Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal
- Goals: Son Heung-min (£9.5m), Harry Kane (£10.9m)
- Assists: Kane, Son
- Bonus: Kane x3, Son x2, Serge Aurier (£5.2m) x1
Son Heung-min (£9.5m) became the first player this season to reach a century of Fantasy Premier League points as his productive double-act with Harry Kane (£10.9m) reaped more returns on Sunday.
Son curled in a superb effort from distance to hand Tottenham Hotspur an early lead in the north London derby, with Kane claiming the assist for the South Korean’s 10th goal of the campaign.
The winger then returned the favour on the stroke of half-time, teeing up his psychic sidekick to lash home off the underside of Bernd Leno‘s (£5.0m) crossbar.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND IMAGE
In front of a 2,000-strong crowd of their own fans, Spurs ended up with just 31.3% of the possession against their noiseless neighbours.
No Premier League side carved out fewer big chances (zero) or had fewer shots in the box (two) than Mourinho’s troops in Gameweek 11, while Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) had more touches in the final third in this fixture than the entire Spurs squad.
All of this was by design, of course.
A naive Mikel Arteta and Arsenal played straight into Mourinho’s hands, with the Lilywhites more than happy to allow the Gunners a lot of fruitless possession and then ruthlessly hit them on the break.
While this weekend’s game against Crystal Palace will allow for a more front-foot approach, the subsequent triple-header against Liverpool, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers will no doubt tempt Mourinho into adopting similar tactics to what we have witnessed since the November international break.
Non-owners of Kane and Son will be hoping for more of the same in terms of chance creation and clinging to the hope that the in-form Spurs pair can’t possibly sustain their current output – they are averaging more points per match than even Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) did in his record-breaking 2017/18 – from the scraps they are served up.
But their owners will perhaps consider that Spurs’ toughest tests are almost over, with even Leicester and Wolves’ defences in iffy shape over the last month.
Whatever the decision of the ‘keep, sell or buy’ dilemma, there’ll be few of us who will want to go into the fixture swing in Gameweek 16 without one of Kane or Son in our squads at the very least.
SECOND SEASON SHUT-OUT SYNDROME
For all of Arsenal’s possession on Sunday, there were few clear-cut opportunities. Indeed, two headed half-chances from Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) were the only efforts that Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) had to repel.
Lloris has only had to make more than three saves in a game on two occasions this season, which is a testament to how well organised the Spurs backline has been.
No side has conceded fewer goals (nine) or kept more clean sheets (five) than the Lilywhites in 2020/21.
Mourinho has previous for excelling in his second season in a new job, with his former sides’ defensive records particularly impressing:
|Team||Clean sheets (rank v other clubs in division)||Goals conceded (rank v other clubs in division)|
|Spurs (2020/21)||5 (=1st)||9 (1st)|
|Manchester United (2017/18)||19 (1st)||28 (2nd)|
|Chelsea (2014/15)||17 (1st)||32 (1st)|
|Real Madrid (2011/12)||14 (3rd=)||32 (2nd)|
|Inter Milan (2009/10)||17 (1st)||34 (1st)|
|Chelsea (2005/06)||20 (2nd)||22 (1st)|
Toby Alderweireld (£5.4m) was imperious on his return from injury on Sunday, while midfield shield Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.9m) is increasingly looking like one of the signings of the summer and Serge Aurier (£5.2m) has been utterly, bewilderingly transformed into a more-than-competent right-back.
Mourinho discussed his side’s improvement at the back in his post-match interview:
I used to call it first of all tactical culture, which is work. One of the things we don’t have much of is time to work because of so many matches, but when we have time to work or to analyse we need to be very, very clinical and go direct to the points.
Try to help the players also individually and improve and after that, it’s the concept of team, because it’s not just about the defenders. It’s Harry Kane winning ball in the box, it’s Steven Bergwijn doing incredible effort on the sides, it’s Lucas coming for five minutes and five minutes he helps the team so much, it’s Joe Rodon coming on for one minute and in that minute he had a great defensive header for a long ball. It’s all these bits that go together, so step by step we are building.
As well as Kane and Son, perhaps we Fantasy managers should also be making a beeline for Sergio Reguilon (£5.7m) and co at Gameweek 16 at the latest.
ARSE ABOUT FOOT
Arsenal sit top of our Season Ticker over the next eight Gameweeks, with matches against the likes of Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle, West Brom and Crystal Palace to come in that time.
In normal circumstances, we’d be eyeing up a Gunner or two for our squads ahead of this favourable run.
But Arteta’s troops sit 15th in the Premier League table, without a goal from open play since Gameweek 4.
Fantasy management is all about timing, of course, and anticipating when a purple patch of form is about to start. Manchester City, for example, had given us little incentive to invest ahead of their clash with Burnley in Gameweek 10.
Even acknowledging that an upturn in results is likely over Christmas given the standard of opposition, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m) – back on the left flank in this game – couldn’t be further from our thoughts with other premium FPL assets in such superb form.
A lack of creativity, goal threat or reliability of starts from Arsenal’s other midfielders and forwards leaves us looking at their backline, which had been showing promising signs up until Gameweek 8.
No FPL defender has more bonus points than Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) this season, while Gabriel (£5.1m) has posed a goal threat from set plays.
But the loss of Thomas Partey (£5.0m) to the recurrence of a thigh problem could be a hammer blow, given how promisingly he had started his Arsenal career and how ineffectual their midfield was without him.
Speaking of Partey’s fitness issue and the incident which led to Spurs’ goal, Arteta said:
It is an injury and it is in the same area, unfortunately. We don’t know how bad it is. I was trying to push him but I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position but probably because he was in a lot of pain.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Aldeweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn (Rodon 90), Lo Celso (Davies 72), Son (Moura 88); Kane.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin (Nketiah 72), Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey (Ceballos 45′), Xhaka; Willian, Lacazette, Saka; Aubameyang
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 11
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