The International friendly break is always met with apprehension from club managers who are eager to see their players return to training in the same, if not better, condition than before. However, AVB doesn’t have too much luck on his side as news broke of Christian Eriksen’s unfortunate ankle injury playing for his native Denmark this weekend. Early indications suggest the playmaker will be out of action for at least a month depending on his healing progress. Brilliant eh? The question is how much will this news effect AVB’s team selection in the next 4-6 weeks and who needs to step up to the mark in the Dane’s absence.
Christian Eriksen’s arrival this summer gave us some fresh impetus in the creativity department that has been evidently missed since Luka Modric’s departure to Real Madrid. Even though he has been in-and-out of the side in the last few weeks, we all know the quality he has at his disposal and few would doubt this injury is not a major blow to the side. So now that he’s unavailable, who are the candidates to replace him in the classic ‘number 10′ role behind our sole striker? AVB’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation doesn’t look like changing anytime soon so it’s best we focus on the players that can fit into this system. Step forward Lewis Holtby, Gylfi Sigurdsson & Erik Lamela; three men that are capable of filling this void quite comfortably…
We’ll start with the former, Lewis Holtby. The little German has been getting regular game time in the last 2-3 weeks and is most likely to deputise. However, you know exactly what you are getting with Holtby and that can sometimes be the problem with him; You simply can’t fault the guys enthusiasm and that’s why the fans simply love him, but does he provide the x factor we crave in that position? not really. Holtby has only shown glimpses of his potential in the playmaker role where consistency always seems to elude him, particularly in big games. In my opinion, Holtby cannot be classed in the same creativity bracket of Eriksen, but people might disagree. Either way, it is very likely he will get the chance to stake his claim in the coming weeks and I will back him to start coming good for us.
Next up for consideration is Gylfi Sigurdsson. Gylfi has been playing on the left side for the majority of the season with AVB seemingly preferring him to the more natural option, Erik Lamela. Some good performances, some bad, Gylfi is truly a mixed bag. If you read my blogs regularly you might sense that I’m not entirely convinced by him as a starter for the side, and you’re probably right. I just find him to be too predictable in his play, and when he does plays badly he really does disappear from games altogether. A substitute at best and shouldn’t be considered for a starting slot.
Last but certainly not least is Erik Lamela. Our record signing played admirably and worked his socks off in the Europa League game against Sheriff last week which seemed to remind the Spurs faithful of the talent we might have at our disposal. Yet to start a league game, could Eriksen’s injury result in his coming of age? I certainly hope so. Out of the three players i’ve mentioned, Lamela has that extra quality to change a game in an instant and needs to be considered for a starting place now in my view. With Townsend cementing his place on the right, Lamela needs to find other ways to break into the side and this could be his opportunity. If AVB wants to introduce him as a winger, a possible scenario could be moving Gylfi/Lewis into the central role with Erik Lamela coming in on the left side, which could be a more viable option.
With all my thoughts being digested, I would opt for this midfield against City on Sunday….Paulinho and Sandro holding. Townsend on the right. Holtby as playmaker. Lamela on the left. What do you think? COYS!!
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