Spurs 2-1 Brighton
- Goals: Harry Kane (£10.9m), Gareth Bale (£9.5m) | Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m)
- Assists: Sergio Reguilón (£5.6m) | Pascal Groß (£5.8m)
- Bonus points: Bale x3, Lamptey x2, Groß x1
ONLY A NORTHERN SON
Son Heung-min‘s (£9.6m) first Fantasy Premier League blank since Gameweek 3 helped identify an emerging trend in home matches this season.
During a 2-1 win over Brighton, the South Korean was a largely peripheral figure, ending a run of three straight double-digit hauls.
Against the Seagulls, Son registered just one attempt on goal and, crucially, none in the box. It was the second outing of 2020/21 in which he failed to shoot inside the penalty area, a Gameweek 3 draw with Newcastle the previous one.
|GW4||Man United (A)||2||4|
|GW5||West Ham (H)||2||2|
Son and Kane compared for shots in the box this season
As you can see from the table above, away matches have been much more Son’s forte this season. These have often allowed the South Korean to make use of his extraordinary pace. Naturally, that is something he has enjoyed less often at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where opposing sides are a lot happier to sit deep and minimise space behind the defence.
Combining the wins at Southampton, Manchester United and Burnley, Son averaged 2.7 shots in the box per away match, never once dropping below a total of two.
Compare that with home matches, and we see two occasions where Son failed to shoot in the penalty area and an average of 0.8 shots in the box per game.
No wonder then, that 74.6% of Son’s FPL points this season have come on the road, even though he has registered more Premier League minutes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium than away from it in 2020/21.
So, moving forward, what does that mean for the most popular Fantasy asset of 2020/21, currently owned by 58.9% of managers worldwide?
Well, a Gameweek 8 trip to West Bromwich Albion is unlikely to trouble many, especially with their recent defensive improvements somewhat disappearing at Craven Cottage on Monday night.
However, two of the following three fixtures are home runouts for Son, against Manchester City and Arsenal. Ominously, these two clubs sit inside the top three for goals conceded this season, having only let in eight and seven respectively.
Furthermore, Spurs’ three away matches after visiting the Hawthorns pit Son and Kane against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Liverpool. Again, neither one of those is an ideal fixture.
Anticipating further struggles for the premium midfielder is worth noting for Fantasy managers looking to get ahead on the upcoming fixture swing for Spurs.
HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX
Owners of Harry Kane (£10.9m) may be asking similar long-term questions about the premium forward but, against Brighton, he demonstrated the advantage he has over Son: penalties.
The centre-forward won Spurs’ latest spot-kick himself, helping him manage six points from a game when the Sussex side largely restricted his goal threat. That said, he was inches from a double-figure haul, as he struck the back post in the aftermath of a second-half corner.
Still, as you saw above, Kane only shot twice in the box on Sunday evening, one of which was accounted for by the penalty kick.
While he carries the same caveat as Son moving forward in terms of those fixtures, there has been a slightly more of an even spread of strong performances across home and away matches for Kane this season, although 42 of his 71 points have come on the road (59.2%).
He has outscored the South Korean at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by 21 points to 17 this season and has out-shot him too. Across Spurs’ four home league matches in 2020/21, Kane has 13 shots in the box to Son’s three.
The main football headline from this game was, of course, that Gareth Bale (£9.5m) netted the winning goal, his first since returning to Spurs.
The Welshman was able to finish this game joint-top for shots in the box, with a total of two, despite featuring only for the final 20 minutes.
He has looked lively in all of his substitute appearances for Spurs this season but it must be said that caution is still encouraged for those contemplating paying £9.5m for him, not least because of the upcoming fixture-swing.
Jose Mourinho confirmed after the 2-1 win over Brighton that he was still managing Bale’s minutes this season, following earlier fitness problems. Crucially, he specifically let us know that he is not ready to play 90 minutes in the Premier League yet.
“We were in need of a goal and I’ve been telling you for a couple of weeks that Bale is improving. I know he doesn’t have 90 minutes of Premier League in his legs. We are using the Europa League matches to improve his condition and today he scored a winning goal, which is a great feeling for the team.” – Jose Mourinho
I LOVE LAMP
In Gameweek 7, Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m) proved once again that owning him in 2020/21 is not for the fainthearted.
Despite impressive performances this season, he had averaged just 2.3 points per game between Gameweeks 1 and 6, against Spurs, the Brighton wing-back finally delivered on his underlying promise.
It was his trademark runs into the box that allowed Lamptey the time and space to slot in an equaliser for the Seagulls in the second half.
However, in keeping with the rollercoaster nature of owning Lamptey, he was forced off with a muscle problem in the 78th minute, earning a yellow flag for Gameweek 8.
Even more frustrating is the fact that Graham Potter did not address this after the match, opting to praise Lamptey for his exploits rather than explain his withdrawal.
“When you are wing-back on the other side has got the ball, it’s good to get in at the back post and Pascal Gross did really well to find me and I slotted it away.” – Tariq Lamptey
Fantasy managers should also keep an eye for any updates on Solly March (£5.0m) in the coming days, as he left the trip to Spurs with an ankle injury.
Owned by 1.1%, the player himself is not necessarily important to the Fantasy scene but Potter replaced him with Bernardo (£3.9m) in Gameweek 7.
Should March be out for a particularly lengthy spell, we could see a regularly starting £3.9m defender, which might come in very handy indeed, especially when we consider how forward-thinking Potter’s wing-backs have been this season.
However, Fantasy managers were given another reminder of how unreliable Potter can be in terms of team selection.
After a period of relative settled status for most of Brighton’s first-team players, their boss threw two massive spanners into the works on Sunday evening.
Mat Ryan (£4.5m) came into Gameweek 7 owned by 14.6% worldwide, the third-highest among goalkeepers, but he was surprisingly left out of the Seagulls’ squad entirely.
And top-scorer Neal Maupay (£6.6m) was also absent from the matchday selection, with neither player dropped because of injury or coronavirus reasons, as far as anyone has been told at this point.
“Rob Sanchez comes in. He’s a young goalkeeper with some fantastic attributes and we think he can help us in this game.” – Graham Potter
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Reguilón, Dier, Alderweireld, Doherty; Højbjerg, Sissoko; Son (B Davies 85′), Ndombèlé (Lo Celso 64′), Lamela (Bale 70′); Kane.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-5-1-1): R Sánchez; Burn, Veltman, Webster; March (Bernardo 66′), Bissouma, White, Groß, Lamptey (Mac Allister 79′); Lallana; Trossard (Welbeck 74′).
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 7
- Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City
- Burnley 0-3 Chelsea
- Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
- Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton
- Newcastle United 2-1 Everton
- Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Fulham 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Leeds United 1-4 Leicester City
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