Lundstram the Blades press-master as United rack up an intense performance

Sheffield United’s pressing performance at Tottenham was the team’s second most intense of the season. The Blades carried out 50 defensive actions in the home side’s defensive 3/5 of the pitch. These include interceptions, challenges, tackles, blocked passes and ball recoveries.

playerPPDAcountMeanwhile Tottenham made 438 passes in the same part of the pitch, which gives Blades PPDA (opposition passes per defensive action) of 8.76. (Away at Bournemouth ranks higher  than this at 7.39).

Of the 50 defensive actions against Spurs in the top 3/5 of the pitch the busiest player was John Lundstram, with 12 defensive actions, followed by Oliver Norwood (9), Chris Basham (7) and Lys Mousset (5).

Interestingly, most of the Blades defensive actions in this area were on the right side of the pitch. Left-sided players Fleck and Stevens only chalked up 6 defensive actions between them.


Breaking those defensive actions/opposition passes down into 10-minute segments it is possible to see periods in which pressing was applied more than in others.

The Blades gained a better ratio of opposition passes per defensive action than Spurs in four of these 10-minute segments out of nine in total (10-20, 50-60, 60-70, 80-90).


The big caveat on all this is that the defensive actions recorded only give a shadow/proxy of what’s really happening. Pressing obviously includes a lot of actions off the ball, such as a player simply being in a passing lane, and I don’t have that data.


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