I’m working on a tactical review from Sunday’s thumping of City, but due to other responsibilities haven’t been able to crank it out yet. That said, one thing I wanted to point out now, perhaps to discuss in the comments?, is the way our passing has been transformed this season in the absence of Mousa Dembele.
Here is a passing map (provided by the excellent @11tegen11 Twitter account) showing our passing against Sunderland earlier this season, which is the only league game where Dembele has featured:
As you can see, there is a lot of passing here between the four players who are, in many ways, the base of our shape—center backs Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld and midfielders Victor Wanyama and Dembele. There is also a lot of passing through midfield thanks to Dembele’s exceptional ball retention abilities.
Now, here is a passing map from the weekend win against City which featured more of a 4-1-4-1 shape with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen playing just ahead of Wanyama:
Now almost all the passing is happening down the flanks until we get into the attacking half and can supply Eriksen.
I’ll have more to say on this later, but for now I just want to note that this shows an impressive degree of versatility, even by our own lofty standards in that area. If we can mix-and-match styles of play to suit the personnel on the field and the opponent, that makes us even more difficult to beat. This team could be very good.
On to the links:
TFF looked at how Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti heralded a new era of Italian playmakers.
The helpful Manchester United Tactics blog reviewed this weekend’s draw against Stoke.
Victor Wanyama won’t be playing for Kenya during this international break.
Jamie Redknapp says the title will come down to Manchester City, Liverpool, and (gulp) Tottenham.
Gary Neville likes us a lot too.
I don’t know what to do when pundits are talking about Spurs like this y’all. Help?