A slice of Pie(naar)

24Jan11

Going straight into the action against Newcastle this weekend it’s interesting to note what effect Pienaar brings to an already talented and somewhat overflowing midfield for Spurs.

Playing from left midfield it is clear to see that he is a more attacking player, unfortunately Bale did not stay on the pitch for long on Saturday but it is clear from the statistics that Bale and his replacement Bassong had to do more work to cover for Pienaar’s attacking instincts and positioning.

Bassong made 6 tackles and 1 interception from left back, while Pienaar made 1 tackle and 2 interceptions. With Assou Ekotto and Bale in their familar roles of left back and left wing respectively it often common for them both to make the same amount of tackles and share the load. Despite being more direct Bale is seemingly a better defensive option.

Game Tackles Interceptions
Man Utd (H) Bale – 6
BAE – 6
Bale – 3
BAE – 7
Everton (A) Bale – 3
BAE – 8
Bale – 4
BAE – 1
Fulham (H) Bale – 7
BAE – 4
Bale – 0
BAE – 3
Newcastle (H) Bale – 9
BAE – 9
Bale – 2
BAE – 3

Pienaar is more prone to coming inside giving space for an overlapping full back which would also explain why he is not as good as defensive cover to the left back; with the left back more likely to be left exposed due to Pienaars positioning, comparing Pienaars position to Bale highlights this.

Pienaar's passing positions show he is likely to come inside while Bale holds his position to make the pitch wider

As ‘Arry would say we play open but with Pienaar we play even more open with a massive space left in his starting position from the left which leaves the left back exposed. As an attacking team Pienaar fits in perfectly, filling in various roles but defensively he could be our achilles heel.

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