Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Bassey gifts Tottenham two goals

All Fulham have to do is stay narrow in their 4-4-2 out of possession because the distribution into the box for Tottenham isn’t consistent enough. And there’s no one to head the ball.

Figure 1.1 - Fulham's narrow 4-4-2 out of possession

Richarlison needs to get his head up a bit more when he’s receiving the ball because when he stops looking, it can really affect the speed at which Tottenham attacks. There’s a half-second delay when he receives the ball compared to when he picks his head up to look for the next pass. He’s receiving and improvising rather than anticipating before the play. It got better throughout the match, but he was rough to start.

The only side Tottenham can work the ball wide is the right through Pedro Porro and Dejan Kulusevski because Richarlison and Destiny Udogie are hit and miss with their coordination. They improved today compared to previous matches.

Tottenham’s main hope is working it into the final third, wide, and then taking pot shots from 20+ yards out.

Than Fulham make a mistake at the back, allowing Tottenham to counter. The backup, Calvin Bassey, in for Issa Diop, is the weak spot, and he makes the mistake. And then the second goal in the 2nd half resulted from a mistake by Bassey.

James Maddison on Tottenham’s work rate, pressing:

“The gaffer went ballistic at us at half-time in a pre-season game against Shaktar, when we went 1-0 up and then sat off and stopped pressing. He said that’s exactly how Tottenham have been in the past [under previous managers] and that it has cost them, and that we have to keep going and never sit off.”

Figure 2.1 - Son Hueng-min pressures Bernd Leno as he passes to Calvin Bassey.
Figure 2.2 - Calvin Bassey passes to no one while James Maddison and Richarlison close in.
Figure 2.3 - Richarlison intercepts the ball and passes to Son Hueng-min, who is in space, for the goal.
Figure 3.1 - James Maddison pressures Calvin Bassey and Richarlison steps forward to mark Maddison's mark.
Figure 3.2 - Calvin Bassey attempts to clear it up the line under pressure.
Figure 3.3 - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg intercepts the pass and passes to Son Hueng-min.
Figure 3.4 - Son Heung-min passes to James Maddison. Calvin Bassey is keeping everyone onside.

Identical setup for the first and second goal. Credit to Tottenham for putting pressure on Bassey, but they didn’t create a ton of high quality chances outside of capitalizing from those two mistakes.

That’s been the story of Fulham this season. Lots of great individual performances from Paulinha, Willian, Iwobi, Wilson, Pereira, Vinicius, Robinson, Ream, Diop, Castagne, Tete, Leno, and then one or two random players make a mistake.

36 minutes in and onwards, Tottenham has figured out how to quickly pass between the lines. When Tottenham is clicking, everyone’s head is up, each move is two steps ahead of the opponent, and they don’t waste time getting into an area where they can attempt a shot.

Cristian Romero and Mickey van de Veen are such a dominant center-back duo. Van de Veen’s rapid speed is a game-changer. Tottenham can keep the two of them back, and they have the ability to cover space in ways even the best back-fours can’t.

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou after the match:

“It was a good result obviously against a tough opponent. We maintained our patience, they were not going to open up too much for us. I thought our pressing was really strong.

In the second half, we were really wasteful with the ball. We gave it away too much. The positive thing is our workrate was still excellent.”

Tottenham was quite sloppy with their passes, out to in, in the buildup, when they were in the middle third. Kulusevski would pick up the ball on the halfway line wide, dribble inside, and then misplace his pass centrally. It happened a couple of times from different players.

Fulham could have played a higher line because the passes into Son Heung-min weren’t consistently accurate enough. Sit narrow, force Tottenham wide.

That win puts Tottenham on top of the Premier League table with 23 points, a 2-point cushion ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal, and a 7-point cushion above 7th place. 6 of the 10 matches they’ve played so far were against teams that are 11th and below in the table. Their upcoming 10 matches won’t be as easy against Chelsea (H), Wolves (A), Aston Villa (H), Manchester City (A), West Ham (H), Newcastle (H), Nottingham Forest (A), and Brighton (A).

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link