Friday, 9 January 2015

Chadli thinking inside the box

Last season much was made of the way Spurs spent the money made from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, the general consensus was that they had signed quantity over quality and not enough of the players were up to scratch. For many of those players that still rings true, Paulinho is yet to start a game this season, Soldado has just one Premier League goal and has been usurped by Harry Kane and Erik Lamela has shone brightly at times, but not consistently enough.

Of those captures Christian Eriksen continues to look the best acquisition, with 7 goals and 1 assist this term. However, another of those players also seems to be proving his worth: Nacer Chadli. Like Eriksen and Kane, the Belgian winger has 7 goals, last season he managed just one goal. Chadli also looks set to surpass the number of performances he put in last season, he has only started one less game in this campaign than in the whole of the last. I think that underlines his growing importance under Pochettino’s rule. Another has been his limited inclusion in the Europa League sides, which have been reserved mainly to give players game time.

Alongside Lamela, Chadli leads the way in the Spurs side with four assists. Despite having scored as many goals as Kane and Eriksen, Chadli doesn’t seem to have got as much recognition, he is quietly getting on with his job and to a good effect. His contributions in front of goal have been telling too, his goals against Arsenal and Sunderland secured draws and against Villa helped Spurs to win. The same is true of his assists. Unsurprisingly, Chadli has the third highest number of shots per game and makes the third highest number of chances. Interestingly, the rate at which he is creating chances hasn’t changed since last season, maybe it’s just that there is now somebody in the team capable of finishing them.

He has increased the number of shots he’s having from 1.4 to 1.8 from last season to this, but that’s not an increase that warrants the increase in the number of times he’s found the net to date. The reason becomes clearer if we delve a little deeper. Last season Chadli was having one shot every two games from inside the penalty area, this season that value is 1.4 shots per game, as many shots as he was averaging per game last season. 

Chadli' s shots by area
Having more shots from inside the area is, unsurpisingly, resulting in more goals. More of his shots are on target too, he’s managing 0.9 per game this season compared to 0.3 last season. That could be as a result of shooting from better positions and taking less shots from outside the area. This also suggests that Chadli is maybe assessing his options before he shoots, which is resulting in better positions for him and his team. 

Whether shooting from inside the box is something that Spurs have worked on, or is just a part of Chadli’s game which has grown as he’s become more confident and settled in England, is unclear but it’s certainly paying dividends. Spurs will be hoping that Chadli can continue this fine form for the remainder of the season and maybe also that some of the other signings from last season have a similar turn around in form.

Statistics courtesy of

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