MOUSA DEMBELE: UNSUNG HERO OF TOTTENHAM
The inexperienced football mind will always judge an attacker based on their goals and assists and the defender on their tackles and clean sheets. But what goes unnoticed is the transitioning from defence to attack. Many teams lack this sort of player, a player that can bring the ball from the defending third, into the midfield and lay it off for the attack. These sort of players go unnoticed and do not get the credit they deserve.
Step up Mousa Dembele, with no goals and assists registered so far this season, to many he’ll seem a mediocre player but ask any trained football mind or Tottenham Hotspur fan about the player and they’ll say he’s one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Even though Dembele has scored less than his Belgian counterpart, it’s those unnoticed duties in the centre of the park that sets him apart from most of the players in the world, let alone the league. With Kane, Eriksen, Ali, Son and Lamela in attack, Dembele often does the dirty work in midfield alongside players like Died and Winks, but plays a completely different role compared to the latter.
Dembele contributes a fair amount in defence with 1.3 tackles per game and averaging an interception every game. But this is not his strength, it’s when he carries the ball up into attack and lays off the pass to set up attacks. Averaging 2.5 dribbles a game and 2.1 of those being successful. He also plays a short passing game from the holding midfield and has an astronomical 92.6% pass succession, the fourth best in the league behind the likes of Stones and Christensen who have the luxury of distributing the ball from the back.
With his transformation from an electric attacking midfield at Fulham to a general in the holding midfield for Tottenham, it’s clear to see that Mousa Dembele has made the position his own.