- Goals: Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) | Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m), Son Heung-min (£9.0m) x2, Harry Kane (£10.5m) x2, Serge Aurier (£5.2m)
- Assists: Anthony Martial (£8.9m) | Kane, Aurier, Son, Ben Davies (£4.9m), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m)
- Bonus: Son x3, Kane x2, Aurier x1
A ruthless Spurs thrashed a Manchester United outfit that started fast, were then reduced to ten men and ended up a shambles.
Thirty seconds into the game and it looked like it might be the visitors who would be the whipping boys as Anthony Martial (£8.9m) burst into Tottenham’s area and Davinson Sanchez (£5.4m) gave away a penalty.
The spot-kick was, as usual, put away by United’s most popular Fantasy Premier League (FPL) asset, the 20.7%-owned Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m), and visiting coach Jose Mourinho could have been excused for preparing a scowl similar to the one he wore during much of his tenure at Manchester.
The fact he left the pitch at full-time with the sort of smugly magnanimous smile that only a massive victory can produce was down to his side’s excellence, a misguided moment from Martial and a complete capitulation from the rest of the United team.
But amidst all the sound and fury of a truly bewildering game, the key Fantasy takeaway was the surprise presence of, and a brilliant performance from, Son Heung-min (£9.0m).
While Mourinho had suggested the midfielder might be fit to play at Old Trafford, a hamstring issue had his official chances down as 25%. That prompted a massive FPL sale, with a net 1,308,054 managers – well over half his total ownership – getting rid of the South Korean.
He responded by starting, scoring twice, assisting once, earning maximum bonus and recording 18 points for his second double-digit haul (the other brought in 24) of a remarkable start to the season.
Twitter users were in meltdown at half-time, with the hashtag ‘Took Son’ – as in ‘I took Son out of my Fantasy team this week’ – trending worldwide.
By the final whistle, that had been replaced by #OleOut as Gunnar Solskjaer’s men fell apart.
The rot didn’t even start with Martial’s dismissal, after 28 minutes, for an irritable slap to Erik Lamela‘s (£5.9m) face sparked by the Argentine’s weasly attempt to elbow the United striker.
VAR upheld referee Anthony Taylor’s decision despite also showcasing Lamela’s embarrassing theatricality and his massive culpability in the whole event. But Martial walked, Lamela received only a booking and the match hurried away from the hosts.
In truth, it was already heading in that direction.
United’s lead lasted all of two minutes, with the fragility of centre-back pairing Harry Maguire (£5.4m) and Eric Bailly (£5.0m) – the latter preferred to Victor Lindelof (£4.9m) – exposed for the first of many times.
Maguire’s feeble attempt to head the ball clear created a panic in the area and the ball eventually fell for Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m) to equalise.
Three minutes later, Son put Spurs ahead when the new-look assist machine Harry Kane (£10.6m) was fouled, picked himself up and played a quick ball through to the midfielder, who dinked the ball over the advancing David De Gea (£5.5m) and in.
United responded, the lively Mason Greenwood (£7.4m) chalking up three attempts by the 23rd minute, but Son had already blown a great chance to double his tally before the Martial dismissal and it was one-way traffic from then on.
A minute after Martial finally trudged off, Spurs made it 3-1 when Bailly made a mess of trying to play out from the back, Kane pounced and played the ball to Son, who weighed up his options before squaring back to the striker for a simple finish.
Losing a striker should have at least meant United retained some semblance of shape at the back, but instead, enormous pockets of space kept opening up on their right flank and when Serge Aurier (£5.2m) was given the freedom to exploit this, he responded by setting up Son’s second goal.
It could even have been five by half-time, Kane missing a good chance from a near-post header, and that scoreline would not have flattered the visitors.
Solskjaer made changes at the break, shoring up his midfield by swapping out the blameless Fernandes and the pedestrian Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) for Fred (£5.4m) and Scott McTominay (£4.9m), but the fact Spurs only scored twice in the second half was as much to do with their own more relaxed approach than anything the United coach, or his players, did.
It was 5-1 on 51 when the rampaging Aurier smashed home from a brilliant Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) first-time pass and Kane finished the scoring with an unstoppable penalty after substitute Ben Davies (£4.9m) was taken down by a sliding Paul Pogba (£7.9m).
Solskjaer was suitably crestfallen at the end of the match, saying:
Today, it was almost like Christmas, too many mistakes all came at once. Too many mistakes against a good team and you’ll be punished. It’s very embarrassing.
What might make things worse for him is the crash in confidence of Maguire, the unreliability of Lindelof and the rustiness of Bailly. United seem close to bringing in a new striker (Edinson Cavani) and a left-back (Alex Telles), but the unaddressed weaknesses in the centre of their defence do not bode well at all, as 11 goals conceded in three matches makes abundantly clear.
In Fantasy terms, however, the plentiful owners of Fernandes can still look forward to a good schedule through to mid-December, while Martial’s three-match ban could mean out-of-position opportunities up front for midfielders Greenwood or, more likely, Marcus Rashford (£9.5m).
As for Spurs, Son is currently the most-bought Gameweek 5 player – it would be interesting to know how many of those purchasers sold him ahead of the United match – and Kane is also in the top five.
The pair have 89 points between them this season. United’s entire squad has 72, albeit from one game less, and owning Son and/or Kane looks highly advisable when their next four opponents are West Ham and Brighton at home and Burnley and West Brom away.
So reasons to be cheerful are many for Spurs fans and Fantasy owners alike, while Mourinho was similarly upbeat:
The squad is very good, that’s why we won these matches, rotating players, bringing in fresh legs… and then Lo Celso injured, Bergwijn injured, Bale working… look at the squad we have, look at the attacking players we have, plus Vinicius in the stand. It was an amazing performance. I’m very proud of everyone at the club.
That could all be construed as a bit of a dig at a United board he believed failed to back him in the transfer market.
One thing’s for sure – Mourinho’s successor at Old Trafford is the manager with all the worries at present.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (McTominay 45), Pogba; Fernandes (Fred 45), Rashford, Greenwood (van de Beek 67); Martial.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-3-2-1): Lloris; Aurier, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele (Alli 69); Lamela (Moura 45), Son (Davies 73); Kane.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 4
- Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Everton 4-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leeds United 1-1 Manchester City
- Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
- Leicester City 0-3 West Ham United
- Southampton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
- Wolves 1-0 Fulham
- Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur
- Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
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