To say Serge Aurier was a liability for Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday would be a bit of an understatement.
Not only did the Ivory Coast international pick up two yellow cards on his full Premier League debut, but he also got away with a handball in the box in the first half and a last-ditch tackle on a West Ham attacker that had more than a hint of a Roy-Keane-shirt-tug about it.
And yet, statistically speaking, the rest of Aurier’s performance was incredibly strong; he registered the most tackles and the most interceptions of any Tottenham player, but also the most fouls and of course, the most bookings.
While that highlights how misleading statistics can be when judging a performance, it also suggests Aurier is the kind of dynamic, action-packed player we like to see in the Premier League, prepared to put his weight about and make the challenges that create the right atmosphere for a feisty London derby.
But his performance proved the line between action-packed and overzealous is becoming an increasingly thin one in the English game; while we may like to watch blood-and-guts performances, that style of play is being slowly and steadily moved away from – not least because it always leaves you in danger of forcing the referee into a decision.
Discipline plays such a significant part in the modern game and although Tottenham fans don’t want their summer signing to suddenly become a cautious defender, he clearly needs to find a better balance to his action-packed instincts.