Adrian Clarke picks out key battles between players and teams going head-to-head in Matchweek 32.
Tottenham Hotspur’s performance levels have been a mixed bag all season, but from wide areas they are extremely consistent.
Using the full width of the pitch in their 3-4-2-1 formation, no team have supplied more successful crosses in open-play across 2022/23 than Spurs.
With Harry Kane their primary target - scorer of nine headed goals this campaign - it will be absolutely vital for Newcastle to nullify the visiting wing-backs’ impact.
Most successful open-play crosses
They are both adventurous, attack-minded options.
In last weekend’s 3-2 loss at home to AFC Bournemouth for example, 22 of Spurs’ 27 open-play crosses stemmed from Perisic and Porro, who both produced 11 each.
Staying wide, almost exclusively operating in a corridor of space between the 18-yard-box and touchline, they were heavily involved in the majority of their team’s attacks.
While most of their deliveries were unsuccessful, this type of supply line always represents a danger to the opposition and Newcastle will be acutely aware of the threat they pose.
In 90 minutes, these two Spurs players produce more successful open-play crosses than anyone else in the league.
Most successful crosses/90
|Kevin De Bruyne||1.11|
*Minimum seven starts
His movement, coupled with the quality of service from out wide, often represents Spurs’ best chances of finding the back of the net.
They have scored 14 headed goals this season, the highest tally in the division.
Players/club with most headed shots/goals 22/23
|Player||Headed shots||Club||Headed goals|
On one flank we should see Porro in advanced areas, up against Burn, who does not push forward as much as Trippier on the other side.
On Spurs’ left, the battle between Perisic and Trippier has potential to be tremendously exciting.
Trippier has himself produced 106 open-play crosses this season - ranked fourth in the PL - with Perisic just two behind, from 801 fewer minutes of playing time.
Expect this quartet to have a significant contribution on the outcome of this match.