OPTA PLAYER OF THE MONTH
August 2004: Jermain Defoe
With Jacques Santini settling in as manager and a healthy amount of new blood arriving at White Hart Lane, there is a renewed feeling of optimism around Tottenham Hotspur.
Adding to the current feel-good factor are the performances of Jermain Defoe, a striker who looks set for a long and successful career for both club and country.
The East End-born poacher has been in sparkling form in August, bagging three goals in four appearances and averaging a goal every 111 minutes.
The 21-year-old is also proving to be one of the biggest goal threats in the Premiership, his 14 attempts on goal only bettered by Thierry Henry. Defoe is not afraid to run at defenders either, his 19 dribbles by far the most attempted by any Spurs player.
The only blot on what has been a very good August are the two cautions the youngster has already picked up.
While Defoe has been knocking them in at one end of the pitch, Ledley King’s performances at the other end have earned him second place in the rankings.
The England international, now back in defence following a stint in midfield last season, has been a major reason why Spurs have made such an impressive start to their campaign, with only Chelsea conceding fewer than the two goals the North Londoners have shipped.
The 23-year-old has made 31 clearances this season, more than any of his team-mates, however in Tottenham’s finest tradition, King is also keen to pass the ball out of defence, his 81% pass accuracy rate only equalled at Spurs by midfielder Sean Davis.
Third in the rankings is King’s defensive partner Noureddine Naybet. The 34-year-old Moroccan has added invaluable experience to Spurs’ backline and is sure to help King to improve even more. The former Deportivo la Coruna stopper has won more tackles — 12 - than any other Spurs player while only King has made more clearances.
The consummate defender, Naybet has blocked six goal-bound shots from opponents, also more than any other Spurs player.
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|Player||Opta Index score|
|Minutes On Pitch||333|
|Shots On Target||7|
|Shots Off Target||7|
|Pass Completion %||71%|