Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen grab the goals as Tottenham prevail against Southampton without the injured Harry Kane. Manolo Gabbiadini limps off at the Lane as James Ward-Prowse and Ryan Bertrand stake a claim for our double Gameweek plans. Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero maintains his goal-a-game home record against Liverpool, while Antonio Valencia’s FPL form goes from strength to strength as a much-changed United breeze past Middlesbrough.
On the Rise
Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen
While Son Heung-min failed to take advantage of a role up front, the Spurs midfield duo delivered the goods yet again as Mauricio Pochettino’s men brushed aside the absence of Harry Kane to see off Southampton.
With Kane on the sidelines, Alli stepped up to convert a first-half penalty after he was initially felled in the box. Impressively, that’s his eleventh goal in the last 12 Gameweeks, showing just why the starlet is currently backed by 27% of FPL managers.
Post-match, though, his manager admitted there is no real pecking order in Kane’s absence, going on to say “everyone can take the penalty. Whoever wants to take it that’s fine by me”.
It remains to be seen if Alli retains spot-kick duties. Regardless, today’s outcome already delivered a blow to Son Heung-min and the 95,000+ who acquired the South Korean.
Meanwhile, sitting in just 14% of squads, Eriksen’s opener – a first goal since Gameweek 16 – kept his tally ticking over behind team-mate Alli in fourth spot in the FPL midfield standings.
Having also racked up eight assists in the previous 12, the Dane’s all-round contribution heightens the appeal of a Spurs double-up in the centre of the park ahead of a run that pits them against Burnley, Swansea City, Watford and Bournemouth in the next four rounds of fixtures.
Handed an extended stay of execution by many due to Kane’s injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ban, Aguero remained in over 21% of FPL squads ahead of the visit from Liverpool.
Yet again, the Argentine delivered at home to the Anfield outfit – he’s now scored in all five Etihad league matches with them. Granted, his performance hardly smacked of someone at the top of their game yet with Kane and Ibrahimovic still missing for Gameweek 30, most Aguero owners will now be content to retain his serves as Pep Guardiola’s men pay visit to Arsenal’s unconvincing defence.
There’s no doubt, though, that a lack of explosive returns continues to cause concern – Aguero has now failed to produce double-figures in each of his last 11 league outings.
Given that he travels to Chelsea in Gameweek 31 – at a time when Ibrahimovic will then be available for United’s home clash with Everton – he’ll need to deliver at the Emirates to avoid an exodus.
James Ward-Prowse, Ryan Bertrand
Combining for Southampton’s opener at White Hart Lane, the duo maintained their fine recent form ahead of a run that hands them 11 fixtures in the final nine Gameweeks.
Priced at just 5.0 and owned by a mere 0.3% of FPL managers, Ward-Prowse has started seven of the Saints’ previous eight league matches, with today’s strike meaning that he has bagged two goals and an assist in his last five league outings.
Supplying the cross for Ward-Prowse’s goal, Bertrand’s penchant for picking up points at both ends of the pitch has been remarkably impressive of late, with four assists and two clean sheets in Southampton’s last six.
Residing in just 2.1% of squads, the left-back continues to be overlooked due to a somewhat prohibitive price tag of 5.4 compared with Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens at 4.3 and 4.0 respectively.
Yet today’s display once again suggests that he could be worth the extra outlay once the double Gameweeks are confirmed.
There can be little doubt – the United defender’s first goal of the season could barely be more fortuitous after a disastrous error from Victor Valdes allowed him the luxury of sealing a 3-1 win at the Riverside.
Nonetheless, today’s strike continued an excellent run of form that has now produced attacking or defensive returns in seven of the last eight league outings.
Snapped up by over 58,000 FPL managers ahead of Gameweek 29, Valencia sits in over 12% of squads and with Jose Mourinho’s side set to play 11 times in the remaining nine rounds of fixtures, his points potential at both ends of the pitch is likely to see the Ecuadorian emerge as a popular pick for our five-man defences.
While Henrikh Mkhitaryan was named amongst the subs, Mata retained his starting role as Jose Mourinho made seven alterations to cope with the hectic schedule.
The Spaniard has now started four successive league matches, producing two goals and an assist during that period, having teed up Jesse Lingard for United’s second at the Stadium of Light.
Owned by a mere 3.2% of FPL managers, the playmaker is another who could play his way into contention for our Wildcards once the doubles are finally scheduled.
His acquisition does come with a caveat, though – Mourinho’s tendency for turning to physical replacements late on in matches means that Mata has managed 90 minutes on just one occasion this season.
Having struck six times in four outings across all competitions since arriving at St Mary’s, Gabbiadini was on many Fantasy managers’ radars due to Southampton’s expected pair of double Gameweeks.
After limping off early in today’s loss at the Lane with a groin injury, the Italian’s 10% FPL owners – including the 7,000+ who have transferred him in since yesterday – are now fretting over his availability ahead of a schedule that hands him back-to-back home encounters against Bournemouth and Palace before travelling to Palace in Gameweek 32.
Priced at 6.9, his potential absence may send many back to the drawing board ahead of the doubles as we look elsewhere for value alternatives for our three-man frontlines.
As mentioned, the fact that Alli took on penalty duties in Sunday’s victory has already dented Son’s appeal. It was believed that the South Korean would be in the box-seat for spot-kicks in Kane’s absence, having shown his intent earlier in the season.
Away from that incident, Son also struggled to retain possession in the second period as the central striker and was withdrawn on 75 minutes, with Vincent Janssen impressing in his brief cameo late on.
With Son now set for long-haul flights over the international break, there could be some doubts over his pitch time in the Gameweek 30 visit to Burnley.
Devoid of the injured Paul Pogba and suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s decision to omit the Armenian from his starting line-up for the trip to Middlesbrough raised a few eyebrows.
Citing the club’s busy schedule, the Red Devils’ boss instead relied on fringe players such as Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard to help make the difference as Mkhitaryan warmed the bench throughout.
His decision vindicated with a 3-1 win, there are fears that Mourinho’s teamsheets will continue to cause concern for the run-in.
Mkhitaryan had previously started each of the last seven league matches he had been available for but today’s selection suggests that, with United still in with a shout of Europa League success, there is growing uncertainty over Mkhitaryan’s minutes once again.