Tottenham were held for the 5th time in the Premier League this season during the weekend, as Leicester City came back from a goal down to draw level, leaving the White Hart Lane with a point at the end of what is best described a pulsating encounter.
With injuries to the club’s marksman Harry Kane, and central back Toby Alderweireld, it hasn’t been that rosy at both ends of the pitch for Spurs. The goals haven’t come in that much, and Saturday’s encounter was the 1st time they conceded from open play this season without the Belgian rock at the heart of the defence.
However, his partner put up a solid performance, and matters would have been worse without him in Mauricio Pochettino’s lineup. Vertonghen was unarguably the best performer for Tottenham against the defending champions.
The 29-year-old almost secured the winner for the hosts with less than 5 minutes to go, as he hit the crossbar with a powerful header having risen above everyone to connect with an N’Koudou’s cross. Most importantly and as usual, it was his defensive contributions that came to the fore as he helped save the day with his solid display at the back for Tottenham.
Vertonghen made 17 clearances and won 9 of his aerial duels (60%), the most of any player for both actions, effectively thwarting any little threat the visitors could muster in the final third. In a game of 31 fouls and 7 yellow cards between both sides, the Belgium international managed to keep it clean and prevent an imminent 1-match ban having already been booked 4 times this term.
Offensively, he also scored a high performance against Leicester City. He played 7 accurate long balls and recorded a pass success of 86.3% with an average pass length of 25metres. His brilliance against Leicester apart, Vertonghen has been a constant top notch performer for Spurs this season.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 29, 2016
The defender has appeared in all of Tottenham’s 10 Premier League games thus far, and his consistency all through is evident in his numbers. His pass accuracy has been at 85%, while its average length is 24 meters. He has averaged 13 defensive actions per game and won 65% of his duels.
If there is a reason why the White Hart Lane outfit has conceded just 5 goals in 10 games, the Belgian firstly comes to mind. His ability to position himself well closes any gaps goal poaching strikers would normally exploit, and he sure would play a huge role for Spurs at the back this season.
Of course, the team misses his other half Toby, but Vertonghen has been able to take a larger share of the defensive responsibilities upon himself. Not to say he is the more important of the duo, but considering how the team fell apart with 4 games to go last season having lost him to a knock, one wouldn’t err to adjudge him the team’s most valuable asset at the back.
The team can be rest assured that they won’t have any defensive problems with Vertonghen fit all season, and it would only get better when Alderweireld returns.
All that is left for Tottenham is to get it right upfront, but even when they have fallen short in attack, their defence has always not failed them, and it’s partly down to the presence of Vertonghen. With such performance like he produced against Leicester City, the club can finally get it right this season as far as a title challenge goes.