Stats: Should Paulinho be starting for Tottenham?

Tottenham WHL

The Brazil international has spoken of his desire to win a place back in the Spurs starting XI – but does he deserve a spot?

Paulinho was one of the summer signings made by Tottenham that evoked excitement in the White Hart Lane faithful after his starring role for Brazil in the Confederations Cup.

However, since Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas in the north London hotseat, the former Corinthians man has struggled to place consistently.

Injuries and the emergence of Nabil Bentaleb have played their part in Paulinho being predominantly a substitute of late.

Sherwood seems to prefer Mousa Dembele and Bentaleb in the centre of the park, but how do the pair compare to Paulinho statistically?

NameTeamPosGoal AssistTotal Att Assist / appsGoalsWon Tackle / appsInterception Won / appsWon Contest / appsAccurate Pass / appsTouches / apps
Paulinho Spurs MF 2 0.83 4 1.63 1.00 0.96 35.79 55.75
Nabil Bentaleb Spurs MF 1 0.54 0 2.08 2.00 0.31 41.92 59.77
Mousa Dembélé Spurs MF 1 1.19 1 2.19 0.69 2.54 38.19 55.54

The table above shows that Paulinho certainly has some attacking attributes to offer Spurs.

He has scored four goals this season and offered two assists, more than the other two combined.

One observation of the Spurs fans has been that the South American gets himself into good positions to score, but has been inaccurate.

The Won Contest category refers to successful dribbles, with Dembele not surprisingly the leader in this aspect of the game.

Dembele also provides the most opportunities for team-mates to have a shot at goal, with 1.19 per game compared to Paulinho’s 0.83.

One area where Paulinho has seemingly struggled is with the force of tackling in the English game, as the Brazilian has been beaten in 50-50 situations too often this term.

This is reflected in the stats, as both Bentaleb and Dembele make on average more tackles per game.

Bentaleb averages the most interceptions per game and has the most involvement with touches of the ball.

Tellingly, the youngster also has the most accurate passing, with Paulinho the worst of the three midfielders.

There is certainly something to be taken from the stats. Bentaleb is worthy of inclusion as his defensive and ball retention abilities are superior to the other two.

Alongside the young Algerian, it seems like there may well only be room for either Dembele or Paulinho but not both.

The Brazilian still has a lot of offer Spurs, and as such any talk of him leaving White Hart Lane this summer seems premature.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch