Spurs 1-0 Everton
- Goals: None
- Own Goals: Michael Keane (£5.2m)
- Assists: Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m)
- Bonus Points: Hugo Lloris x3 (£5.3m), Toby Alderweireld x2 (£5.3m), Serge Aurier x2 (£5.0m)
Harry Kane (£10.9m) and his Spurs colleagues put in an underwhelming audition for inclusion in Gameweek 34+ Fantasy squads on Monday night.
Ahead of an appealing trip to Bournemouth, the side that has conceded more goals than any other since the Premier League restart, Jose Mourinho’s men were flat and laboured as they limped to a 1-0 win over Everton.
Kane especially had been the focus of the night, prospective owners hoping for an encouraging display of penalty box activity and rafts of shots on goal. They got neither.
In a rather uneventful game, the centre-forward spent much of his time loitering outside the area or drifting out-wide, somewhat isolated by the attacking midfielders around him.
The closest Kane got to an attacking return was in the first half when his solitary penalty box shot was blocked at close range. The resulting rebound fell to Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m), whose own effort was deflected into the net by Michael Keane (£5.2m). Had the Argentinian managed to get his shot on target before it went into the net, Kane would have, of course, notched an assist.
In the 35th minute, Kane clipped the top of the wall from a direct free-kick and in the 42nd, he found himself in a central position during a counter-attack, fed Lucas Moura (£7.1m) wide on the right, who saw his shot well blocked by Lucas Digne (£5.7m).
But if that’s not clutching at straws, I’m not sure what is.
Such an uninspiring performance places a big question over Kane’s head in terms of whether or not he can be trusted against Bournemouth. The Cherries have been woeful recently, but they could see any number of the centre-backs who missed the Manchester United defeat, namely Steve Cook (£5.0m), Simon Francis (£4.4m), Chris Mepham (£4.3m) or Jack Simpson (£3.9m), return from injury in time to bolster their ranks. Therefore, for Fantasy managers to still get rewards from Spurs assets, they will have to go into Gameweek 34+ equipped with some form.
Since the return of the Premier League, Kane has scored twice in four matches, but 39 players across the division have touched the ball in the box more often than him. At the very least, the England international is still not back to the Fantasy hero we used to know, which hardly begs investment for the Bournemouth game, although a north London derby the following week could provide its usual reinvigoration.
Despite playing in a wider position since Kane’s return to the team, Son Heung-min (£9.8m) looked the livelier of Spurs’ two Fantasy favourites on Monday night. While Kane was largely anonymous, the South Korean did have some decent opportunities to grab an attacking return, perhaps showing enough initiative to convince managers of his credentials for Gameweek 34+.
Most of those chances came in the second half as Son was able to tuck inside from his wide station a little more.
In the 53rd minute, Yerry Mina (£5.3m) deliberated over a hopeful long ball from the Spurs defence, allowing it to bounce, which let Son onto the ball. From a slightly tight angle, the Spurs midfielder was able to sneak in a shot, low and spinning, forcing Jordan Pickford (£5.2m) into a sprawling parry away.
Shortly afterwards, Son found some space in his left-hand furrow, executing a trademark cut inside onto his right foot. At that point, defensive pressure meant he was unable to shoot himself, so the South Korean rolled the ball square to Harry Winks (£5.2m) who screwed it wide from the edge of the box.
Just after the hour-mark, Son had two more chances, each one possessing one thing in common: Kane was far away from the action.
In the 63rd minute, Spurs burst forward on the counter-attack, Lo Celso threading Son through. Once again, he cut inside onto his right foot, curling an effort beyond the post while Kane was catching up with play.
A minute later, Son pressed into the same channel up against right-back Seamus Coleman (£5.3m), this time going around the outside and shooting on his left-foot. As Pickford was producing the stop, Kane was watching on from a standing position way out on the right-wing. Not a pretty sight for his 12.5% ownership.
Given most of his hard work came in the second period, Son was perhaps inspired by a surprising incident on the stroke of half-time. After Richarlison (£8.2m) had been allowed to cut through the Spurs midfield unopposed just short of half-time, unleashing a shot just past the post, Son was pinpointed as the culprit by goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris (£5.3m). That led to a fierce war of words and gesticulations between the two players, Lo Celso having to separate them for fear of escalation.
Spurs were still far from an exciting exhilarating side on Monday night, even after that half-time coming together, but Lloris and Mourinho were, at least, happy to see some passion, something that has been lacking in recent displays.
“It just belongs to the training room. There is a lot of respect What happened between me and Son is something that happens in football sometimes. You can see at the end of the game more than happy to be part of this team together. Yeah (it was the Richarlison chance), I think to concede the chance a few seconds before half-time because we don’t make the pressing properly, that annoyed me. But that’s football.” – Hugo Lloris
“That’s beautiful. Probably it’s a consequence of our meetings. Probably if you want to blame somebody for that it’s me because I was critical of my boys they were not enough critical of themselves and with each other. I asked them to be more demanding. I asked them to be more demanding of their colleagues.” – Jose Mourinho
While Fantasy managers may toil over whether or not to trust Spurs’ attackers between now and the Gameweek 34+ deadline, there was, at least, something to cheer on Monday night: a clean sheet and bonus for Serge Aurier (£5.0m).
The right-back has now returned either an assist or clean sheet in three of the four matches post-restart, averaging five points per game in that period.
With Bournemouth and Newcastle two of Spurs’ next three opponents, there will be more than enough reason to keep making use of Aurier. There have been some question marks over Mourinho’s defence before and after lockdown, but the return of Toby Alderweireld (£5.3m), whose exploits also earned him bonus points on Monday night, could be some cause for encouragement moving forward.
However, it must be said that this latest clean sheet was more than helped by a sub-par Everton performance, who have now blanked in two of their four post-restart matches.
Richarlison’s aforementioned chance was the only time the Toffees looked like scoring during the first half. Anthony Gordon (£4.5m) added some zip when he came on for the injury Alex Iwobi (£5.6m) at the break, his first action to push through the middle and direct a powerful shot straight at Lloris.
“Iwobi had a problem on his hamstring so I took him out.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.4m) huffed and puffed but without quality service from midfield fed on scraps and saw most of his half-efforts blocked easily.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that Everton faltered in this one. They have been typically poor away from home this season, especially against the better sides. In fact, they have now claimed just one point from a possible 24 on the road against clubs in the top half of the Premier League table in 2019/20. With Wolves and Sheffield United the Toffees’ remaining away matches of the season, it does seem as if the time has come to switch out the likes of Calvert-Lewin for more in-form options.
There was also not much to enjoy about Everton’s defensive showing either, even though Spurs did not test them as much as they should have done.
Either way, shortcomings in this area were most keenly felt by those invested in budget option Mason Holgate (£4.4m). He was booked during the early exchanges for a tackle on Ben Davies (£5.3m), injuring himself in the process and forced off in the 35th minute.
Tottenham Hotspur XI: Lloris; B Davies, Dier, Alderweireld, Aurier; Winks, Lo Celso (Vertonghen 90+2′), Sissoko; Son (Bergwijn 78′), Kane, Moura (Lamela 82′).
Everton XI: Pickford; Digne, Keane, Holgate (Mina 35′), Coleman (Sidibé 77′); Sigurdsson (Bernard 67′), Gomes, T Davies (Kean 77′), Iwobi (Gordon 46′); Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
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