What Gylfi Sigurdsson brings to Spurs

Gylfi Sigurdsson had a massive impact in his eighteen appearances for Swansea last season before his summer transfer to Spurs.

The Icelandic international scored seven times for the Swans in the Premier League, whilst also adding three assists.

But what will Gylfi Sigurdsson bring to Tottenham and how will his style affect the team?

Gylfi Sigurdsson can create and shoot

What became apparent very quickly in his time at Swansea was that Gylfi Sigurdsson liked to get a shot away. As the goals flew in, that fact that the Icelander was also one of the Premiership’s most frequent chance-creators may have got lost in the hype.

Mins on pitch1560 mins
Shots at goal71
Mins per goal223 mins
Shooting accuracy31%
Mins per shot at goal22 mins
Chances created50
Mins per chance created31 mins

Sigurdsson’s goal scoring record at Swansea was nothing short of exceptional. The Icelander notched every 223 minutes on pitch, which saw him sat fifth amongst Premier League midfielders with more than 5 appearances. Only Maxi Rodriguez (204 mins), Adam Johnson (204 mins), Clint Dempsey (205 mins), Frank Lampard and Rafael van der Vaart (both 216 mins) scored more frequently.

His goal scoring was made more impressive by the fact that Swansea were ranked 15th in the Premier League in shots per game, with just 12.4 efforts per match. Spurs were 2nd with 18.4 shots per game, just behind league leaders Manchester City. With Andre Villas-Boas’s brand of possession football, he should get more chances to score this season.

But he doesn’t just score goals when out on the pitch. In creating a chance every 31 minutes, he sits only behind Juan Mata (26 mins), David Silva (28 mins) and Samir Nasri (30 mins) amongst the Premier League’s leading chance creators.

He only managed three assists at Swansea, but with a much more potent strike force at The Lane, he will surely set up more goals for Spurs.

How Gylfi Sigurdsson operates

So how will Gylfi Sigurdsson’s style affect the team?

At Swansea, the Icelander played in the hole behind Danny Graham in Brendan Rodgers’ 4-2-3-1 system. Despite playing centrally, he very much prefers to operate in the inside right channel.

If we take a look at a couple of his games for the Swans last season, we can see this in action.

In his two-goal performance away to Fulham, Gylfi Sigurdsson picks up a lot of the ball in his own half with 34 touches. However, once he crosses halfway, he very much stays in the inside-right channel as 27 of his 41 touches (66%) are in this zone.


Gylfi Sigurdsson touches of the ball against Fulham.

If we look at his passing map from the game using Stats Zone, we can see how Swansea utilise him as a hub, as passes radiate out from him in almost a circular fashion.


Gylfi Sigurdsson radiates passes from the inside right channel.

If we also take a look at another Swansea match with West Brom, we can see a similar thing happening.

This time Swansea enjoying a massive 63% possession and so Gylfi Sigurdsson takes fewer touches in his own half. Once he crosses halfway, he moves back to that central inside right channel to get 26 of his 49 touches (53%) in the opposition half. This percentage would be higher, were it not for 5 touches from taking corners from the left side and 2 touches from taking corners from the right.


Gylfi Sigurdsson touches against West Brom.

His passing map once again radiates out from this channel as he looks to get all of his teammates involved.

This includes setting up a goal for Danny Graham highlighted by the yellow line. We can see that Sigurdsson tried a similar pass on two other occasions in the 90 minutes, showing why he is a constant threat to create chances as well as score goals.


Gylfi Sigurdsson again radiates passes out from the inside right channel.

Gylfi Sigurdsson gets goals from working this channel

If we take a look at some of the Icelander’s goals, we can see how Gylfi Sigurdsson operates through this inside right channel to great effect.

His first strike in the Fulham match starts and ends with him. Sigurdsson picks up the ball in the inside right channel and passes it out to Wayne Routledge on the wing. He then moves directly in to the box looking for a return and is able to get on the end of a Scott Sinclair cross to score.


Gylfi Sigurdsson gets his first goal from starting play in the inside right channel.

His second at Craven Cottage comes from more nice interplay down the inside right channel.

Gylfi Sigurdsson picks up a pass from Angel Rangel (22) in the inside right channel before moving forward with the ball. He then plays a pass again out to former Spur Wayne Routledge (15), before moving in to the box looking for a return. He promptly gets it and fires home past Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.


Gylfi Sigurdsson conducts the play from the inside right channel for his second goal of the game.

The goal was another example of his directness down this channel and also Swansea’s triangles working to perfection.

Gylfi Sigurdsson creates chances from this channel

As we saw in the West Brom match, Gylfi Sigurdsson is able to create chances from this inside right channel as well.

Danny Graham was the recipient of the pass, but if we look at the goal in more detail we can see the Icelander’s role.

It starts with Neil Taylor (3) dribbling the ball across halfway and passing to Gylfi Sigurdsson in his favoured inside right channel. He then dribbles the ball out to the right and then is able to fire in the pass to Danny Graham (10) to score.


Gylfi Sigurdsson creates a goal for Danny Graham down the same channel.

It was a nicely worked goal and typifies the Icelandic international’s work in this channel.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was a revelation for Swansea last season; at just 22 he has the potential to be even better for us this time out.

With not only his goal scoring, but also his chance creation, watch out for Gylfi Sigurdsson working the inside right channel to great effect this season.

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