Written by Nkiko Salvation
Tottenham has been the only team unbeaten in the league up until now, hence, making them the most efficient team in the league so far (in some strange way). However, looking at the table suggests that Tottenham have been conceding a fair amount as they have won 6, drawn 6 and lost 1 out of their last 13 games in the league. Without taking anything away from Spurs’ potential, Tottenham’s 19 goals so far is proof of their young and inconsistent attack, hence, proving they need a strong defence.
Therefore, losing a strong, mature leader like Toby Alderweireld due to injury has taken a toll on Tottenham. Proof being: they have let in 6 out of 10 of their conceded goals this season in the 5 Premier League games he has missed. Although this stat speaks volumes of the start of Tottenham’s fall, it is something that hasn’t really needed addressing because of their unbeaten run. Hence, I propose the problem to be the lack of qualitative squad depth. Tottenham is a very promising team with their youth but they lack experienced back-up for their starters. For instance, the replacements for Toby Alderweireld are the inexperienced Eric Dier and the confident-short Kevin Wimmer. These player are future hot prospects with both players having at least 2 games for their countries under their belt, however, they lack the composure, tactical awareness and confidence a defender should bring to a team. Perfect examples of this are the two Chelsea goals.
I strongly believe to survive in the premier league, a team needs a centre back who can do the following:
1.) Have confidence to conduct his defence. Moses’ goal for instance, Wimmer closed down Pedro rather than making Vertonghen aware of Pedro and covering in case the ball got past them.
2.) Know when to close down and stand-off. Both goals, Dier should have stepped up to Pedro before he turned to shoot and should have stepped up to Costa before he drove into the box.
These are two of the many things Alderweireld brings to the Tottenham defence and they are characteristics that can only be manifested by experienced centre-backs. Hence, Tottenham need Toby fit soon or need to start searching for a back-up defender who is equally experienced and capable.
Do Tottenham need Toby Alderweireld? Has his absence played a role in Spurs’ recent struggles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image by Magharebia