A barmy night in north London put the cherry on the excrement for many Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers in Gameweek 11.
Chelsea ended up putting four goals past previously unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur, who had to play over 40 minutes with nine men following the dismissals of Destiny Udogie (£4.8m) and Cristian Romero (£5.0m).
While VAR was the main source of debate in the mainstream media, we go beyond that to pick out the key FPL talking points in this Scout Notes article.
MADDISON + VAN DE VEN INJURY NEWS
Gameweek 11 was costly for Spurs in many respects, with two injuries to report on top of the aforementioned dismissals.
James Maddison (£8.1m) and Micky van de Ven (£4.7m) were both substituted in first-half stoppage time, the latter pulling up with a serious-looking hamstring injury.
“It’s too early but looking at Micky, you’d think it’s a pretty significant one. I’d assume he’ll be out for a little while. Madders got a knock on the ankle, we’ll just have to see how he is.” – Ange Posteoglou on Monday’s injuries
Van de Ven will almost certainly be out of Gameweek 12 now, while the concern for Maddison will be the relatively short turnaround to the trip to Molineux for the Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
HOW LONG UDOGIE + ROMERO WILL BE BANNED FOR
Romero and Udogie could have been sent off even before they got their marching orders.
The Argentina international was eventually dismissed for serious foul play after a lunge that gave Chelsea their 35th-minute penalty, while Udogie picked up his second booking of the game 10 minutes into the second half.
Romero will miss the next three league matches, while Udogie will only be out for Gameweek 12 and will return after the November international break.
IMPACT ON THE SPURS DEFENCE
Spurs’ centre-halves have been excellent this season. From Gameweeks 2-10 (Romero was injured very early on the opening weekend), they played every minute together and were part of a backline that couldn’t be bettered for goals conceded (seven in nine games).
That partnership will now be broken for three matches at the very least, possibly longer if van de Ven’s injury turns out to be serious.
The Lilywhites ended Gameweek 11 with forgotten man Eric Dier (£4.2m) and midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojberg (£5.2m) at centre-half, as Ben Davies (£4.3m) was also out injured.
The pair earned deserved plaudits for their battling displays when they came on but Ange Postecoglou’s bold insistence on sticking with his high defensive line, even after the personnel changes and with two men down, would ultimately result in Chelsea’s final three goals.
“It is just who we are mate, it is who we are and who we will be for as long as I am here. If we go down to five men we will have a go.” – Ange Postecoglou, when asked about sticking with his high line
Postecoglou may be able to get Davies back for Gameweek 12, while Emerson Royal (£4.4m) is another possible option at centre-half – although the Brazilian may be needed at left-back against Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend with Udogie out.
Either way, it’ll be a patched-up defence for the upcoming clash with Gary O’Neil’s troops. And, more intriguingly from an FPL perspective, Spurs could be without both first-choice centre-halves for the encounters with Aston Villa and Manchester City in Gameweeks 13 and 14. Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) and Erling Haaland (£14.0m) certainly won’t be bemoaning the absence of Romero, and potentially van der Ven, when they come up against Postecoglou’s side.
ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK
Even down to nine, Postecoglou’s attacking mindset remained unchanged – and his strategy almost paid dividends. With Gugliemo Vicario (£5.2m) sweeping brilliantly at the back, the high line allowed Spurs to maintain an offensive presence. Bodies were committed forward at set plays, too.
Dier was denied a goal by an offside flag, while Son Heung-min (£9.6m) and substitute Rodrigo Bentancur (£5.4m) both had great chances to find the net late on. Had any of those strikes gone in/counted, they would have levelled the game at 2-2.
So whatever defence Postecoglous cobbles together for Saturday’s game at Molineux, you know it won’t dent the attacking ambition that’s become a hallmark of this new-look team.
Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) had got the Lilywhites off to a flyer with an early, deflected goal, while Son was millimetres away from making it 2-0 when VAR ruled out the first of four goals on Monday evening.
One noteworthy piece of team news was the inclusion of Brennan Johnson (£5.8m) over Richarlison (£6.7m), and it was the former Nottingham Forest man who teed up Son for that above effort. He was then subbed off after Udogie’s dismissal.
CHELSEA NOT FULLY CONVINCING
They may have been 4-1 winners but the Blues made hard work of making their two-man advantage count, with their last two goals – scored deep in stoppage time with Spurs pressing for an equaliser – giving the scoreline a gloss it didn’t merit.
The much-maligned Nicolas Jackson (£6.8m) had wasted two excellent opportunities before he bagged his late treble, all of his strikes of a similar nature: a ball pumped behind the Spurs defence, resulting in a close-range chance for the forward.
The fact that he needed a few bites of the cherry, and that he was up against nine men, should provide ample context to this hat-trick, but the composed way he took his third goal, sitting Vicario down, was praiseworthy. Perhaps this will instil some confidence in him and kickstart his season; perhaps not, as the versatile Christopher Nkunku (£7.3m) will soon return to possibly challenge for his spot.
Above: Nicolas Jackson’s xG shotmap in Gameweek 11 (the bigger the circle, the better the chance; green circles are goals)
Cole Palmer (£5.0m) cemented his status as the go-to budget FPL midfielder, meanwhile, scoring his third penalty goal of the season and claiming the assist for Jackson’s third with his stoppage-time through-ball.
This game also marked the return of Reece James (£5.3m) to the Chelsea starting XI, following his recent spell on the sidelines.