What a battle last season between Arsenal and Spurs for 4th! Toe-to-toe for the last 8 games. Although with the gap at 7pts in Spurs’ favour after game 28, they can count themselves unfortunate to have let the Champion’s League slip agonisingly through their grasp.
It isn’t completely fair to compare Spurs to ‘4th’ in this manner because in this case 4th doesn’t represent a benchmark of, say, the past 5 seasons, it is simply ‘what Arsenal did’. It is, however, perhaps fair to say that Arsenal’s form over the season was more ‘comfortable’ – judged by their superior goal difference (Arsenal +35 vs Spurs +20) and the fact that a much larger proportion of Spurs’ wins came from a 1-goal margin (Spurs: 14 wins by 1 goal vs Arsenal’s 9).
It was the worst teams that undid Tottenham, as they only took an average of 2pts per game against the relegation contenders. 1pt from Wigan, 4pts from QPR. Arsenal didn’t really slip up against these teams, taking 8pts more than Spurs in their 10 matches against the bottom 5.
Although we can see that Spurs were able to field an above average proportion of players over 2800mins (and vitally this included Bale and Vertonghen), we also get an indication from the first chart of the injury troubles that blighted the Spurs first 11. This is reflected by their under-allocations to players in the 2nd-4th highest groups by playing time. For a club like Spurs, who would be expected to progress to the later stages in domestic cup competitions and overcome a busy European schedule, the top group may well be slightly under-represented but should ideally be compensated for by strong allocations in groups 2 and 3. Instead Spurs relied quite heavily on support from players who only managed 1200-1600mins (Adebayor, Sigurdsson, Caulker, Gallas, Parker).
Performance-wise, the team had very few problems. In fact Spurs are one of the teams that TPOEM really liked (a little more than it perhaps should have!) – this is because they were busy in all areas of the pitch, characterised by lots of clearances, interceptions, chances created and shots on goal. And I don’t doubt that they would have managed a few more points if the quartet of Adebayor, Dembélé, Defoe and Sandro had been able to play a few more games each.
- Highest number of total clearances (1594)
- Second highest total chances created behind Liverpool (516)
- Second total number of shots behind Liverpool (682)
- Below average goals per shots on target ratio (25.7%)
- Lowest goalkeeper saves (77)
JAN VERTONGHEN! The highest contribution to stopping goals among any defender, according to TPOEM, and in the top 5 for attacking contribution.
Spurs’ season was built around those 2 players, but plenty of others caught TPOEM’s eye as well. On the other side of the coin, Lennon and Sigurdsson’s stats were a touch off the pace – whilst perennial backup striker Defoe failed to ignite despite a relatively long run in the team and 11 league goals. Spurs could do with better quality goalscorers to complement Bale.