Ryan Mason vs Paulinho: Who should start for Tottenham?

Nathan Baker and Ryan Mason

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino gave the Brazilian the nod against Newcastle in the side’s last game.

Tottenham’s homegrown players have been one of the few plus points to an otherwise underwhelming season for the North London club.

Although Harry Kane has gained the majority of the plaudits, and rightly so, Ryan Mason has also established himself as a first-team regular and received a call-up to the England squad.

However, there is an argument to suggest that the box-to-box midfielder has not been at his best in recent months.

As such, Paulinho has slowly been reintroduced to the Tottenham first-team, with the Brazilian starting Premier League games against Burnley and last time out against Newcastle.

The former Corinthians man arrived at White Hart Lane with a significant reputation and was given the nod to play in the majority of Tottenham’s games last season, before being frozen out by Mauricio Pochettino.

As such, with Paulinho playing most of last season and Mason most of this term, it is worthwhile examining the statistics between the pair.

 This season AssistsChances createdGoalsShots on targetChances missedAccurate passesAccurate forward passesAppearances
Ryan Mason 0.12 0.85 0.04 0.46 0.08 40.54 25 26
Last season AssistsChances createdGoalsShots on targetChances missedAccurate passesAccurate forward passesAppearances
Paulinho 0.07 0.73 0.2 0.83 0.37 36.27 21.83 30

As can be seen in tables above, although Paulinho scored six Premier League goals in 2013-14 compared to Mason’s one this season, the Englishman outdoes the Brazilian in almost every other area.

Paulinho did register more shots on goal per game last term than Mason has this season, but the South American was also guilty of missing significantly more chances.

Mason’s passing, assists and the number of chances created for team-mates have been more this season than Paulinho managed last term.

As both players have largely been deployed in the centre of the park, the tables below show the defensive attributes of the respective players.

This season Errors leading to shotsBlocked shotsWon tacklesDuels wonHeaders wonInterceptionsAppearances
Ryan Mason 0.12 0.12 2.19 5.19 0.58 1.46 26
 Last season Errors leading to shotsBlocked shotsWon tacklesDuels wonHeaders wonInterceptionsAppearances
Paulinho 0 0.13 1.73 4.13 0.5 1.07 30

Again, Mason appears to come out on top.

While Paulinho did not make any mistakes that led to the opposition having a shot at goal last term and has slightly better blocked shots statistics, the England international prevails in all the other areas.

Mason has made more tackles and interceptions and won more duels and headers this season than Paulinho did last term.

Verdict

Mason’s commitment to the Spurs cause is clear when he plays, which cannot be said about Paulinho’s performances.

Although the Brazilian appears to be more of an attacking threat that the homegrown star, Mason’s all-round game is more comprehensive.

For Spurs looking forward, Mason appears like a player that will continue to be a prevalent member of the first team, while Paulinho will need to be played further forward, remain in the fringes or be sold.

Spurs fans - what do you think - should Tottenham start Mason or Paulinho?

Should Tottenham start Ryan Mason or Paulinho?
Mason
Paulinho
Neither
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