Why Pochettino has to sort out the Spurs defence this summer


Only Crystal Palace, QPR and Leicester have less clean sheets than Tottenham this year.

This summer, Mauricio Pochettino should be addressing one problem within his Tottenham side more than any other - the club's poor defensive record.

Aside from the rumoured transfer of Kevin Wimmer from FC Koln, with some like the Mirror reporting it as good as done in recent days, there has been little in the way of talk about reenforcing the defence in recent weeks, with more attention paid to improving central midfield and attacking areas of the team by the British media.

Tottenham currently have a goals against record that is among the worst in the Premier League - in fact, only four teams have a worse figure that the North Londoners, and three of those are in the relegation zone.

Aside from QPR's woeful tally, Tottenham are just four goals against behind the next worst defences in the division, and crucially, are nine goals worse off than the next most porous defence in the top seven. The club also have just seven clean sheets, only QPR, Leicester and Crystal Palace have less.

Despite Spurs boasting one of the league's best goalkeepers in Hugo Lloris, as well as Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker, former PFA Players of the Year in their position, they have failed to arrest a disappointing tendency to make mistakes and concede goals.

Vertonghen and Walker have failed to replicate their decent form after initially joining the club, while mistakes continue to be made by whoever features at left-back or alongside the Belgian.

With Mauricio Pochettino in charge, it was presumed that Spurs would be able to make improvements when it came to shutting out the opposition, but despite the Argentine's record at Southampton, as well as his pedigree as an ex-international centre-back, things have actually gotten worse.

At the moment, Spurs are on course to achieve their worst goals against record since the 2007-08 season, where they finished in 11th position. Taking into account the average goals conceded this season by the Lilywhites, 1.45 a game, and the fact there are seven games remaining, Tottenham are on course to concede 55 goals.

In the 2011-12 season, Andre Villas-Boas's Tottenham side ended the season with 41 goals against, better than three other sides in the Premier League top seven.

Since then, the club's defensive record has gotten steadily worse, with 46 conceded the season after, 51 conceded last year, and an alarming 45 already this season, with seven games still remaining. Of those last few years, Tottenham have had a worse defence than any other side in the top seven that it was competing against when it comes to Champions League football.

Vlad Chiriches, Federico Fazio, Younes Kaboul, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Ben Davies; all have failed to positively influence Tottenham's defence in the last couple of seasons. The younger players listed here may yet offer something, but Pochettino has to ensure the defensive record is going in the right way as of next season, and sadly, it may take reconsidering the relatively lightweight midfield pairing of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb in central midfield.

Whatever the Spurs boss does, it is unlikely to be fixed with one signing, and could, and perhaps should, be his biggest headache as he prepares for next season.

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