The last two years as a Tottenham Hotspur fan have been difficult to handle.
Parting ways with Mauricio Pochettino back in December 2019 has seen Spurs have four different managers in the last two years. And with Nuno Espirito Santo sacked after just four months and one day in charge, it will once again signal more changes. Whether these changes are for the better or not remains to be seen, both from a football and a Fantasy Premier League (FPL) perspective.
Spurs now find themselves linked widely with the same managers that were rumoured over the summer prior to Nuno’s appointment. One of them, Antonio Conte, is expected to be announced as new head coach later on Tuesday, but if he is, should we invest in Spurs assets?
As FPL managers, we always look for a new manager bounce as this can make certain assets prime targets for investment. When Jose Mourinho took over at Spurs in November 2019, he won four of his opening five fixtures – registering 14 goals and just one clean sheet. Ryan Mason collected three wins in the first five fixtures when he took over as interim head coach in April 2021, managing 10 goals and two clean sheets. Nuno Espirito Santo, like Mason, recorded a trio of wins in his first five but with just three goals. And although he began with three clean sheets, it was followed by a pair of 3-0 defeats.
|Jose Mourinho||Ryan Mason||Nuno Espirito Santo|
|West Ham 2-3 Spurs (W)||Spurs 2-1 Southampton (W)||Spurs 1-0 Man City (W)|
|Spurs 3-2 Bournemouth (W)||Spurs 4-0 Sheffield United (W)||Wolves 0-1 Spurs (W)|
|Man United 2-1 Spurs (L)||Leeds 3-1 Spurs (L)||Spurs 1-0 Watford (W)|
|Spurs 5-0 Burnley (W)||Spurs 2-0 Wolves (W)||Crystal Palace 3-0 Spurs (L)|
|Wolves 1-2 Spurs (W)||Aston Villa 2-1 Spurs (L)||Spurs 0-3 Chelsea (L)|
There could be some potential for a new manager bounce, especially when you look at the forthcoming fixtures.
The North Londoners sit top of our Season Ticker from now until Gameweek 17 and in that time they will play four bottom half sides. Many FPL managers, myself included, were already looking at this run with optimism before the managerial switch, earmarking Gameweek 11 as a point of investment. However, with a series of awful performances where the Lilywhites have failed to look interested, my desire to spend the level of FPL budget needed to own a Spurs player was minimal.
The injury to Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) ahead of Gameweek 9 meant I had a difficult decision to make. Free up money and downgrade Lukaku to Ivan Toney (£6.6m), play it safe with the in-form player of the time Jamie Vardy (£10.8m), or go early on my original plan to invest in Spurs from Gameweek 11 – even though their performances made me far from keen on this – by getting Harry Kane (£12.1m).
I immediately questioned my decision when Kane was the only player to blank across my Gameweek 9 team, but when you make a decision for the long-term, you need to stick by it for at least a couple of Gameweeks. Kane’s performance against Manchester United in Gameweek 10, much like the majority of the team, was awful and therefore I was pondering on freeing up the money in spite of this fantastic fixture run.
However, the decision to part company with Nuno has made me stop in my tracks.
In the first five league matches under Mourinho, Kane brought in three goals and one assist, while under Ryan Mason he was unavailable for the first match and was returning early from injury yet still managed a goal. Whilst these stats aren’t eye-watering and Kane seems a shadow of the player he once was, the combination of fixtures and the right managerial arrival could potentially see FPL returns from Kane in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile Son Heung-Min (£10.2m), who was the preferred pick for many managers ahead of this run of games, also has a good record under new managers. Son registered two goals and three assists in the first five under Mourinho, three goals and one assist in Mason’s first five, then two goals for Nuno’s start.
However, it is the out-of-favour Dele Alli‘s (£6.4m) form under new managers which is somewhat more interesting. He has notched four goals and four assists throughout the first five games of those three managers. If he regains his place in the team under Conte, this is something to keep an eye on.
As a gift to FPL managers, Conte spoke in the summer about how he would use Kane if he was his manager:
“Many praise Harry Kane for his ability to go get the ball and play with the team, such as with the equaliser against Denmark. But it’s in the box where he’s clinical and as a coach, I would always keep him in there because he’s devastating.”
Antonio Conte on Harry Kane
Under Nuno, Spurs have been a shadow of their former selves, sitting 17th across the division for goals scored, 19th for goal attempts and shots in the box, plus 17th for expected goals (xG). As an FPL manager invested in their attack, as well as a Spurs fan, this is something that will need to be rectified quickly. We could see Conte deploy his favourite 3-5-2 formation, with Son playing out-of-position alongside Kane in a move which benefits both of them from an FPL perspective.
Moreover, it could mean that we could finally invest in the Spurs defence, as with Sergio Reguilon (£5.0m) and Emerson Royal (£4.9m) playing as wing-backs, their potential for attacking returns could be very interesting.
I am planning to wait and see what happens, with a close eye on the game at Everton in Gameweek 11. However, for those who aren’t currently invested in Spurs, there is potential to go early.
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton past results, via 11v11
With the run of fixtures that Tottenham have, as well as the potential for us to see Son playing out-of-position, I would be tempted to go early on the South Korean captain. Meanwhile, Saturday evening’s performance highlighted how important Reguilon is both in terms of defence and attack, thus I would be looking at a move for him or Royal on the other flank ahead of the Gameweek 12 deadline.
As a Kane owner, I’ll be holding fire and hoping to see a revival of the player I have loved so much over the last few seasons. It’s time for the big players to stand up, be counted, back the new manager and get their season restarted.
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