term – albeit with form that fizzled out after a strong start – and is showing signs of threat in the middle of the park once more.
It shouldn’t be underestimated how much the Toffees’ late, late capitulation could harm Carlo Ancelotti’s men and though the visitors will be looking to keep their shape in central areas, Doucoure may be the man to unlock the Everton door this weekend.
As Arsenal make their annual pilgrimage to Turf Moor, we are in a slight quandary over a choice of two Burnley strikers, but given his recent run of form, Chris Wood makes the cut for Gameweek 25.
The Clarets’ Kiwi striker has been in and out for form since his switch from Leeds United in 2017, however after notching in back-t0-back league games, Wood is hinting at a run of goals with Ashley Barnes absent from the starting XI through injury – but with Jay Rodriguez also beginning to lighten the goal-scoring burden at the front.
Now into double figures for the campaign, Wood has equalled his tally for the last two seasons and will surely come close to doubling his record total come the end of the season.
Still valued at only 6.2 with a 1.6% ownership in the game, Wood’s statistics deserve greater examination. Though the Gunners visit Lancashire more equipped for what will be a physical encounter, Mikel Arteta has not yet ironed out the visitors’ deficiencies when it comes to handling aerial balls. This is where Wood may be a very lucrative recruitment this weekend.
With just January transfer set to close – if it already hasn’t by the time you read this – there have been a number of exciting inclusions made by teams in the top flight. For this weekend however as our customary left-field pick of Gameweek 25, we are plumping with one of Newcastle United’s new midfield faces in Nabil Bentaleb, who is set to slot straight into the Magpies starting XI after making his debut against Oxford last weekend.
What’s that? The same former Spurs midfielder who was shipped out the club you say? Correct, but this Bentaleb is not the same player he was who failed to make an impact at White Hart Lane under both Tim Sherwood and Mauricio Pochettino.
After his time for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, the Algerian midfielder is a more rounded and mature individual, who has developed a real eye for pass also. More credit to Steve Bruce for recruiting his man, who could turn into one of the more underrated signings of the window if all works out – not least with Jonjo Shelvey struggling to nail down a regular place in the team due to fitness issues.
Where Bentaleb’s real value could lie however is in his penalty-taking duties. With the Magpies lacking a real expert taker from the spot, Bentaleb built a prowess from the 12-yard line for The Royal Blues – particularly two seasons ago where he converted a total of seven from the spot – and could become a go-to guy.
His more recent form has dipped rather alarmingly in Gelsenkirchen, however, as a still travel sick Norwich City roll up to St. James’ Park on Saturday, Bentaleb may just be a real differential this weekend and could be worth a punt.
Premier League Gameweek 25 begins on Saturday lunchtime as Leicester City host Chelsea, kick-off 12:30 UK time.
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