Tottenham Hotspur’s unbeaten start to the season continued on Friday with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
We look at the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from this match in our Scout Notes summary.
SON STRIKES AGAIN
There is no stopping Son Heung-min (£9.5m) at the moment, with the South Korean on the scoresheet again on Friday.
The goal keeps up his excellent recent record, which has seen him score eight goals in seven matches since moving up front in Gameweek 4.
At Selhurst Park, Son was restricted to just nine touches in the first half, but he was there when it mattered after the break, tapping in after a fine move involving substitute Brennan Johnson (£5.8m) and creator-in-chief James Maddison (£8.1m).
In the build-up, Ange Postecoglou likened Son’s transition from winger to central striker to that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s, saying his intelligence and movement makes him perfect for the role.
“I don’t want to make a similar comparison. But you had him at Manchester United, Cristiano [Ronaldo].
He started off as a winger, but I always felt with Sonny he’s such a great finisher, his movement is outstanding and I think he’s clever enough to play in that central area.
I always like his work ethic, you see his press and that’s what initiates the press from a defensive point of view and I knew he had that in him. It’s an idea I had in my mind and it worked out.” – Ange Postecoglou on Son Heung-min
It certainly has.
Since Son’s move up front, no player in any position has recorded more FPL points (67) and he’s either first or second for shots, shots on target, big chances and non-penalty expected goals (NPxG).
Crucially, he also played the full 90 minutes (plus injury time) at Selhurst Park for the first time since Gameweek 3, highlighting his improving fitness levels.
As for Maddison, it was his shot that was deflected into his own net by Joel Ward (£4.5m) to open the scoring on Friday.
The assist continues his perfect away record, which has seen him produce an attacking return in each of Spurs’ six road trips.
Maddison is now up to third in the FPL midfielder standings and is the first top-flight player to create at least 30 chances in 2023/24.
Above: All FPL players sorted by chances created (CC) in 2023/24
Elsewhere, Destiny Udogie (£4.9m) missed out with muscle tightness in Gameweek 10.
Ben Davies (£4.3m) took his place in the first half but didn’t look entirely comfortable inverting and was substituted off for Emerson Royal (£4.4m) at the break.
At the time of writing, we are yet to receive an injury update on Udogie.
Spurs are top of the table but trickier tests await, with five of their next six opponents currently in the top half.
In fact, they have the fifth-worst run of games from Gameweeks 11 to 16 according to the Season Ticker.
Not being in Europe or the Carabao Cup is really important, however, and the opportunity to rest in midweek when other top clubs are in action could be hugely beneficial.
Discussing his side’s schedule, Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) said:
“Honestly, it helps a lot. Physically, I remember last season was very hard playing three games a week. You feel very tired in the warm-ups. Also, mentally not having to travel to Italy or Spain to play games helps. You are at home, with your family. You have a good rest mentally, so it is a huge thing that we have and we have to take advantage of that this year. You can feel the difference and hopefully you will see even more at the end of the season.” – Dejan Kulusevski
PALACE MISSING EZE + OLISE
Palace had a point to prove after getting hammered at Newcastle last time out, which saw them adopt a defense-first approach in Gameweek 10.
They had a couple of chances early on via Jordan Ayew (£5.4m) and Odsonne Edouard (£5.5m) but failed to build on it, creating just 0.64 expected goals (xG) overall.
Ayew did at least set up a nervy finish, smashing it past Guglielmo Vicario (£5.2m) from a Joachim Andersen (£4.9m) assist, but the Eagles are clearly struggling without influential duo Eberechi Eze (£6.1m) and Michael Olise (£5.8m).
“We have got an England international and a French international and they have a lot of quality those two players. If you add that to the organisation and spirit today it will make us more dangerous going forward. We have to wait on that but I don’t think I could have asked anything more than what they have given.” – Roy Hodgson
Palace were at least able to contain Spurs for large periods and did a good job of shutting down the visitor’s midfield in the first half, although Tyrick Mitchell (£4.5m) did limp off with an injury after the break, which is a concern.
Looking ahead, an easier schedule awaits, with Burnley, Luton Town and Bournemouth in the next five.