Date: 1st December 2016 at 8:19pm
Written by:

Thank you to Matthew Schattner for this Guest Blog!

Last season, Dele Alli was on top of the world.

With 10 goals and nine assists to his name in his debut season with Tottenham, the midfielder was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and included in the PFA Team of the Year as he aided Spurs in a third place finish that secured Champions League qualification.

Things have changed this season. Alli has struggled, and by all accounts regressed. The England international has still provided three goals so far in 10 appearances, but his complete lack of assists points towards an overall drop-off in offensive play.

Alli’s shooting accuracy has fallen five percent, via Squawka, and he is less successful in winning duels than last season. Per WhoScored’s data, Alli contributed an average of 1.7 key passes per game last season; this season that figure has dropped slightly to 1.6. His 2.2 shots on goal per match last year has dropped to 2.1.

As far as his defensive contributions, Alli has had a significantly worse season. A tackles per game average of 2.2 has steeply fallen to 1.4, and an interceptions average of 1.8 has plummeted to an almost non-existent 0.3.

He is dribbled past 0.5 times more per game than last season, he commits a foul 0.1 times more per match, and an impressive average of 1 clearance per game has been reduced to 0.3 per match. Alli has also not yet contributed a single block compared to 0.2 blocks per match last year.

So what happened to cause this remarkable dip in form?

Tottenham as a whole have struggled to replicate their play from last year. Alli is not the only Spurs star performing under par in recent weeks, and the team’s issues were made fully apparent by crashing out of the Champions League at the group stage last week.

Son Heung-min’s form has tapered off after impressive performances in Harry Kane’s absence earlier in the season, and Eric Dier and Erik Lamela have both been inconsistent this season.

Alli also played for England at the European Championships last summer, playing in all four of England’s matches and starting three. The tournament and accompanying training limited his recovery time after a first full Premier League season, an especially draining situation for such a young player.

Most importantly, Alli is only 20 and in his second Premier League season.

He is not the first young player to struggle in their second year after an impressive initial campaign, as the pressure on young stars can be crushing and opposing teams begin to adjust.

Despite his drop in form, Alli’s talent and potential are undeniable, and the budding Spurs star will eventually find his way back into the heights reached last season.

The vital factor in reversing the struggles of young talents is the consistent support of the manager, and Mauricio Pochettino has given every indication that Alli has his full backing.

“He is special, a great guy,” said Pochettino in October. “We have a very good relationship. He is a very emotional person and we all love him.”


  • Aside from cerebrospinal fluid, what's on your mind?

  • Spursy December 2, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Alli definitely had a poor start in earlier games. However I’ve seen glimmers in recent matches of our gem lad finding good spaces again. He’s coming back into focus.

  • Davspurs December 1, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    The reason is twofold using supplements means players run more Kilometers during games. This tires teams and without a massve squad the next seaon players suffer burnout unless they get a long rest through injury. Chelsea UTD Liverpool City Arsenal have all suffered and one reasons Arsenal caught us was massive injuries they suffered and there return with fresh legs while ours where suffering from9 lethargy. The way we play dominating possesion takes a lot of energy i feel is wasted playing from back to much when one fast winger can save 6 -7 passes and loads energy. We had more possesion than Chelsea more shots on target yet lost we had less ball against City and won. ALLI is suffering with knee problems i had same problem it plays up then good tackle it goes or means you shy away from contact or shooting this why i thi k hes passing wen shots on.

  • Risingwind December 1, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Another rubbish o an article

  • East Stand December 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    No Kane to link up with hasn’t helped him regain his form either.

  • cyril December 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    surely it is all levy’s fault

  • oxspur December 1, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    He also has been injured and not been fully fit like a good few of them in the team this season that’s part of the reason we haven’t been so fluid in our play COYS

  • Dannyspurs December 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    It’s a combination of.
    1. Kane missing.
    2. Opposition more aware of him.
    3. Loss of form (along with other players).
    4. Second year syndrome.

    He will be fine. These are the challenges which will make him stronger. He’s not even 21 yet.

  • richspurs December 1, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Evening fellow glass half fullers. According to Pete Schmeikel (sic) covrring last Sats match, the lads are overtrained. Says there is no need for the double training sessions. Also according to Pocho recently they have signed to train. If thry train well they are in the team. There you go if you train well, do you need to play well?

  • is Gascoigne gonna have a crack? December 1, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Its the best thing in the long run that Ali has dropped off, if he had been terrific again and we didnt get top 4, Madrid or the ilk would have come in with 50 odd mill bids and we all know what levy would av done,…sell sell sell…hopefully Ali can knuckle down and get back to for off the radar, and someone else can be flavour of the month.

    • is Gascoigne gonna have a crack? December 1, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      *to form off the radar

  • Mark My Words December 1, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    He believed the hype. Always a problem for most of the yoof. There are a few exceptions.

    • LingLongMan 🚯 December 1, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Spot on MMW.

    • Gspur December 1, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Alli, dier, eriksen all believed the hype and have stopped putting in the effort to be a winner. couple that With injuries to our real winners Kane, Toby and moose and its weve been average. I’d drop dier and alli and tell them they can dick around when they’ve won something.

  • caveman December 1, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Sucked first.