Twenty-four hours after Liverpool overhauled a three-goal deficit to progress to the UEFA Champions League final, Tottenham Hotspur did likewise in the Netherlands.
Trailing 2-0 to Ajax on the night and 3-0 on aggregate, Spurs scored three second-half goals to set up an all-English final in Madrid on June 1.
Where this leaves Spurs assets for Gameweek 38 is hard to say.
So underwhelmingly flat in the previous three Gameweeks, will this euphoric victory buoy the Lilywhites going into the final-day home fixture against Everton?
Or will the physical and mental exertions of Wednesday night’s victory in Amsterdam leave them with a hangover for what is essentially a dead rubber against Marco Silva’s in-form side?
We relive another memorable Champions League semi-final in our Scout Notes article below.
Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goals: Lucas Moura (£6.8m) x3
- Assists: Dele Alli (£8.8m) x2
The vast majority of Fantasy managers who are seeking to replace the suspended Son Heung-min (£8.7m) in Gameweek 38 probably wouldn’t have initially considered Lucas Moura (£6.8m) in a like-for-like swap.
Spurs have scored just one league goal in their last four Premier League matches and have looked fatigued during that run, with Mauricio Pochettino’s relatively small squad (further weakened due to injuries) rendering him unable to rotate much around the UEFA Champions League ties.
As we alluded to in our introduction, Spurs have all but confirmed a top four place already this season and there is little riding on Sunday’s encounter with Everton.
How much energy the Lilywhites have left to break down a Toffees’ defence that has kept eight clean sheets in ten matches is another factor to consider.
Still, that hasn’t stopped a modest surge in demand for Lucas after his hat-trick in the Amsterdam Arena.
There certainly didn’t look to be a problem with lethargy in last night’s end-to-end thriller in the Netherlands, with Lucas producing an electric second-half display to score his second hat-trick in the space of a month.
The Brazilian’s “out of position” status is an obvious draw but ironically his treble only arrived after Fernando Llorente‘s (£5.1m) half-time introduction, with Lucas moved to an inside-right position having initially led the line himself.
Lucas combined nicely with Dele Alli (£8.8m) for Spurs’ first and third goals, with his second all of his own making – the Brazil international producing excellent footwork to create some space for himself to finish after Andre Onana had spilt the ball in the Ajax box.
Pochettino lavished praise on his Brazilian midfielder after the game, saying:
I think scoring three goals, a hat-trick, if the other players are superheroes, he’s a super, super, superhero. He was amazing, he was very clinical in front of the goal. Yes, I think a fantastic night, a magical night for him. He is so important.
I think Lucas Moura when he arrived, [it] was a difficult moment. Always we pushed him to be better and of course, it was a tough period for him but we always believed in him. Always respected him and look today.
Without Harry Kane, many people were talking about Sonny but today it was Lucas Moura who scored three goals and you know if you don’t respect all the players you cannot only have 11 players. You can have some players who can win some games but to be in the Champions League final you need 24 or 25 and the relationship must always be honest with everyone. In some moments when you need them, they need to give their best.
Alli was again playing in “the hole” and it is stating the obvious to say he looks much more of an attacking threat in that position than when playing in a more withdrawn central midfield role.
Those deeper starting positions have deterred many Fantasy managers from considering the former MK Dons star as an option but he proved again last night that, when permitted, he can be a nuisance in the opposition box.
As well as banking two assists, Alli could have been on the scoresheet himself when his volley from Christian Eriksen‘s (£9.2m) fine pass was pushed away by Onana.
That was his only shot of the game, it must be said, with Eriksen, Son, Llorente and Lucas registering more attempts on goal.
Only Kieran Trippier (£6.0m) recorded more key passes, though, and Alli’s remit was as much to be a link-up man than an out-and-out goalscorer.
Alli had earlier set up Son for two presentable first-half chances that the Korean couldn’t convert, one of which struck the upright.
Eriksen’s performances haven’t fully convinced this season and this was another mixed bag from the Dane, who was again pushed into a deeper role alongside the excellent Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m) after Wanyama’s half-time substitution.
Eriksen still managed three shots on goal from inside the Ajax box, although two of these came in the first half before his reversion to deep-lying playmaker.
Spurs’ comeback owed a debt to Llorente’s introduction, with the gangling striker winning 13 aerial battles in the second half alone – more than any other player managed over 90 minutes.
The former Swansea targetman still lacks conviction in front of goal, though – Llorente somehow missing from point-blank range seconds before Lucas’s second strike.
It seems likely that Llorente and Lucas will both feature together against Everton, with Son banned and Harry Kane (£12.6m) still sidelined – although Vincent Janssen (£4.5m) is another option up top.
Pochettino flounced out of his post-match presser when asked about Kane’s fitness but the England striker looked sprightly enough when sprinting onto the field at full-time to celebrate with his team-mates.
It seems very unlikely that Kane will be involved against Everton, though, with the Spurs forward asked if he would be able to feature in Madrid in June:
Hopefully. Rehab is going well so far. I started straight-line running this week. We’ll just see, so far so good. There’s still a few weeks for it to go.
I have got to start training even harder and prove myself in front of the gaffer and hopefully be back fit.
Elsewhere on the injury front, a mask-wearing Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) returned to the Spurs starting XI and Erik Lamela (£5.9m) made a cameo appearance off the bench.
Serge Aurier (£5.7m) is back in training but wasn’t involved last night, while Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) was absent with a thigh problem.
Those Fantasy managers who still own Trippier will have understandable concerns about his participation in Gameweek 38, with Aurier nearing a return and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.2m) a rested option.
Juan Foyth (£5.0m) will be suspended for the Everton game, at least.
Trippier, as he has been for much of the season, was a weak link defensively and partly culpable for both of Ajax’s goals.
His Fantasy appeal – a bit like Marcos Alonso‘s (£6.2m) once did – still shines through the unconvincing defensive displays, with his role at set plays helping him to a match-high total of five key passes (one of which was a low cross that Llorente wasted from a few yards out).
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier (Lamela 81′), Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose (Davies 83′); Sissoko, Wanyama (Llorente 46′); Eriksen, Alli, Son; Lucas Moura.
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