When Vedran Corluka claimed that Spurs poor end of season form was down to Harry Redknapp’s reluctance to rotate his team he was quickly shot down by the Spurs manager, but did the Croatian have a point?
Tottenham had six outfield players that played at least 75% of their 3420 Premier League minutes last season (Assou-Ekotto, Walker, Kaboul, Modric, Bale, Adebayor) and three players (Walker, Modric and Bale) that played in 90% of their 3420 minutes last season.
Spurs had more outfield players to play in both 75% and 90% of their overall minutes played last season than any of the other teams that finished in the top 8. They had one more player to play in 75% of their minutes played than Newcastle, 2 more than Arsenal and 3 more than Everton. Spurs also had 4 more players to play in 75% of their overall minutes than Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool and 6 more than Man City.
Spurs also had one more player to play in 90% of the 3420 minutes that they played last season than Newcastle, two more than Arsenal and Man United and three more than Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City.
With Spurs having more players than any other team in the top 8 to play in at least 75% and 90% of their overall minutes played we look at whether this had an affect on their last 10 games of the season.
Spurs took 1.6 points per game in their last 10 games, with only Liverpool (1) and Chelsea (1.5) taking fewer points per game in their last 10 games. Newcastle, Everton and Arsenal all took 1.8 points per game in their last 10 games, while Man United took 2.2 points per game and Man City took 2.3 points per game.
Spurs also scored the joint fewest amount of goals per game out of the top 8 teams, as they scored 1.4 goals per game, which was the same as Newcastle and Liverpool. Chelsea scored 1.7 goals per game, Arsenal scored 1.9 goals per game, while Everton, Man United and Man City all scored more than 2 goals per game in their last 8 matches.
However, only Man United (0.6) conceded fewer goals per game than Tottenham (0.7) in their last 8 games. Everton and Man City both conceded 0.9 goals per game, Arsenal conceded 1 goal per game, Newcastle conceded 1.2 goals per game and Liverpool and Chelsea conceded 1.4 goals per game.
Spurs also managed to take fewer points per game, score fewer goals per game and concede more goals per game in their last 10 games than they did in their previous 28.
Spurs took 0.29 per game fewer points in their last 10 games, scored 0.46 fewer goals per game and conceded 0.06 more goals per game.
If Spurs would have continued to take 1.89 points per game for the entire season, then they would have finished on 72 points and finished third above their fierce rivals Arsenal.
In Harry Redknapp’s three full seasons at White Hart Lane last season was the only season that any of his players played in 90% of their overall minutes played.
In his first full season 3 players played in 75% of the minutes that Spurs played, 2 players played in 75% of the minutes played in 2010/2011 and 6 players played in 75% of the minutes played in the 2011/2012 season.
Seven players played in 25+ games in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 season, while 8 players played 25+ games last season. Spurs also had 2 players that played in 30+ games in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons while they had 6 players that played in 30+ games last season.
However, Spurs took 0.2 more points per game last season than they did in the 2010/2011 season even though more players started more of the games and played in a higher percentage of minutes, but took only0.05 fewer points per game last season than they did in the 2009/2010 season.
Therefore, Redknapp may have had a point that not rotating his players didn’t have an impact on his sides form. Spurs took 0.2 more points per game in the last 10 games of the season last season than they did in the 2010/2011 season, yet they had 3 more players playing in 90% of the minutes that Spurs played, 4 more than played in 75% and 4 more players playing in at least 30 games.
Alan Pardew was heavily praised for guiding Newcastle to a 5th place finish, yet Newcastle only had one less player than Spurs to play in both 75% and 90% of their overall minutes last season. Claudio Ranieri was also criticised for tinkering with his team too much while he was Chelsea manager as critics said to find your best team and stick with it – exactly what Redknapp did. If players such as Modric, Bale and Assou-Ekotto were fit why wouldn’t you want them to play every game? Maybe it was a mistake to not give players such as Defoe and Pienaar more game time but who would you leave out of the side?
So although Spurs had a poor end to the season we cannot put this down to Harry Redknapp not rotating his players. There are many other factors that may of led to this such as, injuries, distractions from England and wrong tactical decisions.
We cannot ignore what a fantastic job Harry did at Spurs though, finishing fourth twice and fifth once in his three full seasons at the club and bringing Champions League football to White Hart Lane which supporters could only dream of a couple of years ago.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.