Modric Vs Mata | Professional Performance as Spurs go Back to Basics

Modric Vs Mata | Professional Performance as Spurs go Back to Basics

After a disappointing draw at home to Stoke, It was important that Tottenham did not lose at Stamford Bridge Saturday lunchtime. Chelsea were in need of a win if they were to close the gap on Tottenham in the battle for Champions League football. How Redknapp set out his team was going to be highly important in determining how this game went. He has been criticised in recent weeks for playing players out of position – most notably switching Bale to the right in the absence of Lennon while deploying Modric on the left, taking him away from his influential position in the middle.

The lineup on Saturday is what I and many other Spurs fans have been calling out for a long time. He opted for a 4-2-3-1 with Parker and Sandro protecting the back 4 and providing stability to allow the more attacking minded players to add creativity further up the pitch and to support Adebayor who was playing as a lone striker.

The danger man and creator for Chelsea this season has been Juan Mata and it was important that Spurs were able to stop him getting on the ball and creating in areas where it could hurt Spurs. By playing both Parker and Sandro as defensive minded midfielders, they were able to negate the threat that Mata possessed.

The below looks at how Mata performed on terms of passing and the areas where these passes took place. It also compares him against Tottenham’s main play maker (albeit from a deeper position) Luka Modric.

The first table looks at the number of passes made by each player. Modric attempted 15 more passes than Mata and had a success rate of 91% vs. Mata’s 80% Modric also looked to drive Tottenham forward with only 5% of his passes being made backwards vs. 20% of Mata’s going in that direction. Again I appreciate that Mata plays in a more advanced position but he was instrumental in retaining possession and looking to move forward.

More on Page 2: Retaining possession and Creativity stats for Modric and Mata… (button on bottom right)

Retaining possession can be illustrated by looking at the areas on the pitch where these passes were made. Modric attempted more passes than Mata in each area with a far superior accuracy in a more advanced position. In the opposition half Modric has a 85% passing accuracy vs (67% for Mata) and an even more impressive 87% (vs 64% for Mata) in the final 3rd. This was despite attempting more passes than Mata in each of these areas.

Finally, we are able to look at the creativity of the respective playmakers.

Mata only managed to create one chance for Chelsea while Modric created 5, 3 of these being from open play. Modric also attempted more dribbles than Mata.

Redknapp’s team selection enabled Tottenham to ensure that Mata did not have time and space on the ball. With Sandro and Parker both sitting deep, it meant that Mata could not be as influential as he has been throughout the season. When he did get on the ball, he was shut down early leading to mistakes in his passing. In fact his 80% passing accuracy is the lowest that he has managed all season. The 64% that he managed in the final 3rd is also the poorest he has seen this season.

By playing with Sandro and Parker holding it allowed Tottenham’s more attacking players to get on the ball. It is not surprising that Spurs were able to dominate possession, with Modric being instrumental in this. What is maybe more surprising was that Chelsea were able to use this wings more than Spurs in this game to get crosses in. Tottenham are a team known for their expansive play and use of the flanks while Chelsea are considered to be a team that comes from central positions. However, despite attempting double the number of crosses, they were only successful with one more of them. The table below looks at a number of match stats, including the crossing stats.

The table above also shows how dominant Tottenham were throughout the game. The only thing that was missing was a goal. It was a professional away performance to ensure that we didn’t lose. With more clinical finishing, Tottenham would have won the 3 points their performance deserved.

Redknapp has been (rightly) accused of getting his tactics wrong in previous weeks, but he got his team selection spot on here. Hopefully that will continue for the remainder of the season as we battle for a top 4 position.


All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.