Vertonghen and Sandro have been out injured for a considerable time but both made promising appearances in a reserve game last week and have a chance of making the squad for the Manchester City game. Most Spurs fans would agree that they are key players for Tottenham but do the stats back this up?
Using the excellent football statistics website WhoScored.com I looked at aggregated defensive statistics from last season’s Premier League (note: just including Spurs players).
Successful tackles per game
Last season Sandro was our top player in terms of tackles won with 3.3 per game and Vertonghen was second with 3.1 . The next highest in the squad was Dembele with 2.7 .
Interceptions per game
In terms of interceptions, Sandro was best again with 3.6 , way ahead of second place Assou-Ekotto on 3.0 (you could argue we need him back too). Vertonghen was next with 2.9 . Kyle Walker came fourth, much lower down on 2.4 .
Dembele and Sandro were top of the list when it came to fouls committed (in that order) as you would expect given the number of tackles they made, but interestingly Vertonghen was down in 13th place. He comitted fewer fouls than Clint Dempsey. Perhaps this points to his quality, he wins the ball without resorting to ugly challenges.
WhoScored.com also produce an overall player rating for each game based on many statistical factors. An averaged score for last season is also available. There are no prizes for guessing that Gareth Bale topped this for Spurs’ players, but second and third place were taken by Jan Vertonghen and Sandro respectively.
So last season, out of current Tottenham squad members (i.e. not including Bale and BAE), Vertonghen and Sandro made the most tackles, intercepted the opponents passes the most times and were rated top in terms of overall influence.
It doesn’t take a statistician to know that these two players have been key to Spurs in the past. Last year Tottenham’s season went downhill the second Sandro was injured and this season we have looked much less solid since Jan Vertonghen has been missing. It is however interesting that the statistics do seem back this up. Let’s hope they’re back for an extended run in the team, we could do with a defensive boost before our next game against the league’s highest scorers.