Tottenham Hotspur’s Tactical Issues Explained

Tottenham Hotspur have not started the Champions
League well. Last season’s beaten finalists were held to a draw away at Olympiakos before
crashing to a 2-7 defeat at home to Bayern Munich. The Premier League season has started
in similarly poor fashion. As these stats from OneFootball show, Spurs
have significant ground to make up if they are to compete past the group stages and their
next opponents, Red Star Belgrade, are tricky customers as Liverpool found out away from
home last season. This season Spurs have generally used a 4-3-1-2,
while occasionally deploying a 4-2-3-1. Part of this switch has been to assist Harry Kane
and remove some of the attacking burden on the striker as a lone operator. This has led to the essential problem of formations
that don’t use natural wingers or wide wide attackers – resulting in a lack of natural
width. This is exacerbated for Spurs because their attackers have tended to stay quite
narrow, attempting to pass through the middle of sides with neat, quick interplay. When
it works, it’s excellent, and Spurs have previously used a solid defensive base to
unleash quick, mobile attackers who roam between the lines and exploit space superbly to create
attacking opportunities. However, this works best when it’s backed
up by an aggressive, athletic midfield and defence who can press and counter-press. But the transition to a midfield diamond has
been uneasy in terms of this overall approach. When pressing in an essentially narrow formation,
the wide areas in the middle and defensive thirds of the pitch present a problem. The
full backs must either step up to anticipate the opposition pass leaving gaps behind, or
stay back and require the midfield diamond or double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 to move across
a lot to cover. There are two issues here for Spurs. First
is that their full backs, especially on the right, are being caught out. Push up, and
the centre backs are required to cover the holes behind. Sit back, and the midfield are
asked to do a huge amount in the wide spaces which is both tiring and leaves gaps in the
centre. Whereas in seasons past under Pochettino Spurs
had the sort of explosive midfield that could achieve this, with Moussa Dembele, Victor
Wanyama, and Eric Dier, Wanyama and Dier have both suffered with fitness, and the latter
has seemed out of favour at times, while Dembele has left. Winks, Sissoko, and Ndombele are
insufficiently aggressive and physical, at this point, while Ndombele’s positioning
has been suspect, for example in the defeat to Brighton. Added to that, decision making
from the fullbacks has, at times, been poor. The consequence of this is Tottenham’s defensive
issues. According to Wyscout, so far this season in the Premier League and Champions
League combined, Spurs are achieving an xG of 1.42 per game, but giving up an xG of 1.75
to their opponents. This shows that, on average, Tottenham’s opponents are able to achieve
better scoring chances. And unlike last season, where a more efficient
attacking style partly mitigated these defensive problems, Tottenham have looked more ponderous
in attack this season. Again, a lack of width and dynamism means that Spurs complex attacking
structure has seemed to lack energy or the ability to go wide and change things up; against
sides who are content to sit back and defend in an energetic mid- or low-block this seems
particularly acute. Stop up the middle, and Spurs can struggle. Tactical issues, defensive instability, injuries,
grumbling over contracts (all of which are discussed in more detail in our last video)
– Spurs have a lot to contend with if this campaign is to match or even exceed the highs
of last season.

100 thoughts on “Tottenham Hotspur’s Tactical Issues Explained

  1. Can you please make a video on Real madrid's current situation and how a possible sacking of Zidane can improve the gameplay and who can possibly replace Zidane with the current crop of players.

  2. Tottenham have insufficient full back quality to compete at the highest level. Aurier and Rose are constantly at fault for teams counter attacking against Tottenham.

    Harry Winks has crumbled in the new formation, that is not only defensive midfield heavy (which is why we lost to Colchester), but lacks a creative spark.

    There is also the problem of players are either not good enough, or don't want to be there. Players who have been there for seasons are not putting in the effort because they don't have to, to get first team football.

    Poch refusing to change his tactics is down to an ageing team that no longer presses with pace, this means he has to go out and purchase already proven players in the transfer market, If his interview comments about not buying in January are anything but a negotiation tactic we are truly screwed.

    The Key areas Poch needs to change are full back and a new CB (Sanchez is just not good enough). He needs to get rid of any 30+ players and buy world class centre backs. He must also get rid of Lamela (who is only a cult hero), he needs to go back in for Bruno Fernandes and meet the players valuation. beg dybala to come.

    And most of all DROP HARRY KANE. START MOURA AND SON. He may have an ageing squad but harry Kane has been missing, yet he does nothing to improve it. Son is the best player we have not harry Kane

  3. I think that the dressing room is split due to the erkisen vertonghen issue.

    Pochettino wanted to remove many in the summer but the board wouldn't let him and so you see the current disaster.

  4. Man United is so shit since sir alex left but they have won 3 trophies or more .

    kyle Walker left he got a pay increase and alot of trophies.

    for goodness sake even Leicester won the league and Chelsea and Chelsea changes manger every second year .

    something drastic has got to happen time for big decisions dont be afraid coz that keep us in that mediocre state. where top 4 is good enough

  5. Felt like a dive into how big of a hole Mousa Dembele left would’ve been appropriate. He was the reason we could actually progress the ball.

  6. Poch rotates the team too much
    (to survive his "energy consumed" tactics ) ,
    so the players seem to be confused this season.
    He should select just one "least energy consumed" tactic
    and use that best squad to at least January market.

  7. In summary: they are fucked due to poch's insistence on not having wingers or not giving wingers chance to play, like Lucas Moura

  8. Eriksen is the only guy, who's providing creativity and vision in the midfield. Without him the link between Defense and Attack is just DEAD!
    Winks is a solid defensive midfielder, but has actually zero tools to create game. It's just sideway-sideways-sideways with him. Sissoko solid this season, but similar to Winks, not a creative midfielder.The only hope is to get Lo Celso and Ndombele in shape ASAP!

  9. Interesting video. From my perspective Pochettino’s lack of attacking strategy/ patterns of play is a problem. Spurs always have problem to break down deep defences, as alluded to in the video.
    Relying on the players to come up with solutions requires extremely good and “creative” players. Further the players needs to be very familiar with each other. Even then it can be difficult.
    A good coach would have ideas and give players options that involves more intricate manoeuvres to open up opportunities to score. That does not rely. Players knowing what to do takes away the need for them to be very “creative” and more advanced coordinated movements are possible. Likewise it does not as much rely on the same level of familiarity between players, allowing better for interchanging personnel.

    This tactical shortcoming will always limit Poch as long as other coaches/managers do not have the same simple attacking way. E.g. as long as Guardiola is in the same division he will not manage to challenge.

    I also wonder if the more experienced players have also realised Pochs limitations and therefore lost faith in his ability. Which is at the heart of why several are looking to leave.

    Regardless of the reason for the disconnect between players and manager, the only way forward is with a new manager. Hopefully the club has scouted advanced managers playing a modern football, including attacking strategy. Maybe Ten Hag could be an option, but likely not mid-season.

  10. The problem is the usage of the diamond. That formation is better used with a guy like benzema, not a propper CAM. Also in dfence they should play like a 4-3-3 and in atack switch to the diamond.

  11. this is weak analysis tottenham loose because of some changing in the squad and some intelligent changing by the direction of the club that will apear in long term (like giving chance to the youth academy or something) and of course the changing of footlball that we see as litle teams go head to head with big teams 'barcelona loose real madrid loose psg city…. this days

  12. A manager doesn't suddenly become crap. When arguably the worst ownership in football decides it won't sign Anyone for THREE transfer windows what do you do?!

    Media always protects its own, Levy&lewis are the huge issue at THFC.

  13. would be sad to see pocchetino sacked because of this slump. I mean I'm ok with one less top4 challenger but this is a drought that can happen to every team and imo it's really not the manager's fault. I'm sure their form will eventually improve

  14. Poch seems to like formations with a 10 behind 2 ST (3-4-1-2 last ss). Probably due to the lack of real wingers who actually stay wide. Spurs' wide areas are mostly occupied by FBs, who can't cross. Trippier's dip in form clearly affected Spurs last ss, and now he's gone.

  15. Many teams play with 4 at the back and a midfield 3, and many of them have done it successfully without playing with a physical midfield destroyer/high energy midfield football, like Barcelona or Man city during their injury woes for example. The explanation feels hollow in the sense that no reason was found as to why Spurs in particular are unable to manage to find the balance in their defensive base, when many others have.

  16. I have not seen any neat quick interplay between the front 4 for many games. All I see is the midfield switching from one side to the other and in the end Rose, Aurier or sometimes Sissoko on the right would cross the ball in and head out by the opposition defender. We look the most dangerous when we have someone on the wing like Son or Lucas or Davies providing early LOW crosses with Kane, Dele and Eriksen in the centre. We look so labourious going forward and the front 4 looks like they just met each other yesterday.

  17. Waiting on your epic VARca videos where you you blame Real Madrid and Florentino Pérez and of course, Franco and his love for Real Madrid.

  18. That midfield three doesn't quite make sense, none of the three players in it seem to be natural in those positions. Winks alongside Sissoko could work in a double pivot, Ndombele alongside Dier could work too – but despite everything Spurs seem to still be lacking a suitably combative defensive midfielder to play alongside a ball player or dribbler.

  19. I think Kane actually hinders spurs. He's got a good shot but isn't quick and pacy. I'd much rather see son and lucas up top versus a point striker kane.

  20. I have already told you, Pochettino's Tottenham does better when certain players are strategically injured…when Pochettino has the full complement of the squad he doesn't do so well because he tends to rotate too much and play his favourite players more ahead of more deserving players like Son, Ndombele and Lucas. It is also stupid of him to play Winks in the deeper role as he is not a natural holding midfielder!

  21. oh yes… more of this.. wats gone wrong at tottenham.. part 3 4 5 6.. 🙂 hahahaha.. tottenham hotspur., you've happened again.

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