Sheffield United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goals: Harry Kane (£11.1m)| Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m)| Serge Aurier (£5.2m)| David McGoldrick (£5.2m)
- Assists: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (£4.9m)| Son Heung-min (£9.7m)| Steven Bergwijn (£7.0m)| John Fleck (£5.6m)
- Bonus: Kane x3, Ndombele x2, McGoldrick & Fleck x1
The Harry Kane (£11.1m) and Son Heung–min (£9.7m) double-up was on show again at Bramall Lane as Jose Mourinho lined his Tottenham Hotspur side up in a 3-4-3 formation.
Kane and Son, who had been sold en masse for players with two fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, profited from having less defensive responsibility and attacked from the outset in Spurs’ 3-1 win over Sheffield United.
All eyes will now be on Jose Mourinho to see if he sticks with his new system after such an impressive performance.
It’s a Magic Number
Spurs fans bemoaning Mourinho’s change in formation were left eating their words at half-time.
Fears their new system, featuring three centre-backs, was too defensive were soon put to rest when Spurs took the lead through a Serge Aurier (£5.2m) goal in the fifth minute.
With Son hitting the post and Steven Bergwijn (£7.0m) forcing a good save from Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m), Spurs could have been out of sight within the first 10 minutes.
Jose, who had previously bemoaned his side’s lacking of attacking intent to finish off games, had clearly told his side to go on the attack.
And his new system appears to have pushed Spurs’ more offensive players further up the pitch.
As their chances created show, all but one were created in the opposition’s half, and three in their box.
Discussing his tactical tinkering, Jose revealed the change in formation was to combat the Blades’ wing-back system.
“(Sheffield United) create you a lot of problems because they have a good variety of solutions. From the sides, from the middle, two strikers, overlapping on the sides. We think we have to be dominant to win the game.”Jose Mourinho
If Jose does decide to stick with the 3-4-3 going forward, then a number of their attacking assets, including the wide players have the potential to deliver big returns.
The chief beneficiaries of Jose’s switch in formation were Serge Aurier (£5.2m) and Sergio Reguilon (£5.7m).
The two wing-backs, known more for their attacking skills rather than their defending, were given further licence to join in with Spurs’ attacks than they were in the previous 4-3-3 deployed by Mourinho.
The results saw the pair get into numerous dangerous positions, with Reguilon often the furthest forward player for Spurs.
As heat maps for the players show, Aurier spent most of the game in the opposition half.
He also headed in the first goal from a Son corner, making it a successful day for the pair.
With Liverpool (home), Chelsea (home) and Manchester City (away) in Spurs’ next six games, few FPL managers will be tempted to bring in either of the flying wing-backs.
But with games against Brighton (away) and at West Brom (home) coming up with along with a potential Double Gameweek, Aurier and Reguilon look an intriguing prospect.
If Reguilon can add to the three assists he has produced this season, and Aurier add to his two goals, the Spurs pair look set to massively increase their attacking returns.
Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m) was the forgotten man at Spurs last season, after they broke their transfer record to bring him in for around £55million.
But after taking over from Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho criticised the midfielder’s lack of fitness, even hauling him off at half time in Spurs win over Southampton.
However this season, Ndombele has regained his place in the side, starting their last six games.
With added protection in behind, Ndombele was allowed to venture further forward, and scored a delightful lob in the second half.
The midfielder is clearly back in Jose’s good books, with the “Special One” describing his performance as “magnificent”.
I coach for so many years, had so many players and I have enough experience to say and to feel when a player is not playing very well, it’s his responsibility. and when a player turns things around and brings his performance to a very high level, it’s also his responsibility. It’s a great example with me that the door is is always open.Jose Mourinho
When a player is not playing he has to try to understand why and he has to try to understand how he can walk through the door. He understood. The goal is amazing, but I don’t care about the goal, I care about the performance and the performance was magnificent and I’m really pleased he’s come to this level. He’s playing very, very well.Jose Mourinho
It will be interesting to see if Ndombele can retain his place in the first teams, with fierce competition from Moussa Sissoko (£4.8m) and Harry Winks (£5.2m).
As seen on Sunday, the Frenchman possesses qualities in the final third the other do not.
FPL managers selling Son and Kane were left questioning their judgement again as the pair both picked up attacking returns.
Kane added a goal and a maximum Bonus Points haul to his tally, making him the joint highest points scorer in FPL, level with his teammate Son.
And Son will have been disappointed to have only come away with five points from the game, having seen his close range effort hit the post.
As well as the wing-backs, the three at the back system appears to be getting the best out of Harry Kane.
Only Golden Boot rival Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) has had more attempts on goal in Double Gameweek 19, with the frontman getting a chance on goal every 15 minutes.
With the added protection of three centre-backs, Son found himself working the channels more than in previous Gameweeks, rather than cutting in from the left or running in behind Kane.
With more players pushing forward and Spurs appearing to be more patient in their build-up play, there were a lot less balls in behind for Son to run on to.
This turned Son into more of a provider, putting in a high number of crosses and creating a big chance.
Having spent most of the season providing Son with assist, it may now be Kane’s turn to be on the end of chances at Spurs, should Jose persist with a back three.
With Spurs likely to face their own Double Gameweek soon, players who kept faith with the dynamic duo are surely holding on to their assets for the foreseeable future.
Sheffield United went into the game full of confidence after recording their first win of the season against Newcastle.
But any hope of the Blades mounting a second win in a row was quickly extinguished, after Spurs opened the scoring in the first five minutes.
So abject was Sheffield United’s first half performance, that pundit Roy Keane claimed they could go down as the Premier League’s worst ever side.
Things did improve for them, with David McGoldrick (£5.2m) scoring yet another goal against a top six side, before Ndombele wrapped up the game for Spurs.
Mourinho’s decision to switch to a back three completely stopped the Blades in wide areas, with Jaden Bogle (£4.3m) and Enda Stevens (£5.0m) spending the majority of the game defending.
In defence, problems that have plagued Chris Wilder’s team all season reared their heads.
After Aurier’s headed goal, the Blades have now conceded the second most headed chances in the league.
And after Harry Kane’s goal from outside the box, Sheff United have conceded the third highest amount of shots outside the box.
This season is worlds apart from the solid defensive unit they were last season, as they made Bramall Lane their fortress.
The Blades have now conceded 15 Premier League goals at home this season, the same amount they conceded throughout the whole of last season.
Fans pointing to the return of loanee Dean Henderson (£5.2m) to Manchester United as the catalyst of their downfall may also have a point.
Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m) has kept just six clean sheets in 56 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and Sheffield United combined (10.7%) – the worst ratio of any goalkeeper to play at least 50 Premier League games.
Speaking after the game, Wilder was not impressed with what he saw:
There’s stuff we keep talking about right the way through the season. About key moments, lack of quality, and that’s happened this afternoon. We gave possession away, good possession. As I’ve said a set piece is preventable, even though it’s a good ball in it’s a free header. And the second and third goals, we give away the ball in the middle of the park.Chris Wilder
Tottenham XI (3-4-3) Lloris; Dier, Rodon, Davies; Aurier, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Reguilon (Sanchez 94); Son (Vinicius 92), Bergwijn (Lucas 87), Kane
Sheffield United XI (3-5-2) Ramsdale; Ampadu, Egan, Basham (Sharp 74); Bogle, Fleck, Norwood (Bryan 67), Lundstram, Stevens; McGoldrick, Burke (Brewster 71)
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