Dele Alli was one of the Premier League's top performers a season ago, but as Tottenham's form has dropped, so, too, has the England midfielder's, with his penchant for reckless behavior supplanting his ability to factor into goals.

By 90Min
December 18, 2017

Dele Alli was one of the best players in the Premier League, and perhaps even the world, last season for Tottenham. People almost expected the 21-year-old to score in every game he played and, with a season's total of 18 goals, the midfielder nearly did. 

Compared to some of England's greatest, Alli, the winner of the last two PFA Young Player of the Year awards, epitomized what the Three Lions' future could look like if given the right opportunities. He was fearless, technically gifted and capable of reading the game. 

After Tottenham's 4-1 thrashing to Manchester City on Sunday, Dele Alli's name is once again under the spotlight, this time, however, for all the wrong reasons. 

The midfielder should have seen red for what was a reckless challenge on City's Kevin De Bruyne. It wasn't the first time that the 21-year-old had lunged into a reckless challenge; last season he received a red card as well as a European three-match ban in a Europa League clash with Gent. 

Sunday's tackle was different however, in that it embodied what has been a poor start to the season for Alli; and had people questioning what's gone wrong for the Spurs' midfielder? 

After 18 games last season, Tottenham had on average 18.61 shots at goal with 6.44 on target per game - the highest in the division. This season, after 18 games, they have on average 17.06 shots at goal per game, 5.5 of which have been on target - the fifth highest in the league. In truth, it's no remarkable fall and they have only scored two goals less than at the same point last season. 

Dele Alli's stats do show a remarkable fall however. Last season, Alli was averaging 0.49 goals per game, a goal every two games, this season he is averaging 0.18 goals per game, a goal every five games. The 21-year-old has already had 33 shots on target this season compared to last season's total of 44. However, his shot accuracy has fallen from 47% in 2016/17 to 21% this season. 

The England international's team play hasn't been too dissimilar from last season's. In 16/17 he was averaging 35.89 passes per match compared to this season's 32.24. The amount of accurate long balls played has fallen from 1.55 per game to 0.84, however, Alli already has the same number of assists as he did for the whole of last season (19). The amount of through balls played has remained pretty consistent with 0.32 per game in 2016/17 falling slightly to 0.27 in 2017/18. 

Where Alli is clearly struggling in is the attacking third. The renowned goal scoring midfielder of 16/17 seems to have lost his clinical edge, and his frustration is starting to seep through into his general play.

Maybe a rest would help Dele Alli rediscover his goal-scoring touch. 

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