Tottenham Hotspur’s Tactical Issues Explained

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.

92 thoughts on “Tottenham Hotspur’s Tactical Issues Explained

  1. Somethings I have also noticed:

    1. Poch trying to play out the back has not worked at all, we constantly fail to play the right quick passes and are often lacking execution during these passes

    2. We miss Llorente, he was a phenomenal safety blanket if we needed to go long quickly, he provided an incredible aerial presence which had saved us many of times last season. Kane is good in the air but Llorente was way better. Whenever we struggled we could play it long to him and rely on him to win it especially in the latter half of the season.

    3. The diamond used by Poch is tiring the players out. Sissoko recently said that playing with the diamond formation tires him out something which worries me because the other players feel it as well most likely.

    Other than that another fantastic video Tifo keep up the good work.

  2. I'm not an football expert but if the width covering is their main issue, wouldn't it be better if they mimick little of inter's 3-5-2 formation ?

    I mean the 2 wide midfielders can fall back under pressure to form solid 5 men defense while 3 original defenders will strongly mark the opposition forwards….

  3. I think it's just the environment inside the club with everything that happened with Eriksen this summer is what's haunting them and I think the new players hasnt settle in yet and they haven't got used to what they play like because Spurs went years wihout signing players and that made players feel comfortable around each other and got used to how each others play and were comfortable their positions were safe.

  4. At this stage Spurs should change focal point and go with Lucas or Son up front. Bring Lo Celso in because he's direct and thus you don't need to rely on complex interplay.

  5. I don’t think this is just 1 big problem. It’s a tapestry of issues right now. Tottenham should listen to the critics and perhaps try their advice. It’s not like anything else is working.

  6. the problem with spurs is far deeper then just tactics .

    firstly our manger have a habit of making good players go out of form by not playing them.

    he plays players in wrong position alot of the time .

    motivation to play under him is gone his demanding manager and thats a problem even in real life u cant work under that constant pressure without major rewards so pay the players more or win trophies .

    i think its time spurs by players that have won in there careers and manger thats a proven winner.

    pouch time is up bring in Mourinho and 4 players that have won atleast 10 trophies in there career

  7. Can Spurs fans explain to me why Harry Winks keeps playing at the base? His passing is very unimaginative. I remember Spurs when Dier was screening the back four, he always zipped those passes in between the lines for a quick transition. Also Spurs are missing Dembele’s ability to break the lines. I think the best option for Poch would be to return to a 3-5-2. Defensive solidity in the wide-zones, constant width. Alli can stay high up close to goal and Eriksen would have enough protection to dictate play from deep. It was a winning formula for Poch a few seasons ago. Not sure why he was so keen on tinkering with it.

  8. Then : What's Gone Wrong at Tottenham?
    Now : Tottenham Hotspur’s Tactical Issues Explained
    Later : Will Tottenham Hotspur Become Mediocore Team?

  9. Sounds like a general 4-3-3 problem. It requires a tireless midfield and right/left backs that can attack and defend equally well.

    I get the impression that Liverpool are also struggling with this system at the moment. The midfield is exhaused and teams have learned to expose the space behind the left/right backs.

    This is exacerbated when teams setup deep, compact the midfield and play with fast wingers/forwards to break on the counter.

    It will be interesting to see how Klopp evolves and I hope Tottenham can come up with something else.

  10. The midfield is tactically and technically inept, we don't have skilled deep lying midfielders who play good and quick passes, I.e Modric Dembele Scott Parker ect Ndombele is suppose to be that guy. Eriksen should have been converted into a modric for spurs as we have too attacking third players . I e Lamela son Lucas alli lo celso. We should signed Van de beek and reboot from PSG instead of wasting that money on sessengon and ndombele. Last Summer Eriksen should have been sold and van de beek reboot and hakiim ziyech should of been on the transfer list. Spurs will comfortably finished in the top 4 if were within 3 point from 4th or 3rd we'll see the rest of the season out

  11. Well the problem is
    Shit defending
    Dele Alli inventing new challenges and not focusing on his game
    Kane is just waiting to get a penalty bcoz that's the only way he scores nowadays

  12. •Spurs are highly dependent on full backs to push high up and create chances which is always risky and leave gaps
    •Poch needs to get his tactics right, if you're using full backs to create chances why do we rarely see crosses coming in
    • I rate winks highly as a player but he is more of a defensive minded and box to box midfielder and he can be the key player against certain highly attacking teams but why does poch start him every week against every kind of opposition
    • Kane is another big issue as he barely gets involved in the game and we're basically playing with 10men as he just waits for the ball to fall under his feet, he needs to lose some weight and get involved in the build up more.
    • Lo celso would be a key player in the midfield and will make things easier once he's back
    • Poch is a good coach but he's never been a good tactician and he's too stubborn sometimes, he basically keeps asking the players to give 100% effort and play for the badge when the team loses , but players like winks lamela moura give everything on the pitch he can't always blame the players maybe his tactics are wrong too
    • Finally, Alderwierald has been really poor along with eriksen and poch needs to stop playing them and we need to use Dele more and Dier too who has been really poor lately but Dier can be a huge asset if he's used properly.

  13. All this being said in October is actually funny, sometimes teams start slow, spurs lost 13 times last season yet still finished top4, spurs and Chelsea will be top4 again

  14. main problems as a spurs fan

    1. Lloris. He's not good with his feet and we want to play the ball from the back. Can't teach an old dog new tricks. Needs to stick with what he can do.
    2. our Full backs. Poor. Ben Davies is shit… Rose will get out muscled, fall on the floor and not track back. On the opposite side we have 3 RBs with all different issues. Aurier is too wreckless, KWP isnt confident/good enough and always makes mistakes and is small… foyth aint used to prem and again there is an issue of pushing too far and not tracking back.
    3. Creativity in midfield. We have a problem transitioning from mid to fw. Winks plays the ball sideways a lot… Eriksen hasnt been what he was and our other mids have been playing deeper and more defensive. Ndombele is the only player ive seen doing this but hes been in and out the team.
    4. Due to the midfield not transitioning the ball, Kane has been dropping deeper into the mid to collect the ball and cant get to the positions he needs to be in to finish.

    Those are the main reasons as well as heavy rotation between a group of players who havent been good enough.

    If Sessegnon can come in after getting fit and show his worth it will be a difference maker. Also Lo Celso who had a good scoring record playing in the middle behind the attackers in la liga.

    We are desperate for a confident starting RB and no disrespect to Lloris but the last 2 seasons hes been pretty bad. His distribution is really poor and i've seen him kick the ball out of play so many times when he could of made it much easier for himself but decided he wants to try have some touches on the ball and brings pressure into himself. Great shot stopper when he wants but i feel like he isnt what he was.

  15. Zzzz boring bullshit, as always.

    I take it you didn’t see how the team instantly changed once they equalised against Watford? It was like a shot of adrenaline, but that drug was actually CONFIDENCE. That is what they are lacking.

    This ‘analysis’ is simply clueless. Who on earth would describe Eric Dier – one of the slowest operators – as “explosive”. Furthermore, Sissoko apparently lacks athleticism and aggression 🤣

    You call Danny Rose out as being poor. Except that he hasn’t been. He’s actually been one of the more committed players. It IS at RB where the issues are, specifically Aurier who is calamitous.

    You waffle on about shapes and cliches, but why don’t you call players like Eriksen out? You can be as dynamic and fluid as you want, but if your playmaker can’t be bothered, it’s all meaningless.

    If you’re so wonderful at this stuff, the question must be asked: why aren’t you coaching at a professional football club? I’ve said this before – it’s because you’re utter talking rubbish, that’s why.

    Oh and by the way, I laugh myself sideways whenever I hear this “XG” nonsense. Football isn’t statistically driven. There is no expectation. Just outcomes. It’s called the final score.

  16. 2:07 Explosive midfield? Dier and Wanyama? Did you mean aggressive perhaps? Because explosive is not something I would use to describe those two. Dembele (or a player like him) is surely missed, specially seen in UCL final. Ndombele shows some signs to be that player, but not often enough.

    And lack of ideas near opposition box was a problem already last half season.

  17. There's some parts missing I feel, like where the lack of footballing/passing In midfield means more reliance on FBs to progress the ball, Kane dropping without anyone exploiting the space and some players with unclarity about their role because being used everywhere, like Alli

  18. In my humble opinion i think they need to move away from Harry Kane. We cant avoid the fact that he is quite a selfish player, he is content with finishing 3rd every year so long as he scored 30+ goals and wins a golden boot of some sort. He limits their play, the team is set up around him, i think if he goes then a new more athletic attacking concept based mainly around son and in rotation with lucas would do the club wonders. Just my opinion.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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

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