Opinion: Romero and Skipp must be regular starters for Tottenham now

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Oliver Skipp
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

In recent weeks, Spurs have found themselves trying to figure what set of players make up their best 11. After a strong start to the season, the month of September was a disaster and had both the manager and supporters wondering just what Spurs’ best side is.

Whilst that question may not be fully answered yet, I believe one thing has become clear. Cristian Romero and Oliver Skipp have to be a part of that best starting 11.

Let’s start with Romero.

Compare his stats to Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez (the other 2 centre backs who have made Premier League starts for us this season).

Romero’s stats in the Premier League this season:

  • 1.7 tackles per game
  • 2.7 clearances per game
  • 0 times dribbled past
  • 0 errors leading to shots
  • 78% of his ground duels won
  • 67% of his aerial duels won

Dier’s stats in the Premier League this season: 

  • 0.1 tackles per game
  • Dribbled past .4 times per game
  • 4.9 clearances per game
  • 0 errors leading to shots
  • 33% of his ground duels won
  • 46% of his aerial duels won

Davinson Sanchez’s stats in the Premier League this season:

  • 1.8 tackles per game
  • Dribbled past .8 times per game
  • 2.9 clearances per game
  • 0 errors leading to shots
  • 58% of his ground duels won
  • 39% of his aerial duels won

Statistically, Romero is outperforming Dier in all but one category listed above (clearances per game) and outperforming Sanchez in all but 2 categories (tackles and clearances per game). Romero is significantly outperforming both Dier and Sanchez in terms of both ground and aerial duels won, which speaks for itself.

Sometimes, stats can be misleading and don’t tell the whole story. However, with Romero, if you watch his recent performances, you can see the commanding presence and quality he possesses. He’s really starting to make his mark on the team.

The stats tell you Romero is performing at a higher level than any of our other centre backs right now, and for me, the eye test does too. It’s hard for me to see how he’s not a part of our best 11 at the moment.

Let’s move on to Oliver Skipp.

Spurs record with Oliver Skipp in the starting 11 in the Premier League this season: 4 wins, 0 draws, 1 loss, 5 scored, 4 conceded.

Spurs record without Oliver Skipp in the starting 11 in the Premier League this season: 0 wins, 0 draws, 2 losses, 1 scored (after he came on as a sub), 6 conceded.

Those stats really do speak for themselves.

Three of those goals conceded with him in the team came in the match that Nuno decided on a midfield of Winks, Hojbjerg and Skipp was the right one to trot out.

What happened in that match was far from Skipp’s fault, and when he’s had even a semblance of a real midfield alongside him the team has looked impressive.

Spurs have looked a shell of themselves in the Premier League when Skipp has been put on the bench. It’s exposed that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is just not capable of being a lone holding midfielder, especially against strong opponents (see Arsenal match)

Spurs’ midfield puzzle is a really hard one to put together at the moment. Numerous different combinations have been tried already, and it feels like we’re still searching for the right trio to trot out.

However, I think it’s become clear that Skipp has to be one of the 3 that regularly starts in midfield.

Nuno is under real pressure to build on last weekend’s win vs Aston Villa and make October a better month after a nightmare September. The results have to continue to improve or his job is likely to come under threat.

For me, he’s practically digging his own grave if these two are not regulars in his best 11; the impact of both players on the team respectively at the moment is noticeable.

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