Monday, 25 May 2015

Walker vs Trippier vs Rafael the stats

With news that we are hot on the heels of Burnley full-back Keiran Trippier, I don't mind admitting I haven't taken much notice of him so some research is required.

A former England U-21 right-back the 24-year-old would continue to build a British feel at Tottenham joining the likes of Walker, Dier, Rose, Mason, Townsend and Kane. If we are to sign him for his £3.5 million buyout clause following Burnley's relegation then the fitness of Kyle Walker must be of concern. Either that or we don't think DeAndre Yedlin is going to make the grade.

He was overused a couple of years ago, playing in virtually every game with the injuries we had at the time. I wrote back then about fatigue causing injuries and sure enough he picked up a groin problem. It was the type of injury that can end a career and we refused to let Vlad Chiriches leave with concerns if Walker git injured again. Sure enough he has been out of action for a while, since Burnley at the beginning of April with a Malleolar injury. For the non doctors among you the Malleolar are either of the two rounded protuberances on each side of the ankle.

The Daily Telegraph report that we have been keeping tabs on 24-year-old Rafael who they report has been told he can leave Manchester United. It seems sensible to look at the statistics of all three in the Premier League this season.

Player Comparison: Walker vs Trippier vs Rafael

Kyle Walker (Spurs)
Played: 15
Minutes: 1,306
Interceptions: 33 (1 every 39.58 minutes)
Blocks: 3 (1 every 435.33 minutes)
Clearances: 48 (1 every 27.21 minutes)
Tackles Won: 56.86%
Total Duels Won (Tackles, Aerial, Take-ons): 53.06%
Forward Passes: 66.53%
Pass Completion: 80%
Chances Created: 11 (1 every 118.73 minutes)
Key Passes: 11 (1 every 118.73 minutes)

Kieran Trippier (Burnley)
Played: 38
Minutes: 3,415
Interceptions: 82 (1 every 41.65 minutes)
Blocks: 13 (1 every 262.69 minutes)
Clearances: 179 (1 every 19.08 minutes)
Tackles Won: 43.85%
Total Duels Won (Tackles, Aerial, Take-ons): 53.37%
Forward Passes: 71.87%
Pass Completion: 61%
Chances Created: 63 (1 every 54.21 minutes)
Key Passes: 59 (1 every 57.88 minutes)

Rafael (Man U)
Played: 10
Minutes: 594
Interceptions: 20 (1 every 29.7 minutes)
Blocks: 2 (1 every 297 minutes)
Clearances: 33 (1 every 18 minutes)
Tackles Won: 45.45%
Total Duels Won (Tackles, Aerial, Take-ons): 48.68%
Forward Passes: 49.70%
Pass Completion: 84%
Chances Created: 6 (1 every 99 minutes)
Key Passes: 5 (1 every 118.80 minutes)

Did we get what we expected with Pochettino?

It feels like a Sunday but it is Spring Bank Holiday of course so as a website that does more than just bring you the news, it's time to take stock.

I write a series now and then, the latest based around our financials has been very well received. Today I'd like to send you back a year and assess what has happened, so grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee because it's time for a good read that will hopefully make you think.

We have now had a season under Mauricio Pochettino where we moved up a place in the table to fifth while he assessed, the club, assessed the playing staff, implemented a new playing style and had to learn about the demands of European football.

A year on how has he done?

We'll start by looking back to articles written last May so do read them as they will give you something to think about.

The first article was written on 23rd May 2014 before Mauricio Pochettino was appointed by Tottenham, What Spurs could expect from Pochettino (opens in a new window). Reading it again you can see how it's contents been implemented.

The following article looks at another aspect, it was written a week later on 30th May 2014 and looked at How Pochettino will improve Spurs (opens in a new window). There is a quote in there from a former Espanyol youth coach that may just be the reason Lamela has struggled and isn't yet showing what he can really do.

"The player has to get used to all these factors (emotional, psychological, tactical, opponents, etc.), otherwise, despite his good skills and technique, he does not know how to read the game and choose the best option."

The final article I'll ask you to go back and read was written on 1st June 2014 looked to the future and was entitled Pochettinoo will turn Spurs into a force to be reckoned with (opens in a new window).

OK so now you know what to expect how has Pochettino done?

Well his style in the first article has certainly been implemented, reading it you can see aspects of it in your minds eye so we have had no surprises there.

The second article is a little harder but suggests his training approach will be a little different than other managers, we will try to grow as a team as opposed to growing as individuals and the team improving by default. His training methods work at improving the overall as well as the individual. There are still individual videos for each player to study from games but then there are match situations created whereby the individual can work on that skill in relation to everyone else.

It's a change from the 'i' to 'we' approach. Certain players were against that approach, it's alien to them as the article points out and people rebel against something they don't know or understand.

The third article looked forward comparing the Andre Villas-Boas style to the Pochettino style. It was Pochettino's second season at Southampton where they made a giant stride forward as a club and Tottenham will be hoping that the players can implement the Pochettino style with greater effectiveness in the second season. It too Liverpool a season to learn the Brendan Rogers system which the saw them finish second in the league. Season two is a big one for Pochettino, as the article says at the end regarding playing his system effectively, 'how long will it take to implement'.

This season has seen success and failure but definite signs of the club sorting itself out at last. We have a squad with a number of players more interested in their wage packets and who just want to go on doing what they have always done, who want an easy life basically. We have a squad built up by different managers with different playing styles so it's all a bit of a mess that needed sorting out. We tried to short-cut success and buy a team for the future but got it horribly wrong.

Pochettino has set about repairing that, he has identified the players he wants and those he doesn't have been given clear indication there is no point hanging on in the hope of getting an opportunity. With Daniel Levy's backing he has, effectively been forcing players out of the club. Harsh tactics but a manager/head coach lives or dies by his results thus having players you want is important.

It should be remembered that former players at Southampton and Espanyol moaned that if you weren't in the Pochettino inner circle you were just left. Implement his tactics as he asks and you'll get in, it's quite simple.

We are all aware a stadium is around the corner and money will be tight so the club has to be in a position where it is not trying to buy a team during the initial years, that means having the playing staff how we want it and developing the youth. It is that that is the key as to why players have been isolated, for our future we can't afford to have them here. We have to have a settled team growing together in a position to challenge for the Champions League spots.

We have scored more goals but we have let in a lot too, far, far too many with daft individual errors, the number we have conceded inside our own box, where the defender hasn't bothered to clear the ball but tried to shield it for instance. Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Danny Rose, Eric Dier have all been success stories, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen have produced in periods while Hugo Lloris has been top drawer again. We have a young nucleus to build around.

We finished 5th in the table, reached a cup final and secured European football while we took stock, I'd say, being realistic and understanding the constraints we work under, that was a good first year.

We have restructured the football side of Tottenham off the field which incorporates a new team assessing our transfer targets.Tthis will be the first chance for Pochettino to delve into the transfer market and piece together a squad. Austrian centre-back Kevin Wimmer we know is the first arrival, having confirmed it himself to the German paper Bild.

Brad Friedel retires, which frees up a non home-grown player berth in the squad. Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue should all leave and free up three more. Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado should join them taking the total to seven. If Cristian Ceballos departs, he is in the first team squad but hasn't figured, then the non home-grown berths available rises to eight. This is exactly where I have been suggesting we need to plan ahead for the last 2 years.

The strategy Daniel levy had, which he made the mistake of deviating from, is back in place and thus Pochettino is here for the long haul to transform the playing side. We can't afford to change managers while building a new stadium, a new boss would have little money to spend. It is clear then he will b backed, and has been, within that strategy to build a footballing future.

The first year of that is always hard as it's an assessment and dismantling year, piecing back together with only the required components. To achieve 5th, a cup final and European football with a limited squad is an achievement and if he has managed to force certain players out of the club then it's been an even more successful year.

It is a time to look forward with optimism, stage one successfully completed, on to stage two.

Aston Villa want Adebayor

I speculated on April 21st about a deal involving Emmanuel Adebayor going to Aston Villa and Christian Benteke moving to Tottenham. You can read it here.

This surrounded two separate speculative stories in different newspapers. I have neither heard nor seen anything to suggest Tottenham will try to sign Benteke but I have heard that Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa is a distinct possibility.

The word is that Tim Sherwood, who recalled him and got him scoring for Spurs, wants to take him to Aston Villa and that Adebayor is keen to join him again. Of course Adebayor's desire to move comes second to his wages. Villa certainly won't be able to offer him the wages he is on at Spurs but he is 31 now and his earning power is diminishing.

Tottenham are looking to get £5 million for him but any move will be all about Aston Villa and Adebayor agreeing a wage. The FA Cup finalists have been in negotiations with his representatives, the Eden Sports Group, so even though Villa were in a relegation fight Ade still wants a move there. He of course refused loan moves to teams in the bottom half of the table despite being told he wouldn't be loaned out to a team in the top half.

His response to that was to try and engineer a move to West Ham who were not far below us in January. he tried to force Daniel Levy's hand and failed, now he knows that he will not be in match day squads at Spurs who have got tough with him. Mauricio Pochettino, with the full backing of Daniel Levy, has left him on the sidelines for most of the season.

Spurs fans will be hoping a deal can be reached, personally I just can't see it, I can't see Villa being willing to pay him enough wages and I certainly don't see Adebayor dropping his wage demands to a level they would be comfortable with.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tottenham expects, it's delivery vs failure day

There is divided opinion among Spurs fans as to whether they want the club to qualify for the UEFA Europa League. Today is the day it's all decided.

Three teams, all playing at the same time for two plaxes, although if Arsenal win the FA Cup it all becomes irrelevant but we can't rely on that. All three contenders are away.

Liverpool 62 pts +9 GD
SPURS 61 pts +4 GD
Southampton 60 pts +23 GD

Liverpool are away at Stoke City, SPURS are away at Everton and Southampton are away at Manchester City. All three home clubs will naturally want to end on a high for their supporters, all three games could go either way.

Many fans don't want to qualify for the UEFA Europa League, their argument is basically that participation affects our league position. If we can't handle the Europa League they we won't be able to handle the Champions League and the Premier League. For most seasons that Everton were in the Europa League under David Moyes it had no affect on their finishing position, they were still always challenging us.

Far too much is made of it and people believe it because everyone says it. If you think it will affect you detrimentally it will, you'll get what you expect because subconsciously that is what you work towards. If you have the attitude it won't affect you then the same applies, subconsciously you'll work towards it not affecting you so you'll get better results.

It's no different than the impossible 4 minute mile. Nobody could break the barrier until Roger Bannister did, later Sir Roger Bannister OBE. Once he had broken it everyone knew it was possible and all and sundry started breaking it. The mental approach was everything.

Manchester United have had a season out of Europe but their improved Premier League position is as a result of spending in excess of £150 million and getting a proven top class manager, not simply not playing in Europe. Liverpool had a wonderful season when they were not in Europe but they had Louis Suarez firing in goals, it wasn't simply no European football. They played in Europe this season and are above us in the table, as are the sides in the Champions League, it hasn't affected them being in Europe.

In previous seasons we have had Gareth Bale and he is the only reason we got near the top four, he was carrying us, the remainder weren't a top four team. That has raised expectations beyond what can realistically be expected, Tottenham were talked about as title contenders, which was rubbish. It does however demonstrate we were improving and there are signs we are improving again. Improvement is not always constant, it is not always upward, sometimes there are blips, sometimes a pace backwards to go forwards. That is what we have experienced while sitting  sometimes on a plateau financially above the rest. We have to wait and continue to make small improvements constantly.

Our next surge of improvement, apart from the small improvement we expect to make next season, will come when we have increased our revenue and improved our commercial position. Until then we will always be trying to punch above our weight, with sporadic success, we will continue to challenge for fourth but will finish, fourth, fifth or sixth.

Losers make excuses, winners find a way to make it work, our way is with a new stadium and increased revenue to try and level the playing field. The club has to have the culture that it is expected we play in Europe every year, not qualifying at all is failure and I don't cheer for failure. Sevilla won the Europa League with all it's games last year, they are in the final again. In La Liga the three money clubs finished first, second and third, Sevilla finished fifth, the competition doesn't seem to have done them any harm. We have a mental block in this country we need to get over.

If it were as simple as putting a football team together, as some suggest, then the other 14 clubs would have done so in the last 20 years, but they haven't. They can't pay the wages to get enough of the quality of player needed, nor can we. The football landscape has totally changed, it's controlled by money.

Players want to play in Europe, if a potential signing can sign for a club with European football or one without he is more likely to choose the one with European football, it increases his exposure. The French manager told his squad that to be picked regularly in squads they must be playing European football in the lead up to the European Championships, merely playing domestic football isn't enough. Being only exposed to one style of football isn't good for a player when it comes to international games, European football gives a player a chance to encounter different styles. The Premier league is totally different to other leagues in Europe.

That of course places a question mark over the future of Hugo Lloris, should we fail to get into Europe. He is the French national captain and may feel he needs to be setting an example. The club needs people with his experience, not to mention his winning mentality, to help the youngsters.

You also have to ask, if we can't hand le the Europa League playing Thursday and Sunday, how are we going to cope with the Champions League playing Wednesday and Saturday, or Saturday, even Sunday to Tuesday. The sides above us handle it because they have the squads to do so. If we want to be a top team we have to cope with it. getting in the Champions League isn't the answer, staying in it season after season is.

If we have no European football then half our squad will hardly play any football, there simply won't be enough for them, especially now Pochettino has improved our fitness record.

If we want to be a successful team we have to learn how to handle two games a week, we need a better squad, or at least a squad who have all bought into the coaches tactics and giving their best. Having half a dozen players in a side who basically refuse to play in the way the coach wishes by simply going through the motions is never going to help.

Apart from exposure, which helps commercial revenue, clubs not playing of Europe have far less commercial income thus us. We have to stay ahead of them to attract and keep players, that takes money for wages so every little helps. Revenue from the Europa League is not great, but you only have to look at our position in comparison to the clubs not regularly in Europe to see it makes a difference to income, and income rules football.

Football is all about money now so reducing our income makes little sense. Reduce it one year to hopefully (no guarantees) get Champions League the following year, then what, miss out again? What if we weren't in Europe and failed to get in the Champions League, commercially we ar less attractive and thus we become more like the clubs below us, ever more reliant on Premier League TV money with no chance of catching the top five.

we can't put an exact figure on our earnings from the Europa League but we'll have a look anyway.

In 2011/12 we only received £3m in TV and prize money, to this we would have to add match day income and a small amount of commercial revenue. Without being in Europe we would not have some of the commercial deals we have. The £3m was made up of £1m for participating, £0.5m for the group stages and £1.5 million in TV money. We didn't progress beyond the group.

In 2012/13 we received £5.4 million in TV and prize money. This was made up of £1.3m for participating, £1m for the group stages, £0.2m for the last 32 stage, £0.4 for the last 16 round, £0,5 for the quarter-final and £2.5m in TV money. Again we need to add match day income and a proportion of commercial income so the overall figure would rise to around £9m.

In 2013/14 we received £5.9m made up of £1.3m for participating, £1.6m for the group stages, £0.2m for the last 32 round, £0.4m for the last 16 round we went out in and £2.5m in TV money. Add match day income and a small amount of commercial revenue and we will have produced around a £10m income.

Olympique Lyonnaise went out in the round after us and picked up a total of £10.2m in TV and prize money. Lazio went out in the round before us and picked up £9.5m, Fiorentina £8.2, the same figue Valencia received for going to the semi-final. Trabsonspor and Eintracht Frankfurt went out in the round before us and picked up £7.9m and £7.3m respectively.

Why the anomaly? It boils down to TV money, UEFA say it will be distributed according to the proportional value of each television market represented by the teams taking part.

The income is dwarfed by the UEFA Champions League yes but there are other factors to take into account and Tottenham has a tradition in Europe, I don't want to not see my team in Europe, I don't want to have to wait a week for a game. The Champions League has become rather boring with the same teams in it all the time, at least in the Europa League there is variety.

I'll accept the Europa League today for now, but the Champions League is what we all want eventually.

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