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Roberto Soldado feeding off scraps at Tottenham

Yesterday, after the North London derby, I wrote a piece about Mousa Dembele and how his inability to adapt to a more advanced midfield role prevented Tottenham from gaining any kind of offensive traction at The Emirates - you can read that here if you’re interested.

As a follow on from that, it’s interesting to note the knock-on effect of Dembele’s performance on Roberto Soldado. As mentioned post-game, Soldado spent the entire 90 minutes on the periphery of the game, and his level of involvement was startling sparse compared to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud - who was asked to play a very similar lone-forward role by Arsene Wenger.

Here’s Soldado’s heat-map:

…and here’s Giroud’s:

Without meaning to labour this point, the data further emphasises the need for more central creativity in Andre Villas-Boas’ side; it doesn’t matter how good a forward you have, or how much money you’ve spent on him, unless he’s Lionel Messi he’s just not going to impact a game if his touches occur in those parts of the pitch.

Look at the graphic for Giroud, and notice how many more touches he had in offensively pertinent positions. It’s dramatically different.

Yesterday wasn’t an isolated example, either, and Soldado’s involvement has been just as limited in the two previous Premier League games - here’s his heat-map from the Swansea game at White Hart Lane:

…and against Crystal Palace, which although far more healthy, is still a long way from what it should be:

We’re heading into an international break now, so it’s time to park this issue for two weeks - but a really good measure of how successful Christian Eriksen or Lewis Holtby is when they’re integrated into this side, will be these Soldado graphics. The more ‘red’ you start to see in and around the penalty-box, the better that central attacking-midfield role is being performed.

Something to keep your eye on.

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arrow1 Response

  1. strattyuk1tratty
    2 days, 12 hrs ago

    Dembele is too slow. He ponders around hoping that he can get forward. Why can’t these people run with the ball? None of them were moving yesterday, the amount of times we had the ball at the back and couldnt get it forward because noone was moving. That’s the manager, anyone can run… they need motivation to DO it. Soldado hasnt done anything outstanding so far, at least when Defoe is on the ball you think he’s going to score.

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