Overrated, doesn’t care – after June 1st 2019 (or most of the season depending on when your patience ran out), these have been words used to describe Christian Eriksen. What is the deal with him though? Are we better off with or without him?
Many fans point to his lack of effort but this is a feeling that Pochettino himself doesn’t echo stating back in Oct-16 that “without the ball now, he has become more aggressive and works very hard for the team”.
His availability is often overlooked too. Despite having minimal pre-season after the World Cup in 2018, he appeared in 51 out of a possible 58 games last season. He also started 45 of those 51 games and covered a staggering 12.2km per 90 – the most of any Spurs player in terms of appearances and distances.
Could he have had a case for player exhaustion considering he had to play regularly across AMC, LM, RM and CM due to injuries?
What we know for sure is that the 18/19 season saw a less influential Eriksen. It may seem a crazy statement considering the get out of jail moments he provided. Inter, Burnley, and Brighton all come to mind but there is validity in these comments. A lot was made of our shocking 2nd half of the season domestically – injuries, suspensions, intl. duty all played their part. Ultimately though – our only creative spark just never truly got it going all season and I believe that played a huge part in our loss of form.
His key Premier League stats were reduced according to WhoScored with him averaging 2.4 shots and 2.1 key passes per game in comparison to 17/18 where these stats were 2.6 & 2.6 per game respectively. Compare this to his best ever season for Tottenham in 16/17 and he’s well off the 3.7 shots and 3.1 key passes per game he achieved that year which exemplifies a decline in his in-game influence.
Against Liverpool in UCL Final, he attempted only 40 passes along with 1 chance created and no successful cross out of 4 attempted (Stats Zone). Could the Dane have had his mind elsewhere with talk of a move to Madrid circulating in recent months? Has he suffered from a lack of competition?
In summary – it’s a mix of complacency, fatigue and squad depth. Eriksen can drop/has dropped 4/10s and starts the next match. Daniel Levy can solve this by bolstering the squad – a certain Argentinian springs to mind.
Let’s not forget that we saw the best of Eriksen during 2015 – 2018 deployed in his advanced role with stable CM pairings behind him made up of Dier, Wanyama, Dembele and in some cases, Winks.
Ndombele offers creativity from deep which should lessen the load on Eriksen. Above all, let’s remind ourselves that since Eriksen joined, he’s topped the League in assists (60), chances created (547) with a combined 109 goal involvements in 206 appearances (Premier League)
This level of productivity deserves our loyalty despite his ability to frustrate. At 27 entering his prime, he’ll be back to his best. Let’s hope he stays and signs!
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