Spurs 2-1 Norwich
- Goals: Dele Alli (£8.5m), Son Heung-min (£9.9m) | Teemu Pukki (£6.5m)
- Assists: Serge Aurier (£5.0m), Alli | Max Aarons (£4.3m)
- Bonus Points: Alli x3, Pukki x2, Aurier x1
Norwich City’s defence continues to help boost the Fantasy Premier League prospects of their opponents this season.
Spurs came into Double Gameweek 24 with just one win in their previous six league matches but emerged 2-1 victors while forgotten about assets such as Son Heung-min (£9.9m) and Dele Alli (£8.5m) delivered for their remaining owners.
Ironically, neither player had a particularly impressive game, and Norwich actually held Spurs at bay for much of the evening, but, with key centre-back Ben Godfrey (£4.4m) suspended, the points came nonetheless, as they usually do against the Canaries.
Daniel Farke’s men continue to be the most scored-on team this season (47 goals conceded), which bodes well for Newcastle, Liverpool, Wolves and Leicester assets as they face them in the next four Gameweeks.
Furthermore, the longer Norwich stay rooted to the foot of the Premier League table, the more they may have to push forward in their remaining matches, thus exposing their already soft centre.
“We know it will be a big sensation – maybe a miracle – that we stay in this league.” – Daniel Farke
Whether this result should put Spurs players back on the FPL radar does remain to be seen. After all, no other team has conceded as often as their most recent opponents, and it’s Manchester City up next for Jose Mourinho’s men and a trip to Chelsea in Gameweek 27.
As already mentioned, Spurs were not exactly at their best on Wednesday night. Alli started the game slowly but managed to get in the right place at the right time for his goal, and it was a deflection that saw his second-half shot find the head of Son, practically on the line. They were Alli’s first attacking returns since the Gameweek 19 win over Brighton.
Playing on the left side of an attacking midfield trio, Son spurned some decent chances in the first half and, according to the local press, is still some way off his usual “vintage self”. As already mentioned, his second-half had an element of fortune about it, the ball deflected onto his head inside the six-yard box.
Meanwhile, Moura also received some criticism from the local press in his role as a centre-forward. While he contributed plenty of runs to the team, the Brazilian did not offer much more.
Spurs are clearly missing the injured Harry Kane (£10.8m) with neither Moura or Son in a position to occupy the vacant centre-forward position with much gusto right now.
However, the hope for Spurs’ attacking potential may lie in the performances of Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m), who continues to improve with each outing.
The Argentinian was Spurs’ best player by some considerable margin against Norwich, the creative hub in midfield and also winning the ball back on plenty of occasions.
While Lo Celso did not contribute any attacking returns on Wednesday evening, it was he who played the ball into Alli so he may start contributing FPL points soon.
“Giovani is improving game-after-game. Today he was fantastic in everything. I think he is adapting very well to the league, he can play in various positions, he gives us lots of quality, vision, passing, he is improving his offensive game, he is improving his intensity. The only thing that worries me is the new life of English football of playing and playing and playing and in this case he is now playing all the time now because we don’t have different solutions. Even today when Lamela was out, no wingers so Giovani to the wing. It’s hard but I think it’s good experience for all of us, a good experience for the family.” – Jose Mourinho
Another decent performer on Wednesday was right-back Serge Aurier (£5.0m) as he put in an assured defensive performance to keep Todd Cantwell (£5.0m) at bay and played an excellent cross in for Alli’s goal.
Meanwhile, Ryan Sessegnon (£5.4m) struggled on the other side of defence as Spurs’ left-back issues continue. The former Fulham man was pegged back by the exploits of Max Aarons (£4.3m), negating the threat on that side of the field. Sessegnon eventually brought down Norwich’s marauding right-back to give away a penalty in the second half.
Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) slotted the spot-kick away cooly in the 70th minute to ensure Spurs’ defensive problems continue under Mourinho. Since the former Manchester United boss arrived in north London, they have conceded 1.3 goals per game while only Bournemouth, Brighton and Wolves have recorded fewer than their total of two clean sheets in that time.
With that in mind, interest in recently added budget defender Japhet Tanganga (£4.0m) may subside somewhat. The 20-year-old started both Gameweeks 22 and 23 and was also the man of the match in the FA Cup third-round replay win over Middlesbrough.
However, he was only an unused substitute against Norwich, Toby Alderweireld (£5.3m) paired with Jan Vertonghen (£5.2m) at centre-back, although the latter appears still a bit rusty.
Another budget asset that has probably been knocked firmly off then radar is goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga (£4.6m) after a surprise early return for Hugo Lloris (£5.3m).
The Frenchman was originally expected back at some point in February after fracturing his elbow in Gameweek 8 but played 90 minutes against Norwich.
Admittedly, he didn’t have a great deal to do, managing to get a palm to Pukki’s penalty in the second half.
While Gazzaniga looks to be an inactive player from here on in, it was a cause of some joy for select Fantasy managers with Dean Henderson (£5.0m) and Nick Pope (£4.6m) to emerge from some people’s benches with 11-point and 10-point hauls respectively.
“The return of Hugo is mixed emotions for me. It’s happiness to see one of the best goalkeepers in the world to be back. It’s a very good feeling for us but at the same time it is one of these decisions that sometimes we must have it, but it hurts. To leave Paulo out hurts. The good thing is that he is such a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo that I think he also shared our happiness to have Hugo back as a friend. For me, he gave me a lot of thinking and I had to try to be cold to make a decision without emotions because to leave Paolo out is not easy.” – Jose Mourinho
Finally, Harry Winks (£5.2m) was taken off injured in the 55th minute with an ankle problem but Mourinho was unable to provide any update in his post-match press conference.
“I prefer not to know before I come in here so I come with a normal face. I don’t want to come in here with a very upset face, so I’m even afraid to ask, but when I leave here I have to ask.” – Jose Mourinho
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Sessegnon, Vertonghen (Fernandes 75′), Alderweireld, Aurier; Winks (Dier 56′), Lo Celso; Son, Alli, Lamela (Eriksen 62′); Moura.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Byram, Hanley, Zimmermann, Aarons; McLean (Stiepermann 90+3′), Tettey (O Hernández 82′); Cantwell, Duda, Rupp (Drmic 86′); Pukki.
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