The slide rule pass, a term used in football to describe a highly accurate, pinpoint ball slipped through the defence to an attacking player on the other side. One of the most deadly ways to carve open an opponent, often leaving the attacker one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Recently, this has led to Jermain Defoe bulging the net, as we have used his sniper-like accuracy to full effect.
Spurs have profited from these precision passes to go on our winning run, as we seem to have taken to the slide rule to devastate our opponents.
Spurs slice open the Hammers
After dropping three Premier League matches in a row, we welcomed West Ham to the Lane in what had quickly become a ‘must win’ game.
We pulverised the Hammers with 28 shots at their goal, exposing their weakness down the middle, with two of our three goals from defence-splitting passes.
Jermain Defoe opened the scoring with a wonder strike that he described as being right up there with his best. Then Clint Dempsey supplied two precision passes to cut open the Hammers.
The first, whilst not technically a slide rule pass, had the same effect. It was a beautifully guided short lob pass that completely took out two defenders and found it’s way to Gareth Bale. The second was though; a short and neat slide rule pass slipped through by Clint Dempsey perfectly to hit Aaron Lennon in stride, which he then squared for Jermain Defoe to score.
Spurs slide rule pass to score at Fulham
In the match at the Cottage, we attacked the inside left channel to expose the weakness between their stand-in centre and full back as it finished Fulham 0 Spurs 3.
Sandro opened the scoring with a speculative drive from long range and then Gylfi Sigurdsson cut in to the area and squared for Jermain Defoe to make it 2-0.
Clint Dempsey, then set Defoe up for his second of the day, as his expertly weighted slide rule pass made it perfectly through two closing defenders.
Spurs go slide rule pass against Panathinaikos
Against Panathinaikos in the Europa League, two of our three goals came from slide rule passes, as Clint Dempsey was once again on point, as was Aaron Lennon.
Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring from another deftly weighted slide rule pass from the American. Adebayor’s movement was excellent to get free and he had the easiest of jobs to pass the ball past the Greek goalkeeper once he was in the clear.
Not to be outdone, Aaron Lennon found Jermain Defoe with another threaded slide rule pass to cut open the Panathinaikos defence once more. Defoe then calmly finished to make it 3-1 on the night and send Spurs into the Europa League knockout stages.
Spurs starting to profit from the slide rule pass?
I looked earlier in the season at ‘Are Spurs starting to create goals the Andre Villas-Boas way?’
At that point, we had already seen a number of examples of balls played through the opposition defence to cutting runners, who could then shoot or square the ball to a team mate. Predominantly the runner was squaring the ball, rather than taking a direct shot.
Spurs use of a slide rule pass to a shooter in recent matches is another sign that we are slowly coming around to the way Andre Villas-Boas wants us to score goals. Incidentally, Gylfi Sigurdsson, whilst not playing a slide rule pass, created our second goal at Fulham, from a short cutback ball. This was reminiscent of what we were seeing earlier in the season.
Clint Dempsey has been the chief protagonist of the slide rule pass in recent matches, but Aaron Lennon also seems to be getting in on the act.
With five goals from a slide rule pass in our last four games, as well as two from cutbacks, it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues over the coming weeks.