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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Alderweireld vs Van Dijk

Toby Alderweireld has been a huge part of upgrading the Spurs defence. His presence has helped to pacify Vertonghen's reported ego. The Belgian pairing are friends, have played together for Ajax and represent the national side together. Kyle Walker now has a centre-back whom he can trust and I think that, as much as the arrival of Kieran Trippier, has been instrumental in his game improving. Happy players perform. Eric Dier has first-hand knowledge of centre-back play and full-back play so that helps him read situations.

There are many reasons for improvement, but Alderweireld seems to be the glue that has helped our defence all come together. He had had an excellent season at Southampton, who naturally wanted to keep him, but he stuck to his guns and his desire for a step to the next level.

As a replacement Southampton turned to Virgil van Dijk, a Dutchman plying his trade at Celtic in a weak league. He has taken the step up to Premier League football well and made it to the team of the Week side on a few occasions. The impression is that he is a consistent performer and that Southampton have bought well to replace Alderweireld. 

Before we look at the comparison statistics for the two in the Premier League I'll list the UEFA Europa League statistics for Toby Alderweireld that have inspired a further look into our trusty centre-back.

Toby Alderweireld 

Appearances: 5
Career Appearances: 24
Minutes Played: 450
Goals: 0
Career Goals: 3
Assists: 0
Shots On Target: 1
Shots Off Target: 3
Shots Blocked: 0
Shots Hit the Woodwork: 0
Passes Attempted: 246
Passes Completed: 219
Pass Completion Percentage: 89%
Statistics obtained from UEFA website

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Alderweireld vs Van Dijk (Premier League)

Games Played: 14 vs 10
Minutes Played: 1,260 vs 900
Total Passes: 713 vs 476
Forward Passes: 72% vs 77%
Pass Completion: 81% vs 84%
Total Long Balls: 186 vs 67
Long Ball Accuracy: 47% vs 58%
Unsuccessful Touches: 4 vs 3
Dispossessed: 2 vs 0
Short Pass Accuracy: 93% vs 88%
Shots: 10 vs 9
Shot Accuracy: 86% vs 67%
Goals: 2 vs 2
Interceptions: 24 vs 28
Blocks: 8 vs 6
Clearances: 111 vs 73
Tackles Won: 37% vs 67%
Aerial Duels Won: 56% vs 74%
Fouls Committed: 3 vs 7
Yellow cards: 0 vs 1
Opta Statistics obtained through Whoscored,com and

Spurs fans are very happy with the contribution of Toby Alderweireld and Southampton fans must be very happy with his replacement Virgil Van Dijk looking at those stats.

Both defenders commit few fouls so reduce the risk of being booked and building up a suspension. One card after a combined total of 24 games is impressive for a pair of centre-backs and a testament to their defending. Both offer a goal threat from set pieces with two goals each and both have a very healthy forward passing statistic.

Alderweireld plays more long balls, he plays the Michael Dawson role in switching play from one side to the other wing, something Spurs fans used to moan at Dawson for, for some inexplicable reason.

I was not a fan of us pursuing Van Dijk, but he has transferred his skill set well to the Premier League after his deadline day transfer and statistically matches Alderweireld. We play Southampton soon so it will be interesting to watch the pair first hand.


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