It’s been an incredible start to the season for the Tottenham Hotspur squad under new manager Ange Postecoglou – an undefeated opening ten games saw them top the Premier League pile, before key injuries and suspension curtailed their progress.
What is making Spurs tick? Who are the key players of the current Tottenham Hotspur squad? Why does Ange-Ball seem to suit the squad? We take a deep dive into the stats surrounding the North London side as we reach the midway point of the 2023/24 season.
Star Players and Key Positions
While the departure of club legend Harry Kane was painful for many Spurs supporters, the move has helped liberate some of their other players, while new signings have been able to bed in and express themselves, without the need to kowtow to the incredible abilities of the England captain.
Here are some of the standout Tottenham Hotspur players 2023-2024.
Son Heung-min – The new club captain looks back to his scintillating best. Primarily used as a false nine by Postecoglou, he registered 11 goals and assists in the first 14 league games of the season, the fourth-best in the campaign at the time of writing. He combines rapid pace with an uncanny ability to find the net from all areas of the box and is one of the most important Tottenham Hotspur players.
James Maddison – There were some raised eyebrows when Spurs splashed the cash to bring the ex-Leicester playmaker to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. He has diminished any doubts around the sum and his value has been emphasised since his injury, with the North London club struggling to find the same sort of creativity without his nous in midfield. As of 12th December 2023, ff players who have made 10 starts or more, James Maddison ranks third for progressive passes (9.90 per 90 minutes).
Micky van de Ven – Another hugely influential transfer, the ex-Wolfsburg centre-back had bedded in brilliantly to his new club, with his pace and strength proving the perfect foil to the aggressive Cristian Romero alongside him at the heart of the defence. Up until he was injured, the Netherlands international had helped his team concede just 10 goals in 11 matches while he was on the pitch. In the three games following his injury, they conceded seven goals.
While individually, these players are brimming with class, each of them perfectly suit the style in which Postecoglou likes his players to play – with intensity, with purpose, and with conviction.
Rising Stars and Youth Prospects
While the first team squad is packed with international stars, there are some young players of Tottenham Hotspur catching the eye too – here are three of the best young talents on Spurs’ books at the time of writing.
- Brennan Johnson: Signed from Nottingham Forest for £40 million, the Welsh international was seen as a signing for the future, but injuries means he’s been carrying more expectations than he might have expected when signed on the dotted line in the summer. Blessed with rapid pace – back in April, he was clocked at 22.80 miles per hour to become the second-quickest player of the season, only Kyle Walker (23.18 mph). He’s already shown plenty of promise, and at just 22 years of age, he has plenty of room for growth.
- Alejo Véliz: The Argentine was signed from Rosario Central for £13 million in the summer, and while he hasn’t had a chance to display his full talents, there is plenty to admire about this precocious talent. He has quick feet, is a monster in the air, and boasts intelligent movement.
- Pape Matar Sarr: Signed from Metz in the summer of 2021, he loaned back to the French club until the end of the season, with then-manager Antonio Conte preferring he develop with regular game time. While he has used sparingly in Tottenham’s disappointing season last year, he’s been a much more important player for Postecoglou. A thoughtful and technically graceful player, Sarr has a knack for finding the net from midfield.
Guardians of the Goal – Tottenham Hotspur’s Goalkeeper
With the arrival of Postecoglou, there has been a changing in the guard in the goal, with new signing Guglielmo Vicario favoured ahead of World Cup winner and previous club captain Hugo Lloris.
While the Frenchman is renowned for his lightning reflexes and sensible decision making, Italian Vicario is better with his feet and is valued for beating the first press from the front.
Defensive Wall – Tottenham Hotspur’s Backline
We have examined the skills of Micky van de Ven, but what of his partners in crime in the backline? The defensive power of the Tottenham Hotspur squad 2023-2024 ranks highly among their rivals.
- Pedro Porro (Right Back): All action, attacking, and exciting – Porro is as valuable to Tottenham’s goalscoring as he is to their defence.
- Cristian Romero (Centre-Back): Uncompromising, tough, and dominant in the air, the Argentine may have disciplinary issues, but he’s invaluable to the North London side.
- Destiny Udogie (Left-Back): A fast and adventuring player, Udogie is a last-man specialist – his pace helps his team recover dangerous counter-attacking situations.
Eric Dier (Centre-Back), Ben Davies (Full-Back), and Ryan Sessegnon (Full-Back) are other options at the back for Postecoglou.
Midfield Maestros – Controlling the Game
While James Maddison has attracted the early-season plaudits, there are plenty of exciting talents in the middle of the park, including:
- Yves Bissouma (Centre-Midfield): The ex-Brighton man is a stalwart of this midfield – he plays an imperative role in picking up the ball from defenders and starting attacks. Lanky, rangy, and skilful, he’s the man to bring a sense of calm to his team’s pulsating football.
- Pierre-Emile Højbjerg: The Danish international is a workhorse renowned for his tough tackling and leave-it-out-on-the-field mentality.
- Rodrigo Bentancur: Regarded by many Spurs supporters as the player of the season up until a cruel knee injury brought an early end to his campaign last year, Bentancur brings a brilliant blend of elegance and dynamism to the table.
Strikers and Goal Scorers – Firepower Upfront
Due to the fluid nature of Tottenham’s system, it could be argued that Richarlison is the club’s only established and genuine number nine option.
The Brazilian star is a cult figure, and while goals aren’t flowing yet, it feels like a matter of time before he starts banging them in, especially with the level of creativity behind him.
Managerial Strategy and Formations
One of the key aspects of Postecoglou’s managerial approach is his emphasis on attacking football. He believes in a high-pressing style that aims to regain possession quickly and create scoring opportunities. This is evident in his previous stints as a coach, where he has successfully implemented this philosophy with teams such as Brisbane Roar and Yokohama F. Marinos.
In terms of tactical formations, Postecoglou has often opted for a 4-3-3 system with inverted wingers. This allows for fluid movement and interchanging between the front three, providing flexibility and unpredictability in attack. However, he is not afraid to change things up and experiment with different formations depending on the opposition and game situation.
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