What Makes Tottenham's Defense So Good?
We are currently 11 games into the Premier League season, and Tottenham have proven to be the best defensive team in the entire league. Spurs have only allowed six goals in their 11 league games this season, which is the fewest goals allowed in the league. This should come as no surprise, however, because Tottenham were actually the best defensive team in the league last season (in terms of goals allowed) when they conceded only 35 times in 38 matches.
It is clearly not a fluke that Tottenham have started off this season as the best defensive team in the English Premier League once again, but how exactly have they managed to prevent their opponents from scoring?
Let's take a look at the three main reasons why opposing teams find it so difficult to score against Tottenham.
The Back Four
The first key to being a strong defending team is having a good back four, and Tottenham has the best back four in the Premier League. Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker all rank in the top 15 amongst EPL defenders in WhoScored.com ratings, making Tottenham the only team in the EPL to have more than two players rated in the top 15. Toby Alderweireld rounds out their back four, and few would question his abilities, as he was named to the PFA EPL Team of the Year just last season.
They Keep Possession of the Ball
Tottenham currently ranks fourth in the league in possession percentage at 56%. Not every team who keeps possession of the ball is good at defense, but keeping possession certainly helps limit scoring chances from opponents.
When Tottenham has the ball, the other team cannot score (or at least we hope not), so simply having possession of the ball as much as possible takes pressure off the defense. The combination of having the best back four in the league, along with an ability to keep possession is a very effective way to keep your opponents off the scoreboard.
The Defensive Midfielders
Tottenham already had the best defensive team in the league last season, but the addition of defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama from Southampton has made the defense even better. Wanyama has a 7.17 rating on WhoScored.com this season, which is well above the league average of roughly 6.8.
Mousa Dembele is another strong defensive presence in the midfield, and the duo has combined for 5.3 tackles per game this season. Since both Wanyama and Dembele are strong in the tackling department, it becomes difficult for opponents to keep possession of the ball and generate any type of attacking momentum going forward.
Tottenham has the best defensive back four in the EPL, per player ratings, and they have two of the best defensive-minded midfielders in the league in Wanyama and Dembele. Spurs clearly have the defensive talent to maintain their strong start to the season, and there is every reason to believe that they will finish the year with the least goals allowed in the EPL.