Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur is the final Gameweek 21 fixture to get the Scout Notes treatment as we look back on the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) takeaways from Craven Cottage.
The numbers you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture this season.
KANE THE DIFFERENCE
“No shockers, no stunners but Kane the difference” was how The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick prefaced his Spurs ratings, which pretty much summed Antonio Conte’s side up.
The Lilywhites had their trademark slow start on Monday, and were second-best for much of the first half before Harry Kane (£11.6m) did what Harry Kane does best and found a yard of space to curl in the only goal of the match.
The second half was something we hadn’t seen from Conte’s side in quite a while, a solid defensive display that restricted Fulham to just three post-interval shots.
“When you concede 21 goals in 10 games, it means there is something wrong and can not only be a tactical aspect. For this reason I think that we work, we worked about the mentality and in the mind, in the heart and in the desire to sacrifice for the team to help each other. I think that it has to be a starting point this, but we will see quickly. On Saturday we have a tough game away and we have to be ready to show also that we learned about those two defeats against Arsenal and Manchester City.” – Antonio Conte
Both manager and pundits hailed the second-half rearguard display but one swallow doesn’t make a summer and after the defensive horror shows of the last few months, the acid test for Cristian Romero (£4.9m) and co will be the swift Gameweek 22 rematch with a Manchester City side they conceded four goals to last Thursday.
Matt Doherty (£4.6m) didn’t get onto the field for the second game running, incidentally; nine of his 12 appearances this season have ended with an FPL Gameweek score of one point, while he has been an unused substitute on a further nine occasions.
Six of Spurs’ 10 shots at Craven Cottage came from Kane, who is now only one goal from matching last season’s tally. Averaging 6.67 points per match in 2022/23, if he keeps scoring at the current rate and avoids injury he’ll enjoy his best-ever FPL campaign for points. It’s been said before but had Erling Haaland (£12.2m) not burst onto the scene, we’d be hailing Kane’s achievements even more, as he leads the two £12.5m+ premium FPL midfielders by over 30 points after Gameweek 21.
MITROVIC INJURY UPDATE
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£7.1m) hit the turf late in the game, needing treatment after Eric Dier (£5.1m) raked his studs down the Serb’s ankle.
Mitrovic hobbled back onto the pitch and finished the match but he’ll now need further assessment, and it’s particularly concerning given that it’s the same ankle that gave him bother before the World Cup.
“It’s too early, it was that last moment with Mitrovic. Let’s see how he is going to feel tomorrow and all the situations but we have to wait, more time.
“It was his ankle again, yeah. The same ankle.” – Marco Silva on Aleksandar Mitrovic
We will at least get to hear from Silva again this week when he speaks ahead of Fulham’s FA Cup tie against Sunderland, so we should hopefully get a bonus update on Mitrovic long before next Friday’s deadline.
The Serb didn’t really get too many sighters of goal against Spurs, drifting one header harmlessly wide, but easier tests await after back-to-back games against two teams competing for Champions League qualification.
He is, unfortunately, the natural makeweight for many FPL managers in the market for an Eddie Nketiah (£6.6m) or an Evan Ferguson (£4.6m), and has already been jettisoned by over 100,000 of his owners – and that was before the ‘75% flag’ appeared. At least one price drop beckons before we get to Gameweek 22.
Seventh-placed Fulham are perhaps a victim of their own success and are now encountering a problem that they didn’t envisage when they came up from the Championship: teams sitting back on them. The Cottagers didn’t have an answer to Spurs’ second-half approach, something that Silva alluded to after full-time.
“We are in a process and it’s not easy, and probably for most of these players, not usual to play against Tottenham at home and to be more dominant, to be always on the ball. It’s a new process for them and we have to keep working on it so it doesn’t happen again.
“When teams have nine or 10 players behind the ball we have to play with a different dynamic to create and to find the spaces.” – Marco Silva
It’s a strategy we saw Everton employ before the World Cup and it’s a tactic you could imagine Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers trying to emulate when they travel to west London in Gameweeks 23 and 25.