Stats: O'Shea proves himself against Spurs' current defensive options

Sunderland's John O'Shea may just surprise a few Spurs fans when they see how he compares to Tottenham's current defensive group.

With Tottenham still yet to sign any players this summer, it's fair to say one name supporters wouldn't have expected, or in all honesty wanted, to see linked to Mauricio Pochettino's revolution is Sunderland's John O'Shea.

But nevertheless, the Telegraph today ran with a story that the North London club were seeking to add the Irishman to their squad.

With Spurs being undone by a catalogue of defensive mishaps across the season, the prospect of a  33-year-old Sunderland defender will not be the news that will fill fans with hope.

We've correlated statistics on the current Spurs centre backs and the Sunderland captain, covering several defensive areas to see if signing O'Shea would be as bizarre as it sounds, or whether there's a reason why he played a part in Manchester United's success for so long.

  TeamPosTackling Accuracy %mins / Total Clearance% Ground Duels Won% Aerial Duels WonAppsMins
Jan Vertonghen Spurs DF 87.50 18.91 61.19 76.00 23 2,004
John O'Shea Sunderland DF 79.55 17.19 61.54 60.83 33 2,922
Vlad Chiriches Spurs DF 78.38 19.08 56.05 48.08 17 1,412
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 72.34 11.35 63.00 65.67 32 2,838
Younes Kaboul Spurs DF 68.00 11.50 64.29 67.44 13 943

The first surprise the statistics above show is that O'Shea is second only to Jan Vertonghen when it comes to tackling accuracy. O'Shea also beats half the Spurs defenders in minutes per total clearance, and percentage of ground duels won. Interestingly, despite his height, the Black Cats defender fails to match the likes of Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul, who are similar height.

  TeamPosError Lead To Goalmins / Poss Lost AllPassing Accuracy %FoulsAppsMins
Jan Vertonghen Spurs DF 3 7.53 81.27 12 23 2,004
John O'Shea Sunderland DF 0 13.04 83.77 21 33 2,922
Vlad Chiriches Spurs DF 1 11.97 88.63 13 17 1,412
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 2 9.13 81.62 29 32 2,838
Younes Kaboul Spurs DF 1 5.65 71.85 9 13 943

This next table highlights just how poor Spurs were defensively last season, with every central defender making at least one error that led to a goal. In contrast, O'Shea made no errors of this kind, despite playing more minutes than every defender. He also has a better minutes per possession lost ratio, again, despite playing for a team that only just scraped clear of relegation. And finally, the former United defender is second only to Vlad Chriches when it comes to passing accuracy, above accomplished passers such as Vertonghen and Dawson.

Despite it sounding like madness originally, it seems that, statistically at least, O'Shea would be a more than capable addition to Tottenham's current defensive ranks, at least as a squad player.

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