After a brilliant last season where Spurs seriously contended for the title against all the odds, big things are expected of the Lilywhites for this campaign but the start the North London side had to their season has been a bit disappointing. After three Premier League games, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have just five points on the board with one win and two draws. In the process, they just managed to score three goals with Erik Lamela, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama able to open their account so far.
Players like Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Kyle Walker have all looked a bit out of touch but the player who has been the most disappointing is Dele Alli. Although we should not criticise the youngster too much for that. He played a lot of football over the last year and was a key part of the England squad in the Euros. Playing that much amount of football at the age of just 20 has seemingly taken a lot out of the attacking midfielder.
Dele Alli was clearly the lynchpin of the Spurs team who made things happen for the Lilywhites last season. Pochettino would have never pushed a creative attacking midfielder like Christian Eriksen out to the left flank to make room for Alli, who deserved the number 10 role for his efforts. This season, he was handed the same role in the three games. The 20-year-old has featured in all three games for the Lilywhites this season starting against Everton and Liverpool and getting introduced later from the bench against Crystal Palace. But his display has been far from impressive.
What’s gone wrong?
Alli just had 50 touches of the ball throughout the game against Everton and his impact was neutralised by the likes of Barry and Gueye in the middle of the park. The midfielder having more touches in the wide areas speaks for how Alli’s impact was almost nil against the Toffees. Even though Alli had an 84.2% passing accuracy, he could make just one key pass throughout the game and was dispossessed twice. the use of two holding midfielders did the trick for Koeman’s team.
Now let us take a look at Alli’s heat map against Liverpool.
Against Liverpool, Alli had 64 touches of the ball which is an improvement over the game against Everton but most of his impact was quite deep as per the heat map. Even though Liverpool did not have defensive minded players in midfield, Dele did not have any answer to their brilliant pressing and Spurs missed him at his best. Even though Alli had an 85.7% passing accuracy he failed to make a single key pass and was dispossessed twice.
It’s only the start of the season and the youngster is seemingly jaded from the amount of playing time on the pitch over the last year. However, he needs to pick up his game really soon if Spurs have to start impressing as a unit. Teams have started countering his style and that has had a big say in his performances. Having said that, Spurs started last season slow as well and their players slowly showed their best. The fans will hope that happens sooner this season with Champions League exertions coming soon.
Stats via Squawka.com and Whoscored.com