Harry Kane (£11.0m) issued another reminder of his goalscoring abilities as he bagged the winner in Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Tuesday afternoon.
Spurs’ victory over Zinedine Zidane’s side is the primary focus of our latest Scout Notes article but we will also reflect on yesterday’s matches involving Norwich City and Crystal Palace.
Real Madrid 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goal: Harry Kane (£11.0m)
Kane scored the game’s only goal on 22 minutes, pouncing on an error by Marcelo before coolly slotting the ball past Keylor Navas.
The Madrid goalkeeper was the busier of the two sides’ custodians, denying Kane and substitute Dele Alli (£8.5m) from close range and Tanguy Ndombele (£6.0m) and Son Heung-min (£9.5m) from distance.
Young striker Troy Parrott also struck the woodwork late on.
Mauricio Pochettino reflected on his team’s dominance and overall performance after the game:
I think Keylor Navas is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he showed again today with his great performance as he saved Real Madrid from conceding more goals.
It’s only a result but we are looking to try and be better every single day, improve in the way we play and start the season strong. I think our objective is to start the season in a very good dynamic and try and start to win. That is why I am happy because our dynamic from the beginning of pre-season we are doing well.
Kane was deployed as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 in the first half and it was notable that he mostly stayed as Spurs’ furthermost forward player against Real, in contrast to some of the deep-lying positions he took up last season.
The relatively quiet Christian Eriksen (£9.0m) made his first start of pre-season behind Kane, with Son and Erik Lamela (£6.0m) catching the eye in the attacking midfield trio.
There were four notable absentees at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
Serge Aurier (£5.0m) has undergone surgery to a hand injury suffered on international duty with the Ivory Coast and is now “undertaking a period of non-contact training before reintegrating with the first team”.
Eric Dier (£5.0m) and Ben Davies (£6.0m) are continuing their rehabilitation after surgery, while Victor Wanyama (£5.0m) wasn’t risked after reporting irritation in his knee after training.
Kieran Trippier’s departure has left a three-way tussle for the right-back spot.
Aurier’s hand injury meant that Juan Foyth (£5.0m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£5.0m) were each handed 45 minutes to impress against the Galacticos.
In truth, Foyth – who played at right-back for Argentina in the Copa America this summer – didn’t have a great deal to do but nullified Eden Hazard whenever the Belgian was on the ball.
Foyth is suspended for the first two league matches of the season so it may be that Walker-Peters will feature in Gameweeks 1 and 2, barring further recruitment and
Beyond that, there would appear to be a great deal of uncertainty over the right-back position with Pochettino a known fan of Foyth.
Foyth made ten league starts last season compared to Walker-Peters’ four, although some of those were as a right-sided centre-back in a three-man defence.
Injuries have dogged Lamela in recent times and indeed the Argentinean hasn’t played more than 1,000 league minutes in any of the last three seasons.
An FPL ownership of 0.3% is reflective of the lack of trust we now have in Lamela as a Fantasy asset but he was perhaps Spurs’ best player in the first half, looking sharp in a 45-minute showing and creating a superb chance for Kane before the break.
Rewind 12 months, of course, and Lamela was also prominent ahead of the 2018/19 season – so the proof will be in the pudding once the upcoming campaign gets underway.
Spurs’ first-half XI: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Ndombele, Lamela, Eriksen, Son, Kane.
Spurs’ second-half XI: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Tanganga, Georgiou, Skipp, Sissoko, Son (Nkoudou 66), Dele, Lucas, Kane (Parrott 66).
Norwich City 1-4 Atalanta
- Goal: Todd Cantwell (£4.5m)
- Assist: Moritz Leitner (£4.5m)
Owners of Liverpool’s attacking Fantasy assets would have been gleefully rubbing their hands at the result at Carrow Road last night.
Jurgen Klopp’s side meet Norwich in the 2019/20 curtain-raiser a week on Friday and the Canaries are without a clean sheet in their six pre-season friendlies contested so far.
Daniel Farke’s outfit came up from the Championship with a reputation for being less than watertight at the back, having shipped 57 goals in 46 league games – 16 more than Sheffield United conceded.
Norwich’s injury problems at centre-back over the summer would only have further incentivised owners of Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) et al to hand the armband to a Liverpool player in Gameweek 1 and Tuesday night’s result provided more encouragement.
With the possible exception of Sam Byram (£4.5m) at right-back, Norwich’s back four against Atalanta will likely be the one that lines up at Anfield, too.
Farke’s troops have now conceded exactly 12 goals in pre-season at a rate of two per game.
Atalanta, who finished third in Serie A last season,
As we will discuss below, Norwich had the better of the first 45 minutes and had gone in front early on but shot themselves in the foot when Timm Klose (£4.5m) gifted the ball straight to goalscorer Luis Muriel on the stroke of half-time.
There were individual errors in the lead-up to the second, third and fourth goals, too, while Ralf Fahrmann (£4.5m) looked shaky between the posts and would only have furthered Tim Krul‘s (£4.5m) chances of nailing down a starting role.
Atalanta got plenty of joy against Norwich on the break in the second half and Kenny McLean (£5.0m) had to clear another effort off the line.
We had an individual mistake on 45 minutes and conceded a goal out of this and the same style went further on. We had several chances in the second-half but with their second strike on
goalthey were able to score.
They played with lots of effectiveness. Okay, the third and the fourth goal was after 20/21 changes – this won’t happen during the normal games.
We have to learn that on this level, you have to be unbelievably effective and also that small details and small mistakes can change a whole game.
But it’s also important we learn the details to be unbelievably effective when we use our chances and be fully switched on and concentrated.
Better Going Forward
Tuesday’s match was also a reminder of Norwich’s attacking prowess and their potential to ruin a Liverpool clean sheet next Friday.
The Canaries have scored in all six of their pre-season friendlies and broke the deadlock in Norfolk last night when budget FPL midfielders Moritz Leitner and Todd Cantwell (both £4.5m) combined for the latter’s goal on 14 minutes.
The fit-again Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) had several opportunities to add to Norwich’s lead but found either the Atalanta goalkeeper or a visiting defender in the way, while he also diverted a Jamal Lewis (£4.5m) cross over the bar early on.
Farke, justifiably, pointed out that Norwich were the dominant side in the opening 45 minutes:
It’s a joke that we lost this game 4-1. We played nearly a perfect first half and dominated against a Champions League side and created so many chances. We should have been three or four-nil up.
In general, the performance was worth more than a defeat tonight.
We will have to face teams who play in the Champions League during the season. On the one hand, we can take lots of self-confidence because we showed that we are capable to compete at this level.
My feeling was, the first 65 minutes we were the better side and so much on the front foot.
Pukki and Emiliano Buendia (£6.0m) recovered from their respective fitness concerns to start Tuesday’s match, while Marco Stiepermann (£5.5m) was on the bench after his recent dead leg.
Fantasy managers also got their first glimpse of the fit-again Mario Vrancic (£6.5m), who arrived as a 76th-minute substitute and fired a late free-kick narrowly over.
Grant Hanley (£4.0m) missed out with a groin problem but Farke expects the budget defender back soon.
The Norwich boss said:
Grant stretched his groin at Luton, he has been out since, in terms of team training, but if everything works we should have him back on Thursday and available for the last pre-season game.
Farke also provided an update on defensive midfielder Alex Tettey (£4.5m):
Good news. No surgery for Alex. We have to handle it in a predictable way, although we don’t know how many days it will last. I am looking forward to having him back because in this type of game you would wish you could throw a defensive-minded player into the game.
£4.5m Midfielder Shines
Cantwell was perhaps the pick of Norwich’s players last night, linking up play well in the number ten role.
There aren’t many FPL attacking midfielders available for £4.5m and Cantwell is a name to monitor, although a fully fit Stiepermann probably remains the favourite for that role at the time of writing.
Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Fahrmann; Byram (Aarons 76), Godfrey, Klose, Lewis (Heise 83); Leitner (Vrancic 76), Trybull (McLean 63); Buendia (Idah 83), Cantwell (Roberts 63), Hernandez (Srbeny 66); Pukki (Drmic 63).
AFC Wimbledon 2-2 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Brandon Pierrick x2
- Assists: Connor Wickham (£4.5m), David Boateng
There was very little interest for Fantasy managers at Kingsmeadow as a second-string Palace side drew 2-2 with Wimbledon.
Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) got another 60 minutes under his belt, at least, with the French centre-back making his second appearance of pre-season following his return from a long-term knee injury.
Sakho departed the field with a clean sheet to his name before the Eagles conceded twice in the last half an hour.
The former Liverpool defender’s return may have implications for Martin Kelly (£4.0m), who currently sits in around one in four FPL squads, although it remains to be seen if Sakho is match-fit enough to feature in Gameweek 1.
Speaking after the game, Sakho said:
I feel good and really happy. Step by step coming back I’m coming back. During the holiday, I’ve worked really hard. I had just ten days off – three days with my charity work [in Senegal], a week with my family – apart from that I worked really, really hard every day – training in Miami and in Dubai too.
Budget FPL forward Connor Wickham (£4.5m) played the full game
Crystal Palace XI: Henderson, Tavares (D Boateng 45′), Hobbs, Sakho (Inniss 61′), Woods, Riedewald (Flanagan 79′), Dreher, McGregor, Daly, Wickham, Pierrick (Lokilo 79′).