Practicing Set Pieces Might Be Paying Off For Tottenham Hotspur

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Tottenham Hotspur Manager Andre Villas-Boas gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at Sports Direct Arena on August 18, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

You know how the story goes. Under Harry Redknapp, Tottenham Hotspur rarely, if ever, practiced set pieces. Harry relied on the skill of the players to go out and make it work. As a result, goals from set pieces, particularly corners, were few and far between for Spurs. Andre Villas-Boas is now at the helm of Spurs and it seems like he has the lads working on set pieces a bit more.

In the opening match against Newcastle Tottenham created four attempts on goal from set pieces or roughly 26% of their total shots (via whoscored.com). Gylfi Sigurdsson's delivery on corners was especially good and he found his man at the far post with a couple of attempts. It seems odd that Spurs would aim for that far post so often given the relative success the club has had with Gareth Bale winning headers at the near post in seasons past, but I'm sure there's a reason for it.

In addition, the team did not concede any shots from set pieces, which is a huge improvement over last season. I think I'm more pleased with the defensive efforts on set pieces than I am the better performance on the attacking end. So often last year conceded late goals from corners or free kicks and, even though this is only one game, it looks like things have tightened up at the back. The only worry with the defense on set pieces was Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart's attempt at defending Hatem Ben Arfa. If more teams try to do that against us on corners we may be in trouble.

What did you think of the clubs performance on set pieces? Sound off in the comments.

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