What Benjamin Stambouli brings to Spurs

Benjamin Stambouli became our sixth signing of the summer, but just what will he bring to the team?

Another new signing sees us bring in another defensive player. After going large on attacking talent last summer, this term we are addressing the rearguard and the arrival of Benjamin Stambouli will add to that.

The Frenchman is also another youthful addition. He will bring drive and energy, but also adds versatility.

Benjamin Stambouli the defensive midfielder

Whether lining up in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 Benjamin Stambouli was an absolute rock at the heart of the Montpellier midfield. His job first and foremost, like any holding player, is to win the ball back, but then he has excellent distribution.

Whether this is short or over distance, Stambouli is a very accomplished deliverer of the ball. As we looked at in the analysis of Mauricio Pochettino’s use of his defensive midfielder, this is what the new coach requires from his holding player. They need to be able to regain possession, then either move it forward or out to the full backs supplying width.

This is what Benjamin Stambouli did with aplomb at Montpellier. Take their match with Marseille last season. He not only won the ball back, but then he quickly got it out to the wider players in attacking positions.


Benjamin Stambouli passes played against Marseille.

Against an even stronger Monaco team he did the same, looking to switch the side of play or to get it forward in to their half of the field.


Benjamin Stambouli passes against Monaco.

It is this type of distribution that we’ve seen already from Pochettino’s holding player this season. Etienne Capoue has the most passes (300) of any Premier League midfielder.

Open field tackler

Of course distribution is only half the role. The holding player in Pochettino’s system needs to be able to regain the ball, screen his central defenders and drop in-between them when necessary to create a back three.

Benjamin Stambouli was very good at this in his time at Montpellier. He is an accomplished defender due to his time spent as a centre back during his development.


Benjamin Stambouli ball recoveries against Marseille and Monaco.

What’s more, he is a very good open field tackler. Some players excel at tackling in numbers or through constricting space and pouncing. Stambouli is able to take the ball off attackers as they dribble towards him at speed or where they have plenty of space to try and jink round him.

This ability to rob the attacker in the open field is a vary rare trait and something that helps him command the space in front of his back four or deny counter attacks.

Confidence on the ball

Stambouli not only moves the ball around when he has it, but he also has confidence to dribble and move out of tight situations.

One thing Mauricio Pochettino encourages his players to do is have confidence on the ball. It is that freedom of expression that he has given to Lamela, Chadli and Eriksen as they interchange and switch positions. He also asks his other players to be confident on the ball as well, as we seek to move it quickly up the field.

Benjamin Stambouli has an excellent command of the football. He can wriggle and turn out of dangerous situations in order to relieve pressure.


Benjamin Stambouli take-ons against Marseille.

His take-ons from the Marseille game above also highlight the risk to his game. Stambouli can take people on, but can also be dispossessed.

A lot of his twists and turns away from opponents aren’t recorded as beating a man by OPTA. However, WhoScored did record him as being stripped of the ball 36 times in 36 Ligue 1 appearances last term. His technique with the ball does have a high reward, but also comes with a slight risk of turning it over.

Don’t get me wrong; Stambouli is not an all action type of player. But his confidence on the ball to wriggle out of opposition presses and traps is something that will benefit Mauricio Pochettino.


Another thing that will benefit Mauricio Pochettino’s system is his athletic ability. Benjamin Stambouli seems to have boundless energy and stamina.

This will benefit the new coach’s pressing style, but also allows him to recover against opposition counter attacks or quick ball movement. He is not a flyer like Aaron Lennon or Kyle Walker, but has very good speed and more importantly great reserves of energy to operate for 90 minutes.

Benjamin Stambouli centre back

What’s more, from his development at Montpellier, Benjamin Stambouli can also fill in at centre back.

He is decent in the air and quick enough over the ground that he can play in the back four if needed.

This not only makes him a hybrid player, but also means he can drop between our two wide splitting centre backs when playing in the defensive midfield role. This is what Mauricio Pochettino requires from his holding player and something Benjamin Stambouli is entirely comfortable with.

Even when playing in central defence, he still uses his excellent range of distribution, as we can see here from Montpellier’s match with Valenciennes.


Benjamin Stambouli passes as CB vs Valenciennes.

He is able to move the ball, often on the diagonal to switch play, over great distance and with accuracy. Just what Mauricio Pochettino requires.

What Benjamin Stambouli brings to Spurs

The move of Mauricio Pochettino to bring a player like Benjamin Stambouli in only serves to reinforce what he needs from his defensive midfielder.

– Regain possession of the ball.
– Drop between the wide splitting centre backs to create a back three, then bring the ball out from this position.
– Excellent range of passing, often over distance.
– Great engine and stamina.
– Confidence and expression on the ball to beat traps and pressing.

Our Argentinean coach wants two players in each position in his system and now he has Benjamin Stambouli and Etienne Capoue.

The two will compete for the role, but they could also play alongside each other if the coach feels he needs an increased defensive presence in here.

At 24 years old, Benjamin Stambouli is an exciting prospect and may just surprise a few with his ability once he is up to speed with the Premier League.

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23 Responses to What Benjamin Stambouli brings to Spurs

  1. BornAsTheKing 2nd September 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Brilliant article. Informative and interesting. COYS!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd September 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks for reading BornAsTheKing.

  2. Bobby 2nd September 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Excellent read, thanks for the detailed insight on our new man COYS !

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd September 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      Happy to share, hopefully he’ll be a hit at the Lane!

  3. Lord Croker 2nd September 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks for the research. Looking forward to watching him play.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd September 2014 at 10:00 am #

      me too!

  4. Tony Borg 2nd September 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    If anyone has a complaint about Daniel Levy not signing a class striker for the last few years, please send an email asking why to,

    • ultrapunch 3rd September 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      Wake up. Spurs signed a top class striker 14 months ago for £26m. 14 months is within the last few years.

      Chelsea paid £50m for a top class striker. He wasn’t a success. Similarly with Shevchenko. I could name scores of top class strikers transferred for big money who have disappointed at their new club.

      • ultrapunch 3rd September 2014 at 10:17 pm #

        I omitted to say that £50m striker was Torres

      • Tony Borg 3rd September 2014 at 10:23 pm #

        And your point is?

        • ultrapunch 3rd September 2014 at 11:00 pm #

          My point Tony is transparently obvious! You said that Spurs had not signed a class striker within the last few years. However Soldado was considered a class striker when Spurs bought him 14 months ago for £26m. Spurs fans were wetting themselves at the time with excitement. No doubt you were as well!

          Now you don’t have to be Einstein to know that 14 months ago is WITHIN THE LAST FEW YEARS!

          The other point I was making is that just because a striker was top class at a club it doesn’t follow that he will be a top class striker at his new club. Soldado and Torres prove that. There are many other examples.

          If you can’t understand the point of my post, Tony, I’ll give up!

          • Tony Borg 4th September 2014 at 8:18 am #

            I don’t and ever have considered Soldado a class striker.

            As for wetting myself at the thought of signing him as you did, all I can say to that is you must be very easily pleased.

      • Tony Borg 3rd September 2014 at 10:35 pm #

        Someone who agrees with me.

  5. Ses 2nd September 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    I disagree, if anyone has played or seen Benjamin play, knows what he can bring which others dont! i even tell you who he will replace, Benteleb!

  6. serious 3rd September 2014 at 12:13 am #

    Definitely replace bentaleb someone needs to, he does not seem to have much Influence in games. A safty first player really

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd September 2014 at 10:01 am #

      I believe Dembele or Paulinho will come in for Bentaleb.

  7. Myklos 3rd September 2014 at 1:17 am #

    Great analysis! May I ask: will Stambouli -sooner or later- gonna replace Capoue in that position? I really like Etienne…

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd September 2014 at 10:03 am #

      I think they will split time at the position as Pochettino now has two players who can operate here. Capoue should be first choice at the minute, but there are plenty of games this season for both to be involved.

      • ultrapunch 3rd September 2014 at 10:19 pm #

        For certain tough games against top class opposition they might both play.

      • Ses 4th September 2014 at 3:08 am #

        I Disagree, i get inside info and reckon it will be Bentaleb?

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th September 2014 at 11:28 am #

          Ses, If you get inside info and you’re in the know, why do finish your statement with a question mark?

  8. FreeFlow 4th September 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Never heard about Benjamin Stambouli..until Spurs signed him. Looking forward to see him play..

    Honestly,I don’t understand why Holtby is loaned out. I expected him to be our CM. He played great in pre-season. His energy and incisive vertical passing makes him special. What is your opinion about this, Mark? Poch don’t favour him? Lewis is not Poch’s type of player? Lewis doesn’t suit the system?

    I have a view on Soldado. If we look back at his goals from open play in the Premier League last against Aston Villa, he scored after a timed late run into the box from the inside left channel area. The same pattern also occurred for his goal against Cardiff. A timed late run into the box before he received the pass from Adebayor. Soldado orchestrated his run to score. This clearly shows that Soldado can figure the way to score by using his instinct and footballing brain. He scored a lot in La Liga,but Premier League is tougher. He can be a success in Premier League,but he needs to develop his playing style to adjust to the pace of Premier League..different to what he used to play in Spain..

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th September 2014 at 9:29 am #

      Good question FreeFlow. I also thought Pochettino liked Holtby from the way he was using him in pre-season, but obviously not. I liked Holtby as an alternative to play alongside Capoue. He has great energy and i felt he and Eriksen would have been good on the field together against teams that would come to the Lane and sit back. Guess it wasn’t meant to be!

      I also think Soldado can come good, but like you say, he needs the right service and system. Hopefully it comes together for him this season. I can honestly see him going somewhere else in Europe and being successful.