When Victor Wanyama scored against Liverpool, he didn’t just kick the ball so hard that it temporarily transcended the physical plane. He also became the first Pochettino substitution this Premier League season to score a result-altering goal.
This isn’t the first statistic on the subject to be floated on social media. In fact, it’s been key discussion point among the Spurs fan base this season. Pochettino’s subs don’t score: is it his fault or is it that his options off the bench are not good enough?
Those off-the-bench options have improved recently. Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld are slowly building up match fitness after long lay-offs, Erik Lamela is back from the dead and Lucas Moura has had his debut having arrived in the January transfer window.
Of course, directly scoring a goal isn’t the only way for a player to influence the scoreline and results themselves aren’t always the best indicator of a sub’s impact. What matters is the ability to alter the team’s performance.
This is where the Expected Goals metric can help shed some light with their more objective and finite measurements. Here are five recent occasions of points dropped in the league.
Southampton 1 - 1 Tottenham
Missing Christian Eriksen through a virus, Pochettino opted to start Sissoko on the wide right. The absence of a true playmaker in the team was felt and Spurs struggled to create chances.