That Missing Cutting Edge

Can Charlie Austin and Harry Kane rediscover their ‘sharpness’ in time for GW36?

Southampton are staring down the barrel and Mark Hughes’ side have just 4 games remaining from which to collect the points that will be needed to extend their 6 year stay in England’s top flight.

A win against Bournemouth in Saturday’s South-Coast derby looks a ‘must’ and this is reflected in the GW36 goal projections, with the Saints being installed as strong favourites.

EPL Goals - GW36

However, Southampton, who still have to face champions’ Manchester City in GW38,  have just one Premier League victory to show for their efforts since the turn of the year and only bottom club West Bromwich Albion have won fewer games all season.

So, if anybody can save them it’s likely to be their leading scorer Charlie Austin and Hughes will surely turn to the injury-plagued striker against the Cherries.

While injuries have limited Austin to just 6 Premier League starts this season, it is easy to see why his game has lacked ‘sharpness’. However, whereas Austin has been ‘eased’ back in following his injuries, the same cannot be said of England striker Harry Kane, who may have been rushed back into action too quickly following his recent ankle injury.

This was evident when Spurs’ FA Cup semi-final woes continued last weekend. They came off second best for an eighth successive time at this stage of the competiton with Kane failing to get a single shot on target against Manchester United at Wembley.

He looked a shadow of the striker that has clinched back-to-back Golden Boots, continually dropping deep, a tactic which promped many observers to question just how fit is he.

Prior to the United game, Kane had only averaged an xG90 figure of 0.44 in his 3 Premier League starts since returning from injury. However, the Tottenham striker, himself, insists that he is fine which will be a major relief to Gareth Southgate and all England supporters as the World Cup finals draw ever closer.

A home game with Watford in the Monday Night Football means that Kane has the pick of the GW36 fixtures and this is refelected in our latest Armband Rankings.

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Mo Salah is the obvious ‘Captain’ alternative and the Liverpool man will get the opportunity to set a new Fantasy Premier League points record for an individual player in a single season if he lines up against Stoke City on Saturday.

The Egyptian international was in devastating form against Roma on Tuesday, scoring twice while creating two more and it’s hard to recall any player having such an impact in his debut season for a new club.

Salah certainly isn’t lacking a cutting edge but Fantasy Premier League managers will have to trust that Austin and Kane, in particular, rediscover their own sharpness if they opt for either of that duo.