The last time EPL Index analysed Spurs’ ‘The Season So Far’, the North London side went into the international break following a humiliating 3-0 defeat at home to Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United side. The last defeat before the West Ham United game, was again, before the international break, losing to their biggest rivals Arsenal, 1-0. Another note on their three losses are that they had a Europa League game on the Thursday night, and a game in the Premier League three days later. It seems the International break and Europa League games are not too fond of Spurs.
In this article I will analyse the corresponding losses in regards to Europa League fixtures and results before the international break, while looking at each crucial statistic to the Spurs side, in regard to their defensive, passing, creativity and attacking statistics.
Europa League and the International break
It seems that the international break, and the Europa League games before Premier League fixtures have equalled to losses before the international break. A home win versus Dinamo Tbilisi on the 29th August, followed by a 1-0 defeat away to Arsenal; a 2-0 away win at Anzhi on the 3rd; followed by a 3-0 loss at home to West Ham United on 6th October and last week’s 2-1 win at home to FC Sheriff on 7th November, followed by a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle United on the 10th.
Andre Villas-Boas needs to get the perfect balance of Europa League games and Premier League games, before Spurs can think of challenging for the top four, while also improving their current home form.
Whoscored.com’s Ben McAleer raised an interesting statistic concerning Spurs’ home form – Spurs conversion rate after the Newcastle United defeat currently stands at 4.4%, the worst in the Premier League.
In relation to this, the first department of Spurs I will look at is their attacking impotency:
So far this season in the Premier League, Spurs have been woeful in front of goal (sounds a lot like my last ‘season so far’ stats analysis.)
In 11 Premier League games, Spurs have scored just (9) Premier League goals – only (6) teams in the bottom half have the same amount/or worse tally of goals than Spurs; 20th placed Crystal Palace (6), 19th placed Sunderland (8), 16th placed West Ham (9), 15th placed Norwich City (9), 14th placed Cardiff City (9) and 12th placed Hull City (9).
A staggering statistic when comparing the amount of shots on goal from Spurs.
Spurs have had a total of 157 shots on the opposition goal, of which only 73 have been on target, with 84 off target. This current Spurs side are averaging a shot every 7 minutes, and a shot on target every 14 minutes. The most startling statistic is their minutes per goal, Spurs are averaging 117 minutes per goal.
Since my last stats analysis on Spurs’ season so far, Spurs have scored just (3) goals. After the Hammers game, Spurs averaged a goal every 111 minutes.
When looking at the team and players attacking impotency, three players come to mind.
Andros Townsend, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado
The former has sprung to life this season with Andre Villas-Boas giving the young English winger a chance on the right hand side in 10 of Spurs 11 Premier League games, of which he has scored just the once, with no assist, whilst taking 29 shots on goal in the process (15 on target, 14 off target) – resulting in a shooting accuracy of 52% and a chance conversion of just 3%.
While it’s good to see an England international with confidence on the Spurs wing, Townsend must learn when to/and when not to shoot, as it was clear his partner on the right, Kyle Walker, was increasingly frustrated with Townsend’s decision making as the game got into the latter stages.
Spurs’ new Samba star, Paulinho, like Andros Townsend has registered many shots on goal. Paulinho defines the ‘box-to-box player’ and while he has been one of Spurs better players so far this season, he too, like Townsend needs to learn when to get forward and not to get forward. Paulinho has registered a total of 28 shots, averaging a shot every 35 mins, a shot on target every 83 minutes with a chance conversion of just 4%.
One thing Spurs need to do to increase their conversion rate is to get the ball to their biggest summer signing before Erik Lamela arrived, Roberto Soldado, as suggested in my last season so far stats analysis.
Andre Villas-Boas needs to decide whether to carry on with his inverted wingers tactic, or to put record signing Erik Lamela on the right, linking up with Christian Eriksen, with Andros Townsend being given an opportunity to wreak havoc on the left hand side of Spurs’ attack.
Roberto Soldado needs link up play with the three that play behind him, whether he runs onto passes or crosses are being hit in the right places for him to bag the goals Spurs sorely need.
Defending is an art, and so far this season Spurs have got it right, conceding just (6) goals, keeping (7) clean sheets in the process.
It seems Andre Villas-Boas is trying to get his back four as strong as he possibly can, making Spurs hard to beat and then nicking a goal to secure wins – Spurs have won all their games so far this season to nil.
Three players have made over 20 tackles so far this season for Spurs; Kyle Walker, Mousa Dembele and Paulinho.
Of those three, only Mousa Dembele can boast a tackle win percentage above 80%. Mousa Dembele has won 23 of his total 25 tackles, suggesting that while he doesn’t affect the final third, he is capable of winning possession. The Belgian midfielder is averaging a tackle every 27 minutes, winning one every 29 minutes, while winning a ground duel every 10 minutes.
Kyle Walker has successfully tackled his opponents 74% of the time, with 17 tackles successful out of 23. The English right back is recapturing the form he had in Redknapp’s last season as Spurs boss. Walker is not just capable at supporting Andros Townsend on the right side and overlapping, but his defensive works goes unnoticed at times.
Walker is averaging 22 minutes per ground duel won, winning a tackle every 58 minutes – the young right back is averaging a challenge every 11 minutes.
Paulinho has been mentioned in the attacking analysis and the defensive analysis, suggesting that he is the typical box-to-box player that he was touted as before signing for the North London side.
The former Corinthians man is averaging 21 mins per ground duel won, 52 mins per tackle won and 10 mins per challenge, suggesting the Brazilian midfielder is the ‘all-action’ player as mentioned above regarding his attacking statistics.
Spurs still have the problem of finding a suitable centre-back partnership, with Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen partnering up so far this season, but the last few games new signing Vlad Chiriches has come in, and done a stellar job.
As a leader, Michael Dawson is spectacular, but playing in a high defensive line is still not comfortable for the former Forest man, while he may not be the ball playing defender that Vertonghen is, he does the jobs that Vertonghen isn’t capable of. Dawson has put his body on the line for Spurs over the years, and so far this season he has successfully cleared 58 headed clearances, 87 total clearances, but one vital statistic Vertonghen doesn’t have, is that Dawson has had one error lead to a goal, and so has Paulinho.
Using a high defensive line against Newcastle United last weekend was borderline idiotic with both Michael Dawson and Brad Friedel, one player who seldom leaves his line, and one player that needs to drop back due to his lack of pace.
Villas-Boas must figure out who his ideal centre-back partnership is, in my opinion, once Danny Rose and Younes Kaboul are fit, a Spurs back four must consist of Danny Rose, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker. And Hugo Lloris in goal, obviously.
Hugo Lloris is the player Spurs sorely missed on Sunday, he is the component in the Spurs defence that links everyone together. If the Spurs defence make a mistake, they know the French keeper will sweep up any problems for them. Their brilliant clean sheet record so far this season must go down to the heroics of the former Olympique Lyonnais man. There aren’t many better keepers in world football than the 26-year old Spurs keeper.
Next Page: Passing, Creativity and comparison to last season