Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Goals: Harry Kane (£11.8m), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m)
- Assists: Hojbjerg, Gareth Bale (£9.2m)
- Bonus Points: Hojbjerg x3, Kane x2, Hugo Lloris (£5.6m), Rui Patricio (£5.3m) x1
Harry Kane (£11.8m) rewarded those who handed him the Gameweek 36 armband with a first haul since mid-April as Spurs triumphed over a wasteful Wolves.
The 45.1%-owned striker opened the scoring on half-time, running onto a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) through ball.
The budget midfielder then extended the lead after the break to record his first (and surely only) double-digit total of the campaign.
A brief glance at the match stats will tell you Spurs had a massive 11 shots on target to the visitors’ three.
And while it’s fair to say Tottenham were clearly the better side, Wolves still managed to waste some big chances of their own, with Romain Saiss (£4.9m) and Fabio Silva (£5.2m) especially profligate.
Then again, Spurs hit the post three times, twice from Kane and once through the back-in-favour Dele Alli (£7.4m), and Wolves keeper Rui Patricio (£5.3m) made a season-high nine saves, so the win was a worthy one.
Not all FPL managers were well-served by the victory, however.
The 47% ownership of Son Heung-min (£9.7m) experienced a first blank in four starts, and the considerably more modest 4.9% backing Gareth Bale (£9.2m) saw their man’s superb recent home form of four goals from two starts come to an abrupt end – although the Welshman did at least compensate with the assist for Hojbjerg’s strike.
But Spurs are far more attack-minded under interim head coach Ryan Mason – Jose Mourinho’s players only averaged 11 total attempts per match, never mind 11 on target – so the signs are promising for their final two fixtures, at home to Aston Villa and away at Leicester, two teams with just three clean sheets between them over the last ten matches.
Mason’s men have now managed two shut-outs in three matches, meanwhile, although the other one of those was against Sheffield United.
One player who didn’t benefit from that was Serge Aurier (£5.2m), who missed the match with a groin problem. Japhet Tanganga (£4.9m) stepped in, but Eric Dier (£4.6m) has started every match under Mason and remains the cut-price way into the Spurs defence.
And further up the pitch, an increasingly influential Alli – only strikers Kane and Silva (both seven) had more shots than his four – could be a differential option with just just 0.6% ownership for those needing a mini-league miracle.
Since his return to the starting XI in Gameweek 34, he actually trumps Son for shots (eight v five) and efforts in the box (five v three).
As for Wolves, they have nothing but pride to play for, and did that well enough.
The one bright spark of a largely forgettable end to the season has been the return to form of Adama Traore (£6.0m).
The midfielder drove at the Spurs defence on a number of occasions, creating space for the likes of Silva, in particular, to then spurn the opportunities he provided.
But with Everton and Manchester United to come for Wolves, they have neither form nor fixtures to recommend them.
Spurs XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Reguilon, Dier, Alderweireld, Tanganga; Hojbjerg, Lo Celso (Winks 69); Son, Alli (Ndombele 82), Bale (Sissoko 89); Kane.
Wolves XI (4-2-3-1): Patricio; Semedo, Saiss, Coady, Hoever; Dendoncker, Moutinho; Gibbs-White |(Neves 73), Vitinha (Da Silva 63), A Traoré; F Silva (Corbeanu 82).
Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 West Ham United
- Goals: Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) | Said Benrahma (£5.9m)
- Assists: Percy Tau (£4.9m)
- Bonus Points: Welbeck x3 Benrahma x2 Dan Burn (£4.2m) x1 Aaron Cresswell (£5.6m) x1
A match that took nearly all of its allotted time to get going ended all square as Jesse Lingard‘s (£6.6m) fall from Fantasy grace picked up pace.
The teams managed 25 attempts between them, but only four actually found the target.
And of the three players involved in the late goals, scorers Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) and Said Benrahma (£5.9m) were backed by a combined 1% of FPL managers, while assister Percy Tau (£4.9m) brought in four points for his 1,287 owners, a particularly prescient six of whom had brought him in for Gameweek 36.
Most eyes were on the 30%-owned Lingard, who blanked for a fourth straight start.
Much was made of his ‘unsustainable’ form after joining the Hammers on loan from Manchester United in Gameweek 22.
And so, finally, it seems to have been proved.
Lingard didn’t shy away from the action on Saturday night, leading the way for touches both in the opposition’s half (64) and the final third (41).
But there was little end product.
He had two (off target) attempts and created two chances, neither of which was a big one. Those figures were essentially bettered by goalscorer Benrahma – one attempt, one goal, two chances created, one of them a big one – from just 26 minutes of action.
The draw puts a severe dent in West Ham’s Champions League aspirations, not that manager David Moyes is giving up just yet:
Getting a point (after falling behind) with six minutes to go was good and the players showed a lot of character to make sure that we earned it. A point might be really important – it could be.
So the Hammers will at least still be motivated for their final two attractive fixtures, West Brom away, Southampton at home, which suggests binning Lingard on current form might be a tad premature.
If only the same could be said for Brighton’s stars.
Welbeck’s sixth goal of the season took him past centre-half Lewis Dunk (£4.8m) and into second place among the Seagulls’ top scorers for the season.
In first place, with eight, is Neal Maupay (£5.9m). Both he and Dunk are serving three-match suspensions and won’t be back until a final day trip to Arsenal.
Before that, there’s a midweek trip to Manchester City.
Despite their close proximity to the sea, the Brighton players displayed few signs of being beach bothered on Saturday night, but their players offer little Fantasy appeal with such a tough finish to come.
Welbeck now has six goals and four assists this season – figures that only Maupay (eight goals, two assists) can beat, but from 2,508 minutes of pitch-time compared to the England international’s 1,513.
It will take a brave/desperate manager to give ‘Welbs’ a whirl, however.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-3): R Sánchez; Burn, Webster, White; Alzate (Lallana 67), Moder, Bissouma, Groß; Trossard (Zeqiri 83), Welbeck, Jahanbakhsh (Tau 73).
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Dawson, Coufal; Rice, Soucek; Lingard, Fornals, Bowen (Benrahma 64); Antonio.
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