Pochettino's diamond shines bright for Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur applauds the travelling fans after the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur at Camp Nou on...

Tottenham Hotspur have made a fantastic start to the season and Mauricio Pochettino's use of a diamond is a major factor.

(L-R) Heung Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur, coach Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur, Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur  during the UEFA Champions League  match between FC...

Despite Tottenham Hotspur not signing a single player in the summer, they have made their best ever Premier League start, and qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League against all odds.

The biggest reason has been Mauricio Pochettino's ability to utilise his squad and counter opposition styles with innovative tactics.

A recent shape the Argentine has successfully deployed is the use of a diamond midfield.

 

It has led to outstanding results and performances, including the 1-1 draw away to Barcelona and 3-1 home win against Chelsea.

In fact, only Arsenal and the tactical brilliance of Unai Emery has bested Pochettino's diamond in recent months.

The diamond has been a defensive tool as much as an attacking one.

The 'number ten' has often been deployed to sit on the opposition's deepest midfielder - Jorginho at Chelsea, Busquets in the second half against Barcelona - to stop them playing out.

Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Jorginho of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 24,...

It has worked a treat, with Spurs either recovering the ball high up, or forcing the opposition to play low percentage passes.

Once recovering the ball, Tottenham then have a four-man midfield, meaning they outnumber the opposition.

Both things led to Spurs having more possession than Barcelona at the Camp Nou, a feat which has been achieved by only two other teams since 2008; Real Madrid in 2008 and Rayo Vallecano in 2013. 

Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur at Camp Nou on December 11, 2018 in...

However, one weakness of the diamond is the lack of width.

Tottenham have countered this by aggressively pushing their full-backs high or, failing that, having one of the strikers pull wider to stretch the opposition. 

Defensively, the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Eric Dier have used their energy and responsibility to quickly cover the sides of the pitch, offering protection on the wings.

Overall, Pochettino's brilliance has seen Spurs perform against the odds, and the diamond has been a major reason for that.

coach Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur  during the UEFA Champions League  match between FC Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur at the Camp Nou on December 11, 2018 in Barcelona Spain

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