Following a comparatively anti-climactic end to 2019-20, pre-season in North London was brimming with promise. The arrivals of Matt Doherty (5.9m), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (4.9m) and Joe Hart (4.4m) seemed exactly what Spurs needed to suit Jose Mourinho more defensive-minded game and provide a platform to build. Yet the opening day defeat at home to Everton left both Spurs fans and FPL managers alike thinking ‘new look, same old Spurs’. Fast forward three FPL Gameweeks, seven games unbeaten in all competitions and the arrival of Sergio Regullion (5.5m) Carlos Vinicius (7.0m) and the return of Spurs’ legend Gareth Bale (9.5m) and the feeling surrounding the team and their assets has most certainly changed.
Looking back now on that opening game defeat to Everton it seems that this result was interpreted primarily as a Spurs failure, resulting in huge movements to sell assets like Son Heung-Min (9.0m) and Doherty. However, whilst Spurs weren’t at their best, perhaps a more accurate reading is that Everton’s new look midfield were giving a first show of their quality.
This has been borne out on both sides by more recent results and now Spurs are poised to continue with their lovely run of fixtures, sitting second in the ticker when sorted by difficulty over the next four Gameweeks.
FFScout Fixture Ticker sorted by difficulty Gameweeks 5-8
What’s more, the fixture congestion that Spurs faced in the first four Gameweeks is beginning to ease now with a break in the League Cup and a return to more routine Europa League group fixtures. Couple this with the return from injury of Bale ahead of Gameweek 5 and Mourinho has an almost fully fit squad to choose from.
But which Spurs assets offer the best option for us as FPL managers?
Harry Kane (10.6m)
In all the seasons I have watched Kane play for Spurs, this is without doubt his best start. Last year many Fantasy Managers believed that he simply wasn’t worth the investment due to his on field positioning, but the arrival of Hojbjerg this summer has had a dramatic impact in this area.
Harry Kane Heat Map Gameweeks 1-4
With Hojbjerg protecting the defence and creating a bridge to the attacking players Kane no longer needs to drop deep to win the ball and as a result of that he is more often in the right position to release the likes of Son and thus dramatically outperform his XA – something which I believe looks set to continue. Kane’s understanding of the game and his relationship with Hojbjerg and Son can only lead to a wealth of attacking FPL returns and thus regular BPS points too.
Kane’s Expected Goals and Assists so far this season
Kane sits first in the ICT statistics for forwards in the Influence, Creativity and ICT index categories, only trailing the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7.6m) in Threat. Everything about Kane’s game right now makes him the perfect Fantasy investment. Even the arrival of Vinicius, I think, adds to Kane’s appeal as there is now a direct understudy who can play the final 20 minutes of matches when he needs a rest – hopefully protecting him from the sort of long term injury suffered last season and ensuring regular starts continue.
Heung-Min Son (9.0m)
Alongside Kane, Son has started the 2020/21 season with a bang delivering six goals in just four Premier League games. However he has also been the player that FPL managers have had the most ‘complex’ relationship with. He has been the most transferred out player twice this season, ahead of his 24 point haul in Gameweek 2 and again ahead of his 18 point haul in Gameweek 4.
Kane and Son celebrate Spurs’ 2-5 victory over Southampton in Gameweek 2
At 9m Son offers incredible value for money when compared against most other premium midfielder options. Whilst Mohamed Salah (12.2m) Kevin De Bruyne (11.6m) and Raheem Sterling (11.5m) may outscore the Spurs number 9 over the course of the season – the purple patch that Son is in during these early weeks, as well as the form that Spurs are showing across the team, means that right now he is rightly the midfielder of choice for many FPL managers.
Son has an XG of 1.81 so far – but has wildly outperformed this with six Premier League goals to date. Therefore leaving him sitting top of the goalscorers charts for midfielders. The clinical finishing displayed by Son in Gameweeks 2 and 4, coupled with a promising show in Gameweek 3 (hitting the woodwork twice before he was unfortunately withdrawn through injury) underlines just how hot his form has been before the break.
Expected Goal Table for Gameweeks 1-4
Whilst many managers may have been burnt by the Son hokey-cokey of points returns and transfers in and out – with his form, fitness and the flow of the Spurs attacking line (especially his relationship with Kane) Son will undoubtedly reward managers who remain loyal to him.
Gareth Bale (9.5m)
The day that many a Spurs fan had dreamed of, but few genuinely believed, will soon be upon us as Bale pulls on the lily white jersey once more. This debut won’t necessarily have all the pomp and a circumstance that it could have had were crowds allowed in to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but it will be a spectacle nonetheless.
Gareth Bale during his first spell at Spurs scoring at the Etihad in 2012
It seems highly likely that Bale will play a part in Gameweek 5, and though seven years have past since the last time he took on West Ham (in February 2013), it can’t be entirely forgotten that he scored two goals in that particular match. In total Bale managed three goals in six games vs the Hammers in his first spell at Spurs, and Spurs won four, drew one and lost one.
Whilst this historical data maybe largely irrelevant, the more maverick FPL managers among you (and starry eyed Tottenham fans) will no doubt still be tempted to take a chance on Bale. For the rest though, a lack of consistent minutes over the last few seasons, coupled with a return from injury and a price that’s 0.5m more than his in form team mate Son will likely suggest a more patient ‘wait and see’ approach.
Bale undeniably has the potential to be a huge differential in these early Gameweeks and the rewards for those managers who move early could be season transforming. However, his low ownership and lack of match fitness for me means that it is worth waiting for Gameweek 6 or potentially 7 to see if Bale is up to speed and can fit in to his position alongside his new teammates in a predicted front three. Give it a couple of Gameweeks and there is potential that Bale is worth the additional 0.5m over Son for his Set Piece potential alone, but right now, even with my Spurs goggles on it seems the sensible choice to stick with those in form.
Hugo Lloris (5.5m)
Like the majority of Premier League defences so far this season, Spurs have not looked solid at the back – in fact they are yet to keep a clean sheet in any of their opening 8 matches in all competitions.
As a result of the lack of Clean Sheets across the league it is hard to advocate spending a lot of money on defenders currently and understandably the trend for either one set and forget 4.5m goalkeeper or rotating cheapies is growing. However, we’ve seen similar defensive weakness at the beginning of previous seasons and it’s never lasted indefinitely, so I believe we’ll soon see quality backlines start to return on investment.
Lloris has already made 9 saves this season leaving him joint fifth for goalkeepers in that category. He has also registered a mins/BPS of 7.1 minutes, meaning that when the clean sheets come there is potential for bonus points plus his record of 11 penalty saves is highly promising, especially if the spot-kicks continue at the current rate!
Saves recorded table Gameweeks 1-4
Overall: Which is the best Spurs option?
The 2020/21 season so far has been all about the attacking options. Whilst the number of Clean Sheets kept so far is largely consistent with the number of Clean Sheets kept in the same period last season, the number of goals is hugely inflated. This could in part be linked with the lack of pressure felt by strikers in empty stadiums (as touched on by Lateriser in his most recent article) – and if this is the case then it looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
In seasons gone by Spurs had a far smaller squad and therefore rotation was never really a concern for FPL Managers who owned them. However with the squad that Mourinho currently has at his disposal there could be plenty of tweaks to the starting 11. The defensive unit seem most at risk here with multiple viable options in most slots – Aurier/Doherty, Regullion/Davies, Dier/Sanchez/Alderweireld all have the potential to cause FPL owners headaches. Dier’s slot is perhaps the most safe although, as he offers potentially the least attacking promise it’s unlikely there’ll be a queue of suitors. Regullion appears a great option especially with the freedom to get forward that Mourinho seems to have granted him, however at 5.5m you likely want more certainty of starts in order to invest and there is always Davies waiting on the bench to take his starting position.
For me then, its all about the attackers. Kane and Son offer the most surety of starts as well as delivering the greatest attacking returns across the entire game in their positions so far. Owning one or even both of these players over at least the next four game weeks looks like a wise and borderline essential investment.
However Gareth Bale’s pedigree and FPL record cannot be neglected and his points consistently increased during his first spell at Spurs before the big-money move to Madrid.
- 2009/10 – 118 points
- 2010/11 – 118 points
- 2011/12 – 195 points
- 2012/13 – 249 points
The video footage released by both Bale and Spurs over the International break shows a player back in full training, looking happy and sharp. He has personally commented on the quality of the care and the facilities at Spurs and, after being overlooked for a few seasons in Spain, may feel he has something to prove (see Rodriguez at Everton for an indicator of what’s possible). Hence I can see him exploding onto the FPL radar as soon as he is back to full match fitness and that could even be this week. So, if you are brave enough to be an early investor, Bale could be exactly the sort of FPL asset needed to catapult your Overall Rank, but for me right now the form of both Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are just impossible to ignore, so you should make one or both your first picks from Tottenham’s assets.