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.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim footballer acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster