Fantasy Premier League: Bold Punts for Gameweek 27

Hemant Dua@hemant_duaCorrespondent IIFebruary 20, 2014

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, right, scores against Crystal Palace during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Sang Tan/Associated Press

Fantasy Premier League heads into its 27th gameweek this coming Saturday, and fantasy aficionados are, as always, looking to steal a march on their rivals and rise up the global ladder.

The likes of Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard, Yaya Toure and Per Mertesacker continue to be popular selections, but ask any competent fantasy football manager about what really makes the difference, and they'll tell you it's the bunch of players with a lower "Teams selected by %" figure.

An astute manager will always be on the lookout for differentials. For those looking to bring about a considerable turnaround in their fortunes, the key lies in drafting in players with low ownership.

Here, we look at some bold punts for GW27; ones that could potentially help those at the top pull further ahead or perhaps facilitate the chasing pack in making up some lost ground.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

Price: £6.7m

Opposition: Sunderland (H)

Ownership: 1.3%

While Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott remain sidelined, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to see plenty of game-time. His reasonable price and impressive return in recent matches make the Ox a better route into the Arsenal midfield than Santi Cazorla and out-of-form Mesut Ozil.

When in his element, Oxlade-Chamberlain is a joy to watch. Match-winning performances against Liverpool and Crystal Palace are testament to the Englishman's ability to deliver against opposition of any stature.

Title-chasing Arsenal next host relegation-battling Sunderland. Should the Ox start, it would take a brave man to bet against him adding to his tally of three goals and two assists in the club's last four games.

Saido Berahino (West Brom)

Price: £4.6m

Opposition: Fulham (H)

Ownership: 2.1%

Sitting in 17th place, just ahead of Sunderland by virtue of a superior goal difference, West Brom are flirting with relegation this term. Perhaps it's time for gaffer Pepe Mel to afford more opportunities to English starlet Saido Berahino.

Intriguing as it may be, West Brom have proven to be a tough nut to crack at the Hawthorns lately. The last five visitors, including Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton, have all failed to record a win or keep a clean sheet here.

Mel will fancy his side's chances against the Premier League's current whipping boys, Fulham, who have conceded as many as 58 goals in 26 games.

In 885 minutes on the pitch, Berahino has chipped in with four goals and an assist. If given the nod to start, £4.6m-priced Berahino could fetch his owners a handsome return.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

Price: £5.6m

Opposition: Swansea (H)

Ownership: 4.1%

The deterring factor when it comes to Skrtel is his price. An outlay of £5.6m is considerable for a defender, and Liverpool haven't been all that solid at the back this season. However, that aspect is easily offset by his recent returns at Anfield.

Skrtel has raked in 32 points from his last four home fixtures. Moreover, he's enjoying his most prolific season, having found the back of the net four times.

This weekend, Swansea come to town. The Welsh side have just nine goals on the travels, and their main man Wilfried Bony has yet to score away from the Liberty Stadium. Skrtel, owned by just a tiny fraction of all fantasy football players, is worth a punt.

Tom Ince (Crystal Palace)

Price: £5.5m

Opposition: Manchester United (H)

Ownership: 1.1%

After becoming a Championship phenomenon, Ince was captured on a six-month loan by Crystal Palace for the second half of the 2013-14 season. His debut game against West Brom yielded a goal and an assist, as Ince tallied 13 points for GW25.

With a home game against the defensively vulnerable Manchester United to come, manager Tony Pulis will expect the gifted Englishman to give tangible returns once again.

Visitors United, for the record, have conceded 19 times in 13 fixtures on the road.

Allan McGregor (Hull)

Price: £4.5m

Opposition: Cardiff City (A)

Ownership: 5.6%

The Tigers are up against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's goal-shy Cardiff side. The Bluebirds have now fired blanks in five of their last seven games.

Having finished serving a three-game suspension for the red card he received against Crystal Palace three rounds back, experienced custodian McGregor is back for the trip to Wales.

While he's managed just five clean sheets over the course of the ongoing campaign, McGregor has a good chance to add to that tally. It must be noted that Hull have a better defensive record than many sides, including the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool.

Other punts worth considering

Shane Long (Hull)

Price: £5.7m

Opposition: Cardiff City (A)

Ownership: 2.8%

Two goals in his last three games. Up against the leaky defense of Cardiff.

Samir Nasri (Manchester City)

Price: £8.0m

Opposition: Stoke (H)

Ownership: 2%

Scored on his return from injury against Chelsea in the FA Cup. Might be deemed fit to start.

James Collins (West Ham)

Price: £4.2m

Opposition: Southampton (H)

Ownership: 4.7%

Four clean sheets on the trot, a streak that started with a memorable shutout at Stamford Bridge against current table-toppers Chelsea.

John Ruddy (Norwich)

Price: £5.0M

Opposition: Tottenham (H)

Ownership: 3.8%

Three consecutive clean sheets at Carrow Road, the last of which came in a stalemate against the goal machine that is Manchester City. Their opponents Tottenham might be without big striker and chief goal threat Emmanuel Adebayor.


    Zaha Wants to Leave Palace

    Could Arsenal land their big summer target?

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Zaha Wants to Leave Palace

    Could Arsenal land their big summer target?

    Gill Clark
    via Bleacher Report

    Arsenal Target Saliba 'Likes' Spurs Kit 👀

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Arsenal Target Saliba 'Likes' Spurs Kit 👀

    via mirror

    Gnabry and Coman Show What Gunners Are Missing

    Arsenal logo

    Gnabry and Coman Show What Gunners Are Missing

    Pain in the Arsenal
    via Pain in the Arsenal

    Emery: We Have 'Responsibility' to 'Give Young Players a Chance'

    Arsenal logo

    Emery: We Have 'Responsibility' to 'Give Young Players a Chance'

    Christopher Simpson
    via Bleacher Report