One sub plot going into Tottenham’s trip to West Brom is the reunion between Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen centre backs and compatriot Nacer Chadli, who joined the Baggies on a permanent basis in the summer. Chadli was among the seven major incomings purchased with the funds raised by Gareth Bale’s sale in the summer of 2013, and had a mixed time of it at White Hart Lane.
A strong and athletic wideman, it was difficult to escape the feeling that Chadli should have produced more for a player with his talent. He had some good moments; the former FC Twente man was excellent in Tottenham’s 5-3 win over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on New Year’s Day 2015, and opened the scoring a north London derby at the Emirates in September 2014. Under Mauricio Pochettino, he found himself increasingly frozen out, and sought pastures new in the west Midlands. His international team mate Toby Alderweireld has said:
“He is going to be a very tough opponent when we come up against him on Saturday.
“Am I looking forward to the reunion? Not really! I respect him, but it will be a great battle for us.
“You have seen at West Brom how well he is doing already.
“That was no surprise to me. He has made a quick impact there, has scored goals and impressed people after going there for a large fee.”
Chadli has been playing as a striker under Tony Pulis, using his pace to good effect in a team that likes to play on the counter-attack. He has made a flying start at the Hawthorns, bagging three Premier League goals. That said, Alderweireld and Vertonghen are arguably the best centre back pairing in the top flight currently. Spurs certainly have the best defensive record having conceded only three goals. If they keep up this solidity without the ball, Spurs should have enough quality to triumph at the Hawthorns.
Elsewhere, The Daily Mail has reported on the science and statistics behind Pochettino’s success at White Hart Lane, notably the distance his team cover. Although Manchester City and Liverpool have covered greater distances, this does not always tell the whole story when it comes to effective pressing. Sometimes the number of intensity of a team’s running (i.e the number of sprints) is more important than total distance covered. Tottenham consistently lower their opponents pass completion rate by harrying them and disturbing their rhythm. They have also had the third most shots on goal this season, and naturally this should lead to them scoring more goals.
Finally, Tottenham youngster Josh Onomah scored his first goal for England Under 21s in mid week and is hoping to make more of an impact for his club. Onomah featured in Spurs’ 5-0 win over Gillingham in the third round of the EFL Cup and the 19-year-old is looking for further first-team opportunities. Onomah is rated has one of the club’s most promising young player along with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Marcus Edwards. Onomah said:
“Being around the lads here at the club, we’ve got good team morale and everyone’s looking forward to the games that are coming up now.
“Hopefully I can help to make an impact and hopefully we’ll do well.
“I’m just happy, I’m enjoying my football at the moment and I’m looking to keep this positive momentum of scoring goals.”
Featured image: All rights reserved by Huma Khan