Jermain Defoe, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado have made the headlines for scoring the goals as Spurs have enjoyed early season success in the League, Europa League and Capital One Cup. Who are the players behind the goals with the telling pass that has created the goal scoring opportunity?
The focus is always on the goalscorer. It’s his name who makes it in the headlines, not the player who has delivered the inch perfect pass or cross to open up the defence and create the chance. Jermain Defoe has made the news with his record in the Europa League and Cup games, scoring 7 goals from 4 starts, and with his climb to 5th on Tottenham’s all-time goalscoring list as well as closing in on Martin Chivers’ European record for the club. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goals against Norwich, Paulinho’s late winner at Cardiff and Roberto Soldado’s early season penalties put them in the spotlight.
The Creative Genius [With thanks to stevied on 'From the Lane' messageboard for the use of the stats]
Who has been the creative genius behind each of these goals. Tottenham have scored 20 goals in all competitions – 6 in the Premier League, 10 in the Europa League against weak opposition and 4 in the Capital One Cup against an understrength Villa side. Thirteen players have been credited with an ‘assist’ so far this season.
It will probably be no surprise to anyone who has been Spurs most creative player this season.
Lewis Holtby: The German Under-21 international captain only returned from injury to start his first match in the home game against Tbilisi in late August. His first league appearance was as a late substitute against Norwich City and his appearances have been confined to the European and Cup games. He has started 4 games with 4 appearances from the bench.
Lewis Holtby has 6 assists with two further secondary assists* in the build-up to goals. His most telling contribution in the League was in the win over Cardiff when it was his pass to Erik Lamela which enabled the Argentine to cross for Paulinho to back-heel the late winner. His most creative performance was in the Cup win over Villa where he made three of Spurs’ goals. He set up the first with a chip over the defence for Defoe to head home just before the interval. It was from his corner that Paulinho scored the second and in added time he won possession inside his own half and set up Defoe to round the goalkeeper for the fourth.
He was quickly into his stride when he returned from injury against Tbilisi with the ‘assist’ for Defoe’s opening goal just before the interval. He did the same for Defoe with a similar pass in the match against Tromso enabling him to score the second goal. He was also the provider for Defoe in the win over Anzhi and played a part in the second goal scored by Nacer Chadli, releasing Kyle Walker who provided the cross for the goalscorer.
Andros Townsend started the season brightly with a goal and two assists in Georgia against Tbilisi. He scored the first goal, crossed for Paulinho to head the second and created the third for Soldado when he took the ball to the bye-line and pulled it back for the Spaniard to score. In the following game, at home to Swansea he won the penalty from which Soldado scored the winner.Erik Lamela has had little opportunity to show his full worth for Tottenham but has been the provider for two goals in the games he’s played. He created Defoe’s first goal against Tromso and the cross for the Paulinho winner against Cardiff.
Nacer Chadli made a telling contribution against Tbilisi in Georgia, after coming on as a late substitute, setting up two goals in the final minutes for Danny Rose and Soldado.
Kyle Naughton has created two goals – it was his interception which enabled Townsend to set off on a run from his own half to score a solo goal against Tbilisi in the 1st leg. He also presented the ball to Christian Eriksen to score the third against Tromso. On both occasions, Naughton was playing in his more natural position of right back.
The 8 other players who each have one assist are:
Tom Carroll: in the home game against Dinamo Tbilisi he laid the ball back for Holtby to strike and score his first Tottenham goal.
Aaron Lennon: his run and cross brought the penalty award in his only game of the season at Crystal Palace.
Gylfi Sigurdsson: he received the ball from Kyle Walker and put in the cross which Defoe gratefully accepted for the second goal against Tbilisi.
Christian Eriksen: it was from his pass against Norwich which Sigurdsson opened the scoring.
Paulinho: his low cross against Norwich created Sigurdsson’s second goal at the back post.
Jermain Defoe: created the third goal for Chadli at Villa in the Cup.
Roberto Soldado: he laid the ball back for Sigurdsson powering into the Chelsea area to score the opening goal.
Kyle Walker: his cross from the right was knocked home by Chadli against Anzhi.
*Secondary assist (defined as important contribution)
Lewis Holtby (2): Cardiff (a), Anzi (a)
Danny Rose/Roberto Soldado (1): both were involved in the build to the first goal up against Norwich. Rose’s cross found Soldado who laid the ball across for Eriksen who set up Sigurdsson to score.
Christian Eriksen (1): having created the opening goal against Norwich on his debut, it was his pass which freed Paulinho on the right of the area to cross for the second Sigurdsson goal.
Kyle Walker (1): his pass set up Sigurdsson against Tbilisi for Defoe’s second goal.
It is interesting to see who has provided assists for Spurs goals this season but it is equally interesting who hasn’t yet got an assist – Mousa Dembele and Sandro – and unfortunately no-one was able to make that telling pass against the well-drilled defence which West Ham presented on Sunday at White Hart Lane.