Spurs have dominated possession in 9 of their 11 games so far this season, according to flashscore.com. Losing out on the possession stats versus Everton a few weeks ago, and Swansea in late August, but dominating possession against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Norwich, West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.
Spurs are averaging over 60% in (6) of their Premier League games so far this season, Barcelona-esque you could say. If only they were scoring more than one goal a game.
But if you Google ‘spurs possession’ you’ll find articles such as ‘Is Tottenham’s Possession Play Affecting Their Scoring Form’, ‘Spurs dominate possession but limp attack can’t hurt Arsenal’, ‘Sterile in Possession: Late Pen saves Spurs against Hull.’
All very, very fair comments on this current Spurs side. Dominating possession in games is what sides in the Premier League are letting this Spurs attack do, while Spurs are registering much of the possession, the passing stats and the shots, it’s rare that they find that cutting edge in front of goal.
So far this season, Spurs have accurately played a total of 4,564 out of 5,474 open play passes, an average of 83% passing rate – completing a pass every 5 minutes, whilst passing the ball forwards 33% of the time, with 14% backwards, 24% to the left and 27% to the right, all fine and dandy until their attacking third passing stats crop up.
Spurs have accurately played a total of 2,602 accurate attacking zone passes (out of 3,561) – clocking up a 73% attacking zone completion pass rate.
In terms of accurate final 3rd passes, they have a completion pass rate of 73% (1,233 out of 1,716.)
Statistics suggest while Spurs are happy to play the ball in the defensive third (92% completion pass rate) and around the middle of the park, they struggle to penetrate the opposition defence, it can be argued that teams sit so deep against Spurs that there isn’t much space to penetrate, or it’s because Spurs’ tempo is very slow, when not on the counter attack.
But, when comparing their attacking and final third stats to the other teams in the top 7, Spurs are not too far away from their rivals. Southampton have a final 3rd pass completion of 65%, Manchester United – 73%, Manchester City – 79%, Liverpool 74%, Everton – 73%, Chelsea – 70% and Arsenal 76%.
This leads on to Spurs’ creativity…
Creativity, the spark that Spurs are currently missing.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side have created 17 clear-cut chances, one worse off than Arsenal, three less than Liverpool, four less than Manchester City; but two better than Chelsea, six better than Manchester United and eight better than Southampton and Everton.
They have also created a total of 154 chances, compared to Everton’s 112, Arsenal’s 121, Chelsea’s 133, Liverpool’s 134, Manchester City’s 149, Manchester United’s 106 and Southampton’s 108.
It’s hard to see what Spurs are getting wrong in terms of creativity so far this season.
Critics can say this current Spurs team don’t penetrate enough, and while they create a shedload of chances, they aren’t doing the most important thing in football: sticking the ball in the net.
Spurs fans can say that this is a work in progress, and these statistics are fairly satisfying, while most of the time Spurs’ attacking play hasn’t been great to watch, they cannot say their Spurs team are not creating enough chances, it’s their front four who are not clinical enough.
In terms of their team’s individual creative statistics:
Andros Townsend has been the most creative outlet for Spurs, creating a total of 19 chances, a total of (3) clear cut chances, attempting 83 dribbles – a 66% dribbling accuracy but has yet to make an assist for his team-mates so far this season. The partnership between Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker has seen many chances created, with Kyle Walker creating a total of 17 chances, but without an assist to his name.
Christian Eriksen has created a total of 18 chances for his team-mates, with (6) of those coming from set plays, with one assist to his name.
Summer signings Roberto Soldado and Paulinho are also creating plenty of chances for their team-mates. The Spanish forward has created 15 chances, with two assists to his name; while the Duracell powered Paulinho has created 14 chances, with two assists to his very long Brazilian name.
Compared to last season
Compared to last season first 11 games, Spurs are three points better off. In 2012/2013 season, Spurs took 17 points from their opening 11 games.
Undeniably, Spurs have a worse goals scored tally this season compared to last season, while Spurs have only scored 9 in 11 games this season, they scored 19 in 11 Premier League games last season. Although, Spurs have conceded just 6 goals this season, compared to last season, they conceded 16 goals in their opening 11 games.
Comparing Comparing this season’s fixtures to last year’s corresponding fixtures, it looks like this:
- 2013/2014 (a) Crystal Palace. 1-0 win for Spurs – vs – 2012/2013 (a) at Queens Park Rangers. 0-0 draw. (Palace were third team promoted, QPR placed bottom in League)
- 2013/2014 (h) Swansea City. 1-0 win for Spurs – vs – 2012/2013 (h) Swansea City. 1-0 for Spurs.
- 2013/2014 (a) Arsenal. 1-0 win for Arsenal – vs – 2012/2013 (a) Arsenal. 5-2 win for Arsenal.
- 2013/2014 (h) Norwich City. 2-0 win for Spurs – vs – 2012/2013 (h) Norwich City. 1-1 draw.
- 2013/2014 (a) Cardiff City. 1-0 win for Spurs – vs – 2012/2013 (a) Wigan. 2-2 draw. (Cardiff won the Championship, Wigan were highest placed Premier League team to be relegated)
- 2013/2014 (h) Chelsea. 1-1 draw – vs – 2012/2013 (h) Chelsea. 4-2 win for Chelsea.
- 2013/2014 (h) West Ham United. 3-0 win for WHU – vs – 2012/2013 (h) West Ham. 3-1 win for Spurs.
- 2013/2014 (a) Aston Villa. 2-0 win for Spurs – vs – 12/13 (a) Aston Villa. 4-0 win for Spurs
- 2013/2014 (h) Hull City. 1-0 win for Spurs – vs – 12/13 (h) Reading. 3-1 win for Spurs. (Hull City runners up in Championship. Reading were 19th in Premier League)
- 2013/2014 (a) Everton. 0-0 draw – vs – 12/13 (a) Everton. 2-1 win for Everton.
- 2013/2014 (h) Newcastle Utd. 1-0 to Newcastle – vs – 12/13 (h) Newcastle United. 2-1 win for Spurs.
20 points for Spurs in these fixtures this season, compared to Spurs corresponding fixtures last season, Spurs are two points better off.
As stated in my last Spurs’ season so far stats analysis, if Andre Villas-Boas is to get Champions League football next season, he has to beat the lesser teams at White Hart Lane. Spurs have a fine away record, and while they are two points better off compared to last seasons corresponding fixtures; but until they can put away teams under pressure at White Hart Lane, it may be another fifth placed finish.