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Preview: Tottenham Tackle Solskjaer’s Cardiff

Spurs will be looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track this weekend as they host strugglers Cardiff, still seething after their disappointing home defeat to Hull.

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Spurs will be looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track this weekend as they host strugglers Cardiff, still seething after their disappointing home defeat to Hull.

 Tottenham will have been disappointed to lose against Norwich in their last Premier League match, particularly after they boasted the lion’s share of possession throughout the game. Central to this effort was Nacer Chadli, who although hasn’t always been at his best in his time in North London, showcased his excellent array of passing. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he completed an impressive 27 passes in the opposition half at a rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes.

 

Mousa Dembele is another Spurs player who has every right to feel aggrieved by the result last weekend. He was a thorn in the Canaries side all game, making a total of 39 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, shots on target, dribbles and crosses) – more than any other Spurs player and the fifteenth most in the league. 

French captain Hugo Lloris has established himself as the first name on the Spurs teamsheet over the past couple of years, with the shotstopper producing a number of barnstorming displays to keep opposing attackers at bay. Part of the reason for his success is his excellent sprint speed, which has enabled him to operate as a ‘sweeper keeper’ by rushing out to clear the ball and reach it before the opposition strikers. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Lloris has used this skill to great effect this term, as he has made 34 clearances – more than any other ‘keeper in the league.

Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker have been competing for the right back position since they were youngsters, with the duo both members of the Sheffield United youth setup prior to joining Spurs. Kyle W appears to have the edge over Kyle N, with the former featuring regularly for both Spurs and England over the last year, but interestingly it is the latter who has a better tackle success rate. So far this season Naughton has won 78% of the tackles he has attempted vis-à-vis Walker’s 66%.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that his side improve dramatically on their abject performance at home to Hull last weekend, and following Spurs’ disappointing result against Norwich, he might feel that the Bluebirds have a great chance to get at the North London side this weekend.      

Magnus Wolff Eikrem has every right to feel particularly aggrieved with the result at the weekend, as he produced an excellent all-round offensive display. The former Manchester United youngster made a total of 52 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles, and shots on target), completing a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 1.8 minutes in the process.   

Steven Caulker will have been disappointed by his defensive effort at the weekend, particularly as he has been such an impressive performer throughout the majority of the campaign. His tackling has been a particular highlight, as he has won 82% of the challenges that he has attempted this term.

If Cardiff are to survive this term, they will need holding midfielder Gary Medel to maintain his level of performance in shielding the back four. The Chilean was a notable absentee on Saturday, and it was clear to see that Cardiff missed his excellent marshaling ability. So far this season, he has shielded the defence to great effect, completing more tackles than any of his teammates (94), and also making 51 interceptions.   

He may have only featured in 263 minutes this term, but in this short space of time, Wilfried Zaha has demonstrated his excellent ability to beat a man, completing 11 dribbles. This excellent skill to run with pace at defenders could prove critical in Cardiff’s fight to beat the drop. 

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