I have delayed writing this article because Tottenham have been doing the most un-Tottenham like of things. They have been signing players, with the likelihood of more to come too!
NB it was all just a smoke screen. Nothing else has happened!
Tottenham had a poor season defensively compared to recent years. 13 clean sheets aren’t exactly a bad return, but it was our worst defensive display since the 15/16 season. Hugo Lloris kept 12 of the 13 and will start the season with the gloves. Being priced at 5.5m, the same as Kepa, de Gea and Pickford, he will probably struggle to achieve a high ownership.
His FPL scores are vey consistent. In the last 3 seasons he’s scored 143, 144 and 145 points. (2 previous scores of 140 and 141 too!) He may not prove to be the highest scorer, but he won’t let you down either.
Paulo Gazzaniga started as 3rd choice last season but soon replaced Michel Vorm on the bench and on the pitch as Hugo’s deputy. Called upon 12 times last season (3 in the league) he never let us down. There was even a growing voice among some fans that he should replace Hugo between the sticks. That won’t happen just yet but if Hugo picks up an injury then the man from Murphy, the same small village as Pochettino, is an absolute bargain at just 4.5m
This is a tricky area to write about as currently we just don’t know who will line up for the season opener against Villa. One man assured of being at the club next season, after signing a new contract, is Ben Davies. His points potential will largely depend on what the club do with Danny Rose. The pair were heavily rotated last term. Davies playing 27 games (20 starts) and Rose clocking up 26 appearances (19 starts). Davies offers versatility and is able to play at CB. This normally only happens later in a game if we change formation and play 3 at the back though. Attacking wise there wasn’t much to talk about either. 3 assists for Rose were the only attacking returns from the pair. If the rumours are true and Rose does leave the club this window, then Davies could be a great option.
- At time of writing Davies is recovering from surgery on an injury. He won’t be out for too long, but this does mean Danny Rose will start the season as our LB (if still at the club)
The right back is much easier to predict, in the short term at least! New first choice RB, Surge Aurier will miss the start of the season after helping The Ivory Coast reach the ¼ final of the Africa Cup of Nations. While in Egypt he sustained an injury to his hand. While this isn’t a serious injury it, and the Run in the ACoN has meant he has yet to train with the rest of the squad. Kyle Walker-Peters, last seasons’ 3rd choice RB will start the season in that position. It seemed last season that, even when needed, Pochettino didn’t really fancy him. Electing to use Juan Foyth as a makeshift RB instead.
Like Aurier, Foyth also spent the summer on international duty. He started 4 games during the tournament, 3 of them at RB. Although sometimes caught out for pace, he performed really well in helping Argentina secure a 3rd place finish. Pochettino did play him at RB on a handful of occasions last season and it remains to be seen if he will again. One thing we do know, Foyth is suspended for the first 2 games and picked up an injury that could leave him sidlined for several weeks. This leaves Poch will no alternative but to start with KWP. If KWP starts the season well, the shirt will be his to lose.
Centre back is where it may be a little easier to pick a certain starter from. Toby Alderweirld started 33 PL games last season and is pretty much nailed on, for the time being at least! If we don’t see him put signature on a piece of paper soon it is possible that Poch will phase him out as the season goes on. Our other two first choice CBs are Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez. Super Jan probably gets the nod over Sanchez when we play 4 at the back. Poch will pick and choose depending on the formation and opposition and any mix of the 3 always looks strong. CB is Foyth’s natural position and he could get games in this position also. With midfield options looking increasing more limited for him, Eric Dier (originally signed as a CB) could also get minutes here.
It wouldn’t be fair of me to write this piece and not give a mention to Japhet Tanganga. Any game time he gets will be limited to cup ties and he probably won’t even appear on the FPL site. But after putting in some very impressive performances during preseason, he will have caught the eye of the gaffer. Maybe Poch won’t have to look too far if Toby doesn’t sign that piece of paper?
Who should you sign?
Gazzaniga, but only if Lloris is out for any length of time. Some additional Steele in midfield should give our FBs the freedom to get forward more, so any FB that nails down a place! KWP looks the best bet at just 5m. If only Danny Rose could nail down the LB slot……
Avoid CBs. Potential rotation and very little chance of attacking returns.
The price makers at FPL HQ have possibly got it wrong with Ndombele and I think that 6.0m will prove to be a good value. He will start most games deep but will run at teams and has a good history of creating chances. His first act on a Tottenham shirt was to play a lovey ball that Lucas put away against Juventus. He isn’t at full fitness yet, and as such may be used sparingly during the first few games, but he is certainly one to keep a very close eye on.
Lamela is another one to keep an eye on. Always full of running, his energy seems to inspire the team and we look a more attacking threat when he plays. Not guaranteed starts by any means, but 3 goals in preseason will have helped his cause. If he forces his way into the starting line-up for any length of time, he could prove good value at 6.0m.
The main four to choose from are Eriksen, Son, Lucas and Dele. Depending on how we set up, it is likely that only 3 and sometimes just 2 of these 4 will start.
Dele didn’t enjoy his best season last time out. Restricted to just 25 starts due to injury and rotation. His 5 goals and 4 assists brought in just 94 points.
With Pochettino generally favouring the 4-2-3-1 formation, Dele sometimes finds himself isolated out on the wing where his skill set is not best employed. With Christian Eriksen, Son and Lucas and Alli all wanting to play behind Harry Kane, it is inevitable that one or two will be forced into wider positions. It is yet to be seen where he will play next season. I think he will be that man just behind Kane. This is where he plays his best game and that position could see him get somewhere near his best ever FPL season (18 goals, 11 assists).
Lucas enjoyed a very good first full season. 10 goals and a couple of assists is a decent return for a £7m player. Lucas played 32 Pl games last term, 7 as a sub. This equates to an attacking return, on average, every 3rd game. Take out the brace against United and a hattrick verses Huddersfield and the stats don’t look as appealing. What is appealing however, is he is almost assured a start on opening day (Son is suspended) and beyond after the news of Dele’s injury. Lucas has enjoyed an excellent preseason and could well transfer that form into FPL points. Even when not starting games he will be Poch’s go to guy to bring off the bench.
If you’d have asked me a couple of months ago if this piece would include Christian Eriksen, I would have said no. With only days until the transfer window closes, he is still at the club and with no firm offers on the table that’s where he could remain.
I believe his value to Tottenham far outweighs his FPL value. 8 goals and 12 assists are no small return but it’s what his presence on the pitch means to those around him that make him such an asset. He was the 7th highest scoring midfielder and the 20th overall. However, 15 of those 19 above him were cheaper than the Dane. His body language during preseason hasn’t been encouraging. I saw him close up during the Inter Milan friendly and it looked like his body may still be in N17 but his mind is elsewhere. This may change once the window shuts, but I wont be putting my 9.0m on him.
The same cannot be said for Heung-Min Son. How many times have we seen clips and pictures of him horsing around with his teammates? He is loved by the manager, team and fans and I expect him to have a big season. Over the course of a stop start campaign, he scored 2 points less than Eriksen but in over 700 fewer minutes. We really missed his energy when he wasn’t in the team, which was often. Restricted to just 23 starts because of injury, the Asian Games and the Asian Cup. With no international distractions and because of his versatility (CAM, wide and striker) he should find himself as one of the first names on the team sheet. His price of 9.5m, the same as KDB and Sane means he will be a great option if you can’t quite raise the funds for the big boys.
Skipp (minutes) Dier (minutes & points potential) Wanyama (minutes & points potential) Sissoko (points potential), and Winks (points potential) are all to be avoided.
Who should you sign?
Dele could be outstanding value, depending on where he plays once he returns from injury. Son carries an attacking threat in every game he plays. Beware though, he is suspended until GW3. Lucas for the start of the season but beware, when all players are fit, he is the most likely to drop out.
£11m is all it will cost you to pretty much guarantee 25-30 goals. That is ridiculously cheap for a player of the quality of Harry Kane. Last season, by his standards was a poor one. 17 goals and 6 assists are not what we have become used to from him. Tiredness from a lack of rest during the off season, injuries to himself and his supply line all contributed to his relatively meagre return. That was last season though. He is fit, rested and has looked sharp during the preseason games. I expect us to be much stronger in the middle of the park this season and that will allow our attacking players much more freedom to get forward to support and supply the England Captain.
Like Tanganga, Troy Parrott deserves a mention due to some good performances during preseason but is also unlikely to feature or be listed on FPL. The 17-year-old is certainly one to keep an eye on though.
Who should you sign?
Is that a serious question?
Preseason round up
It’s been hard to judge who will line up and in what formation come GW1. Preseason seems to have been as much about youth as anything else. We played a 4-3-1-2 formation with 2 strikers during out Asian tour. Reverting back to 4-2-3-1 for the remaining games.
Lamela ⚽ Lucas ⚽? Kane ⚽ Ndombele ?
Manchester United 1-2
Lucas ⚽ Son ?
Real Madrid 1-0
Bayern Munich 2-2 (6-5 on pens)
Lamela ⚽ Eriksen ⚽ Nkoudou ? Kane ?
Inter Milan 1-1 (3-4 on pens)
Lucas ⚽ Lamela ?