How Bentancur Balances Spurs Defence And Attack

Adrian Clarke explains why the recuperating Uruguayan will be Fulham’s most crucial player. How Bentancur Balances Spurs Defence And Attack

Adrian Clarke examines crucial tactical considerations and potential game-changers for Matchweek 21.

Rodrigo Bentancur (TOT)

Bentancur’s inclusion makes Tottenham Hotspur a more formidable team both on and off the ball, so Antonio Conte will be pleased to see the Uruguayan make a full recovery. In his first appearance since the FIFA World Cup 2022, the 25-year-old played 75 minutes in Thursday night’s loss at Manchester City.

His presence alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be appreciated against Fulham at Craven Cottage, where Spurs will likely face a midfield trip of Joao Palhinha, Harrison Reed, and Andreas Pereira.

Protecting the back three

Spurs’ defence is struggling, having given up at least two goals in nine of their last ten Premier League games.

Bentancur, who missed four games before making a comeback, does provide dependable defence in the pitch’s middle.

He is a box-to-box midfielder who breaks up play better than any other Spurs player thanks to his mobility, intelligence, and aggression.

His ability to win the ball should enable Conte’s team to exert better control than in recent games.

Bentancur’s defensive stats

2022/23                                Per 90                            Spurs rank*

Possession won                      7.7                                           1st

Tackles                                     2.6                                          1st

Tackles won                            1.6                                           1st

Blocks                                     1.0                                             1st

How Bentancur Balances Spurs Defence And Attack

Bentancur made an immediate impact against Man City by forcing Rodri to make a mistake that led to the opening goal for Spurs.

Rodri’s hurried pass fell to Dejan Kulusevski for the goal after his late sprint to press the Spaniard on the edge of his own box from an Ederson pass was incredibly effective.

In a 6-2 victory over Leicester City earlier this season, Bentancur used a similar strategy to dislodge Wilfred Ndidi and go on to score.

Spurs’ best pressers

Player                         Mins. played                           Pressures                      Pressures/90

Richarlison                      469                                      191                                      36.7

Kulusevski                      882                                       296                                     30.2

Bentancur                     1259                                        330                                    23.6

Son                                 1485                                        379                                    23.0

Sessegnon                    800                                        168                                      18.9

Bentancur applies 23.6 pressures on average per game.

He exerts the most effort for Spurs in central midfield to limit opponents’ space.

Goalscoring midfielder

With four goals in 14 starts, Bentancur is also a goal threat.

He scored tying goals against Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League in October. He has also scored late winners against AFC Bournemouth and Leeds United.

It’s interesting to note that after the 72nd minute, he has been directly involved in five of his six Premier League goals this season.

Best shot converters 2022/23

Conversion rate (%)                                                   Shot accuracy (%)

Summerville                   57.1                                              Bentancur          77.8

Bentancur                       44.4                                            Firmino               76.9

Gross                               42.9                                             Trossard               72.0

Haaland                          37.3                                              Summerville          71.4

Alvarez                           36.4                                                Gross                       71.4

Bentancur frequently enters the box late and is incredibly composed when given the chance to score.

He has the highest percentage of shots that find the back of the net among players who have scored at least four goals this season.

He also has the second-best conversion rate among players who meet the same criteria in his division.

On Monday, keep an eye out for Bentancur to be sniffing around for a chance to fall his way when Spurs push Fulham back.

His ability to finish can take some of the pressure off Son Heung-min, Kulusevski, and Harry Kane.

Being able to choose from such a well-rounded and adaptable central midfielder will make Spurs very happy.

About John Breaux

For all the latest Premier League news, visit the dedicated website of the Premier League. The Premier League is the highest level of the men's English football league system.

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