Although Tottenham’s first game of the season might not the best benchmark from which to judge how we are to play all season, it is good nonetheless to take stock of how we are shaping up tactically.
After doing the first two features on our attack and our midfield, it only makes sense to now continue by looking at our defence. And there are some interesting things about our play not just this season, but also from last season that crop up.
Firstly, let’s take a look at Brad Friedel and his distribution:
As most fans will know, Spurs adopted a style under Harry Redknapp that was to play out from the back and only kick the ball long if an opportunity presented itself or we were in dire trouble.
That trend seems to have been followed so far by André Villas-Boas, who likes his goalkeepers to keep the ball short. Friedel hit just nine balls long against Newcastle, while only two found their target. That, you might say, was down to Defoe playing up front, however against Fulham last season, with Emmanuel Adebayor playing up front, just three of the eight long balls found their target.
Interestingly, all long passes that were successful from Friedel in both games were to Gareth Bale, which tells me two things. One, he is the only one of our offensive players that heads the ball consistently, and two, is the reason we rarely score corners (although, to be fair, we are a lot better at defending them than we used to be).
Our full-backs so far look much the same, with both Walker and Assou-Ekotto pushing up nicely in support of the attack, however they didn’t touch the ball as many times as they have done before in the opposition’s half, perhaps down to the pressing nature of our front four, and the fact we were away from home.