Andre Villas-Boas has brought a resiliency to Spurs this season, but with that has come a tag that we are not playing exciting football going forward. But is this really true?
Last term, many lauded us as the most pleasing team on the eye to watch, the great entertainers. This campaign, while we haven’t seen the marauding displays, we have seen a team grow in to a style and system that can beat opponents in several ways. But does that make Spurs less exciting going forward under Andre Villas-Boas?
AVB on a scoring spree
Last term the goals seemed to be flying in, as we scored 66 times in the Premier League, a rate of 1.73 goals per game.
This campaign started slowly, but as the players have become more accustomed to what Andre Villas-Boas is trying to achieve, the goals have followed. So much so that we have scored 49 times through 28 Premier League matches so far at a rate of 1.75 goals per game. This is a shade more than last season and with only one firing forward who has missed a number of games.
Frequency and accuracy
Whilst the number of goals are marginally up in a season where our excitement levels are supposedly down, does this mean we have been hitting the target less frequently but more accurately?
The answer to these two questions is no were not hitting it less frequently, but yes we’ve been more accurate.
Last season under Harry Redknapp we were taking 18.4 shots per game in the Premier League and that has held true under Andre Villas-Boas. The Portuguese coach has us also attempting 18.4 shots per Premiership match.
With regards to being more accurate, then yes we are. In the last campaign we were hitting the target with 31.9% of our shots, whereas this term 34.6% have been on point. If we were to continue at this rate, that’s an extra 20 accurate shots on the opposition goal in a season where we are supposedly less entertaining.
Shots from outside the box
With shots being fired as frequently as last season, but with more accuracy, what may come as a surprise is that we are taking (and scoring) more efforts from outside the box.
In the last campaign under Harry Redknapp 54% of our shots were from inside the box, resulting in 51 goals. On the flip side, just 46% of our shots were from outside the area, with 15 strikes registered from distance.
This season under Andre Villas-Boas we have seen the complete opposite. 46% of our shots have been from inside the box, resulting in 35 goals, but 54% have been from outside and already 14 strikes have found the back of the net.
This is the result of a number of teams sitting deeper against us trying to mitigate our speed in behind, but this hasn’t slowed us down in our search for goals. We’re currently hitting the target with increased accuracy despite shooting from further out.
We’ve seen some pretty spectacular strikes from distance this season, so surely that should shake the tag that we’re not as exciting this term?
OPTA defines a big chance as “A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.”
These are linked to shots in the box, as a ‘big chance’ usually comes from closer in. Maybe those who have labelled Spurs as less exciting this season do so because we’re not creating as many of these as last term. When a player goes through one-on-one or has a chance from close range, this is naturally going to generate more excitement from the anticipation of will he or wont he convert?
Under Harry Redknapp we were creating 2.2 ‘big chances’ per match in the Premier League. In this campaign we have generated 1.9 ‘big chances’ per match, which maybe equals less excitement for some.
Are Spurs less exciting under Andre Villas-Boas?
At the start of the season, the displays from Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham weren’t the waves of marauding attacks that we’d seen under Harry Redknapp. The team needed time to adjust to his system and style of play, despite the positive points of progression we had shown that weren’t in the goals scored column.
As the season has progressed, so have Spurs. We’re now at a point where we are not only more resilient, but more adept in attack as well as improving defensively under Andre Villas-Boas. We’re now scoring all manner of goals from through balls and cut backs to more regular strikes from range. Spurs may not be the team marauding forward from last season, but we are providing entertainment of a different kind in attack this term.