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Spurs have worst disciplinary record in Premier League since Bale left

Tottenham's disciplinary record has nosedived since 2012/13, with a change in playing style since the Welshman left almost certainly a factor

It is clear that Spurs are not the same side since Gareth Bale left the club. Any side that loses a player of such ability, and of such importance, are sure to face a period of adjustment - as Liverpool are finding this year much like Tottenham did last season, but one thing that has hugely changed is the club's disciplinary record.

Spurs have gone from being one of the strongest in the league with regards to not conceding penalties, as well as avoiding yellow and red cards, to one of the worst. Already this season, Spurs have three red cards in the league - Kyle Naughton with two, Federico Fazio with the other (not to mention the Argentine's dismissal in the Europa League), while they have also conceded an astonishing FIVE penalties.

Premier League seasons 2013/14 & 2014/15

  Penalty ConcededTotal Yel CardTotal Red CardFk Foul LostAppearances
Tottenham 10 87 7 550 49
C. Palace 9 75 5 560 49
Stoke 8 97 5 632 49
Newcastle 5 73 7 535 49
Sunderland 4 94 7 580 49

Premier League seasons 2011/12 & 2012/13

  Penalty ConcededTotal Yel CardTotal Red CardFk Foul LostAppearances
Aston Villa 15 142 5 868 76
West Brom 15 111 5 858 76
Wigan 15 133 5 937 76
Arsenal 10 106 9 790 76
QPR 6 113 12 815 76
Tottenham 4 98 5 767 76

As you can see in the tables above, Spurs have already conceded two and a half as many penalties since since the start of last season as they managed in the entirety of the two seasons before that. No one has conceded more in fact, while they were in the most disciplined five for penalties conceded in Bale's last two seasons at the club. 

Likewise, they already have more red cards comparing the two time frames, and are only eleven yellow cards from what they managed in two entire seasons, despite playing 27 less games.

How much the absence of Bale contributes to the club's increased disciplinary problems is of course very much debatable, and it could instead be a mixture of the fact the infamous arrival of a dozen first team players since summer 2013 has unsettled whatever continuity and communication had been cultivated within the squad. The fact the majority of these players have struggled to settle or claim a regular role for Spurs in which to grow in confidence surely exacerbates any defensive problems, while the continuous uncertainty over how long each Spurs manager is going to stay in charge also contributes.

But one thing Tottenham had in Bale, complemented by an in form Aaron Lennon on the other flank, was a wonderful attacking outlet, something vitally important whenever the defence was under pressure. Both players, lightning quick, could turn defence into dangerous counter attacks in the blink of the eye, giving the side's defenders a chance to regroup and organise.

With Spurs now playing a higher line, in turn pushing the opposition a little deeper, there is less space for the club's attacking players to break beyond the defence, despite still possessing Lennon and Andros Townsend, two players that can do damage with their pace. In fact, it is Spurs who are leaving the space behind their defensive line for opposing players to get behind, hence the increased dismissals and penalties.

Though it is clear Spurs are currently a weaker side than they were in 2012/13, that is no excuse as to why there has been such a collapse in discipline on the pitch, and it seems to further indicate that the tactical shift caused by Bale's departure and the players subsequently brought in have made the White Hart Lane side a much more vulnerable outfit.

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