The Gameweek 3 inquest continues as we pick out the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur.
MADDISON A “CREATIVE FORCE”
The yellow flag is off and he’s just posted a double-digit haul: expect James Maddison‘s (£7.6m) FPL price and ownership to rise considerably by Gameweek 4.
It’d be interesting to see what the fickle ratings-givers would done had his unconvincing 17th-minute finish trickled wide or been saved. A wasteful ‘6’ rather than a man-of-the-match ‘9’?
But the really encouraging sign from a Fantasy perspective was again how central he was to Spurs’ play.
Maddison’s mishit shot on the turn and a wasted ‘big chance’ preceded his goal, while a dithering Richarlison (£7.0m) ought to have done a lot better with yet another first-half opportunity that Maddison created.
So far this season, Maddison can’t be beaten by any of his team-mates for goal attempts, shots in the box, big chances, chances created and final-third touches. Spurs’ starting front three lead him for penalty-box touches, admittedly, but it’s a hollow victory.
“There wasn’t anyone happier than me when we got him. I’m overjoyed at the footballer I’ve got, just the way he’s embraced the whole club. Where he’s at in his life, he really wants to be the person who is that creative force for us. He’s embraced every part of our football model.
“I think the way we play definitely suits him. We want to have the ball, we want to play in the opposition half. It gives guys like him the opportunity to receive the balls in areas where they can do the things that they want to do.” – Ange Postecoglou
Destiny Udogie’s (£4.5m) stock is also on the rise. The attack-minded left-back had looked lively in pre-season and in the opening two Gameweeks of the campaign, delivering on that promise with a clean sheet, assist and maximum bonus points on Saturday.
Above: Destiny Udogie is ranked third among defenders for final-third touches this season, although has had only one shot so far. The assist for Dejan Kulusevski’s goal on Saturday was his third chance created in 2023/24.
There were concerns when the young defender was substituted late in the game, soon after requiring medical treatment.
Ange Postecoglou assuaged those fears after full-time:
“I think he just kicked the ground from what I understand. He didn’t want to come off but at that stage, the way the rules are at the moment, they go off for 30 seconds and I just thought it was better putting Benny on and keeping the tempo up in the game for us. Just speaking to him now, he’s fine.” – Ange Postecoglou on Destiny Udogie
Centre-half Micky van der Ven (£4.5m), while not carrying anywhere near the same attacking threat as Udogie, was excellent, while Cristian Romero (£4.6m) has moved up to second in the FPL defenders’ points standings and has yet to blank in 2023/24.
‘Out of position’ Richarlison may be, but he’s also out of goals.
Postecoglou gave the Brazilian his backing after full-time, so his place doesn’t appear to be at risk in the very short term. Time will tell whether anyone else arrives through the door by transfer deadline day to threaten his future starts.
“That’s part of life, mate, part of your football career. You’re going to go through moments. He just needs to work hard, keep contributing to the team and contributing to us being successful and overcoming the challenges we have. There’s no time in this game for people to dwell or think introspectively about where they are.
“Richy will work hard, he’s a good footballer, he’ll get his goals. What’s more important for me is that he keeps contributing to what we do as a team because ultimately we’re not going to get to where we want to on the back of one player scoring goals.” – Ange Postecoglou on Richarlison
While the manager’s words are reassuring, the body language and the stats aren’t great.
Richarlison has managed just four goal attempts in his three starts – that’s as many as centre-back Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) had for Brighton and Hove Albion against West Ham United on Saturday.
None of the Lilywhites’ front three have actually been that convincing this season, which is strange to say for a team impressing as a collective attacking force.
SARR AND SEMENYO START AGAIN
Two £4.5m budget heroes from Gameweek 2 were handed starts again on the south coast.
Midfielder Pape Matar Sarr (£4.5m) claimed a fine assist for Maddison’s strike, while forward Antoine Semenyo (£4.5m) was lively once more on the right wing for the Cherries.
As good as they’ve been in the last fortnight, there is obvious medium-term risk with Spurs and Bournemouth well-stocked with alternatives in their positions. Sarr didn’t even last 60 minutes here, indeed, with Postecoglou seeking more composure in the engine room as the hosts got on top.
This was perhaps the most toothless of Bournemouth’s three displays this season, with no clear-cut chances created. Bottom of our Season Ticker for the next four Gameweeks, they’re also a long way from most FPL managers’ thoughts at present.
Tyler Adams (£5.0m) and Alex Scott (£5.0m) seem like astute signings but they’re currently both injured. In their absence, the Cherries look like they’ve got a soft underbelly in central midfield. No side has conceded more shots this season, so plenty of encouragement for Bryan Mbeumo (£6.7m) and co next weekend.