Kieran Trippier may have struggled to impact the scoreline as Tottenham succumbed to a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Wembley on Saturday, the managerless visitors going ahead after just four minutes through Salomon Rondon before fighting tooth and nail to hang onto their first point in five games, but it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying.
Indeed, Tottenham’s right wing-back flung 15 crosses into the box, won the ball back six times with successful tackles and created a whopping seven chances – none of which were converted by his Spurs team-mates. You’ll struggle to find a defender laying on more scoring opportunities in a single Premier League game this season.
And yet, there’s another statistic that highlights why Tottenham failed to break through a water-tight defence and midfield at Wembley for not the first time this season. Saturday’s game was painfully reminiscent of how the north Londoners struggled to unlock Crystal Palace, Swansea, Burnley and Bournemouth at their temporary home earlier in the campaign.
While Trippier offered plenty of delivery playing in front of the opposition, he didn’t beat a single West Brom player with the ball at his feet and although the England international’s lack of natural dynamism has been commented on before, particularly when compared to his No.2 predecessor Kyle Walker, that trait is symptomatic throughout the Tottenham squad. They’ve produced the second-least dribbles of the big six this season, averaging one less per match than Chelsea and almost two less per match than Liverpool. Likewise, from the Premier League’s per-match dribble charts this season, Tottenham have just one representative in the top 35 – 18th-placed Harry Kane.
Over the course of the season, that difference really stacks up. But more crucially, it epitomises the kind of attacking threat Tottenham currently lack – someone who can jink their way around or through two banks of four, or at the very least pull defenders out of position by committing them to challenges with direct running. With January just around the corner, should signing a dribbler be Mauricio Pochettino’s first transfer priority for the coming window? Let us know by voting below…