Tottenham need to be taken seriously
Tottenham are currently fifth in the Premier League but there are several interesting statistics to suggest that Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been even more impressive than their current league position suggests.
Shots on target statistics for and against are a great indicator of team performance and it is no coincidence that that the four sides with the most shots on target in the Premier League (Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester City) are all in the top five positions.
Tottenham have had the most shots on target in the Premier League so far this season, averaging 6.7 shots on target every match. Tottenham have also been effective in limiting opposition sides to shots on their own goal, conceding an average of just 3.4 shots each game (joint 4th best in the league). These shot on target numbers make Spurs a very dangerous proposition as they illustrate a side who are very efficient at both ends of the pitch and this is further reiterated by Spurs having the second best goal difference in the league.
These numbers are even more remarkable when considering the teams Tottenham have played in their first 13 matches. The North Londoners have played Leicester City, Manchester Utd, Manchester City, Arsenal, West Ham, Everton, Liverpool and Crystal Palace in their first 13 matches. That is 8 of the other 9 in teams in the top half of the table and Spurs have lost just once this season. After 13 matches, the average league position of the teams Spurs have faced is 9.5. Only Arsenal (9.4) have faced teams with a higher average league position. To put this into context, the average league position of teams Leicester City have faced is 12.2, Manchester Utd 10.0 and Manchester City 11.6.
Mauricio Pochettino’s teams can always be distinguished for having tremendous fitness levels and this has certainly been the case so far this season. Tottenham have outrun their opponents in 11 of their 13 Premier League games this season. Of course Pochettino’s physically demanding, high intensity methods are more conducive to a young group of players and after discarding several older squad members over the summer, Tottenham now have the lowest average age squad in the Premier League. Spurs starting team against West Ham had an average age of just 24.3. Of the regular first team players, only Mousa Dembele (28), Hugo Lloris (28) and Jan Vertonghen (28) are older than 27. Deputy goalkeeper, Michel Vorm (32) is the only player in the Tottenham squad over 30.
A question mark over Pochettino’s teams and indeed this Tottenham team, is whether they can maintain this quality of performance and intensity over the course of a season. Tottenham fell away at the business end of last season, accruing 1.5 points per game over the final 14 games compared to 1.79 in the first 24 games.
When Pochettino was at Southampton in 2013/14, they similarly struggled to maintain good early season form averaging 1.83 points in the first 12 games compared to 1.42 in the final 12.
Avoiding injuries to key players and possibly boosting the squad with a quality signing in January will be decisive in determining how successful a campaign Tottenham have, but everything suggests the North Londoners are heading in the right direction.
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