Harry Kane (£12.5m) drew first blood in the competition to be Sergio Aguero‘s (£11.3m) replacement.
Fantasy managers had been largely choosing between the Tottenham striker and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.2m), who failed to deliver.
With both north London clubs having strong fixtures over the coming weeks there is still plenty of developments ahead in the competition between Kane and Aubameyang though.
We’ve analysed the two players and the performances of their teams in Gameweek 15 in this latest Scout Notes article.
Tottenham 3-1 Southampton
Goals: Harry Kane (£12.5m), Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min | Charlie Austin
Assists: Christian Eriksen, Kane | Steven Davis
Harry Kane’s first double-figure haul since Gameweek 7 arrived just in time for his increase in ownership. The Tottenham man was one of two candidates to replace the injured Sergio Aguero for Gameweek 15 and he duly delivered by recording a goal and an assist against Southampton. Meanwhile, the alternative option Aubameyang produced just two points in Arsenal’s draw at Manchester United.
Kane winning out over his north London rival will not be a huge surprise to those who had studied their accuracy in the build-up to Gameweek 15. The Tottenham man had registered 19 shots, 10 in the box and 12 on target. For total efforts and for accurate ones, Kane was top of the league, his 12 on target more than double any other player. By comparison, Aubameyang had recorded 12 shots, eight in the box and just three on target. For accuracy at least, that was fairly poor. Ahead of Gameweek 16, their numbers have come a little closer together, as Fantasy Football Scout members will see in the Members Area and in Friday’s Captain Sensible article.
However, there is no escaping that once again no player had more shots in the box or on target in Spurs’ match against Southampton. With the fixture swing for Mauricio Pochettino’s side now in motion, Kane’s FPL scores and popularity are both expected to be big over the winter period.
Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) proved that he could still provide assists even with Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) on the pitch. It was the first match the two had started together since Gameweek 6 so it proved insightful for anyone considering the Danish midfielder. While Trippier was still largely on corner-duty, he often played it short for Eriksen to cross. It was this combination that led to Kane’s ninth-minute goal. Developments later in the game may also play into Eriksen’s hands for this upcoming run of appealing Spurs fixtures.
It was a bittersweet night for owners of Trippier as he was taken off injured in the closing stages of the match. It appears he is still suffering from the groin problem he picked up during the World Cup and Pochettino’s post-match quotes aren’t tremendously positive. However, the right-back was one of just two defenders who recorded a clean sheet in Gameweek 15 as Southampton scored their goal after he had been withdrawn.
“I think it’s the same problem, the same problem that started in the World Cup. If you remember the semi-final against Croatia, when he left the pitch. Then I think to play after three days against Belgium, I think maybe it affected a little bit. Now he’s suffering in that situation. In situations like today when the pitch is not in a good condition, this area, the groin, suffers more when the pitch is different. It’s a thing that we need to care a lot for him, protect him, he needs to work a lot to protect and sort that problem. It will be a long period for him suffering this type of problem. When I was in Argentina as a 19-year-old I suffered and it is an area that is difficult to sort out. But I don’t believe it’s a big thing. It’s only he needs to start to accept that situation and live with sometimes some pain and play.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Son Heung-min (£8.4m) continues to offer excellent Fantasy value and seems to be solidifying his place in the starting XI too. The South Korean has now started the last three matches in a row and has a goal or assist in each of them. In fact, he has the same number of shots on target Kane over the last four Gameweeks. Pochettino has been hugely impressed with Son, especially since coming back from a hectic summer of international duty. However, he may need to start in Gameweek 16 to completely prove he has shaken off the rotation risk, with Alli waiting in the wings.
“I think he’s in his best this season. We are so happy in the way he has started to perform in the last few games, after the international break. It’s difficult to guess because he’s still so young, a great character, he’s so professional and he enjoys playing football a lot, but enjoys training the same in the same level. If you want to go further as a player you must love your job. You must love training and spending time with your team-mates on the training ground. If you are capable of that and feel like he feels, it’s possible to do everything.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Dele Alli (£8.9m) was the main man to suffer from rotation against Southampton, Lucas Moura (£7.0m) coming in for him. He did come on for the closing stages but his rest should see him start against Leicester on Saturday.
Anyone in possession of Spurs defensive assets outside of Trippier who saw their clean sheet wiped out may have to blame the fact that they got a bit too comfortable at 3-0 up.
“Yes, with 3-0 maybe we drop a little bit in our concentration I think we start to think the game was over and always it is so dangerous when there is so much time to play. Of course on the end, Lloris was man of the match because it was an unbelievable action that save, but that we cannot afford. In the same way I try to understand, it was a tough evening, difficult to play the three emotional games we played last week, you pay, it is not easy to feel fresh in your legs or your mind – play or not play, players that don’t play are the same.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Trippier’s injury saw midfielder Oliver Skipp (£4.5m) come on for his first Premier League appearance. He looked assured in his brief spell on the pitch, surging through Southampton’s midfield.
“With Oliver, it’s only about time. If he is capable of working how he’s working and doing in the future the energy and he’s behaving now, I think his future will be bright. We were thinking in the last few months to give him the opportunity to play in the Premier League but for different things, it wasn’t possible. I think he’s a player that we believe a lot in and I hope that he continues growing. For sure, he will be, I hope and wish, a great player for this club.” – Mauricio Pochettino
Coach Kelvin Davis was the man who oversaw Southampton for this particular match with new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl taking charge for the Gameweek 16 trip to Cardiff City. There was some input from the Austrian as he met with the Saints’ coaching staff before the game, but it was Davis who picked the team and chose the tactics. For that reason, there is only a limited amount we can glean from what we saw from Southampton.
“(He is) very concise with his information, very honest, very to the point with what he wanted and explained how he wants to work. Generally a good feel to him. He’s very keen to come in and improve us as a group and he wants to join our football club which is fantastic with the pedigree that he’s got so we are really looking forward to getting started. He only addressed the coaching staff, he didn’t address the playing staff in any way. It was quite simple, it was how he likes to play the game, how he likes his sessions to be planned, how he watches opposition and what he expects from people around him and the standards. There was no grey area we have now at this football club.” – Kelvin Davis
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Rose, Alderweireld, Foyth, Trippier (Skipp 87′); Winks, Dier; Moura (Sissoko 74′), Eriksen (Alli 79′), Son; Kane.
Southampton XI (4-2-3-1): McCarthy; Targett, Yoshida, Stephens, Cedric; Højbjerg (Romeu 88′), Davis; Redmond, Armstrong (Elyounoussi 81′), Ward-Prowse; Gabbiadini (Austin 70′).
Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal
Goals: Anthony Martial (£7.6m), Jesse Lingard (£6.7m) | Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m)
Own goals: Marcos Rojo (£4.9m)
Assists: Ander Herrera (£5.0m) | Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m), Lucas Torreira (£4.9m)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang disappointed his new owners with a blank in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United. The Gabonese striker came into Gameweek 15 on the back of three goals in two matches and many expected him to continue his scoring run against a Manchester United side with just two clean sheets in league 14 matches. While it was his accuracy in recent weeks that had put some off, it was perhaps his volume of shots which let him down at Old Trafford. Aubameyang had just one in the penalty box, compared to Kane’s three against Southampton.
His 27.5% ownership would have been delighted to see the Manchester United team-sheet at the start of the game. José Mourinho went with a back-three of Marcos Rojo (£4.9m), Chris Smalling (£5.7m) and Eric Bailly (£5.1m), all of whom had missed out on the Gameweek 14 trip to Southampton. The former was considered free from injury but not fit enough to make it off the bench, while Smalling and Bailly were absent due to foot and back problems respectively. Also, Matteo Darmian (£4.5m) made just his third start of the campaign in the unnatural position of left wing-back and Diogo Dalot (£5.3m) was in the first XI for the first time in the Premier League. However, despite what looked like a risky selection at the back, and the fact that Arsenal had 62.3% of final third possession (compared to United’s 37.7%), Aubameyang was unable to prosper.
“And behind was Eric, half injured and without playing for a long time, was Smalling injured, I have to say injured, was Marcos Rojo in the first minute of the season, was Darmian with a third start, so was lots of people in very difficult circumstances and the team as a team had a very good response, had a big soul. I think I could speak about everyone including Marcos Rojo, that – in my opinion – played a very good game. But I think, I knew it, but [Dalot] come with a surgery and then when he was coming back he went to the national team and he played two matches in three days, had a problem again but I think Manchester United has a right-back for the next 10 years. The kid Diogo, fantastic. Gary Neville must be thinking now Manchester United has a right-back for 10 years, a very good right-back for 10 years.” – Jose Mourinho
Following some barbed comments from Mourinho after the Southampton draw, there was a bold decision to name Paul Pogba (£7.9m) among the substitutes. Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) also dropped to the bench as the Manchester United manager went with a front-three of Anthony Martial (£7.6m), Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. He explained his team-selection before the match.
“Technical and tactical decisions we are going to play with Lingard, Rashford and Martial. We did that already before recently against Young Boys we were not successful in the goals that we wanted to score but we were happy with the situation we created so in that first half against Young Boys we had big chances. We believe a combination of these three young fast, creative players even if they are not normally what you call the killer that has a chance, score a goal – we believe in their dynamic and appetite.” – Jose Mourinho
There were encouraging signs from the trio, with two of them finding the net in the match. Martial was forced off in the second half with what looked like a knock, but Mourinho gave a positive update at full-time.
“They played well. They gave good dynamic, good intensity, good movement, and we need that, we needed that happiness. Especially in moments where we are not very happy with the result we need happiness on the pitch, we need people that give that good feeling and the three young guys up front, all of them quite light, but alive, agile, creative, they were good. Midfield was strong, Herrera pressed so, so well and so, so hard and the people behind was always in control. Martial doesn’t think it is an injury. He thinks it’s a pre-injury, he was feeling tight.” – Jose Mourinho
Mourinho also praised Pogba’s contribution and fended off comments from journalists that suggested the United team looked happier without him in the starting line-up. It should definitely be noted whenever the United boss does say something positive about the Frenchman as their relationship is often considered their biggest source of problems.
“I think Paul played well. The 15 minutes he was on the pitch he played well, in a moment where our defenders couldn’t push up. Every time David de Gea had the ball all my defenders were dead in front of him and I want the team to come up, I want defensive line to push up, I want to play in the opposition half, at that moment we have Fellaini, we have [Romelu] Lukaku, we have Paul, but every time David had the ball, everybody was dead.” – Jose Mourinho
“(Asked if Pogba’s absence from the starting line-up made United happier: I don’t understand where you want me to go. No. As I was saying, I think Paul came on and gave a good contribution and didn’t give a bad contribution. I brought freshness and power and different qualities to the attacking players but our defenders were dead. Was impossible to take them out. David de Gea had the ball, waits two minutes for them, step by step to recover positions, or was kicking long. When he was kicking long was Lukaku and Rashford against five Arsenal players. Our defensive players were completely dead.” – Jose Mourinho
It was a game that summed up the best and worst of Arsenal. While they looked exciting going forward, both times they took the lead they were almost immediately pegged back. There were strong offensive performances for Sead Kolasinac (£4.9m) and Hector Bellerín (£5.4m) as they the match’s top performers for chances created and shots in the box respectively. However, United’s goals mean the Gunners are still without a clean sheet since Gameweek 7, their tally for the campaign remaining at just two. Crucially, the first goal they conceded at Old Trafford was created by a cross from their left-back position, the area we identified as their weakest a few weeks back.
Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) featured only as a substitute for the second match running, potentially jeopardising his credentials as an alternative to Aubameyang once again. He was awarded the assist for Rojo’s second-half own goal and did make a difference when coming on. He could be recalled when Huddersfield come to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Aubameyang, who has now played 180 minutes in Gameweeks 14 and 15 could also be under threat from some rotation, having been benched twice already this season.
“First, we have a good rest after today because the players finished very tired, but that’s normal after Sunday’s match against Tottenham which was very demanding physically.” – Unai Emery
Scoring for the second Gameweek in a row was holding midfielder Lucas Torreira (£4.9m). His mobility and initiative in the middle of the park have made quickly made the Uruguayan a fan favourite for Arsenal, and his goals against rivals Spurs and Manchester United have only endeared him further. However, it might be unlikely that we see regular attacking returns from him, scoring from his only shot at Old Trafford.
There were two injury concerns for Unai Emery with Rob Holding (£4.4m) sustaining a potentially serious knee problem and Aaron Ramsey (£7.3m) picking up something more minor.
“Rob Holding we are going to wait for the doctors, but it is a big injury. It’s his knee. Aaron, I think it is a small injury.” – Unai Emery.
Accordingly, the impending return of Laurent Koscielny (£5.4m) could not come at a better time for Arsenal. The Frenchman has been working his way back to fitness and should be competing with Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£5.1m) and Shkodran Mustafi (£5.4m) very soon.
“Laurent is very close to playing. He played two matches for the U23s, the last on Tuesday, we are thinking he will start with us soon. I don’t know if Saturday is a possibility. We are thinking the Europa League against Qarabag is a possibility.” – Unai Emery
Manchester United XI (3-4-2-1): De Gea; Rojo (Fellaini 72′), Smalling, Bailly; Darmian, Matić, Herrera, Dalot; Martial (Lukaku 63′), Lingard (Pogba 75′); Rashford.
Arsenal XI (3-4-2-1): Leno; Holding (Lichtsteiner 36′), Sokratis, Mustafi; Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Torreira, Bellerín; Iwobi (Lacazette 65′), Ramsey (Mkhitaryan 45′); Aubameyang.
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