Serge Aurier – Have Spurs been fooled?

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Aurier and Andy Carroll clash at West Ham
Tottenham Hotspur's Ivorian defender Serge Aurier (L) speaks with West Ham United's English striker Andy Carroll during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at The London Stadium, in east London on September 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ian KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Serge Aurier – Have Spurs been fooled?

When Spurs signed Serge Aurier for £23 million in August, they believed they had bought a ready-made replacement for Kyle Walker. The Ivorian has had great success with PSG including the Ligue 1 title on 2 occasions and he was expected to emulate that success in the Premier League.

He did, however, come with a poor behavioural record, being dubbed something of a loose cannon. The full-back was suspended indefinitely for publicly criticising his coach and PSG teammates shortly before his move.

Despite this, Tottenham fans were excited to see what their new signing could produce. He provided a good debut performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, but what followed was disappointing.

Premier League debut was a sign of things to come

Aurier made his PL debut in a 3-2 victory away to West Ham in September, making a fantastic goal-saving challenge early in the match. Unfortunately though, most fans remember the game for his sharp exit following two yellow cards in quick succession. The second booking was a rash and pointless foul on Andy Carroll.

In Tottenham’s draw at the Bernabeu, Aurier gave away a penalty, gifting the home side an equaliser. Again, for a needless challenge inside the area.

He also fouled Douglas Costa in the 18-yard box during Spurs 2-2 draw with Juventus in Turin. Luckily, the resulting spot-kick was blasted against the crossbar by Gonzalo Higuain. Subsequent match time has seen further impulsive fouls.

Below, I will compare Aurier’s record in his first season to Kieran Trippier’s record this season, and Kyle Walker’s record last season (2016/17). This, I feel, justifies the general disappointment since his signing.

Do Aurier’s statistics confirm disappointment? 

Aurier’s tackle success rate this season comes in at 55%. This is 14% lower than Kieran Trippier’s record, and 16% lower than his predecessor Kyle Walker’s record. It gets worse for the Ivorian.

In total, he has committed an average of 1.25 fouls per game compared to Trippier’s 0.75 and Walker’s 1.1.

Aurier has won 61% of his aerial battles this season, 7% below Walker. He was also sent off once in 16 Premier League appearances. Neither Trippier nor Walker received a red card in 53 games for Spurs.

Aurier’s crossing a frustration for fans

Since first appearing in the white of Spurs, Aurier has attempted 65 crosses. Only 9% of these crosses have reached their intended target, compared to Trippier’s 20%, and Walker’s 14%.

Aurier’s £23M price tag is also questionable. Attacking full-backs are such an integral part of Pochettino’s style of play, the stats suggest that perhaps Aurier is unable to fill that role.

However, it’s not just the crossing the ball that he is struggling with. Aurier averages 1.5 successful long balls per game. Trippier completes 2.9 per game whilst Walker averaged 3.4 last season. Despite chipping in with 2 goals this season, on paper it appears Aurier may not possess the skills or consistency to earn a regular starting spot.

I’m not suggesting Spurs sell Aurier as soon as possible, or even that he shouldn’t start again this season. I think he just hasn’t matched expectation so far.

Many fans have expressed their opinions on this matter. I believe the statistics provide the evidence to back them up.

I hope that Aurier proves me wrong. After all, Danny Rose wasn’t an immediate success at the club. He later flourished under boss Mauricio Pochettino, becoming a fantastic addition to the squad.

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I'm a 17 year-old Spurs fan from Ireland. I have a massive interest in writing about Tottenham. I currently write for two Facebook pages ('Tottenham Army' and 'Matt Hayes - Tottenham Blog').

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