Tottenham Hotspur 2 Southampton 1
Goals: Tanguy Ndombele (£6.0m) Harry Kane (£11.0m)| Danny Ings (£5.9m)
Assists: Son Heung-min (£9.7m) Christian Eriksen (£8.8m)
Bonus Points: Ings x3, Kane x2, Eriksen x1
Ten-man Tottenham ended a bad week in a good place with a hard-fought win over Southampton.
An understandable defeat at Leicester had been followed by an unthinkable one at Colchester as early
Forty minutes into Saturday’s match and things were threatening to unravel even more.
Having taken the lead when the impressive Tanguy Ndombele (£6.0m) fired home from Son Heung-min‘s (£9.7m) assist, moments of madness from Serge Aurier (£5.0m) and Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) emphatically changed the game’s dynamic.
The right-back, at £5.0m, had been seen as a well-priced way into Spurs’ defence by Fantasy managers, with a 14-point haul in Gameweek 5 prompting strong investment and an ownership rise to 3.2%.
Two yellow cards later and Tottenham were bracing themselves to play for nearly an hour with a man down as Aurier treated his owners to a -2-point haul. He will also miss Gameweek 8’s trip to Brighton through suspension.
Lloris then indulged his own urge to self-destruct by attempting a Cruyff turn on his goal-line. Never the best keeper with the ball at his feet, all he did was allow Danny Ings (£5.9m) to dispossess him and poke the ball home for the equaliser.
In the context of Spurs’ season to date, a full-blown capitulation looked highly likely thereafter.
Time, then, for their big guns to step up, and they duly did just before half-time.
A swift break involving Son, Christian Eriksen (£8.8m) and Harry Kane (£11.0m) ended with the England captain sweeping in his Danish team-mate’s pass to restore the home side’s lead.
That they held onto that lead after the break was down, in part, to some redemptive brilliance from Lloris, who produced excellent saves to deny a Maya Yoshida (£4.4m) header and a James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) free-kick.
But from a Fantasy perspective, it was all about Tottenham’s power trio of Kane, Eriksen and Son.
Only the latter had not suffered a dip in his ownership levels over the last couple of weeks, and he delivered yet again for his 9.9% fan base.
His assist was a fourth straight attacking return of a season that only started in Gameweek 3 and his 6.6 points per match (PPM) average is a club-leading figure. Indeed, across all the players in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), only eight can better that total.
Kane, meanwhile, is not so far behind him on 6.3 PPM, with his winner against the Saints his fifth return in seven starts.
The much-maligned Eriksen’s return to form was another major takeaway from the win.
The midfielder had turned in some deeply underwhelming performances amid consistent reports of a desire to move on to pastures new before his contract expires at the end of this season.
But he was back closer to his best on Saturday.
He created three chances, a match-high figure shared with Son and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand (£4.9m), and he was the only player to produce a big chance, which he managed twice.
It seems inevitable that Eriksen will not be a Spurs player next season – and possibly by the end of January – but there were finally some signs that he will at least depart with a few Fantasy points to his name.
Elsewhere in Tottenham’s midfield, Ndombele continued to bring joy to his 3.9% ownership, with two goals and an assist from just four starts.
But the 5.3% who had been banking on Erik Lamela (£6.1m) to deliver once more were treated to a one-point cameo from the bench.
Ndombele’s £6.0 price tag and eye for
He led the way with 11 penalty area touches against the Saints – Kane managed six – and was a big threat both before and after Aurier’s indiscretion.
A solid schedule through to December, albeit including back-to-back matches on Merseyside, further enhances the appeal of the South Korean.
Not that Fantasy managers seem overly tempted. Son is currently the most purchased Spurs player for Gameweek 8, but none of Pochettino’s men make it into the top ten for transfers-in.
That could change if Spurs can find some level of consistency, as the coach was keen to point out post-match.
“How we fought in the second half against a very good team like Southampton, to keep the clean sheet in forty-five minutes I think showed that we have an amazing spirit, we are all together. That is the point to start to work and keep going and be consistent in the future.” Mauricio Pochettino
As for Southampton, they will have left London wondering how they didn’t secure at least a point from the match.
They out-shot their hosts 14 to nine, with six attempts on target to Tottenham’s four, and were competitive either side of Aurier’s dismissal.
Coach Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans for the encounter were severely compromised by an injury to Cédric Soares (£4.9m) in the warm-up.
“It wasn’t the perfect start to the game. You prepare for the game and then half an hour before he (Cedric) says he can’t train. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t the best preparation for the game. I haven’t spoken to him now, but I will.” Ralph Hasenhuttl
That prompted a switch to a three at the back, with Jannik Vestergaard (£5.2m) brought in and Ward-Prowse switched to right wing-back.
The midfielder returned to his more natural position at half-time as the Saints went for a four-man defence involving Jan Bednarek (£4.5m) moving to right-back, only for Ward-Prowse to then fill in for the Pole when Vestergaard was replaced by Stuart Armstrong (£5.3m) as the visitors chased an equaliser late on.
Nathan Redmond (£6.3m) was the pick of Southampton’s attackers, firing in a match-high four attempts, while Ings scored his second goal of the season.
But despite enjoying close to 60% possession, a combination of Lloris’ heroics and their own lack of ruthlessness meant the Saints’ run of four consecutive away wins in all competitions ended at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“It’s an opportunity missed – a big chance. We came back into the game but didn’t do enough to make Tottenham struggle.” Ralph Hasenhuttl
Their fixtures, in the short term at least, don’t suggest Southampton will be making other sides struggle either.
They’ll face Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal before the end of November, and although the five-match run that follows looks promising, their all-round averageness – just the seven goals scored and two clean sheets kept – won’t encourage many to hover over the transfer button when checking on their assets.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Aurier; Ndombele (Dier 78′), Winks (Wanyama 90+3′), Sissoko; Eriksen; Son (Lamela 64′), Kane.
Southampton XI (3-4-1-2): Gunn; Vestergaard (Armstrong 79′), Yoshida, Bednarek; Bertrand, Højbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Boufal (S Long 88′); Ings (Obafemi 83′), Redmond.
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