Newcastle United 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goals: Joelinton (£5.7m), Joe Willock (£4.7m) | Harry Kane (£11.6m) x2
- Assists: Sean Longstaff (£4.6m), Miguel Almiron (£5.6m) | Tanguy Ndombele (£5.9m)
- Bonus Points: Kane x3, Ndombele x2, Joe Rodon (£5.0m) x1
A brace from Harry Kane (£11.6m) was sandwiched by Joelinton (£5.7m) and Joe Willock (£4.7m) strikes as four goals were shared at St James’ Park on Sunday.
The multitude of Fantasy Premier League managers who backed Kane with the armband in Gameweek 30 were left happy: he was the only captained player in the top 10,000 who (so far) has returned a double-digit haul.
It wasn’t such an enjoyable afternoon for owners of Son Heung-min (£9.4m) and Gareth Bale (£9.4m), however, both of whom only emerged as second-half substitutes to deliver one-pointers.
While Son, who was thrown on at half-time, was just back from injury and can surely expect a swift return to the starting XI in Gameweek 31, the prospects look bleaker for Bale, who it’s difficult to see Jose Mourinho trusting against Manchester United’s dynamic left flank next Sunday.
A Double Gameweek 32 awaits Spurs but many Fantasy managers have seen enough of his limited game-time – two minutes in as many Gameweeks – already: the Welshman was the second-most-sold asset of Easter weekend and he has suffered more transfers out (over 110,000 and counting) than any other player ahead of this Friday’s deadline.
Kane passed the 200-point mark in FPL for the fourth time in his career, notching his 31st and 32nd attacking returns of the season on Tyneside.
In only one of his previous seasons as a Premier League player has he registered more goals and assists combined – and he has another eight matches in which to break his existing record of 36, set in 2016/17.
His points-per-match average in 2020/21 (7.3) is now better than that of Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m and 7.1) and a whopping 1.6 more than any other forward.
Even in a Spurs performance as disjointed as Sunday’s, he still posed a huge threat: after his two opportunistic strikes, the England international struck the woodwork and forced a point-blank save from Martin Dubravka (£4.8m).
He might still drop frustratingly deep on occasion but he is more of a sustained menace between the posts than he has been in recent years, with only Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) able to better his total of 13 shots in the six-yard box in 2020/21.
That’s as many as the in-form Spurs striker managed in the whole of 2019/20 and 2018/19 combined.
There is no one player who is ‘essential’ in FPL in any given period – but it’d be a bold Fantasy manager who didn’t captain Kane, let alone own him, in Double Gameweek 32.
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED XG
A shift to a back five is usually branded a defensive move but in Newcastle’s case on Sunday, it was anything but.
After nine matches in the 4-4-2 diamond/4-3-1-2, a formation tweak that itself was intended to bring about more attacking football, Steve Bruce changed tactics yet again.
In the absence of injured grafter Isaac Hayden (£4.6m), Sunday’s midfield five featured no conservative full-backs on the flanks or defensive shields in front of the back three – instead, we observed a quintet of more forward-thinking midfielders across the middle and an orthodox (if limited) front two in Joelinton and Dwight Gayle (£5.9m).
Above: The average position of Newcastle United players in Gameweek 30
With Allan Saint-Maximin – a second-half substitute against Spurs – and Callum Wilson still to come back into the Magpies’ starting XI, Bruce may be intent on going out in a blaze of the glory in the run-in.
Newcastle United XI: Dubravka, Murphy (Manquillo 83), Ritchie, Krafth (Willock 79), Dummett, Lascelles, Almiron, Shelvey, S.Longstaff, Gayle (Saint-Maximin 71), Joelinton.
Tottenham Hotspur XI: Lloris, Tanganga, Reguilon, Rodon, D.Sanchez, Lo Celso (Bale 88), Lucas Moura (Lamela 64), Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Kane, Alves Morais (Son 46).
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