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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2012-2013 - Match 10

The mystery of Sigurdsson and Dempsey

Once again, over 200 readers cast their vote regarding the performance of players, team, coach and officials following Saturday's disastrous performance against Wigan. Whether or not you consider that number representative of the mass of Spurs fans I will leave to you to decide, but I can tell you that the individual grades tend not to difffer significantly once about 50 votes have been cast. Personally, I find the system very helpful in assessing the performance levels of those concerned.

It would perhaps be more accurate to describe Brad Friedel as the least worst Spurs player on Saturday, rather than "man of the match". Friedel kept us in the game with those two fine first half saves. It is Brad's second such award, having been our best player in the home draw against Norwich, when he made many important saves.

The team performance against Wigan was our worst so far this season (35.4%), and the worst since a 1-0 defeat at QPR in April (35%). There were other assessments of a similar ilk last season when we lost at home to Norwich; surrendered at The Emirates, and were thrashed at home by Man City. So, poor team performance is nothing new, and will surely be rectified by Andre Villas-Boas.

Of deeper concern to me, and to many readers, is the form of two of our summer signings, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey. Both are regular International players. Both were more or less idolised at their previous clubs. Both were coveted by Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. Both were snatched away from the grasp of the "Scousers" by Daniel Levy. Both regularly find the net for their club and country. So, why has their overall form for Tottenham been so poor?

Sigurdsson was graded only 3.9 on Saturday, and Dempsey 3.6. The best of players can have an individual aberration on a single match-day. Even the legendary Ledley King got a 3.6 in that Norwich defeat last season. However, with overall grades so far this season of a mediocre 5.7, neither Sigurdsson or Dempsey have cut the mustard as yet for Spurs fans.

Sigurdsson scored 7 goals in his 17 Premier League games for Swansea last season (two against Wigan incidentally), whilst Dempsey top-scored for Fulham in the last two seasons (12 and 17 league goals respectively) and has 52 league goals to his name in 191 Premier league games.

In fairness, both have already found the net for Spurs this season, with Dempsey scoring crucial winning away goals at Old Trafford and against Southampton. Sigurdsson scored in Maribor and also at Carlisle.

The answer lies partly in the need for these players to adapt to a new role in AVB's system, which is rigid in basic formation, but has the potential to be fluid in style and positioning of individual players. Sigurdsson is an attacking midfielder, who plays best behind the front man/men, and in fairness on Saturday was asked to take Sandro's place as part of the "defensive" midfield two. Dempsey has traditionally been either an out and out striker, or an attacking wing player. More often than not this season, he has been asked to perform in the centre of the midfield three behind our lone striker - Jermain Defoe.

Home form has not been good this season, hence most Spurs fans have not seen our best performances, nor have they seen goals from these two players. Maybe on Thursday night in the important Europa League game against Maribor we will see an upturn in the fortunes and form of Sigurdsson and Dempsey?

Thanks for all your votes, and comments. I do read them all, and use them when I can.

See this week's Spursometer in full



Results 03-05.11.12

Man Utd    2-1   Arsenal
Fulham     2-2   Everton
Norwich    1-0   Stoke
S'derland  0-1   A. Villa
Swansea    1-1   Chelsea
Spurs      0-1   Wigan
West Ham   0-0   Man City
QPR        1-1   Reading
Liverpool  1-1   Newcastle
West Brom  2-0   S'hampton

           Barclays Premier League

                P   W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts
 1. Man Utd    10   8  0  2  26-14  12   24
 2. Chelsea    10   7  2  1  22-10  12   23  
 3. Man City   10   6  4  0  18-9    9   22
 4. Everton    10   4  5  1  19-13   6   17
 5. West Brom  10   5  2  3  15-11   4   17 
 6. Spurs      10   5  2  3  17-14   3   17 
 7. Arsenal    10   4  3  3  15-8    7   15  
 8. Fulham     10   4  3  3  21-16   5   15
 9. West Ham   10   4  3  3  13-11   2   15 
10. Newcastle  10   3  5  2  12-14  -2   14 
11. Swansea    10   3  3  4  15-14   1   12
12. Liverpool  10   2  5  3  13-15  -2   11
13. Wigan      10   3  2  5  11-16  -5   11
14. Norwich    10   2  4  4   8-18 -10   10
15. Stoke      10   1  6  3   8-10  -2    9
16. S'derland   9   1  6  2   6-9   -3    9
17. A. Villa   10   2  3  5   8-14  -6    9
18. Reading     9   0  5  4  12-18  -6    5
19. QPR        10   0  4  6   8-19 -11    4
20. S'hampton  10   1  1  8  14-28 -14    4

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