An injury to Harry Kane derails the captaincy plans of a whopping 27.28% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, but Son Heung-min scores a brace in his absence as Spurs beat Bournemouth 4-1.
North London rivals Arsenal are also convincing winners on a Sunday full of Fantasy implications.
It was a conflicting couple of seconds for Kane’s 46.3% ownership and the 1,582,000+ captains who handed him the armband.
He’d just equalised for Spurs at the Vitality Stadium, only for the goal to be ruled offside and a problem with his ankle to become apparent.
The striker missed 49 days of last season with ankle ligament damage – a similar sort of timescale could rule him out until Gameweek 36 – so all eyes will be on injury updates from Mauricio Pochettino over the next couple of days.
Speaking post-match, the coach was as upbeat as circumstances would allow.
“We need to wait until tomorrow. He suffered an injury to the same ankle as before, but we hope it’s not a massive issue. Harry is positive.”
News of a knee injury for Sergio Aguero, coupled with the return of Gabriel Jesus, makes Kane’s issue particularly crucial with Wildcards set to be played over the next couple of Gameweeks.
The England striker isn’t back in league action for three weeks, however, so more informed decisions can wait for a while yet.
Kane limped off and was replaced by Erik Lamela, with Son moved into the lone striker role.
The South Korean was starting his fourth match in 11 days and his 15th Gameweek in 16, but it didn’t show as Spurs bounced back from their Champions League disappointment – and going a goal down today – in emphatic fashion.
Son was the second top transfer target for Gameweek 30, with 169,000+ new owners, and he banished his previously poor away form to show he could be the man to profit up front in Kane’s potential absence.
With maximum bonus, he will overtake Christian Eriksen as Spurs’ top scoring FPL midfielder.
It took the Cherries only seven minutes to take the lead when Junior Stanislas scored his third goal in six Gameweeks after being set up by Adam Smith.
Owned by just 0.6%, the midfielder has been an overlooked differential among the Bournemouth players preparing for a Gameweek 31 home match against West Brom.
Callum Wilson (7.7%) was denied a first goal since Gameweek 25 when his second-half effort was disallowed with the score at 2-1, and Spurs then ran away with the match.
Dele Alli equalised from a Serge Aurier cross before Son gave the visitors the lead after the break, with Alli providing the assist, and hit his second when put through by Eriksen.
Substitute Kieran Trippier’s mis-hit cross led to Aurier heading in a fourth goal, which was harsh on Bournemouth.
Not that the match was all wine and roses for Spurs either.
As well as the Kane issue, both Alli and Danny Rose, who started ahead of the rested Ben Davies, went off early.
Pochettino played down both the substitutions, however, describing Rose’s withdrawal as “just fatigue” and declaring that “I don’t believe it will be a big issue” regarding Alli.
Rose’s presence was a big blow to Davies owners. He’d started the previous nine matches and was brought in by over 663,000 in the last four Gameweeks.
Aurier, meanwhile, marked his third straight league start by making it 26 points earned in that time.
Bournemouth again failed to keep a clean sheet – they’ve managed just one in 17 matches now – with Smith’s attacking output of a goal and an assist from the last three Gameweeks the only good news at the back.
He is probably the one attractive backline candidate from Bournemouth ahead of next weekend’s fixture with the Baggies.
Gunners win again
Arsenal’s mini-revival continued with a convincing 3-0 win over Watford in which all their big hitters produced points.
Consecutive victories, both with clean sheets, in all competitions should boost Fantasy interest ahead of a kind post-Gameweek 31 schedule, with a trip to Man United providing the only major test.
But the prospect of rotation will need to be factored in should the Gunners finish the Europa League job against AC Milan in midweek.
That much was evident from Arsene Wenger’s teamsheet for the Hornets clash, with Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey not even in the squad in preparation for Thursday night’s European tie.
One player with no continental action to worry him is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is ineligible for the Europa League, and the striker continued his fine domestic form with a goal and an assist today.
He now has three goals and an assist from his five Gameweek starts for the Gunners and, at 4.7%, looks a good differential prospect from Gameweek 32 onwards based on a schedule (STO SOT new WHU) that could also include a trip to Leicester City as part of a double Gameweek 34 with Newcastle.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was another to catch the eye at the Emirates, with a goal, assist and two bonus bringing in 13 points for his 11.1% ownership.
The Armenian has produced four assists in five league starts for Arsenal and is the most keenly priced of their big guns at 7.7.
The rather more costly Mesut Ozil (9.3) set up Shkodran Mustafi’s opener for the midfielder’s first haul in five Gameweeks.
The centre-half’s goal and single bonus delivered 12 points – only his second double-digit score of the season – as the Gunners kept a first clean sheet in ten Gameweeks, although he limped off with a knock to take some shine off his day.
Then again, Arsenal will not be back in league action until April 1 now, so we’ll have plenty of time to assess the fitness and suitability of all their players.
Petr Cech took home maximum bonus and 15 points as his 200th Premier League clean sheet – a record – was sweetened further by a penalty save from Troy Deeney.
Karma taunts Troy
The significance of Deeney’s spot-kick miss was not lost on the Arsenal faithful, the Watford striker having publicly questioned the character of the Gunners players earlier this season.
The penalty failure was not so well received by his 1.0% ownership – a negligible amount maybe, but one that has doubled recently as the forward went on a run of three goals in four Gameweeks.
He’ll remain a differential for Gameweek 31’s trip to Liverpool, as will a number of his team-mates.
A lack of double fixtures might keep interest in Hornets assets relatively muted, but their schedule from Gameweek 32 is strong, with four home matches (BOU BUR CRY NEW) and a trip to Huddersfield in the subsequent six fixtures.
The fit-again Kiko Femenia came in on the right wing at Arsenal, while Richarlison was also handed a new role, moved centrally behind Deeney, with Roberto Pereyra on the left.
The changes sparked a spirited performance, but the side remain chronically travel-sick – they’ve not won away since Gameweek 13 – which makes that home-heavy schedule all the more promising.