Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester United
- Goals: Son Heung-min | Fred, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood
- Assists: Lucas Moura | Cavani, Greenwood
- Bonus: Cavani x3, Greenwood x2, Fred x1
There wasn’t a huge amount to cheer from a Fantasy Premier League perspective in north London on Sunday afternoon.
Blanks for Harry Kane (£11.7m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m), Luke Shaw (£5.3m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.7m) meant that four of the five FPL players with double-digit ownerships in the clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium didn’t deliver anything more than appearance points.
Only Son Heung-min (£9.4m) from this quintet emerged from the game with anything meaningful, popping up with his first goal since Gameweek 23.
So where does Sunday’s defeat leave Spurs assets ahead of Double Gameweek 32?
For many Fantasy bosses, the Kane and Son double-up will be the bare minimum in Double Gameweek 32.
Looking at top 10k ownership figures as a better gauge of popularity among ‘active’ managers, that combination already features in over half of the leading squads (as of Gameweek 31).
With Son the third most-bought player of Gameweek 32 at the time of writing, that percentage will only increase further ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Most of us will be handing the armband to Kane this week and Sunday’s blank in a limp collective showing (not the first one over the last month) won’t have changed our minds either way.
As for Son, any managers sitting on the fence regarding his appeal for the Everton/Southampton double-header may have had their arms twisted after his seven-game goal drought ended.
The burning question remains: what of the Spurs triple-up and who are the leading candidates for inclusion in our squads?
Son and Kane aside, not one of the Lilywhites’ other assets is presently owned by 10% or more managers within the top 10k – so a well-chosen differential has the capacity to aid in the ongoing push for a green arrow, although may only add to the headaches in Gameweek 33 for those navigating that blank without a chip.
Ben Davies’ (£4.5m) ongoing injury woes will aid Sergio Reguilon‘s (£5.5m) chances of starting both Gameweek 32 fixtures but it was far from a convincing audition for Spurs’ defensive assets at the weekend, with another three goals flying past Hugo Lloris (£5.6m).
Jose Mourinho’s side have allowed nine big chances and 26 shots in the box to be conceded across their last two matches, totals worse than all other Premier League clubs bar Crystal Palace.
The unsettled nature of the backline has no doubt not helped, with Davinson Sanchez (£5.2m) underpinning previous good form with a horror show against Newcastle, a rusty Eric Dier (£4.6m) brought in from the cold this weekend and Toby Alderweireld (£5.4m) seemingly the latest player to join the long list of names in his manager’s bad books.
Rookie Joe Rodon (£5.0m), indeed, has suddenly become the mainstay at the back after three successive Premier League starts.
Further forward, Lucas Moura (£6.6m) merits a mention.
A veritable teacher’s pet among the throng of bodies on Mourinho’s naughty step, Lucas has started nine of Spurs’ last ten league games and appeared in the other match as a substitute.
He has six attacking returns in that time (a respectable goal involvement of 35%), with his latest contribution being the assist for Son’s strike on Sunday.
The goals don’t look likely to flow, it must be said, as he has mustered only eight shots in those ten appearances – just two more than bit-part full-back Serge Aurier (£5.2m).
A total of 10 key passes from Gameweek 23 onwards matches what Kane has produced but still falls eight short of Son’s total.
There’s one key name we haven’t yet mentioned in this piece: Gareth Bale (£9.2m), who was benched for the third straight Premier League match.
His total pitch-time over the last three Gameweeks comes to ten minutes and despite the fact that his team have a double-header coming up, he has already been moved on by a further 50,000+ Fantasy managers ahead of Friday’s deadline – that takes his total number of sales over the last three Gameweeks to somewhere in the region of 800,000.
What we should mention at this point is Spurs’ involvement in the EFL Cup final, a game which falls four days after the clash with Southampton.
The Lilywhites are just about still in the hunt for a top-four spot but Mourinho will surely covet face-saving silverware and there is the possibility that, while players such as Lucas could have minutes managed ahead of that cup final with Manchester City, the likes of Bale and Erik Lamela (£5.7m) could feature against the porous Saints.
Back to Sunday’s action and switching attention to United, Edinson Cavani (£7.8m) and Mason Greenwood (£7.0m) both registered two attacking returns apiece.
Greenwood has quietly racked up 10 shots in the box over his last six appearances, a total beaten by just four other FPL midfielders and seven more than Fernandes has managed – although the fact that the youngster was only a 72nd-minute substitute in this clash underscores the rotation risk.
Cavani’s chances of a prolonged run in the team have been boosted by a potentially season-ending injury to Anthony Martial (£8.0m), meanwhile.
Now nine points clear of fifth place and surely out of their cross-city rivals’ reach, there is little left to play for on the domestic front for the Red Devils.
Continued involvement in the Europa League is therefore something to consider when assessing rotation risk, with continental ties falling either side of Premier League matches in Gameweeks 32-35.
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Those who pay attention to our Suspension Tightrope widget on our homepage will have noticed that only one Premier League player sits precariously positioned on nine yellow cards: Harry Maguire (£5.5m).
Another caution for the England international against Burnley on Saturday will mean that he misses both Gameweeks 33 and 34, as collecting 10 bookings results in a two-match ban.
With Leeds and Liverpool providing the opposition in those two games and Maguire out of danger if he manages to avoid a booking against the Clarets, it’ll be interesting to see if Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is tempted to tactically rest a defender who has been ever-present both this season and last.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Aurier, Rodon, Dier, Reguilon, Højbjerg, Ndombele (Lamela 78), Lo Celso (Sissoko 61), Lucas (Bale 82), Kane, Son.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Rashford (Greenwood 72), Pogba, Fernandes (Matic 90), Cavani.