Tottenham Hotspur 1 Sheffield United 1
Goals: Son Heung-min (£9.6m) | George Baldock (£4.5m)
Assists: David McGoldrick (£5.4m)
Bonus Points: McGoldrick x3, Serge Aurier (£4.8m) x2 Son x1
Sheffield United kept their unbeaten away record in the league intact with a draw at Tottenham that could – and probably should – have been a victory.
Son Heung-min‘s (£9.6m) opening goal for the home side was very much against the run of play and justice was served when a mis-hit cross from George Baldock (£4.5m) eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net.
The equaliser was subjected to a lengthy check by VAR, with nobody’s favourite high-tech arbiter having already made its mark by disallowing a previous Sheffield goal from David McGoldrick (£5.4m) for offside.
That decision, even by VAR’s increasingly comical standards, was highly debatable, involving a fractional part of John Lundstram‘s (£4.8m) toe – for measurement purposes about the same size as a Roberto Firmino armpit hair – being offside during the phase of play that preceded the one from which McGoldrick scored.
The international break can’t come soon enough for VAR, because the only clear and obvious thing about it at the moment is the amount of contempt it is inspiring.
Considerably more heartening was the performance of Son, who led the way for attempts en route to his third straight attacking return – a curious state of affairs seeing as he’s lost more than 300,000 owners over the last four Gameweeks.
He’s certainly the brightest spark in a Spurs side that is now winless in five matches, with their most popular player, the 15.7%-owned Harry Kane (£10.8m), a bit of a poster boy for their struggles.
The England captain has just one goal from his last four starts and he looked slow and static against a Blades side impressively quick to close down and overwhelm their opponents throughout the encounter.
In the end, Kane was kept to just two attempts, neither of which were on target, as Spurs produced precious little for the 61.3% of possession they enjoyed.
They did have five attempts on target to the visitors’ four, but that latter figure should have been boosted by Fantasy Premier League’s (FPL) current darling, Lundstram.
The misclassified defender was at his box-to-box best on Saturday, only to miss a couple of great chances to add to his two-goal heroics against Burnley last week.
He made a poor connection when picked out in front of goal by Enda Stevens‘ (£5.1m) fine cross and then hit the post from a Jack O’Connell (£4.6m) cut-back in the area.
Lundstram is such a dynamic asset at present that it is very hard not to be greedy – he is, after all, producing a fantastic 14.6 points per million – but on another day it could well have been another big, big haul for his now 40.8% ownership.
Striker Lys Mousset (£5.0m) is way down on that number. He’s at 1.9% to be precise, but already attracting new owners for Gameweek 13’s visit from Manchester United.
The Blades’ fixtures after that are set fair for six Gameweeks and Mousset is in good enough form to warrant further investment. He’d scored in two of the three matches prior to Saturday and came very close to adding to that tally when he expertly turned Davison Sanchez (£5.3m) in the area and dragged a shot narrowly wide.
Strike partner McGoldrick was more productive on the day, courtesy of an assist for Baldock’s equaliser, but it Mousset who looks best placed to improve on Sheffield’s underwhelming total of 13 goals for the season.
At the back, only Leicester have conceded fewer goals than the nine allowed by Chris Wilder’s side, and it took an error from Stevens to gift Spurs their successful strike on Saturday.
Take the anomalous Lundstram out of the equation and the wing-back is the most consistently productive member in that defence, with two assists to go with five clean sheets.
For those seeking extra Blades defensive cover, or the curious bunch who refuse to leap aboard the Lundstram bandwagon, Stevens looks like the best bet, even if Baldock’s first goal of the season has prompted more interest among Gameweek 13’s early adopters.
However, Fantasy managers must make themselves aware of the fact that in-form goalkeeper Dean Henderson (£4.7m) is ineligible for the meeting with Manchester United, as they are his parent club.
Bets look far less assured at Tottenham.
Their fixtures are inviting, their form anything but.
They were second best in the first half and only improved after the break when Harry Winks (£5.3m) replaced Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m), with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino providing an update on the Frenchman post-match.
“We need to assess him now. I don’t know anything at this moment. He felt pain in his groin but I don’t know if that was before or during the game it happened. Yes, a strange situation because my feeling was that he wasn’t comfortable on the pitch but he said was ok during the game. Then in the end we arrived at half-time and the doctor said to me that we needed to change because he can’t continue in the game.” Mauricio Pochettino
At the back, Aurier has suddenly emerged as a bit of a bonus magnet, with two extra points awarded against Sheffield to go with the maximum gained in Gameweek 11’s draw at Everton.
He had as many attempts as Kane at the weekend, was joint-top among his team-mates for chances created, provided Tottenham’s only big chance and won all of his aerial duels and tackles.
In midfield, Giovani Lo Celso‘s (£7.3m) eye-catching performance in the 4-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade earned him a first domestic start and the Argentinian put in a decent enough shift to suggest he could produce both goals and assists if he can get fully bedded in over the next few weeks.
But if that midweek victory was a case of two steps forward, the performance against Sheffield was at least one step back and Pochettino acknowledged his team needs to find some consistency as soon as possible.
“The reality is that, for different reasons, we are not showing the performances that we expect. The team is in a period where we are finding the best balance.” Mauricio Pochettino
That balance might well come from Lo Celso – particularly when he’s compared to the seemingly disinterested Christian Eriksen (£8.7m) – but for now, much like many of the Spurs side, he is probably one to be monitored rather than bought, with Son by far and away the most attractive prospect.
GAMEWEEK 12 – FPL MATCH REPORTS
- Norwich City 0-2 Watford
- Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Burnley 3-0 West Ham United
- Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth
- Southampton 1-2 Everton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton
- Leicester City 2-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City
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