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The Finishing Touch

They may not reveal the whole story, but much can be gleaned from the realms of statistics. Overall they paint a very promising picture of our current team, if only by confirming what we already know for the most part. Our defence is stronger and in Lloris we have a keeper of real class. We have one of the best central midfield pairings in the league with Sandro and Dembele, both of whom have remarkable tackling stats. The team's passing success is very good while our two star wingers are up there with the best chance creators. In fact, from across Europe's five top leagues Spurs have taken more shots per game than all but three teams.

Unfortunately, our goals scored record is way down the charts at 14th. If the stats tell us anything at all, it is that our two strikers are really quite pants. I cannot help but laugh when commentators perpetuate one of the great urban legends with remarks like 'you know when he gets a chance in that area there is only one place the ball is going to end up...' for it is a complete myth that Jermain Defoe is a natural finisher. In a season where he has, by most accounts, been 'hot' for the best part, Defoe has scored 10 goals from 94 shots. That is a 10.6% chance conversion rate which is quite frankly appalling. Adebayor is no better, but to be fair we have built our attack around Defoe and Ade perhaps suffers from being second choice.

Dempsey is a better goal poacher while both Lennon and Bale are more likely to convert a chance than Defoe. The point of this article, though, is not to attack our attackers just because they can't. Rather, I want to ask you to what extent should we take into account conversion statistics when the finishing touch to our team would just be a striker with a finishing touch. Many have called for the signing of Negredo because at 12 million he would be an absolute steal, while the notion that we might blow 7 - 10 on Gary Hooper would be, well frankly, a bit of a let down. Leandro Damiao would be fantastic of course, Heung-Min Son... well yes, and perhaps he could sell some shirts in Asia.

With the hype that surrounds Negredo, I was surprised to discover that his finishing is almost as bad as Defoe's, with a conversion rate of 1 in 8 chances. Not exactly the upgrade we dream of. Leandro is (really) a natural finisher, last season he converted 1 in 4.6 in the league, while scoring 10 from 13 games. That's impressive and it is why we would clearly like to buy him, but also why he may be out of our reach. In Son we have a very gifted player who again finishes 1 in 4.5. Certainly a significant upgrade. However, by far and away the best statistical finisher is Gary Hooper with an remarkably high conversion rate of 1 goal from every 2.46 shots. He also comes with the higher assist rate (Negredo has zero assists this season).

Well what do you expect, I hear you cry, from the Scottish League? But it is not like Negredo doesn't face relatively easy opposition most weeks too. Of course I don't think that Hooper will maintain statistics like that in the PL, but they are nevertheless impressive figures which suggest the man is a clinical chance taker. I doubt Defoe would reach those numbers in any league. So bring me Leandro Damiao by all means Mr Levy, while Son would be most welcome too, but before we rush in to buy, in Negredo, another selfish 1 in 8 striker, I would welcome the prodigal son Hooper with open arms.

Written by Guernman

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The journalist

Writer: Guernman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 28 2013

Time: 1:25PM

Your Comments

Balle Balle
G Star
If so i would like to build a team with you :)
G Star
Good article, like the stats. Are you the kid from Moneyball?
G Star
Lies, damn lies and statistics! Having said that seeing Hooper in a Spurs shirt wouldn't upset me at all.
He knows the league, knows the climate and knows what is expected at a club like Spurs, having been booted out by us once before. He has something to prove and in the right team with the right supply he will score goals. Trust me Hooper might not be a glamour signing but he could well score 10 to 15 goals for us between now and the end of the season. That's all the glamour I need thank you.
Those of you wanting us to buy a striker for the sake of buying ala a Hooper need a slap...get a grip we 4th and sailing along nicely...if a good deal is available for a top striker then go for it otherwise im happy to wait till the summer. Last thing we want is stock piling krap players again and then trying to get rif of them in 18months time. If we steer clear of major injuries then i am more than confident of a top 3/4 finish COYMFS!!!
But AVB says we don't need to bring in a striker. As anyone who is on this site knows, I've been a solid AVB supporter since he came aboard, but let's face it, either we bring in a new striker or we need to go radical with formations. 4-6-0 anyone? Better than pretending we have a striker when we don't, no?
Total knobhead
Actually, to be truthful about it, we don't have adequate personnel in midfield at the moment to be truly effective at a 4-6-0 either. We'd surely need to bring in, at least, Holtby, to pull off something approaching that.
Total knobhead
Holtby deal is done!
Nice article. As for Defoe, I think you have to break it down into 3 pieces. The first is the number of goalscoring positions he personally gets into for the team. The second is the amount of chances he gets from them only when a team-mate can find him and the third is his conversion rate from those chances. Guernman only really talks about the last 2 and that is really all that can be measured. The problem though is that first that Defoe is best at the one that isn't measured. He's probably the best speculator out there and is why he gets so many chances.

By the way, this is not me defending him and making a case for him. He's not the answer for where we're going but would be a great impact bench player. For the record, I liked what Obika did when he came on. Played off the shoulder of the last man, and scared them with his pace. Up to the moment he put his chance wide he did everything superbly. He let it bounce and managed his stride pattern to get into an optimal shooting position. I'm not sure what happened after that but it would be very harsh to blame him for us going out the cup.

As for stats, I always think the ones you can learn most from are the goals conceded and goals scored. That shares the best trends in football and directly correlates to the points tally.
Now it looks as if we've gt Holtby,lets go for Hooper and Diame. Should get us top four.
tk, your spot on, i know barca do it, but that never just happened overnight, with a lot of hard work on the training ground it could work for us, the movement and passing vs malaga was outstanding the other night, playing 4-5-1-0 Messi played behind the striker, they never had, they keep inter changing and the goal Pique scored most top strikers would not have scored that.
spu 4 life
We should snap up Vydra at Watford. 18 goals this season and only 20 yrs old On loan from parent club Udinese. wouldn't cost the earth and would have decent sell on value if he did fall at a higher level, but what i have seen he knows where the back of the net is
You could argue Robbie keane's stats when he was on-loan at Celtic made him Premiership quality. Unfortunately you cannot use the stats taken from a league comparable to our league 1.
Igor de Camargo. £3 million. Don't know much about him but this could happen before Thursday apparently. Brazilian born Belgian.
Sebthespur copy & paste job...
Klinspurs This is what we need!!!
coys1717, i agree and i am aware that many players stats are impressive in scotland, what worries me though is that negredo's stats are so very poor, and with no assists to boot. the spanish league offers plenty of opportunities against poorer teams too. negredo sounds more exotic than hooper of course and we do like the idea of a foreign star, but i just wonder if he might not be another defoe. leandro would be the ulitmate for me but brring that realistically I hope we go for heung min son as I think he offers the best all round package. I wouldn't be too upset with hooper though as he is more likely to settle quickly and he might just be more clinical than negredo
Negredo – Spanish international, played for Real Madrid, played with some of the best Talents in Europe, has played for many years in one of the best Leagues in the world. Hooper – Uncapped, plays in one of the poorest leagues in Europe, except form a handful of CL games no real experience in big games. There is no comparison.
Weve signed holtby! Thats 1 of the list, now a striker+diame and i'll be really confident 4 the rest of the season. Btw re:the article,hooper and damiao have good goalscoring records in the spl and brazilian leagues. Negredos record is still good but maybe not as good, but he's playing in la liga. Hooper is 5ft9 and wouldnt be an upgrade over defoe as he cant hold up play+play effectively as a lone striker. You may say negredos selfish but he would definetely be a able 2 play upfront on his own nd hold up play which is good enough 4 me. Hes also 6ft1
Thank you hudderspur! And btw son cant play upfront on his own he's more of a mirallas/podolski sort of striker.
Such stats as quoted in the article have absolutely nothing to do with what league the player is playing in. They are a measure of personal ability. If a guy scores a goal every 2.46 shots, what difference is it going to make if he moves to a different league? Does he suddenly lose his personal ability? Of course he doesn't. Get Hooper immediately !! If he had some fancy Brazilian name you'd all be having an orgasm at the thought of getting him with those stats.
muttley, I have to disagree with you on that one. Defoe has played with Bale and Lennon for years. Bale and Lennon create more than probably any onther wing combination in the League and yet, Bale has one assist and Lennon's assists on Defoe's goals have been 2 cutbacks. He does not get himself to where the ball will be. His runs are not in sync with his partner up top. Often his runs are directly in behind a defender who is 8-10 inches taller than he is. Here's an idea, try getting ball side. Demsey and he are not even on the same book and Ade and he is even worse. Defoe also gives up once his shot has been taken. It's always hands to his head and eyes skyward. Not like there'd ever be a rebound. Ade has been crap, so I can't say how much of his less than goodness is down to being out there with Defoe, but he really did seem to have an understanding with VDV, and he did seem to get in positions for Bale and Lennon. He didn't score 17 last season by individual effort. It was largely all creation off of someone else, whether for the goal or for the assist. Now, IMO, he may be one of the best impact subs out there. He can create a goal out of nothing. His pace, late in games, and his strength against tired defenders is a difference maker. I have not seen him beat anyone for pace this season. Bring hiom on later and he'll score at a much higher rate. .47 goals for every 90 minutes on the pitch is nowhere near good enough if that's who you are building your offence around.

Son is very dynamic. Negredo would be great, but really that will come down to him. He is being flogged and has not gone anywhere yet. A deal for him will happen at the last. Get in Son and Holtby and if we can pinch Negredo at the last, huzzah. If not we have at least addressed the three areas that are all cause for concern, striker, string-puller and wing options. Willian too may well be a last second thing. His club are cash rich. They don't need to sell. What about Aspas? What about Castaignos. I think Hooper would be fine. I would just be very wary of him being the "solution". It absolutely needs to be addressed. I believe Dempsey will do us all proud, but he really needs work off of. COYS
hudderspur, you may well be right, but you could also argue that in adebayor we have an international striker who has played for real madrid, arsenal and city. negredo has not featured much for spain and couldn't break into the madrid team. furthermore you have to wonder why his chairman is so keen to flog him, financial woes or not. my only point is that we assume that negredo will be a great solution but he could also be a flop. hooper, while not solving the problem, could well be an upgrade on defoe. I do think we have a bias towards exotic foreign names though. adebayor cost us a fair bit with wages factored in, and he hasn't really been given a decent run yet. I still think he can lead the line well and perhaps hooper would provide a better foil then defoe who has never gelled with anyone else.
Yep !...."son" (potentially, better than walcott) and Negredo.......edge your bets....£10 mill'..each. That'll do nicely.
Anyways we'll know if negredo will possibly sign b4 late thursday as his club are playing athletico madrid on thursday at 9 english time and if he plays then obviously we know he definetely wont b signing.
Nice post JattYid! COYS.
That was a close one BC - Lucky hit
Any striker we sign must be a player that AVB believes can get on the end of the Bale crosses. We lose so much in that aspect of the game. Considering that Bale's crosses usually come from the b-line, the offside issue is moot. They come ijn with incredible pace, which makes it essential that the player be there and be able to adjust. Get the effort on goal and it is in 9 times out of 10 as the keeper just does not have the time to react. This has to be the main focus. The striker has to fit what we have. Townsend is a similar monster. Pritchard tends to beat guys, so he's more of a Lennon when it comes to delivery in to the box. If the player is out there that can get on the end of those crosses and if he is able to create as well, we need to sign him up immediately, so long as AVB agrees and Levy can fit it in our system. OK it's not easy. But there has to be someone. Aspas? Castaignos? Son? Arnautovic? There are loads of guys. Son is a nobrainer. Multiple positions and huge merchandising potential. 10M is a steal. Technically sound. Free kicks. Corners. Penalties. What's not to like? COYS
TK - Didn't AVB also say we wouldn't sign Any players in January not so long ago? He also said he hadn't spoken to Spurs then suddenly was out new manager? I think either you are right or he is just letting the media flap in circles
interesting stats...where did you get them? As for Negredo I don't think you can only look at the conversion rate (incidentally how many attempts/goals were with the head? How many opportunities were back to goal or running on?) you have to also look at the team play...Negredo can play up top on his own, can Hooper?
pb - I say that based on seeing him live for England quite a few times. I'm not a Spurs season ticket holder so don't see him that often for Spurs. I do believe though when I've seen him live about 10-15 times that a lot of the angles he creates are probably off camera. They are more requiring a threaded ball rather than as you say being in the great position for a cross from wide. He's more the striker who will feed off the scraps when the big man goes for that cross. The problem is though that teams rarely play the big man / small man combo anymore and that is why guys like Owen and Defoe have become much less effective over the years. Defoe would have scored way more goals in the 80's and even 90's. That's also one of the reasons why he's less offside nowadays as there is no big man to win the header and play him in. I'm not defending him though. I'm with you in that he's now an impact sub.
hudderspur's comments have more of a bearing on whether the new signing would Peter knows from Moneyball the players that performed better were those that had an education at a higher level...I suggest Negredo wouldn't be over would hooper cope with coming back to the club that dropped him?
muttley, n that I will agree. The coaching in the 80's and 90's would have afforded Defoe a lot more opportunities. Now though, players can be shut down. There are sytems galore and a player like Defoe is greatly limited because defenders are more athletic and runs can generally only be picked out once there is an error in positioning. Because Defoe does not play 1-2's and such it leaves all the work to others and the breakdowns do not occur. Against ManU, Van Persie made three defensive headers. You have to contribute all over the pitch. Defoe does not do that. Impact sub, where tired defences allow him to use his qualities. His goal per 90 minute ratio was by far superior last season to any previous year. Harry got it righ. COYS
seems most are spending....(everton..£7mill ...fer)..except spurs......"come on you spurs"
Sorry, Amongst Europe's top 5 leagues (you must specify) means nothing. Are you counting just league goals? Have they all played roughly the same number of times? You should keep it down to what is the most comparable - which is the same league, against the same opposition and league goals only. We are FIFTH in the goals scored charts.... I am not saying that it could not be better, but we certainly ain't bad on that score. Arsenal are below us, yet have basically dished out a thrashing to have a higher number of goals scored but less points. I'd rather have the points ahead of the goals. We could do with a striker now, but let's not gamble the big bucks now. What it means is that we roughly score the number of goals that our position suggests. Anyway I am in agreement that we are pea shooters up front. Either default to Obika, or bring in a Hooper of something. In summer, definitely bring in a bold striker signing...
TonyRich feasible is the idea of Luciano Becchio; Appearances 31, Goals 19 Assist 5 ? 0.39 Goals per game.... 6' 1 good with both feet.... could he be a 20 goal a season player in the Prem for us?
OyVeh Maria
A majority of Defoe's missed attempts are left footed, 30+ yard shots, from an acute angle with about 4 opposition defenders blocking his path to goal and a teammate in a much better position. Basically low percentage, wasted attempts. Occasionally they fly into the top corner, but more often than not we are left frustrated by the fact he didnt simply pass to someone in a better position. His movement in the box isnt that great either. If he was more intelligent, he'd score more goals and get more assists, but he is what he is.
As for Defoe - let's give him credit. He has done ok this season. But we do know that the bigger, tougher, tighter the opposition are, the less likely that he will have any impact whatsoever, let alone score. Some games he is right man, others he is better off to bench....but we have no choice in the matter.... Now he is crocked, we have even less choice. What's worse is that I cannot trust the injury reports initially coming out of Spurs right now. The reality is always worse. Sandro was supposed to be ok, and then out for season. Parker, Kaboul, Ekotto all took longer. Even Dembele recently.... We need to get used to chanting Obika or Pritchard's name...
Darren Bent had good statistics, not a very good footballer though.
shedboy, stop with the moneyball. Spurs are not building that way unless you are suggesting that we must apply moneyball tactics to compete for a top 4, while applying a NYYankees style to all the rest of the league. We can't, on money, compete with Arsenal, Liverpool, ManU, City or Chelsea. We can compete on the field and we can develop players better. Even when we have our stadium and assuming we are in CL more often than not and assuming we start winning titles, it may just catch us up to Arsenal. That still leaves the situation more or less as it is now.

Yes, the players we get need a football brain. The education cannot really be compared to baseball where most players are University educated, and unlike football and basketball, those players do not generally get "helped" through the system. We need a string puller that can create chances for Dempsey, Ade and Defoe taking in to account their styles of play. We need a striker who can play in a partner, or pull defenders to him to allow Bale or Lennon room. In Dempsey we have a guy who just knows where to be for rebounds and for what I call "garbage" goals. Whoever it is, must fit within the team. This is why the job is so difficult for AVB and Levy. Harry spent 40M on Defoe, Keane and Crouch. Can anyone say they paid off? It certainly cut a huge hole in our transfer budget and our wage budget. Keane was surplus in under a year. Crouch in 18 months. Defoe, by last year was an impact sub. I am not just picking on Defoe. Bentley's signuing has caused huge issues too. Another 15M and wages that are not inexpensive for a guy who has barely featured. 62 appearances for Spurs in all those years. We cannot afford thes types of mistakes. COYS
becchio......the age is against him........
82spursdebut - Everton never spend. This makes me think they will loose a midfielder at the same time....
PeterB - you always have to be careful with goal per ninety mins. More goals are scored in the second half, and even a higher percentage in the last 15 mins - which is when subs come on usually. Totally misleading in terms of the likelihood of that player scoring if they started the game. However, as you said it could indicate an optimum usage of the player.
perhaps phil neville is going to QPR..or retiring
BigC, on Pav, regardless of what anyone thought, he scored .6 goals per 90 minutes on the pitch for his time at Spurs. Onlylast season, when Defoe was an impact sub, has he exceeded what Pav did year in and year out. Strikers are paid to score. Pav never got a run in the team as "the guy" so I cannot say what he could, or could not have become. He certainly looked in sync with Modric and Kranjcar when they were out there together. Anyway, he was never what we needed to replace Berbatov.

If you look at Iniesta's stats (not the glory ones) he, like Modric, proves to be a cut above. Very few loose passes, lots of interceptions, great tackle ratio, almost all passes are forward. It all depends what you look for in stats. People lament the loss of Modric. I actually think that Dembele and Sandro have changed our style of play in that they really push the ball forward ith pace. With defences cheating outside to limit Bale and Lennon, they are pushing in to all the gaps left up the gut. What they lack is that clinical pass. How much that is as a result of poor runs and how much is due to the lack of precision of Sandro and Dembele, I don't know. But if they can get shooting boots on and start getting laces through the ball, there will be rebounds. That's where Dempsey and Defoe could be lethal. Hopefully Holtby will be that guy to be able to play the 1-2's with Sandro and Dembele. We ae too obvious. We need pace inserted in to our creativity. COYS
Holtby deal confirmed.

Peter ... People keep citing the deals for Keane, Defoe but those 'fees' were manufactured from money owed to us. If Liverpool 'buy' Keane of you for 20m, but pay only 10m up front..then you pay the 10m back to get him back, then you haven't spent anything. You could argue that that 10m (or whatever),could have been better used but in reality I believe that Levy came out on top of those two deals... Plus the Crouch one where we exploited a club on way to financial we sold him on for major whack... Again, you could argue that football wise that maybe we did not fully utilise all three strikers... But during that time we had our highest 3 consecutive Premiership can't moan too much... As for now, I FULLY agree that we must look into the mind, the heart and spirit of the player. Vertonghen YES. Sandro YES. Dempsey YES. Pav NO. Bentley NO. Bent NO. I don't think that it is rocket science, but it takes effort...and that is the problem.
Great news on the Holtby deal done early. Now a striker please and we are good to go. COYS
TonyRich, leaving Keane on their books would have left us with the 17M to invest on another player and would have left Liverpool with those wages. Wages we had previously refused to give him because he did not merit it. We did not sell Crouch on for Major Whack. We bought him for 9.2 and sold him for 9.4. What is missing in all that is we had to give him 4M just to make him go away, so really we sold him at a loss. The fact Harry convinced Pompey to pay 12M to liverpool did not mean that was good value. Why do you think they went bankrupt? COYS
Anyone who thinks we don't need a striker is ignoring the fact that as of this moment we have NO striker. None. Nada. Now, Defoe and Adebayor in all likelihood will return, although the gods know what that will mean. But in the absence of any striker one either (a) plays a formation without a striker, e.g., 4-6-0, or 4-5-1-0, or one plays a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-2-1 or something of that sort pretending that someone like Dempsey or Siggurdson is a striker. Generally, strategies based on self-pretense don't work out so well. So, bring in a striker or two or take advantage of bringing on Holtby and start practicing playing some formations that don't use a traditional striker. We know that such formations can work with the right personnel and training. Spain, Barça, for example. AVB could be the man to be creative at N17, no? Or, DL et al. need to open up the check book a bit.
Total knobhead
Sorry. I said we have NO striker. We do have an almost untried and untested striker in Obika. My apology to the young man. We have an untried and untested striker. Didn't see enough of him yesterday to form much of an impression of the lad.
Total knobhead
Has anyone worked out for how many of Defoes missed shots, there was a much better option available?
Tottenham Hotcore
Oh you can prove anything with statisitics, 75% of people know that!
Slurms McKenzie
I think with statistics you need to see the individual play before making assumptions.According to Peterbalb, all of the opposition goals against Friedel earlier in the season should have been saved.Should we not subtract these from the goal scorers statistics.
matt hoten
Guernman- what's the source of the stats? Peter- I didn't bring up moneyball, that was you, I thought you'd appreciate me dropping in a bit...;)

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