In our focus on the battle for the top four, Adrian Clarke looks at the key tactics for the four clubs fighting for only two places.
His desire to start matches with two players up front has been an interesting change of direction from Mauricio Pochettino.
In 2017/18, the Spurs manager only deviated from the use of a lone striker on six occasions.
But, the experiment has not really worked.
But, in general, they have not looked as solid in this formation, as well struggling in similar shapes with two up front.
The stats tell a very clear story. Spurs have leaked more goals and lost significantly more matches with two strikers compared with one.
This slightly bolder strategy has left them more vulnerable at the other end of the pitch.
|Spurs||Two strikers||One striker|
The failure to get the desired results with a twin strikeforce is no reflection on the forwards themselves.
Harry Kane, you could argue, is at his best when ploughing a lone furrow at the top of the pitch. But he has consistently scored goals whatever the tactical shape.
Early this season Lucas Moura shone as a striker, while Son has proved that he is also a major threat in that advanced role.
Indeed, Pochettino’s men score marginally more per match with two up front.
However, Spurs have been easier to beat with two strikers because the balance of the side has been less solid without the ball.
Within a 4-1-2-1-2 diamond shape there is a natural lack of width, putting the onus on both full-backs to push forward.
This has led to Spurs’ central defenders being exposed down the channels when opponents counter-attack.
Central midfield has also been a cause for concern.
Pushing an attacking midfielder into a centre-forward role has weakened the side when possession breaks down, at a time when they are short of stability inside the middle third.
During the run-in, I would not be surprised to see Pochettino revert to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-2-1 as his go-to formation.
To achieve the best balance between defence and attack, a change makes sense.
Part 3: Race for top four: Arsenal
Part 4: Race for top four: Emery must pair up Aubameyang
Part 5: Race for top four: Manchester United
Part 6: Race for top four: Freeing Pogba vital for Solskjaer
Part 7: Race for top four: Chelsea
Part 8: Race for top four: Sarri must ease away pain