Harry Kane breaks his Wembley duck and climbs to the top of the Fantasy Premier League standings after bagging two goals and an assist in Spurs’ demolition of Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger unleashes Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette in the same starting XI for the first time and watches Arsenal put five past Everton.
Here’s the notes from Sunday’s contests.
Kane banishes Wembley hoodoo
Harry Kane went into Gameweek 9 having produced more shots (28), efforts in the box (18) and attempts on target (10) than any forward in front of their own supporters.
Yet the Spurs striker’s failure to score at Wembley saw over 167,000 FPL managers part company ahead of a schedule that pits his side against Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal over Gameweek 9-12.
Kane wasted no time in making amends on Sunday.
A goal within four minutes was followed up by an assist for Son Heung-min’s strike and a further effort in the second half as he delivered a season-high 16 points for the 18.4% FPL managers who handed him the armband.
As one of only three of the top 10 captains to find the net (along with Sergio Aguero and Lacazette) Kane’s return to scoring form at home was a belated reward for those of us who kept faith based on the underlying numbers.
In spite of his toils at Spurs’ temporary home, Kane has now ominously moved to the top of the FPL player standings for the first time this term on the back of a fourth brace in six Gameweeks.
A trip to Man United’s injury-hit defence will hold little fear in light of their loss at Huddersfield, while a home clash against Palace directly afterwards hands him the opportunity to move further ahead of the pack.
Kane was seen holding his hamstring after being replaced late on but his manager handily offered a quick update, dismissing fears of an injury:
“No (not hamstring). He was a little bit tired after Real Madrid. It’s not a problem. Yes [may rest him against West Ham]. We have some big games ahead. He’s not a machine.”
The striker now looks set to be kept fresh for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford. He is poised to go into that contest as the most signed FPL asset ahead of Gameweek 10.
Davies absent as Trippier delivers
Among Spurs assets, only Kane and Christian Eriksen are owned by more managers than Ben Davies’ 22.1% base, though he was sold on by more than 195,000 ahead of Gameweek 9. Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to preserve him on the bench against Liverpool is now set to spark another round of sales.
Davies, with 49 points, remains joint-third among defenders this season but has now started just two of the last five Gameweeks.
The return to fitness of Danny Rose seems highly likely to compromise that situation further still, while Spurs’ stiffening schedule also promotes Davies sales.
While the Welshman’s owners were again left frustrated, Kieran Trippier’s Fantasy star continues to rise.
Today’s start was his seventh in the last eight Gameweeks, with an assist for Kane’s early opener the right wing-back’s fourth of the season – all arriving in his last six league outings.
Now up to 47 points – just two behind Davies – Trippier sits in joint-sixth spot among FPL defenders alongside Cesar Azpilicueta. Yet he’s owned by just 7% compared with Davies’ 22%.
Nonetheless, as we’ve witnessed this season, Pochettino’s rotation at full-back/wing-back will continue to remain an issue, particularly now that the Spurs manager has a full quota of four to select from.
Eriksen suffers from shape shift
After firing last weekend’s winner against Bournemouth, Christian Eriksen went into Gameweek 9 as the top scoring player in FPL.
But a tactical reshuffle saw him draw a rare blank in the rout over Liverpool. Sitting in 26% of FPL squads, the Dane mustered just one attempt and two key passes in a deeper role as the home side packed the centre of the park.
Instead, he was overshadowed by fellow midfielders Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli as both overcame recent droughts to find the net.
The second most transferred out (203,000) player for Gameweek 9, Alli has dropped to 9.3 after failing to score since Gameweek 3. Yet – like Eriksen – he only managed one shot and a pair of key passes today as a result of the switch of formation.
Son’s goal, his first of the season, reminded us of his qualities whenever he gets the pitch time.
Yet the South Korean’s minutes will always remain an issue – today was just his fourth start of the season, and he’s been hauled off before the 75-minute mark on each of those occasions.
Salah back in the goals
He’s mainly been overshadowed by Philippe Coutinho since the latter’s return to injury, but Liverpool’s summer signing served a timely reminder of his talents ahead of a fine run of fixtures.
Like Kane, Mohamed Salah was subject to an exodus last week – over 104,000 transferred him out on the back of successive blanks in Gameweek 7-8.
Today’s consolation took him onto five goals and two assists for the season and elevated the Egyptian into joint-third among FPL midfielders.
While Coutinho and Roberto Firmino both failed to impress, Salah’s stock now looks set to climb as the Reds prepare for an excellent run (HUD whu SOU CHE sto bri EVE WBA bou) that hands them just one tough fixture – at home to Chelsea in Gameweek 13 – in the next nine Gameweeks.
Arsenal trio come good
Much was made of the fact that the Everton match would mark Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette playing together for the first time this season.
Forty minutes into the Goodison Park encounter and it all seemed to be much ado about nothing.
But class will out, and by the end of an open encounter that included three goals in a mad final five minutes, all three had delivered points for their dwindling ownership.
Lacazette, who was sold by 159,000+ ahead of the Everton clash, scored his first league goal on the road, while Ozil more than doubled his FPL total for the season with a 13-point performance involving a goal, an assist and maximum bonus.
The German had experienced a seventh successive ownership drop prior to Gameweek 9 and Sanchez also saw a net transfer deficit in the lead up to the Goodison clash.
But the Chilean’s goal, assist and bonus point produced 11 points and pointed to a man finding some consistency from a season fractured by all manner of distractions.
Sanchez has now delivered points in his last three starts for the Gunners. His 11.8 price tag remains prohibitive for most – he’s owned by just 2.1% – but his pedigree is undeniable.
Ozil has never inspired such confidence, while Lacazette is still finding his feet in the Premier League, but all three demonstrated their attacking prowess in spades, albeit against an Everton team in free fall.
Wenger’s prime assets also look set to avoid European exertions as he continues to select bit-part players and youngsters for the Europa League campaign, keeping his key damage-dealers fresh for domestic duties.
That should spark renewed interest in the trio, although Arsenal’s upcoming schedule includes a trip to Man City and visits from Spurs and Man United over the next six Gameweeks.
Other Gunners remain fruitful
Sanchez and Ozil took the acclaim, but Aaron Ramsey was equally productive on Merseyside.
The Welshman bagged 12 points from a goal, an assist and two bonus points, firing in more shots in the box and attempts on target than any of his team-mates along the way.
Ramsey continues to provide decent returns for a relatively cheap 7.0 outlay, while the Gunners’ most popular midfield asset in FPL, the 12.1%-owned Granit Xhaka, chipped in with a second successive five-point haul.
The Swiss international is the only Arsenal midfielder to have started every league match this season, and that consistency has helped him prosper: only Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure (5.3) has scored more points (48) for less money than Xhaka’s 35 from his 5.5 price.
At the back, the Gunners continue to struggle for stability.
The four clean sheets they’ve kept came in consecutive matches from Gameweek 4, but Nacho Monreal has managed to defy the odds, moving up to third in the overall standings for defenders courtesy of a second goal in three matches.
The Spaniard found the net just once in his five previous seasons at the Emirates, so this latest goal rush seems highly unlikely to continue, though his 9.0% ownership won’t be fretting about that.
Everton slip into relegation mire
As for Everton, the pickings remain slim and are getting slimmer.
Wayne Rooney, with 9.9% ownership, is their most popular player and he reacted to his Europa League rest with a fine opener today – his fourth league goal of the season and his second in two matches.
Oumar Niasse came off the bench to net his third goal in four Gameweeks, but the good form of both strikers must be offset by the woeful lack of it coursing through the side as a whole.
Ronald Koeman’s team have won just twice all season and have now dropped into the relegation zone.
The Toffees still have a great run of fixtures – lei WAT cry sou WHU HUD – to come, but their confidence is shot and the pressure on the manager immense.
The goals aside, about the only positive to come from today’s hiding was the performance of Jordan Pickford, who pulled off nine saves and now sits below just Swansea City’s Lukasz Fabianski for total stops this season (32 to 36).
And there was one other shred of comfort for Everton fans – Idrissa Gueye’s sending off for two bookable offences will not force him to miss a league match as he will now sit out the midweek Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea.