Tactics and numbers

I thought I’d give this a nice, simple title which clearly represents the content. And, actually, the content is fairly simple as well. I tweeted a few things yesterday that I thought may also be of interest to people who don’t use Twitter.

Tactical analysis of Ajax (1st leg)

Have a click on the below to see my annotated images. I talk about the goal we conceded, the team shape, and the more assertive pressing in the second half.


I regularly tweet goals and assists per minute as I think it gives an interesting picture of the contribution of our attacking players. The updated numbers illustrate a couple of interesting points.

Firstly, the real number one for the Premier League-only numbers is Kyle Walker-Peters with 94.7. But as he’s only played 284 Premier League minutes (in which he has 3 assists) it felt wrong to include him.

Secondly, I’m no Fernando Llorente fan but you really can’t argue with those numbers. The style we play when he’s on the pitch may not always be pretty, but it seems to have been highly effective.

And, finally, Son Heung-min is an absolute hero and, in my opinion, our Player of the Year.

More numbers

And in researching this I also looked at total numbers of minutes played across the squad. It’s worth noting that these are out of a possible 4,860 minutes in total (54 matches):

  • Alderweireld 4,048
  • Eriksen 3,769
  • Lloris 3,589
  • Kane 3,252
  • Son 3,069
  • Sissoko 3,067
  • Sanchez 2,932
  • Trippier 2,913
  • Lucas 2,878
  • Vertonghen 2,718
  • Dele 2,657
  • Winks 2,651
  • Davies 2,604
  • Rose 2,301
  • Dier 1,777
  • Lamela 1,464
  • Aurier 1,358
  • Foyth 1,256
  • Llorente 1,117
  • Gazzaniga 990
  • Wanyama 849
  • Dembele 706
  • Walker-Peters 615
  • Skipp 389
  • Vorm 279
  • Nkoudou 121
  • Marsh 25
  • Janssen 23
  • Eyoma 11
  • Sterling 9
  • Amos 2

I doubt there are many midfielders who have played as many minutes as Christian Eriksen. For comparison, Liverpool’s central midfielder with the most minutes is Georginio Wijnaldum with 3367, then James Milner with 2601, then Fabinho with 2466. Their midfield depth allows much more rotation, whereas we’ve been restricted by injuries and — let’s face it — don’t really have a natural Eriksen rotation.

Interestingly, Bernardo Silva has played 3755 minutes for Manchester City, another amazing effort, particularly considering that he’s a player like Eriksen who regularly runs 12km or more per match.

I was surprised Harry Winks had amassed as many minutes as he has as it has felt like a real injury-hit season for him. We’ve mismanaged him towards the end; his latest issue is reportedly a direct result of being pushed too far. This was inevitably given the lack of signings and the lack of proper integration of the likes of Oliver Skipp.

Ben Davies and Danny Rose have pretty much shared the total minutes evenly, which is probably what Mauricio Pochettino would want.

Hopefully this has been of interest and, of course, if this is the kind of #content you enjoy, consider following me on Twitter as well as listening to The Extra Inch podcast.

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