Misfiring Tottenham attack heads list of problems for manager Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas’s side have just six league goals from open play

It is becoming a worrying trend and one that cannot have escaped the son of a chemical engineering professor.

For the third time this season, Andre Villas-Boas spent the first day of the international break coming to terms with another defeat in which his expensively assembled Tottenham side failed to score. Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle was also the sixth occasion in the past year Spurs have lost in the Premier League having played a match in the Europa League on a preceding Thursday.

Yet it was another statistic that was dominating discussions as the disgruntled home supporters filed away from White Hart Lane, with a return of just six goals from open play to show from their 11 Premier League matches so far.

That would be a meagre return by anyone’s standards, but for a team who spent the best part of £100m in the summer on new players, having sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world-record fee, it was no surprise that the club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, looked less than impressed at the final whistle.

A trip to face Manchester City at their Etihad stronghold awaits Tottenham a week on Sunday before Manchester United come to town a week later. Having had some leeway to allow the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela time to settle in, Villas-Boas will know he is under increased scrutiny from now on.

“We are a relatively new side, we are a young side and we are still getting to know each other and learn each other’s games,” said Andros Townsend, one of the season’s few success stories despite admitting last week that he was one match away from being sent out on loan for a 10th time before his remarkable coming of age for club and country. “Goals will come, I’m sure of it – hopefully, sooner rather than later.”

In particular, Villas-Boas will be hoping that Soldado finds his scoring boots quickly after the £26m signing from Valencia was singled out for criticism by many fans. The 28-year-old has managed four Premier League goals so far –three from the penalty spot – although it is his general link-up play that has been most frustrating.

After Soldado began the Confederations Cup in the summer as Spain’s preferred option in attack, their coach Vicente del Bosque yesterday called up Fernando Llorente as a replacement for the injured Diego Costa rather than recall Soldado for the coming week’s friendlies against South Africa and Equatorial Guinea after his stuttering start to life in England.

Jermain Defoe is an able alternative for Tottenham but the purchase of Eriksen as a playmaker was designed to create a system which does not necessarily suit the England striker. With Emmanuel Adebayor yet to feature for a single minute this season, having been frozen out by his manager, Villas-Boas has the best part of a fortnight to come up with a Plan B.

Striker crisis: Spurs’ lack of goals

Tottenham have scored just nine goals in 11 Premier League games this season – only Sunderland and Crystal Palace have scored fewer in the top flight. Of those nine, just six were from open play – the other three came from penalties.

Last season Andre Villas-Boas’s side scored 18 in their first 11 matches, although failed to earn a penalty all season.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week