Davinson Sanchez’s form took an upturn in the 4-0 Premier League victory against Burnley on Sunday. The defender has come under much criticism for his performances at Tottenham Hotspur this season but he now needs to build on his solid performance against the Clarets.
Davinson Sanchez’s Form Showing Signs of Improvement
Inconsistent Team Selection Causing Inconsistent Performances
Sanchez has taken the brunt of criticism from Spurs fans this season yet it is not just one players’ mistakes that have cost the club points. Eric Dier, Serge Aurier, Ben Davies and Matt Doherty have all been culpable defensively yet Sanchez is the man with whom a lot of blame is levelled.
It is, in part, due to his errors standing out more than others – his face plant of the turf against Manchester City being a standout example – but what needs to be considered is the fact that he has been playing in a back four that has changed game after game. There has been little consistency in the back four line-up and whilst that should not be an excuse for mistakes, not knowing who you will be playing alongside each week can cause problems. There is little time to build a partnership or understanding. Inconsistent team selections lead to inconsistent individual performances.
In the last eight games alone, the back four has not been the same on more than one occasion. Sanchez has played more often than not and not only with different personnel but also in different positions.
Revolving Positions Not Helpful
Whilst there is the argument that professional footballers should be able to play in whatever positions they are asked to, there is also a reality that players need to be played in their strongest position to give the most value to the team as a collective.
This season, Sanchez has played as a right-sided central defender, left-sided central defender, right back and a right-sided full-back in a three-man backline. The young man is changing so often he is being given little chance to settle or to gain some form. The last four matches that Sanchez has played for Spurs give an interesting insight into his form.
The four games considered are away to Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City, away to West Ham United and at home to Burnley. The Manchester City game was a poor one for Spurs and for Sanchez a nightmare. His statistics gave him a match rating out of ten of 5.6. The aforementioned face plant that led to Ilkay Gundogan’s second goal was simply bizarre. He tripped over himself, got nowhere near the Manchester City player.
In the match against Brighton, Sanchez made two tackles but was only successful in one. Against West Ham, he was up against the likes of Michail Antonio, a powerful and physical player. Sanchez had a lot of balls in the air to deal with and won just 38 per cent of those duels.
The change in form against Burnley was noticeable as Sanchez looked more composed and confident. Despite his erratic form, he has never complained and always been ready to play for Tottenham.
Against Burnley, Sanchez made strong blocking tackles and in the air was superb, winning 11 out of 12 aerial duels. His passing was better as he kept things simple and had a pass success percentage of 85 per cent. On the ball, he was not dispossessed once during the 90 minutes and his match rating was 8.25, his highest score of the season from whoscored.com.
Davinson Sanchez’s Form Versus Burnley Can be Springboard to Success
Sanchez’s performance against Burnley is just one game so now is not the time to get carried away but had it not been for the performance of Gareth Bale, Sanchez would have been man of the match. He looked in control, solid, stayed on his feet when he needed to and took charge of aerial battles, leaving Hugo Lloris with little to worry about.
When it comes to the rough and tumble and aerial battles then Burnley will be one of Sanchez’s toughest challenges and he passed it with flying colours.
Working with coach and former Spurs defender Ledley King can only help the 24-year-old and if he can take the performance against Burnley and use it as a springboard, he can go on to be an effective and vital part of Jose Mourinho’s defence for the future.