Premier Analysis: Spurs snuff Reading, Villa's successful switch, hope for Southampton, the new Berbatov
Reading's gameplan is clear from their passing chalkboard: attack the opposition full-backs and pepper the box with crosses. However, this played into Tottenham's hands as Jan Vertonghen and William Gallas combined to make 22 clearances, and only three Reading crosses of the 35 attempted found a player in blue and white.
Tottenham finally found their shooting boots, with Andre Villas-Boas not attempting to protect a 1-0 lead as he has tried to do previously this season with disastrous consequences. Jermain Defoe scored with every shot on target, while Moussa Dembele continued to run the Spurs midfield, leading the passing and tackling stats. He completed 91% of his 67 attempted passes, and made four tackles.
The 6-1 scoreline in Arsenal's win over Southampton suggests a one-sided affair at the Emirates Ã¢ÂÂ and a glance at the shooting statistics supports that conclusion: Arsenal's 23 shots scored four goals and forced another two in own goals.
However, Southampton actually attempted more passes than Arsenal (573 to 567), completing 86% and taking 11 shots themselves. That might feel like a hollow victory for a team that remains pointless, but there are still signs that Southampton can climb the table if they can push on after a tough set of opening fixtures.
Paul Lambert secured Aston Villa's win of the season over high-flying Swansea, but not without having to make a tactical change to his Aston Villa side at half-time. Barry Bannan had been largely ineffective in a central role in the first half, completing only seven passes, and Aston Villa had no presence on the left of midfield. Lambert switched Bannan to the left wing for the second half, where he created four goalscoring chances and made 15 passes in the final third in a much more effective performance.
It may have been secured against 10 men after Peter Odemwingie's 38th-minute red card, but Fulham's 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion was also notable for Dimitar Berbatov's work rate. His seven shots (a match high) led to two goals, but he was active in holding the ball up all over the pitch, and even tracked back to make two tackles in his own half. He deserves credit for putting in the effort that he has not always been known for.
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