Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
- Bonus: Diego Rico (£4.2m) x3, Serge Aurier (£5.1m) x2, Jan Vertonghen (£5.2m) x1
If any Fantasy managers needed a final push to offload Tottenham Hotspur’s premium FPL assets, then Thursday’s grim 0-0 draw with Bournemouth was surely it.
With the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in free-scoring form, justifying the mega-bucks needed to afford Harry Kane (£11.0m) and Son Heung-min (£9.7m) is a gargantuan ask.
Bournemouth hadn’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since Gameweek 17 going into this match, a run that stretched back seven months and 16 games.
No top-flight club has conceded more goals than the Cherries since the restart in June, either.
A long-awaited first shut-out of 2020 never looked in much danger, however: Spurs not only failed to register a single ‘big chance’, but they also didn’t manage one effort on target.
The tweet from Opta below puts that stat in some context:
Kane was frustratingly deep again and his solitary effort was a 25-yard free-kick that crashed into the Bournemouth wall.
Son spent much of his time either out wide or outside the box upon his introduction, again only registering one shot – which was blocked.
It was a bleak watch and it’s hard to think of many genuine opportunities that Spurs had, with Bournemouth looking the more likely to break the deadlock.
A strong case for a fourth-minute penalty after a push on Kane was about as good as it got and, naturally, Jose Mourinho opted to focus on that contentious decision rather than dwell on a drab display:
Like Sheffield, the man of the match was not one of the players. But at Sheffield, I could blame myself and the players, today I could not do that.
It’s not just my opinion, everyone in the world, everybody knows that is a penalty. And when I say everybody, I say everybody, everybody.
I think we were not sharp. We were dominant behind, it was a quite easy game behind, but then a lack of sharpness in attacking areas. I made changes and I think the changes helped to improve the team for the last part of the game, but we didn’t score.
Kane, at least, has near-certain starter status under Mourinho, something that is not to be sniffed at amid the rotation elsewhere.
Son’s benching may also have been a one-off exercise in energy preservation but Mourinho’s pre-match comments highlighted the competition for places he now has in the attacking midfield positions, which would be another concern:
Before the championship stopped we had so many problems in attack with no options to play; in this moment, even with the Dele Alli injury, we have five players, all of them of great quality.
It’s one of these positions, with so many matches that we have, Lucas, Son, Bergwijn, Lamela, all of them are players from the same positions, great players. I trust them all. I think it’s important also for Lamela and Bergwijn to have this start.
There was some joy for owners of Serge Aurier (£5.1m), at least, with the mercurial full-back banking a clean sheet and two bonus points after another display of attacking promise that failed to really amount to anything.
The visit of in-form Arsenal, of course, ought to present Spurs with even greater challenges at either end of the field.
It was so nearly heartbreak for Aurier’s owners, however, with Callum Wilson (£7.4m) having found the back of the net in the 90th minute, only for the VAR to correctly spot a handball from Joshua King (£6.1m) after the ball had left his strike partner’s boot.
All the best chances fell to the hosts, with Harry Wilson (£5.7m) spurning an excellent stoppage-time opportunity, King heading off-target and Jefferson Lerma (£4.8m) failing to connect properly with a teasing Diego Rico (£4.2m) free-kick.
This was a much-improved performance from Bournemouth at both ends of the field, which may put some doubts into the minds of those FPL bosses who were eyeing up a move for Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) in Gameweek 35+.
It’s important not to under-emphasise just how bad Spurs were, however, and a Vardy with that old swagger back will surely pose more of a test than the Lilywhites did.
The Cherries look set to be without Adam Smith (£4.3m) for the visit of the Foxes, with the versatile full-back stretchered off following a clash with Ben Davies (£5.3m) – an incident that led to an eight-minute delay as the defender received treatment.
Howe said of Smith and fellow injury concern David Brooks (£6.1m):
Adam is sitting up in the changing room and he is speaking and talking. He’s got a nasty little bump on his cheek but he looks like he’s going to be okay.
David had a problem with his calf, we don’t know whether that was a pull or just tightness.
The Bournemouth boss said of his side’s display:
We looked a threat, albeit we had to defend well. The criticisms that were laid against us against Manchester United were put right tonight. We dealt with them very well.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Smith (Stacey 63′), Ake, Kelly, Rico; Brooks (H Wilson 66′), Gosling, Lerma, Stanislas; Wilson, King.
Tottenham Hostpur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Winks, Sissoko (Moura 75′); Lamela, Lo Celso (Ndombele 46′), Bergwijn (Son 46′); Kane.
FPL Lessons Learned From Gameweek 34+
- Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea
- Watford 2-1 Norwich City
- Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City
- Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United
- Sheffield United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- West Ham United 0-1 Burnley
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Liverpool
- Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Everton 1-1 Southampton
- Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United
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