Tottenham Hotspur are struggling to find goal scoring form so far this season as the North Londoners look to settle their seven new signings in at White Hart Lane.
Following a devastating 6-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas described his side’s ‘extremely poor’ performance as shameful and embarrassing.
Meanwhile archrivals Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League table, four points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea as Tottenham slip down to 9th place after 12 games played, having taken 20 points from a possible 36 this term.
It has been something I’ve noted before in some statistical analysis articles about Tottenham this term - for all their problems exposed on Sunday, they take more shots than any other team in the league and take second-most possession from games (behind only Manchester City) but have scored just 9 goals this season which is just one more goal than basement team Sunderland have scored.
The arrival of seven new signings – many of them attacking and creative impact players – the likes of Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho has meant there has been a significant amount of rotation by Villas-Boas and its clear the team has yet to find a chemistry and cohesion, understandably.
What we currently see happening at Arsenal, meanwhile, is, I believe, the result of keeping all their key players this summer and adding just two new players (actually only one of them, Mesut Ozil, is genuinely a ‘new’ signing) – they have the majority of their players having played at the very least one season in the Premier League together, if not two, three, four and even five seasons as part of a unit together.
That back four that was criticised so heavily for years at the Emirates has now become the most solid and reliable in the league this year (2013) and their attacking players and midfield have scored enough goals to make them top of the table for 2013 (as a year).
Even Aaron Ramsey alone has scored 11 goals alone this season – two more than the entire Spurs squad and certainly more than the £103 million worth of new signings. Ramsey was bought for just £4.8 million from Cardiff. It's nothing to do with the money clubs spend - it's the time they take to build a team and Villas-Boas is going to need time to get them playing well together.
Ramsey has been at Arsenal for almost six years now – he’s been in the team with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott for six years, Mikel Arteta for two, Santi Cazorla for one – these players have an understanding.
You can’t expect seven new players to come into a squad and immediately understand each other and their teammates in just a few months. They’ve only been playing and training together since September and four weeks out of those two and a half months have been dedicated to international duty. These things take time – just ask Aaron Ramsey.
image: © wonker