Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Chelsea could be a hallmark moment for this Fantasy Premier League season.
Not only did Spurs’ key assets make a case for inclusion in our squads, but a disappointing performance from Maurizio Sarri’s men may trigger some sales.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s Anthony martial saw his impressive scoring run come to an end against Crystal Palace.
We’ve got all the Fantasy talking points from both of this matches in this latest Scout Notes article.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Chelsea
Goals: Dele Alli (£8.9m), Harry Kane (£12.3m), Son Heung-min (£8.3m) | Olivier Giroud (£7.7m)
Assists: Christian Eriksen x2 (£9.2m), Alli | Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.3m)
Tottenham’s attacking players served up exactly the kind of performance Fantasy managers have been looking for ahead of their upcoming fixture swing. The schedule turns much kinder for Spurs in Gameweek 15 when they host Southampton, and options such as Harry Kane (£12.3m), Son Heung-min (£8.3m), Dele Alli (£8.9m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) will be on Watchlists across the globe.
Kane especially looks back to his best as the furthest forward of Spurs’ players against Chelsea and with a shot count that looks more familiar. He had five efforts on goal in the game, which has seen him continue an upward trend in the last few weeks. Between Gameweeks 1 and 10, Kane averaged 2.9 shots per game, but across the last three matches, he is recording 5.33 per 90 minutes. In all of those outings, he registered at least a goal or an assist too, the first time this season that he has posted returns in three consecutive Gameweeks. Crucially, no player has more shots on target than him since Gameweek 10. With Sergio Aguero (£11.5m) disappointing on the road once again this weekend, and Spurs’ fixtures turning soon, the chances of Fantasy managers signing Kane at the Argentinian’s expense in Gameweek 15 are rapidly increasing.
This was the first match since Gameweek 4 that Kane started alongside Eriksen and Alli. The two midfield players have both missed plenty of time through injury but their return to the side proved pivotal to Spurs’ success. The pair scored a total of 24 FPL points between them at Wembley, Alli scoring and assisting while Eriksen was the provider of two goals having created a whopping seven chances in the match. Either one could prove shrewd investment for Fantasy managers hoping to capitalise on that favourable Spurs run without having to fork out for Kane. Eriksen is in just 4% of teams while Alli has just 2.8% ownership, so either one of them has the potential to be excellent differentials too.
The only factor that might count against Eriksen is the usual role of Kieran Trippier (£6.2m). The Dane’s dominance of this fixture was largely down to his role in set pieces, on this occasion solely under his command with Trippier out injured. The right-back missed Gameweek 13 with the groin injury picked up at Crystal Palace but according to Spurs, he is aiming to return to training by the end of November. If Trippier is back in time for Gameweek 14 or 15 then Eriksen may be back to split responsibilities as far as set pieces are concerned.
Another star of Spurs’ 3-1 win was Son, who was used as a second-striker alongside Kane. It was the first time this season that he was in the starting line-up at the same time as all three of Kane, Eriksen and Alli – and it showed. In his advanced role, Son registered more shots in the match than any other player, more in the box, while nobody registered more on target than him. His goal was an impressive individual run down the right flank and into the box before slotting home. His lower price compared to Kane, Eriksen and Alli may see him prove popular in the transfer market in the coming weeks.
“(Son) was fantastic, like all the team. The goal he scored and everything was working tonight. It is completely unfair to say, ‘Yes our idea, how we prepared the game, the plan, the tactic was fantastic’. No, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You can see on the pitch, Son’s performance was fantastic and you can see he deserved it because the summer for him was very difficult. In the last international break, he was here, training hard. It is one of the reasons today that he showed he is fresh, his physical condition is much better and I think it is going to help him for the rest of the season.” – Mauricio Pochettino
However, Son does carry the strongest risk of rotation, the caveat of his lower price. This was his first start since Gameweek 8 and his two previous outings to the Chelsea match were both from the substitutes’ bench. The South Korean’s deployment as a forward in this match is also not something Fantasy managers should rely on as a regular occurrence yet. Pochettino suggested that the victory was not secured through any specific tactic, formation or selection, and went on to admit that Spurs have no one set formation.
“No, it was not my plan. When you win it looks like the plan was the best from the manager, for me it was about the attitude that a lot of times we have missed in many important games. To compete in this way the tactic or the system are not important because the attitude and the win were fantastic. Now the challenge for us is to keep that level of competition to try and increase and keep because we have talent. We don’t use a fixed formation. If you follow us in all the games we play in the Champions League, cup and Premier League we don’t talk about the formation, we talk about tactic or animation. We talk about how we play in a different way with possession in the opposite half, how we organise the team in a defensive situation when we don’t have the ball.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Centre-back Juan Foyth (£5.0m) played his third Premier League match in a row and impressed Pochettino once again. Obviously, his route into the team has been helped by recent injuries to Davinson Sánchez (£5.8m) and Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m), although the latter returned to the bench on Saturday. Pochettino did imply a few weeks ago that Foyth was ahead of at least Sánchez in the pecking order but he might struggle to hold off competition from Vertonghen for too much longer. While he largely did well against Chelsea, Foyth was lucky to avoid giving away a penalty for a foul on Hazard. Had that been given it would have been the third he’d conceded in as many matches.
“I think for Juan to play another needs to rest or another needs to be out of the team. I think today he was fantastic, maybe a few actions, but it was his third Premier League game and yes a lot of things have happened in the last few months for him. But I think the confidence we have in him and trust is why we put him in to play and I think today it’s about confirming that it’s not about the names on the pitch. It’s about the right attitude.” – Mauricio Pochettino
While Spurs assets could become the next flavour of the month, Chelsea’s Fantasy options are moving closer to the chopping block for Fantasy managers. First and foremost is Eden Hazard (£11.1m), especially with Raheem Sterling (£11.3m) the most-signed player ahead of Gameweek 14. That’s when Manchester City host Bournemouth, Sterling registering five goals and two assists in his last three home matches against the Cherries.
Four players had more attempts on goal against Spurs than Hazard, none of his in the penalty box. Although, he created two chances and could have earned a penalty in the first half after that aforementioned poorly-timed tackle from Foyth. Also, in the last four Gameweeks he actually has better minutes per shot on target and minutes per chance created figures than Sterling. More importantly, it’s Fulham up next for Chelsea, whose defensive problems are still continuing under Claudio Ranieri. Coming into Gameweek 13, Southampton were averaging just 0.66 goals per away match this season but still left Craven Cottage having scored twice. There are is a real chance Chelsea will bounce back with a big win in Gameweek 14.
Furthermore, any qualms with Hazard’s performance do come with the mitigating factor of Chelsea’s tactical problems. Maurizio Sarri explained that the unpredictable way in which Spurs set up their formation meant Jorginho (£4.9m) was unable to operate as usual, therefore starving the rest of the team of service. It is likely Chelsea won’t run into quite so much trouble when they host Fulham next weekend.
“It was clear in the first five minutes of the match that it was very difficult to use Jorginho as usual. We had to try to move the ball through the midfield to the opposite full-back. That was the only way to have one or two seconds to play the ball. We were surprised because they usually play with a 2-3-1 or a 2-3-3, but today they played with the 4-3-1-2.” – Maurizio Sarri
Also, Sarri changed Hazard’s role later in the match in an attempt to get back into the game, further damaging his performance. He switched the Belgian midfielder to a false-nine, which even he admitted did not work.
“I had to do something different to try to change the match, but it wasn’t important. Today they were better than us 11 out of 11, so it was not important. I wanted to change the match with something different, but I think I could have changed 11 players with the same result.” – Maurizio Sarri
Serious questions were asked of Chelsea’s defence after this defeat. Coming into Gameweek 13, they had conceded just once away from home this season, but Spurs made it look easy as they scored three times. Interestingly, the result fulfilled an ominous prophecy made by the local press several times this season. They had been suggesting for several months that Chelsea were often lucky not to lose concede more often and lose more matches, with many opponents spurning the hatful of chances Chelsea were giving up. For that reason, it was predicted a time would come when the Blues were completely turned over. Many had thought that would come in Gameweek 16 when they host Manchester City, but Spurs beat the defending champions to it.
David Luiz (£5.6m) was largely held responsible for the manner of the goals that were conceded. He appears to move out of the way of Kane’s first-half shot, which ended up in the back of the net, and he was simply not strong enough to hold off Son’s mazy second-half run either.
“I don’t know (when asked why Luiz moved out of the way). Maybe the goalkeeper didn’t see the ball. I think that David was afraid to touch the ball and to change the direction of the ball. But we were passive in the match, so it was only a question of a minute.” – Maurizio Sarri
Questions over Chelsea’s defence may continue to undermine the value of Marcos Alonso (£7.1m). He registered just one shot against Spurs and did not create any chances. With some managers considering upgrading from Aguero to Kane, a player of Alonso’s cost may be edging closer to being the cash cow for the move. Even Gameweek 14’s home meeting with Fulham looks unlikely to yield defensive returns. The Cottagers’ attacking players seem to have found new life under Ranieri, while Chelsea have just two clean sheets from seven at Stamford Bridge so far this season.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Davies, Alderweireld, Foyth, Aurier; Eriksen, Dier, Sissoko; Alli (Winks 87′); Son (Lamela 78′), Kane.
Chelsea XI (4-3-3): Kepa; Alonso, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta; Kovačić (Barkley 58′), Jorginho, Kanté; Hazard, Morata (Pedro 58′), Willian (Giroud 76′).
Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace
After a spirited run of matches before the last international break, Crystal Palace proved a banana-skin for Manchester United and the 280,000+ Fantasy managers who signed Anthony Martial (£7.6m) for Gameweek 13. While the Red Devils were more attacking than in recent seasons under Jose Mourinho, it was the visitors who posed more threat in the match. Palace left Old Trafford with 13 shots to United’s 12 and recorded an expected goals score of 1.16 to 0.90 as well.
After a run of six goals in five games, Martial finally recorded his first blank since Gameweek 7. A total of two shots in the match was his lowest since Gameweek 9, while four players had more efforts on goal than the Frenchman. However, with a trip to Southampton up next, his owners should show some patience. Man United have won just three home games all season so it should not be too much of a surprise to see them struggle against a defensively organised side like Palace.
It is possible that Martial was hurt by the return of Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) who made his first start since Gamweek 9 on Saturday. Interestingly, the Belgian’s most recent involvement from the beginning was the last time that Martial’s shot count was as low as it was against Palace. That said, Lukaku still had fewer attempts on goal than his French colleague. Also of some encouragement was the fact that Martial had more penalty box touches and chances created than any other player at Old Trafford.
After the game, manager Jose Mourinho believed part of United’s problem was a lack of intensity in midfield. There has been a lot of rotation in that position this season, with Paul Pogba (£7.9m), Nemanja Matić (£5.0m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.7m) chosen as a three in Gameweek 13. However, Pogba and Lingard were replaced mid-way through the second half by Marouane Fellaini (£4.9m) and Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) in an unsuccessful attempt to change things. Ander Herrera (£5.0m) was absent from the matchday squad entirely, while Fred (£5.5m) was an unused substitute for the third match in a row. Judging by Mourinho’s comments, Man United midfield continues to be a no-go zone for Fantasy managers, with the exception of Martial who, as we know, is more of a forward.
“Our midfield is not normally aggressive on that fight for the second balls. And when you go long from the beginning of the game then you split the game and open the game to many second balls when you need that aggression and need that intensity in midfield that, to be honest, we don’t have also. What I want is the team to start strong, go strong on the opponent, not to be waiting, not to be reactive, to be proactive, that’s exactly what I want. And probably you or the fans think Jose told them to start slow, Jose told them to play nice and easy and to see what happened or to be losing for them to react. Is exactly the opposite thing. I want the team to start strong, I want the team to go immediately and is a bit frustrating.” – Jose Mourinho
The clean sheet recorded was just the second in the league for Manchester United this season. However, that might have had more to do with Palace’s inability to convert their chances than anything else. It’s a problem they have struggled with this campaign. Trips to Southampton and Cardiff in Gameweeks 14 and 18 look like the only chances for further defensive returns, so there is still little of Fantasy interest here.
That is especially the case with Victor Lindelöf (£4.8m) sustaining a thigh strain in the closing stages. The Swedish centre-back was a standout performer on Saturday, his display capped off with a potentially goal-saving recovery made late on while limping before he beat two players and cleared the ball. However, it does look as if he is out for roughly a month following the injury.
“We have Bailly and Jones. Marcos Rojo has some little injury and Victor a proper injury that will keep him out for a while, so Jones, Smalling and Bailly are the three we have. (Lindelö) goes the scan tomorrow but by the experience of the medical department and the feelings of the player. He has a muscular problem and muscular problem takes time. I would say if we have him for the Christmas period where we need, if possible, every player to be available for that difficult period until the next match on January 2. If we can have everyone available for that period will be good.” – Jose Mourinho
As already mentioned, Crystal Palace’s fortunes in front of goal continue to underwhelm. No team has scored fewer goals than them this season, Huddersfield’s 2-0 victory at Wolves pulling the two sides level on eight for the campaign. Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m) has not found the net since Gameweek 5 and his accuracy is proving a huge problem. No player had more shots at Old Trafford than the Ivorian, but none of them landed on target. That was true for Palace as a whole, despite having more shots than their illustrious hosts, they were outperformed on shots on target by a score of five to two.
Max Meyer (£5.6m) made his third successive start on the left side of midfield as he looks to nail down his place in the Palace team. This was also the first time since arriving from Schalke 04 over the summer that he completed 90 minutes in the Premier League. His performance earned high praise from Roy Hodgson.
“I thought he was good last week, and he has been good in training. It was nice for him to play as well as he did, and he was one of many who had a good game. Of course with Max, he has been not feeling his way in, but he has been patiently waiting for his chance to really grab hold of the shirt, and defy anyone to take the shirt from him. And I think today he must be delighted, it was a pretty faultless display from him, both attacking and defensively, and what he gives us of course is when we do get into those situations where we have good control and possession, he is capable of finding that last pass to create a goal chance.” – Roy Hodgson
The fact that both James Tomkins (£4.3m) and Mamadou Sakho (£4.9m) recovered from pre-match injury doubts was probably one of the reasons Palace were able to keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately for many disappointed Fantasy managers, it did mean yet another week with an Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.2m) haul left on the bench. However, the fitness of Tomkins and Sakho does mean some may consider starting the young right-back in the coming weeks. Palace’s horrible fixture run is now over with a home match against Burnley coming up in Gameweek 14.
Manchester United XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Young, Lindelöf, Smalling, Darmian; Pogba (A Sánchez 68′), Matić, Lingard (Fellaini 60′); Martial, Lukaku, Mata (Rashford 60′).
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Hennessey; van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka; Meyer, Milivojević, Kouyaté, McArthur; Zaha (Ayew 91′), Townsend (Schlupp 88′).
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