Skinner’s Spurs: how “exciting” talent Addison fits into new manager’s tactics
It has not been a happy season for Tottenham Hotspur Women in 2020/2021, with the team finding wins hard to come by and sitting as low as second bottom of the WSL at one point, and joint-managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros were replaced by Rehanne Skinner, an England assistant coach, late last year as well. Under Skinner, there has been a change of playing style, which has helped a few players to really settle into the Tottenham team. One of those is 21-year-old forward Angela Addison, who can play as a winger or a striker. In this tactical analysis, we will look at Addison’s game in closer detail, before turning our attention to Tottenham, and seeing how she fits into their new attacking tactics.
Firstly in this analysis, we will look at how Angela Addison creates options in the final third for Tottenham Hotspur Women.
The first thing to mention is that Addison always finds space in and around the opposing defence, moving away from the ball to make the pitch as big as possible. This makes it harder for the opposing defenders to close the ball down, because they would then leave Addison free to attack behind them. Therefore, Addison’s movement in situations like this ensures Tottenham can attack into good areas of the pitch.
However, there is more to it than that. We can see how Addison, in the yellow circle, is running outside the Reading Women defence, which has narrowed. Now, the defenders have two options, both of which help Tottenham. Either Reading move out to block Addison’s run and stop the ball reaching her, at which point New Zealand international Ria Percival, in the red circle, can then play the ball between them and into the space behind, or Reading can stay as they are, which means that Percival can play the pass to Addison, who can then attack towards goal. Therefore, Addison’s positioning and awareness of where the space is creates options for Tottenham on the ball.
This image shows another example of Addison creating space and options for Tottenham. However, her movement this time is not towards goal, indicating that she goes wherever she can provide a useful passing option for her team. Manchester United Women have come up the pitch to close down the ball, which has left the gap open for Addison to run into, as the yellow arrow shows. This gives Tottenham right-back Ashleigh Neville, in the red circle, different options to pass to. She can play a long diagonal cross into the middle of the pitch, where there is a strong chance that Manchester United will win the ball, or she can now play the shorter pass along the wing for Addison to meet and then look to cross in. She has therefore allowed her team to keep control of the situation.
Addison can also play as the centre forward when needed. Here, we see how striker Rianna Dean, in the yellow square, has dropped into the midfield, and Addison has seen this and taken up a position between the Arsenal Women defenders. This means that the Arsenal defence can’t close Dean down, because that would leave Addison with even more space to attack into, and so, again, Addison’s movement and spatial awareness is important for her side’s attack.
It also creates options for her team. The initial ball into the forward line here was repelled, but the fact that Addison has taken up the target player role allows Tottenham to either play a shorter ball to Dean or look to set Addison free behind the defence. With her natural pace, Addison always causes problems for opposing defenders in these situations.
Equally as important is Angela Addison’s versatility, and this is another reason she has become so important for Tottenham Hotspur Women this season.
When Tottenham are playing with a front three, Addison usually operates as a wide forward. Here, against Reading, we see how the front three has narrowed, all inside the box, and this is another key part of their tactics. By becoming compact in the attacking third, they increase the chances of goalscoring opportunities being taken. If the forward line was wider, then only one player would be in this area, making it easier for the defenders to close her down.
However, being versatile also means that a player needs to fit into different systems, and Addison does that equally as well. We know she can play in a front three formation, but she can also play in a front two as well. In this image, Addison, in the yellow circle, is partnered with Dean, in the yellow square, and with Dean’s goalscoring instinct and Addison’s pace, Tottenham have a good balance in attack.
Another point to mention here is that Tottenham like to play through the thirds when transferring the ball from defence to attack, and the midfield is central to this. In the red circle, we see how one Tottenham midfielder has taken up this role, and Addison and Dean are looking to make the pitch as big as possible, taking the Manchester United defenders away from the ball. Manchester United play with a high back line, so the fact that Addison has a gap in front of her means she can get behind them, giving her side a passing option in that area.
She also has a good awareness of where the ball and her teammates are at all times. The red circle shows how left-back Kerys Harrop, who joined Tottenham in the summer from Birmingham City Women, has advanced up the pitch with the ball, and is now looking to move it inside to a teammate. Addison, in the yellow circle, sees that Harrop has control of the wing, and so moves inside the pitch, looking to both create a passing option and take the Arsenal defenders away from Harrop.
If we remember at the start of this section how Tottenham had a narrow attacking line in the box, then this is the reason for that; with the full-backs encouraged to get up the pitch and control the wings, the attackers can cut inside and increase the team’s central attacking presence. This is the same as how Manchester City Women like to play, so we know it is a tactic that works.
However, focusing on Addison’s role here, we can see how she helps by stretching the pitch out, and her versatility means she can adapt to each new situation as they come.
Finally in this section, Addison’s pace when getting forward has made her a key player when Tottenham are transitioning from defensive to attacking situations. Here, we see how Tottenham have the ball in their own half of the pitch, in the red circle, and Addison makes a run down the far side wing, outside that player, offering a passing option further up the pitch. This is an important point to make, because it again shows how she can not only be a target player, but can also drift back to help out in defence at set-pieces, and then get back up the field quickly to offer the passing option in attack when her team need someone there. Therefore, this is another element of her versatility that hugely benefits her team.
Fitting into Rehanne Skinner’s attacking tactics
We have so far looked at the key qualities in Angela Addison’s individual game, but we will now focus on how she fits into Rehanne Skinner’s attacking tactics.
At the start of the season, under Karen Hills and Juan Amoros, Tottenham Hotspur Women tended to play a very defensive style of football, looking to sit back and only have one striker at the top of the pitch. This led to them struggling to score goals, and opposing defences found it easy to keep a clean sheet against them. However, under Rehanne Skinner, they have looked to overload the attack much more, with key players encouraged to get up the pitch as often as possible. There are six Tottenham attackers around the ball here, so, when Everton Women gave it away, Tottenham had a greater chance of transferring it into a good attacking area.
Addison is in the yellow circle, having taken up a more central position here. This gives her space to turn and run, as the yellow arrow indicates, and to use her pace to get into the box before Everton can get across to block off her run. Addison scores from this situation, so it shows how Tottenham playing more attacking football has benefitted her game, allowing her to pose more of a threat.
Addison has only scored two goals all season (an average of 0.17 each game), with an expected goals (xG) value of 0.18, and a shots on target percentage of 42.9%. However, Tottenham have only scored 15 goals in their 14 league games in total this season, so an average of just over one a game. Therefore, Addison’s statistics are reflective of how Tottenham have struggled to score this season, but, with these new tactical ideas and more positive play, we can expect that these numbers will increase in the coming games and seasons.
This image shows another way that Tottenham have changed in attack. We saw how Ashleigh Neville previously had few options to move the ball to when advancing up the wing, but because Tottenham have increased the number of players in their attacking line, she can now play any number of passes. This type of structure also suits Addison, because she can either look to run behind the defence or come towards the wing to receive the ball, and we know she is capable at doing both. The way she gives Tottenham options has helped them to create more good attacking moves, so this is another way she has fitted into Rehanne Skinner’s setup.
We have looked at how Tottenham’s full-backs got up the pitch to support the attacks, and this is something that Rehanne Skinner has persevered with since her arrival. In this image, we see how Harrop, in the red circle, has looked to get on the end of a pass into the box. Her position has allowed the wide attackers to play almost as centre forwards, and we know that Addison can operate in that position, so she therefore again offers Skinner options in attack. Addison may not have scored many goals this season, but her desire means she is a player Rehanne Skinner can depend on to get into areas where she can affect the game. Therefore, again, we see another way that the young forward fits into Tottenham’s new attacking tactics.
Whilst we have looked in this analysis at how Addison gets into good areas to shoot at goal from, she can also create chances for others. Rehanne Skinner has encouraged her team to work together more, with every player expected to move into space if they see it, giving each other options. Here, Ria Percival, in the red circle, has the ball on the edge of the box, but can’t take it any further forward, because of how Aston Villa Women have closed her down. However, Addison runs forward to support her, crossing the ball into the box, and Rosella Ayane, who we can see moving into the box in the blue circle, scores from this opportunity.
Addison’s average passing accuracy this season is 66.7%, but her crossing accuracy on average is only 15%. This could be because Tottenham tend to play balls into the box across the ground, but, if Addison wants to become a better attacker, this is where she could look to improve her game and become an even better player.
In conclusion, we have seen in this scout report how Angela Addison has several key qualities that have made her an important player for Tottenham Hotspur Women this season. Even with the change of management and subsequent change of tactics, she has fitted into the new system well, and looks like a player with a big future at The Hive. We have seen how she has a great awareness of what is around her, helping her to make key decisions in different parts of the game, and there is no doubting that she has been a shining light in a poor overall season for Tottenham.