Talking Tactics

How Postecoglou is getting the best out of Richarlison

By Adrian Clarke 10 Feb 2024
Richarlison Talking Tactics

Adrian Clarke explains why the Spurs star is in the best goalscoring form of his Premier League career

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Player analysis: Richarlison (Spurs)

Leading the line for Ange Postecoglou’s ultra-attacking Tottenham Hotspur side is providing Richarlison with the platform to make a big impact, and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The Spurs star struggled with injury issues early on in 2023/24 and underwent groin surgery in November.

But since returning from a spell on the sidelines, Richarlison has been a player reborn, scoring nine goals in eight Premier League starts, taking his season’s tally to 10 with a brace at Everton last time out.

Ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion’s visit on Saturday, the 26-year-old is in the form of his life.

Simplifying Richarlison's game 

Spurs' style of play under Postecoglou is tailor-made for Richarlison to thrive.

The head coach loves to build quick attacks that are designed to raid down the flanks, using a full-back, wide forward and a midfielder to set up frequent 2v1s and 3v2s out wide.

From these positions Spurs are excellent at getting in behind the opposition, flashing passes, crosses, or cutbacks along the face of goal.

This is perfect for their centre-forward, who has always been an accomplished one-touch finisher – both in the air and on the ground.

Nine of the South American’s 10 strikes this season have been converted with a first-time effort.

Attacking central spaces

Richarlison’s goals at home to Everton and against AFC Bournemouth were almost identical, with the forward running onto low Brennan Johnson deliveries whipped in from the right flank.

Richarlison sprints forward to convert Brennan Johnson's cross from the right against Everton

Whenever Spurs release somebody beyond the last man down that wing, Richarlison is always in a central position, willing to make a sprint to get on the end of the deliveries.

Richarlison's goal v Bournemouth

In general play, the former Everton and Watford forward will join in all over the pitch to show for the ball, or to help regain possession.

However, when he senses a fast breakaway or a swift attack building out wide, Richarlison stays down the middle of the pitch, in between the opposing central defenders.

Getting himself into positions that provide the maximum opportunity for him to score, he thrives when operating within the width of the goalposts.

This is shown below, when he offered Pedro Porro the option of a lofted through-ball against Newcastle United, which remains his only goal of the campaign where he has taken more than one touch.


He has also scored twice courtesy of cutbacks from the byline, placing himself in favourable positions to score on each occasion.

Always aware of the space around him, Richarlison has learned the value of standing still to find pockets of space.

Last weekend he profited in this way from Destiny Udogie’s pullback to register one of his two goals at Goodison Park.


He is also a huge aerial threat inside the penalty area.

Richarlison has flicked two headed goals in from corners in 2023/24, and scored from a superb Dejan Kulusevski cross at Nottingham Forest.

Best season yet

Playing up top for a side that creates as many chances as Spurs do under Postecoglou was always going to help Richarlison catch the eye.

He is receiving a greater number of quality chances - way above his average across the previous six seasons – and his goal expectancy has never been higher.

Richarlison attacking stats comparison
Richarlison/90 Ave. previous six seasons 2023/24
Shots 2.66 3.71
Shots in box 2.11 2.95
Shots on target 0.94 1.59
Expected Goals 0.31 0.58
Big chances 0.48 1.06
Touches in opp. box 5.44 7.34

Richarlison has stepped up by improving his decision-making and calmness in front of goal.

His conversion rates are also far better than before.

Richarlison Ave. previous six seasons 2023/24
Mins/goal 446.1 119
Conversion 14.62% 25.64%
Big chance conversion 40.87% 57.14%

While team-mate Son Heung-min remains the more clinical finisher with a 30.77 per cent conversion rate, it is the Brazilian who gets on the end of far more opportunities in the No 9 role.

Richarlison's superior movement and more varied skillset inside the box gives him the edge to occupy that key position.

He has scored three headed goals this season, four left-footed efforts and three with his right, showcasing what an all-rounder he is.

Richarlison's Premier League goals breakdown
Type Richarlison
Total PL goals 59
Left-footed 17
Right-footed 26
Headed 15
Other 1
Inside box 56
Outside box 3

Adjusting to life after Harry Kane, Spurs are benefitting greatly from the Brazil international’s adaptable finishing.

And the 26-year-old is taking full advantage of playing for a team which is tactically set up to provide him with the type of chances he relishes receiving.

Brighton, who conceded four goals at Luton Town in their last road trip, will need to defend well against the division’s most in-form marksman.

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