EPL

Dele Alli's decline: The numbers that show how far the Spurs midfielder has fallen

By Sports Desk September 14, 2020

Dele Alli should be approaching his peak years but the Tottenham midfielder appears to be in stark decline.

From his Spurs debut back in August 2015, the midfielder's trajectory was initially impressive as he quickly adapted to the big step up from MK Dons.

An England debut soon followed and the youngster apparently had the world at his feet.

Fast forward to the opening game of Spurs' 2020-21 Premier League campaign on Sunday, when Alli was hooked by Jose Mourinho at half-time of a limp 1-0 loss to Everton, and the outlook is markedly different.

Alli has stagnated, perhaps even regressed, with any hope that the new campaign would herald a fresh start quick to evaporate. 

So just how far below his high-water mark has the 24-year-old fallen? The Opta numbers tell the story...

GOALS HARDER TO COME BY

To underline just how well Alli transitioned from the third tier to the top flight, he scored 10 goals in his maiden Premier League season in 2015-16.

That jumped to a mightily impressive 18 in the following campaign, that haul coming at a rate of a goal every 169 minutes.

And yet in 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined, Alli managed just 14 goals, with the latter season yielding five at a rate of one every 367 minutes.

To his credit, Alli upped his game on that front last term, finding the back of the net eight times, or once every 231 minutes.

His attempts on target have followed a similar trend, peaking 1.3 per game in 2016-17 and bottoming out at 0.5 the next season.  

He squeezed in one shot at goal during his lacklustre 45-minute outing against the Toffees at the weekend.

NOT GETTING INVOLVED AT THE SHARP END

Alli was a tremendous creative force for his side for several years, his debut season at Spurs producing nine assists in the league to set the tone.

He built on that with seven the following season and 10 in 2017-18, only to retreat to abject mediocrity with returns of three and four in the next two campaigns.

Those numbers contribute to a clear back-slide in Alli's ability to create chances, which once seemed so easy for him.

In three consecutive seasons from the point of his first appearance for Spurs, Alli tallied 55, 52 and then 64 for the number of chances created.

In contrast, from the start of the 2018-19 season to the end of 2019-20, he laid on just 50 chances combined.

The chances-created-per-minute stat highlights the negative trend, with the 2015-16 figure coming in at a chance created every 45 minutes, declining to one laid on every 80 minutes by the most recently completed season.

A TOUCHY SUBJECT?

Diving into even the small details does not end up reflecting well on Alli, who is simply having fewer touches of the ball than he used to.

Again, his first season holds up well under scrutiny, Alli touching the ball on average 64 times per 90 minutes, but that dropped to 60 in 2019-20.

It may only be a small change, but a closer look throws up a more revealing fact about Alli's touches in the opposition penalty area.

He peaked on that front in 2017-18, when he managed the feat 163 times at an average of 4.9 per 90 minutes. That compares to 83 at an average of last season.

PASSING THE BUCK...

For a midfielder with 37 England caps, passing should be a key skill of Alli's, and one you would expect to improve over time.

However, the numbers are again somewhat disconcerting for Alli, who did initially set off in the right direction.

In 2015-16 he completed 822 passes (30 per 90 minutes) with an accuracy of 76 per cent, which climbed to an 80 per cent accuracy when he found team-mates with 825 passes at an impressive average of 41 per 90 minutes in 2018-19.

But he slumped on that front last term, back to 2015-16 levels, with the numbers only favourable at all if you concern yourselves with decimal places.

DRIBBLES THE SAVING GRACE!

Amid all the doom and gloom, there is one regard in which Alli has made quantifiable strides – dribbling.

At least, his dribbling success has improved (for the most part!). He used to attempt to run with the ball more often, with 4.4 dribbles per 90 minutes in 2016-17, which dropped to 3.4 last season.

But his success rate has climbed from 29 per cent in his first season, peaking at 45 in 2018-19 and settling at 40 last time out.

Related items

  • Arsenal not in contract talks with Lacazette – Arteta Arsenal not in contract talks with Lacazette – Arteta

    Arsenal are yet to begin contract talks with Alexandre Lacazette, manager Mikel Arteta confirmed.

    Lacazette is contracted at the Premier League club until 2022, but there has been speculation over the forward's future.

    The Frenchman scored his 50th goal for Arsenal during Saturday's 2-1 win over West Ham at Emirates Stadium.

    But there have been no talks for the 29-year-old to renew his deal at Arsenal, Arteta later confirmed.

    "At the moment, we haven't started any negotiations," he said.

    "We have a lot of things still to do in this market and at the moment we are focusing on those things."

    Arteta said he was pleased with Lacazette, who arrived at the club from Lyon in 2017.

    "He's a player I'm really happy with. I think we've shown him a lot of faith since I arrived here," he said.

    "But we cannot start any speculation. We know that any player who is under two years of their contract is always going to be talked about."

  • Arsenal 'lucky' against West Ham but mentality pleases Arteta Arsenal 'lucky' against West Ham but mentality pleases Arteta

    Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal were lucky in a 2-1 win over West Ham, but was pleased with his team's belief on Saturday.

    After Michail Antonio cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette's opener at Emirates Stadium, Eddie Nketiah came off the bench to score an 85th-minute winner for Arsenal.

    West Ham had 14 attempts at goal to Arsenal's seven, although Bernd Leno was only forced into two saves.

    Arteta said Arsenal, who have won their opening two games, were fortunate in the London derby.

    "We were a little bit lucky in certain moments for sure," the Arsenal manager told a news conference.

    "But as well, we find a way to win it and it's the mentality I want that the team always believes that we can do it up until the last moment. Even if we have difficult games where we suffer, we make it difficult for ourselves in certain periods, but in the end it's three points.

    "This is why we are here. As well, take some big notes because there are a lot of things to improve."

    Arsenal are one of three teams to have grabbed six points from their opening two games in the Premier League so far.

    However, Arteta believes they are still some way off being genuine title contenders.

    "I think we are still very far away from where we want to be," he said.

    "I think if you ask any manager in the Premier League if they are happy with everything [that] is going [on] with their team, it probably is no.

    "We had a super-mini pre-season and we're still adapting some things. Some players are still not 100 per cent fit either but it's great to start winning, to have six points already and find ways to win."

  • Riqui Puig should leave Barcelona on loan – Koeman Riqui Puig should leave Barcelona on loan – Koeman

    Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has told Riqui Puig he should leave the club on loan.

    Puig, 21, has been linked with a move from Barca, and played no part in Saturday's 1-0 Joan Gamper Trophy win over Elche at Camp Nou.

    Koeman said while Puig was part of his plans, the midfielder should look for short-term opportunities elsewhere.

    "I've told [Riqui Puig] that he has a future here, but it depends on the player," he said, via Marca.

    "I'd recommend that he went out on loan.

    "At 20 years of age, the young players have to play. They can't get stuck for a period of time.

    "We've got three weeks and we've got competition."

    Antoine Griezmann's early goal helped Barca past Elche, as the forward, Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho all started.

    Coutinho is back from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Koeman talked up the playmaker.

    "Let's hope we can see a great version of him. For me, he's a great player," he said.

    "He works well physically and with the ball. He's an important player for the team."

    Barcelona will begin their LaLiga season against Villarreal on September 27.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.