Tottenham’s last two conceded goals have come from wide crosses, a vulnerability they’ll need to quickly shore up.
The opposition’s aerial bombardment over the course of the season, which has come to light more in recent weeks, is an area of concern that Jose Mourinho will need to address on the training ground. Eric Dier, while solid and stable for the most part on the ground, is susceptible in the air, oftentimes showing a disconcerting weakness on threatening crosses.
Whether mistiming his jumps, being slightly out of position, or not communicating properly the threat behind him, it’s clear where Tottenham’s current rearguard can be exposed. With numerous partnerships being sampled throughout the campaign, I’m not sure even Jose knows what his best centre back pairing is.
Through all of those experiments, Dier is the constant variable. A seemingly unmovable object, Dier is certainly one of the gaffer’s golden children. Jose has always had a sweet spot for the English centre back, even prior to the Special One taking the helm at Tottenham. More often than not a rock at the heart of defence, Dier has repeatedly shown an aerial weakness, which the opposition has clearly detected.
Dier has been beaten on aerial crosses at critical parts of important matches already this season, a number of which have ended in the back of the net. But there have also been occasions of lucky let offs, where spurned chances have saved Dier’s blushes. A prime example saw a glaring headed miss late from Wolves’ Fabio Silva allowed Spurs to leave Molineux Stadium with a share of the spoils.
Dier, following the near post runner or shifting too close to the crosser, is being dragged out of position.He either needs to hand the runner off to another defender or make sure there is cover for the vacated area.
Though the vulnerability isn’t solely down to Dier’s mistakes.
It’s a collective issue that needs a lot of work in training, which Jose is responsible for facilitating. If Spurs can’t consistently kill off matches, it’s imperative the rearguard seals any and all vulnerabilities.
Figuring out how to prevent goals from crosses will inevitably help Spurs keep more clean sheets, a facet that Jose takes great pride in. And one that will allow Spurs to remain in contention for an elusive Premier League title.