It’s not been the easiest of weeks for Spurs fans. Prior to our trip to Merseyside, we were riding the high of a twelve match unbeaten streak in the Premier League. What’s more, we’d just beaten Arsenal to put the Gooners in their place and then smashed a former European powerhouse in the Europa League.
It was all going so well at Anfield too. A goal to the good and cruising towards another three points. Then it all seemed to come crashing down with two defensive errors in the last half hour.
Defeat at the San Siro followed, then Sunday’s disappointment at home to Fulham. But despite three defeats in seven days, there have been plenty of positives for Spurs fans from these matches.
1. Game control
Even though we’ve come out on the wrong end of the score line, we have controlled large parts of all three of these matches. We’ve done this through possession, accurate passing and good player movement.
Only Arsenal and Man City see more of the ball than Liverpool and the Reds control games by moving the ball accurately. We bossed the possession in that match by 54% to 46%, whilst we were much more efficient as well, completing 80% of our passes to their 75%.
Against Inter in the San Siro, we were the better side for much of the first half and edged possession in the match by 51% to 49%. What’s more, we were also more accurate when in possession, completing 85% of our passes to Inter’s 80%.
At home to Fulham saw us creating the better chances and controlling much of the game, but again come up short. We had much more of the ball, with 60% possession to Fulham’s 40% in the match. We also took better care of it by completing 82% of our passes to their 75%.
Overall, the play has been in the opposition’s final third for 27% of the time in these three matches, whilst in ours just 22% of the time.
But what’s possession and ball control if we’re not creating chances?
2. We’ve been creating chances
Over the three matches we’ve created 33 goal-scoring chances compared to 29 conceded.
In both our Premier League matches we’ve not only had more of the ball, but have created more opportunities to score. Against Liverpool we fashioned 12 chances to their 9. At home to Fulham we created 11 opportunities to their 5.
It’s only away at Inter, where they made 15 chances to our 10, where we’ve conceded opportunities to the opposition.
Overall, we’ve just not been clinical enough in front of goal. We’ve been finishing 9% of our chances, compared to the opposition capitalising on 27% of theirs.
3. The play of Gylfi Sigurdsson
Prior to his substitute appearance at West Ham, Gylfi Sigurdsson hadn’t been the signing many Spurs fans had expected him to be after his success at Swansea.
The Icelander has continued his good form despite the three defeats. Had he scored to put us 3-1 up at Anfield, things could have been oh so different.
He has provided an offensive threat. In the two Premier League defeats against Liverpool and Fulham, he took 6 shots at the target. Only Andros Townsend, Michu and Gareth Bale have taken more in their last two matches. In these games, he’s also created four chances – only Jonathan de Guzman, David Silva and Gareth Bale have fashioned more in their last two appearances.
In our trip to the San Siro he hit the target with a shot, whilst creating three chances for others, so the good form of Gylfi is continuing despite the blip in results.
4. Gareth Bale is not just scoring goals
Whether you’re a fan of Gareth Bale playing through the middle or not, the Welshman is creating opportunities for others and not just scoring goals himself.
In the defeats to Liverpool and Fulham, Bale set up seven chances, the most of any player in the Premier League in their last two fixtures.
He missed the trip to the San Siro through suspension. If he’d been playing, we may have scored the away goal we needed a little earlier, avoiding extra time.
It’s just a blip Spurs fans
It’s been a tough week for Spurs fans, but there are plenty of signs that this is just a blip in form rather than the beginning of a slump like previous years.