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