Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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Tottenham's advanced inverted full-backs

Destiny Udogie’s job at left-back is to invert and push Luton Town’s right-wing forward when Mickey van de Veen receives the ball. This opens the space to play the ball wide to Richarlison at left-wing, but Richarlison’s passes weren’t precise. Richarlison’s misplaced passes disturbed their rhythm.

Pedro Porro has also found himself further infield from right-back, higher up the pitch.

Figure 1.1 - Both full-backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie invert, giving space to Tottenham's center-backs. James Maddison drops, creating space behind him. Mickey van de Veen passes to Son Heung-min.

James Maddison was an underappreciated player at Leicester City. He can do anything.

Figure 1.2 - Son Heung-min lays the ball off to the onrushing Pedro Porro.
Figure 1.3 - Mads Juel Andersen jumps forward, creating space behind him. Pedro Porro passes back to Son Heung-min and then continues his run.

Look at Mads Juel Andersen’s stance here. Both feet facing Porro. Not set to track Porro if he attempts to run behind him. Completely vulnerable. He should have one foot forward and the other behind like right center-back Tom Lockyer does in this picture to the right. Jump but be ready to run with Porro, who is at full speed.

Figure 1.4 - Son Heung-min passes to Pedro Porro behind Luton Town's back-line.
Figure 1.5 - Pedro Porro attempts a first-time shot but puts it wide.

Porro gets behind Andersen, an easy chance in on goal for which he misses.

Tottenham had three big clear-cut chances in the first 15 minutes that they failed to convert. From then on, they failed to progress the ball through the wide areas. Luton Town allowed them to carry the ball through the middle, but Tottenham kept forcing passes.

Tottenham went down to 10 men in the 45+4 minute just before halftime. They played better when they went down to 10 men than they did when they played a 10-man Liverpool last week.

They can create, mostly through Dejan Kulusevski, when the opposition is defending deep, but they rely on transitions and direct through passes. To do that, they need the opposition back-line high, and Luton Town played higher when Tottenham went down to 10 men.

Luton Town in these past matches don’t have the quality on the ball needed to stay up in the Premier League. Too many unforced errors. As the game progressed past the 15-minute mark, they slowly began to improve and find their rhythm, but too many misplaced passes and wild shots.

Tottenham are flying, top of the league, tied on points with Arsenal. They have received a fair bit of luck this season, as any title contender would, but it’s nice to see Ange’s attacking style of play awarded.

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