Player Behaviour and Involvement- How Spurs Attack

Tottenham had another successful season and qualified for the Champions League and put pressure on the eventual champions. Spurs scored the most goals in the Premier League this season with 86.

Four players really stood out for Spurs in attack: Eriksen, Son, Kane and Alli. The aim of this article is to look at the importance and behaviour of these four players.


They’re all top 4 chance creators and takers for Spurs, as seen above. With 69 league goals between them they’re surely irreplaceable for Spurs. The graphic shows the number of chances a player set up on the left and shots taken on the right. The links, which can be a bit confusing and hard to track, show how players create chances for teammates. Alli, Eriksen and Son collectively set up over half of Kane’s chances. Eriksen also clearly sets up the most chances in the Spurs squad and is the key playmaker and creator.


The chart above exemplifies the importance of these four. Together their shots made up 68% of Spurs’s expected goals and 63% of their shots. Spurs are a shot dominant team with TSR (total shots ratio) of 66% and these four are to thank. Below is the TSR values for Premier League sides.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.02.36

This graphic also shows Eriksen’s effectiveness in a playmaker role and the efficiency of chances. Eriksen assists nearly a fifth of Spurs’s total chances in the league and over an eighth of total passes on the pitch. A huge involvement for one player.

It also tells us Eriksen is wasteful with chances as he takes 18.8% of chances but these only accounted for 13.4% of expected goals, whereas Kane and Alli had a surplus of expected goals proportionally to shots. While Son is pretty equal but less involved overall.

This is backed up by Eriksen xG per shot value being at just 0.089 compared to 0.161 and 0.162 for Alli and Kane respectively. The shot behaviour chart and shot maps also suggest this. Direct free kicks could partly be to blame for the Dane’s apparent inefficient shooting behaviour and low average chance quality.

Shot Behaviour

Eriksen’s shooting profile isn’t recommendable as he shoots outside of the box for 71% of his chances, a huge amount of poor chances where possession is lost and possibly could have been use more effectively. Kane and Alli enjoy a lot of shots from the danger zone, hence high xG per shot. Son cuts in a lot from the left flank and shoot from wide areas of the box, it seems he’ll only shoot if in a good situation rather than wasting possession, as seen later.

Shot Pressure.png


This stacked chart shows the proportion of shots with the number of defenders between the shot taker and the goal, not including the goalkeeper. Again, freekicks may have swayed the numbers for Eriksen. But, the fact still remains he rarely finds himself in 1 on 1s with the goalkeeper and is too happy to shoot with many defenders in front of him. Again, Kane and Alli are similar.

The two charts above are important to review together. The first shows Son regularly shooting  from the wide areas of the box, but the second says that although these positions aren’t great on face value but he also finds himself in 1 v 1s regularly or shooting with just one defender in his way. Suggesting that Son has good decision making when in the box on whether he is better off shooting or passing.

Right Left Footed.png

Alli, Kane and Eriksen are all pretty right footed and could be defended easier as a defender can show them onto a weaker foot. Son, however, is happy to shoot with either foot. Kane and Alli also both offer aerial threats. Son and Eriksen are obviously less likely to get headed chances because of their wide positions.

Finally, below are shot maps for these four players for you to review yourself.



Feedback appreciated – @SL_TeamTalk

If you would like to see any of the graphics used in this article for your team you can request to @CA_Viz.

This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.

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