Spurs 2-0 West Ham
- Goals: Harry Kane (£10.9m)
- Own Goals: Tomas Soucek (£4.9m)
- Assists: Davison Sánchez (£5.3m), Son Heung-min (£9.8m)
- Bonus Points: Sánchez x3, Ben Davies x2 (£5.3m), Hugo Lloris x1 (£5.3m), Declan Rice x1 (£4.7m)
Son Heung-min (£9.8m) owners were left questioning what might have been after Spurs 2-0 win over West Ham.
The South Korean struck home a fierce shot in the first half only to see it ruled out for offside.
In the end, his 7.8% backing had to settle for a late breakaway assist and clean sheet before his 85th-minute substitution, but there was still further frustration.
Son left the pitch with two bonus points to his name, only to lose them after the BPS system was adjusted at full-time.
But the most disconcerting thing ahead of Spurs Gameweek 32+ trip to Sheffield United was his general performance against West Ham, which lacked the zip we became accustomed to before his Gameweek 26 injury.
Maybe we should not be too surprised about that though, considering the positions he has taken up since the Premier League restart.
Against West Ham, Son was deployed in an exceptionally wide position on the left side of the attacking midfield trio – and managed to touch the ball just once in the penalty area all evening.
Because it was (correctly) ruled out for offside, his first-half effort was scrubbed off by Opta, which left Son officially shotless on the evening too.
It is a far cry from the form displayed by the South Korean earlier in the campaign when he scored four times in three matches before his injury.
But we do have to remember that any residual appeal remaining from that period has to come with the caveat of Harry Kane‘s (£10.9m) return to fitness.
Between Gameweeks 22 and 26, Son was operating as Spurs’ centre-forward in the absence of his English colleague, able to rack up touches, shots, big chances and shots on target inside the penalty area incredibly regularly.
With Kane back in the side, he has been predictably pushed further away from the danger area. Something for Son’s owners to keep an eye on moving forward.
While the centre-forward is likely to soak up many of the chances that would have previously been handed to Son, it is no secret that he is taking some time to get back to his best – perhaps not surprising following a long injury lay-off.
Kane’s first touch inside the penalty area did not come until the 30th minute and shortly after that, he was still drifting into wide positions to put crosses into the box for Lucas Moura (£7.1m) and Dele Alli (£8.3m).
Kane had to feel his way into the game beyond that, gradually working his way into more central advanced positions but he still squandered several chances before he was able to punish West Ham on the break late-on.
In the 49th minute, Serge Aurier (£4.9m), who spent much of the game operating practically as a right-winger, got to the dead-ball line and crossed to the near post, where Kane got the ball caught in his feet.
Five minutes later, the striker cut inside onto his right foot from the edge of the box, blasting it over. And in the 58th minute, Giovani Lo Celso (£ fed him an excellent through-ball on the counter, only for Kane to drag it wide.
His breakthrough came in the 82nd minute as West Ham overstretched themselves chasing the game. With men committed up the field, it only took a through-ball from Son to put Kane one-on-one with Lukasz Fabianski (£4.9m). It may be a situation he rarely finds himself in these days, but Kane still managed to bury it.
As already mentioned, it has taken some time for Kane to get back into shooting form but Fantasy managers should keep an eye on him as the final portion of the season progresses now that he has got his name on the scoresheet…
“I said before the game I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry Kane scores. Is that fundamental for me? No. Is it fundamental for the team? 2-0 killed the game. It’s good for Harry, of course, it is because strikers, their happiness comes from team victories but also from numbers and goals they score. It was very good for him but even better for us.” – Jose Mourinho
By contrast, it was a poor return to the Spurs team for Alli. He missed the Gameweek 30+ clash with Manchester United on account of a social-media-related ban but was handed his number 10 role straight back on Tuesday evening.
However, he was unable to produce much in the way of quality service for Kane, replaced just before the hour-mark. It is no coincidence that Spurs, and Kane, looked more threatening after Erik Lamela (£5.7m) came on for Alli.
Steven Bergwijn (£7.5m) also made an impact from the substitute’s bench, replacing the profligate Moura for the final 18 minutes. The fact that he was benched may be of some disappointment for his new owners hoping for consistent starts – but a midweek rest should see Bergwijn feature from the beginning against Sheffield United.
“They give us more options but I am very happy with Lamela and Bergwijn’s performances against Manchester United. The changes are just natural because of lots of matches in a few days.” – Jose Mourinho
Ahead of appealing trips to Sheffield United (Gameweek 32+), Bournemouth (Gameweek 34+) and Newcastle (Gameweek 36+), it is worth noting Spurs’ defensive improvements since the return of the Premier League.
From Jose Mourinho’s first outing in Gameweek 13 to the final pre-lockdown match in Gameweek 29, Spurs kept just three clean sheets from a possible 17, conceding 23 times in the process (an average of 1.4 per game).
However, they have been breached just once in the first two Gameweeks of Project Restart, that coming from the spot against Manchester United.
Crucially, Mourinho appears to have settled on a preferred back-four, which may have contributed to the increased organisation on display in the last two matches.
As expected, Ben Davies (£5.3m) and Aurier were the full-backs, but for the second game in a row, Mourinho paired Eric Dier (£4.8m) with Davinson Sánchez (£5.3m) at centre-back.
The Englishman put in a largely solid display against Manchester United before the late penalty and was even more commanding in facing West Ham. Dier won everything in the air and showed himself as a great vocal leader at the back – something more easily noticed in our current crowd-free environment.
Still classified as an FPL midfielder, there is little reason to invest in his services for our teams, but his new role does appear to bolster the credentials of Aurier, Davies and Sánchez, who was awarded the assist for Tomas Soucek‘s (£4.9m) own goal.
“Yeah, we worked hard (training defensive drills) and we started that when we were only allowed to work in groups of five. We chose always the back four to be together and we worked a lot on that. In the past two weeks, we did it collectively and I am really happy that in the last two matches we have only conceded one goal from a funny penalty and we managed to be really solid. I am happy with that.” – Jose Mourinho
It must be said that Spurs’ defensive returns on Tuesday night were helped no-end by West Ham’s distinct lack of clinical edge on the attack.
For the second match in a row, the Hammers were without a recognised centre-forward on the pitch, Michail Antonio (£6.9m) filling in for Sébastien Haller (£6.8m) once again.
Jarrod Bowen (£6.4m) and Pablo Fornals (£6.0m) were chosen to flank Antonio and, while the trio received some decent service from Aaron Cresswell (£4.5m) in the opening exchanges but the midfield trio could not hold possession long enough in dangerous areas with Dier and Sánchez smothering most of West Ham’s efforts to get in behind. Furthermore, Antonio’s tendency to drift out wide to his natural position left a vacuum in the middle. There were also some decent moments of skill and pace from Bowen, but he was too isolated to do any real damage to the hosts.
As long as West Ham’s offensive issues continue, those with Chelsea, Newcastle and Burnley defensive assets will be licking their lips when they look at the Hammers’ upcoming schedule.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; B Davies, D Sánchez, Dier, Aurier; Sissoko, Lo Celso; Son (Winks 86′), Alli (Lamela 59′), Moura (Bergwijn 72′); Kane.
West Ham United XI (4-3-3): Fabianski; Cresswell, Balbuena, Diop, Fredericks; Rice, Soucek, Noble (Anderson 71′); Fornals (Lanzini 71′), Antonio, Bowen.