8 duels won, 14 clearances: Tottenham defender inspirational in key victory

Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Vertonghen led by example on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen put in one of his best performances of the season as Spurs downed Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road.

The North Londoners travelled to the capital’s west looking to put their recent League Cup final defeat to Chelsea firmly behind them and get their top four charge back up and running.

It was always destined to be a tricky encounter against a Hoops side who are solid on their own patch, but two goals from Harry Kane earned Mauricio Pochettino’s men the three points.

The 21-year-striker received widespread acclaim for another top performance, but the influence of Vertonghen was also key to the visitors’ crucial victory.

  TacklesInterceptionsEffective ClearancesDefensive Duels WonAerial Duels WonBall RecoveriesAccurate PassesMins Played
Jan Vertonghen 2 3 14 8 5 5 31 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Vertonghen was a rock the back and from a statistical point of view and put in his second best performance of the Premier League campaign – his best being vs Leicester City.

The Belgian international was tasked with keeping the excellent Charlie Austin at bay and he did a sound job, recording two tackles, three interceptions and a whopping 14 effective clearances.

Furthermore, the 27-year-old won his fair share of duels and came out on top in as many as eight 50/50s while also winning five aerial battles.

In possession Vertonghen was assured and reliable in distributing the ball out from the back, completing 31 accurate passes with an average success rate of 81.6% - his side’s third best on the day.

It was important for the Lilywhites to quickly get their Europa League and League Cup disappointments out of their system and victory at Loftus Road was ultimately the best remedy.

With just 10 league fixtures left, the race for the top four is undoubtedly the most exciting battle for the neutral as just five points now separate five teams seeking those third and fourth spots.

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