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Talking Tactics

How Lucas has accelerated Spurs' rapid start

Adrian Clarke 1 Sep 2018
Lucas Moura

Adrian Clarke says Tottenham Hotspur's Brazilian has become a key figure up front with and without the ball

Adrian Clarke looks at tactical battles set to take place in Matchweek 4.

Watford v Spurs 

Lucas Moura’s new position as a second centre-forward has inspired Tottenham Hotspur’s last two Premier League victories.

Moving from wide midfield to join Harry Kane in a two-man attack, the Brazilian’s skill has lifted the team in key moments.

Lucas opened the scoring with a left-footed curling shot at home to Fulham, and his classy brace helped his side to a memorable 3-0 success at Old Trafford.

He is the man in form ahead of Spurs’ weekend visit to Watford.  

Magic moments

Lucas, who arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in January, is not an especially creative player.

So far in 2018/19 he has created only one chance, made no crosses and has a pass accuracy of just 69.7 per cent.

He does not see a lot of the ball either, currently averaging 27.6 passes per 90 minutes.

What he brings to Spurs are bursts of great speed and quality.

He is a handful when running at defenders and is important out of possession too.

Ball-winning ability

In addition to his two goals against Manchester United, Lucas secured possession eight times. On five of those occasions he was inside the home team’s half.

That followed his performance against Fulham, when he won two tackles and made four interceptions or recoveries inside the Cottagers' half.

These are just the type of turnovers around which Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy is built.

It owes much to Lucas's pace and workrate.

He leads the rankings for sprints and top speeds registered by Spurs players this term, setting the tone with a high tempo.

Fastest players at Spurs 2018/19
Most sprints in a match Fastest player
Lucas (v MUN) 26 Lucas (v MUN) 33.9km/h
Aurier (v NEW) 18 Sissoko (v NEW) 33.6km/h
Alli (v MUN) 17 Trippier (v FUL) 33.0km/h

Watford’s central defensive partnership of Christian Kabasele and Craig Cathcart will need to concentrate especially hard to preserve their team’s 100 per cent record.

Dealing with a Kane-Lucas strike pairing will be their stiffest test to date.

Lucas's presence has eased Kane’s workload, as well as the close attention he receives from markers. This will be a welcome change for the striker.

Watford would be pleased if Lucas does most of his work down the inside-right channel, an area their quickest defender Kabasele occupies. But they cannot afford to lose him inside the box.

The Brazilian missed an easy header against Fulham but has since dispatched his next three chances in ruthless fashion.

While a 75 per cent conversion rate will be impossible to sustain, it feels increasingly likely that Spurs’ in-form second striker can maintain his positive influence.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Mendy changed Guardiola's game plan
Part 3: Maguire and Gomez showing all-round ability
Part 4: Wide game can get Burnley their first win

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