Tottenham Hotspur Need More Focus, Less Fouls Defensively

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /
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Tottenham, Reguilon
Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi (L) vies with Tottenham Hotspur’s Spanish defender Sergio Reguilon (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AFP via Getty Images) /

Tottenham Coming Together Defensively

The set pieces and bad fouls or bad calls – depending on one’s perspective – are all something that can be cleaned up with continued practice and concentration. Given the history of Jose Mourinho and the quality of defensive sides he can construct, ultimately this Tottenham team will get there. In fact, Spurs are not that far off defensively now.

So, if 60% of the goals conceded are off dead ball situations, that means the other 40% are scored in some other way. As you begin to look at these, a pattern starts to emerge here too, one mostly built on luck. Tottenham Hotspur have given up six non-dead ball situation goals on the season and one of those was an own goal from Davinson Sanchez.

Sanchez was not great against West Ham, but the own goal was a fluke and can certainly fall into the luck category. Then there was the third goal West Ham scored. One could argue it was off a set piece, as the entire exchange that led to the Lanzini laser was a set piece. However, Tottenham had the chance to clear the ball and did not, thus we will call that an open play goal.

Open play or not, Lanzini can have 100 more attempts and he might hit that shot 1 or 2 more times, the reality is, a great deal of luck was involved in that shot going just as it did. Not saying Lanzini does not have the skill to hit it but come on man he never thought he was really going to score. Another lucky goal to be sure.

Then there was the wonder strike rockets from both Valmir Nafiu of KF Shkendija and Tjaronn Cherry of Maccabi Haifa both scored against Spurs in the Europa League. While Cherry’s was somewhat more ordinary, Nafiu’s was a thing of beauty and both goals were scored from outside the box. That is three goal of the year candidates and an own goal, leaving us with two regular open play goals.

The first was against Southampton when Kyle Walker-Peters beat Spurs defense with a nice through ball to Danny Ings for Saints for goal of the day. The second was in the Carabao Cup as Timo Werner scored near the top of the box having received a cross, settled, and blasted home. Spurs hit back and won that game in a shootout.

Two, there have been two goals all season where another team broke down Spurs and managed to score during action. Yes, those other three screamers all count, but often those screamers are deflected or are simply not on goal. I say all this to point out that again it goes back to the dead ball focus and avoiding dumb fouls. So while 13 goals conceded in 10 games is not great, this team is much closer to getting a run of clean sheets than most think, it will just take more concentration, fewer fouls, and maybe just a bit of luck.