Tottenham Hotspur’s premium Fantasy assets caught our attention for different reasons on Saturday.
We assess Spurs’ four-goal demolition of Crystal Palace in our latest Scout Notes article.
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Goals: Son Heung-min (£9.5m) x2 Erik Lamela (£6.1m) Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) own goal
- Assists: Serge Aurier (£4.9m) x2 Toby Alderweireld (£5.5m) Harry Kane (£11.0m)
- Bonus Points: Son x3, Aurier x2, Alderweireld x1
A brace from Son Heung-min (£9.5m) helped Spurs to a surprisingly easy home win over Crystal Palace.
While the performance ensured the South Korean’s Fantasy Premier League star is on the rise – he is currently one of the top five transfers-in ahead of Gameweek 6 – just the one assist for Harry Kane (£11.0m) has already prompted plenty to sell the striker on.
That could prove premature as Spurs have a decent schedule all the way through to early December, a Merseyside double-header in Gameweeks 10 and 11 aside.
But even a cursory glance at the statistics from the Palace match make for uneasy reading for the 22.3% of Fantasy managers still heavily invested in Kane.
The striker had only one attempt and two penalty area touches at the weekend, whereas the 4.7%-owned Son had five and eight respectively.
Throw in Champions League duties, and fatigue and form might well trump fixtures for Kane, with his premium price the final deal-breaker.
Son opened the scoring, finishing sweetly when the returning Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) made a mess of a long, cross-field ball from Toby Alderweireld (£5.5m).
Sakho’s error was a team-wide theme of the afternoon, with mishaps aplenty in a Palace rearguard that had previously made a virtue of frustrating ‘big six’ sides.
Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) was unlucky to deflect Serge Aurier‘s (£4.9m) cross into his own net and the Eagles emphatically failed to learn from their mistake when Son volleyed home his second from another Aurier delivery.
The Ivory Coast international was making his first start since February as Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.9m) remained sidelined with a hamstring issue.
Two assists, a clean sheet and two bonus points later, Aurier had racked up a 14-point haul and at his price point could be a great value way into Tottenham’s defence – if coach Mauricio Pochettino can ever bring himself to handing the defender consistent minutes.
Erik Lamela (£6.1m) rounded off the scoring when he converted a Kane cross just before half-time.
The Argentinian has been quietly going about his business this season, with two goals and as many assists – he managed four of each last term – in just five appearances for his modest 3.8% ownership.
It’s easy to forget that he is now something of a Premier League veteran, with six seasons under his belt. If he can stay free of injury, he could be on for a repeat (or better) of his 2015/16 personal best of five goals and nine assists.
After the major low of their Gameweek 3 home defeat by Newcastle United, Spurs got things emphatically back on track against Palace.
Pochettino held a meeting to ‘refocus’ his players after previously complaining that his squad was the most unsettled it had been since he joined the club.
That comment was, in part at least, a dig at wantaway midfielder Christian Eriksen (£8.8m), although the coach was rather more loved-up by the end of Saturday’s win:
The attitude was amazing, and the performance. We were very concentrated and had tremendous quality. I’m so happy for the team. I think it’s important for their confidence. The plan was to be aggressive, to show intensity from the beginning and all the credit to the players, they made an unbelievable start to the game.
Palace made an equally unbelievable start, entirely in a bad way, as they shipped more goals in the first half than they’d conceded across the first four matches of what had been a steady start to the campaign.
Sakho, so often the side’s defensive anchor, clearly upset the backline’s balance on his return from injury, but he will surely bed back in sooner rather than later.
Roy Hodsgon said as much in his post-match analysis:
The only real positive I can take from the game is that Mamadou Sakho, after such a long lay-off, such a long time out through injury, got through 90 minutes in a very, very tough game. So if you are looking for me to give some positives from a Crystal Palace point of view, I can’t come up with anything other than that.
Palace had more attempts on target – six to five – than their hosts and Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) collected a season’s-best eight points as a result. His Palace counterpart, Vicente Guaita (£5.0m), was forced into action just twice, unless you also count the four times he had to pick the ball out of his net.
Back on the downside, Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) had just two shots and has now blanked for five straight Gameweeks.
That’s a worrying state of affairs for his 10.6% ownership as the Eagles edge ever closer to a brutal five-match run, starting in Gameweek 9, that involves home games with Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool and trips to Arsenal and Chelsea.
Their reputation as big-game spoilers will be severely tested by that schedule and they’ll certainly need to be infinitely better than they were at Tottenham.
As for Spurs, it could be a matter of a rising Son, a falling Kane and a sprightly Lamela emerging as a viable differential option.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies 76′); Sissoko, Winks (Ndombele 67′); Lamela, Eriksen, Son; Kane (Moura 85′).
Crystal Palace XI (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Townsend (Camarasa 86′), Milivojevic, Kouyate (McCarthy 76′), Schlupp; Zaha, Ayew (Benteke 71′).
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