What was wrong with Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen at Stoke?

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen had a game to forget on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen posted arguably his worst performance of the season as Spurs were disappointingly beaten 3-0 at Stoke City on Saturday.

Spurs entered the encounter at the Britannia Stadium facing a mini injury crisis at the back with regular full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose both unavailable for selection.

As a result, Belgian international Vertonghen pushed into a relatively unfamiliar left-back role while Vlad Chiriches partnered Federico Fazio in the middle.

It was a risky strategy from Mauricio Pochettino, and one he will be keen to avoid in the future as Chiriches was red-carded and his other three defenders were all guilty of committing poor defensive errors.

  TacklesAerial Duels Won-LostDefensive Duels Won-LostError Lead To GoalAccurate PassesPass compltion %Mins Played
Jan Vertonghen 0 1-3 2-4 1 17 70.8% 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Vertonghen was arguably the biggest culprit as a player of his ability and experience should have performed far better despite being pushed out wide.

The former Ajax star failed to record a single tackle over the 90 minutes, and he came out second best more often than not in both the defensive duels and the aerial battles.

The 28-year-old’s error allowed Stoke to open the scoring and his indecisiveness at the back was a major cause for the Potters extending their lead and taking control of the match.

Aside from the basic mistakes, Vertonghen struggled in possession – recording just 17 accurate passes with a pass completion rate of 70.8%, his side’s lowest outfield tally.

Charlie Adam, Steven N’Zonzi and Mame Biram Diouf all profited from the visitors’ sloppy display and sentenced the North Londoners to three defeats in five Premier League matches.

Pochettino needs to strengthen his attacking options this summer, but when viewing his side’s capitulation on Saturday the Argentine may feel the need to bolster his backline too.

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