In an earlier article we looked at whether Tottenham had improved under Andre Villas-Boas compared to the 2011/2012 season and discovered that although Tottenham had let the opposition have fewer shots on target they had conceded 0.13 more goals per game.
We take a more detailed look into Tottenham’s defensive performances by looking where on the pitch Tottenham conceded their goals in the last two seasons as well as where on the pitch the opposition had the most shots on target. We have split where the goals were scored into home and away games to see if there was a significant difference between the two in the last two seasons.
Goals Conceded 2012/2013
Tottenham conceded 17 goals at home and 28 goals away from home last season not including own goals. Their was not a significant difference in terms of where on the pitch their goals were conceded as 76% of Tottenham’s home goals were conceded in the 18 yard box compared to 75% of their away goals being scored in the 18 yard box.
Tottenham conceded 3% more of their goals in the 6 yard box at home than they did away, while the only goal they conceded from outside of the box away from home was scored by Callum McManaman in the 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.
Goals Conceded 2011/2012
Tottenham conceded 17 goals at home and 23 goals away from home during the 2011/2012 season without including own goals. Tottenham conceded a staggering 53% of their goals at home in the 6 yard box, which was 27% more than the goals the conceded away from home.
Spurs also conceded a higher percentage of their goals from outside of the box at home, as 24% of the goals they conceded at White Hart Lane came from outside the box compared to 9% away from home. However, 65% of the goals Tottenham conceded away from home came in the 18 yard box, compared to 23% at home.
Tottenham have conceded 17 goals at home in each of the last two seasons (own goals not included), but the location of where the goals have been scored from has differed significantly. In the 2011/2012 season 53% of the goals came inside the 6 yard box and 23% came inside the 18 yard box, while during the 2012/2013 season only 24% of the goals came in the 6 yard box but 76% came in the 18 yard box. Tottenham didn’t concede a goal from outside the box at home last season, while 24% of the goals Spurs conceded at home in the 2011/2012 season came from outside the box.
Spurs conceded 5 more away goals last season compared to the season before, with 5% more of the goals being scored inside the 6 yard box during the 2011/2012 season and 5% more of the goals being scored from outside the box. Tottenham also conceded 10% more of their goals in the 18 yard box away from home last season compared to the season before.
Tottenham conceded 5 more goals in total last season than they did the season before, with 42% more of the goals coming in the 18 yard box. Spurs conceded 18% more of their goals inside the 6 yard box during the 2011/2012 season than they did last season and conceded 24% more of their goals from outside of the box during the 2011/2012 season than they did last season.
So, although Spurs conceded 5 more goals not including own goals in the 2012/2013 season, where on the pitch the goals came from greatly differed from the season before.
There has been a change in manager, a change in tactics and a change of goalkeeper in these two seasons and we aim to find out if any of these have had an impact on where Tottenham conceded their goals from, as well as where Tottenham have conceded their shots on target from.
Change of Goalkeeper
We have chosen to compare where Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris conceded their goals from during the 2012/2013 season as although Lloris has played 1440 minutes more, it would be unfair to compare to Friedel from the season before as it could be argued that the different tactics had an influence on the results.
Hugo Lloris conceded 0.48 fewer goals per game than Brad Friedel last season, but the areas where the goals were conceded from were very similar. Hugo Lloris conceded 4% more goals from outside the area than Brad Friedel but this was the only goal Spurs conceded from outside of the area last season.
Brad Friedel conceded 3% more of the goals he conceded last season in the 6 yard box than Hugo Lloris and 1% more inside the 18 yard box. 1% more of the goals than Lloris conceded came from the penalty spot, while 3% more of the goals that Friedel conceded were from open play.
Looking at these stats it is difficult to say that the change in goalkeeper has had an effect on where Spurs have conceded their goals from. However, Tottenham let the opposition have 57 fewer shots last season than they did the season before and Lloris’ speed off his line has helped Tottenham limit the amount of shots the opposition have had in total.
Change Of Tactics
After looking at the change of goalkeeper at Tottenham we will now take a look at whether the change of manager from Harry Redknapp to Andre Villas-Boas has had an impact and whether AVB’s tactics are the reason for the change in where Tottenham have conceded their goals from.
Tottenham conceded 5 more goals in the 2012/2013 season than the season before, but as we have already discovered they have come from different areas on the pitch. However, it is also important to take a look at where Tottenham have conceded the most shots on target from on the pitch in the last two season to see if this also differentiates.
Tottenham conceded 32 fewer shots on target last season than they did the season before, with only 25 of these shots coming from outside the box last season compared to 66 shots the season before.
Tottenham also conceded 11 fewer shots on target inside the 6 yard box last season but 20 more inside the 18 yard box.
The main difference in the last two seasons is the amount of goals and shots on target Spurs have conceded from outside the area. Both drastically reduced last season, as Spurs conceded 41 fewer shots on target and 6 fewer goals from outside of the box.
This is one of the main areas that Tottenham have improved defensively under AVB, which is mainly due to Tottenham being far more organised under the former Chelsea manager. Last season Tottenham put more pressure on the ball in central areas forcing teams to create more of their chances from wide areas instead of short passing combinations in the middle of the pitch.
This was something that Spurs Fanatic also found out, as his research into Tottenham’s defence using Opta data found that Spurs conceded 77 chances from the middle of the pitch last season compared to 115 the season before. He also found out that Spurs conceded slightly more chances from the left hand side of the pitch last season (119) compared to the season before (109).
This is due to the pressure Tottenham put on the opposition from central areas as well as the fact that Spurs have struggled to find a consistent left back with Benoit Assou-Ekotto being injured for most of the season and the opposition seeing this area as one of Tottenham’s main weaknesses.
Another reason for the reduction in shots on target and goals from outside of the area is the departure of Luka Modric and the signing of Mousa Dembele. Dembele is physically better than Modric and applies more pressure and intensity on the ball in defensive areas. Dembele made 25 more tackles last season than Modric did the season before, which is a tackle 30 minutes more often than the Real Madrid midfielder with Dembele also winning 13% more of his tackles.
Mousa Dembele was also involved in a ground 50-50 every 7.41 minutes last season, compared to Luka Modric who was involved in a ground 50-50 every 9.51 minutes the season before. Mousa Dembele also won 9% more of the ground 50-50’s that he was involved in compared to Luka Modric.
Tottenham have also improved inside the 6 yard box, as they conceded 9 fewer shots and 6 fewer goals inside the 6 yard box last season compared to the season before. This may be down to the fact that teams find it difficult to get in behind the Tottenham defence with the pace of Walker, Naughton and Assou-Ekotto. Although Tottenham play a high line it is difficult to beat these players for pace and even when teams do get in behind they would of needed to beat Dawson and Vertonghen in the air.
However, it is more than likely down to how quickly Hugo Lloris is off his line as he is a sweeper keeper. The speed that Lloris comes off his line forces the opposition into making a decision quickly more times than most inside the 18 yard box.
Also, the Tottenham goalkeepers made 40 high cross catches and 30 punches last season compared to 24 high cross catches and 12 punches the season before. This shows that although Lloris isn’t known for coming out and collecting crosses he is still offering more of an aerial presence than Friedel did in the season before. Tottenham also only conceded 35 chances from set pieces during the 2012/2013 season compared to 60 chances from set pieces in the season before.
However, Tottenham conceded 20 more shots on target and 20 more goals inside the 18 yard box last season than they did in the season before. Two of these goals and shots on target were penalties but as I have already mentioned in the article the pace that Hugo Lloris comes off his line has forced players into making quick decisions and having more shots in the 18 yard box than the 6 yard box.
The injury to Younes Kaboul and the introduction of Michael Dawson has also had an impact of the amount of shots and goals inside the 18 yard box, as Dawson has had to drop off slightly from Tottenham’s high line and his lack of mobility has caused some problems around him. The other defenders have to compensate to help cover the space either side of him and in front of him, causing the other centre back covering the space in front and the fullbacks tucking in to the space alongside him. This allows the opposition to play diagonal balls either side of him, as Dawson needs to sit a little deeper to read the game.
Tottenham’s high line and the way that AVB has set up the side does lead to the likelihood of increased defensive errors. Tottenham made 8 defensive errors that led to goals last season compared to four the season before and considering that Spurs conceded 5 more goals than the season before this goes a long way into explaining why. Liverpool away was a good example of this and with Kyle Walker letting Juan Mata come inside and score from the 18 yard box in the Chelsea game, this is an area of improvement.
If Tottenham can improve on their defensive errors and keep improving on limiting the amount of shots and shots on target then Tottenham will improve greatly defensively next season. The return of Younes Kaboul should help in terms of keeping a high line and the signing of Paulinho should help limitithe amount of shots on target from outside of the box.
If Tottenham can address their left back problem next season, keep Kaboul fit and get Dembele, Sandro and Paulinho working as one in the midfield then Spurs will be a very hard team to break down next season.
Positions of the goals and shots on target were taken from the FourFourTwoStats App and goals conceded do not include own goals.
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