The home side didn’t lie down and showed fight as they attempt to climb out of danger at the bottom of the Premier League table. The visitors needed one of their players to step up and deliver a match-winning performance, which is exactly what Christian Eriksen managed to do.
The development of this Tottenham team has been great to watch in recent seasons.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli have both emerged as two of the best English players in the Premier League, while Son Heung-Min’s development has seen him earn a lot of praise.
However, Eriksen doesn’t get the credit that he deserves for his improvement and consistency in midfield.
Since Mauricio Pochettino took over, the Danish international has been a regular starter, but he has had to play in a number of different positions.
Eriksen has shown good adaptability and this season has managed to bring his game to a new level operating in a freer role behind the striker. The return of Kane on Saturday was important as that provides more freedom to his midfield team-mate to roam and run the game.
Against Stoke, Eriksen showed the threat he poses in the final third, both with his goal threat and creativity.
The opening goal came when Dele Alli held up the ball and played a nice cut-back to the onrushing 26-year-old who coolly finished the move.
It was a great show of awareness and desire from the Danish international as he busted a gut to make sure his team-mate had an option. He is often praised for his passing and creativity, but this goal showed that he can offer more than that.
During the match, he had six shots and made two key passes, in addition to completing two tackles. It was a complete performance from Eriksen and he played a huge role in the winning goal.
There has been a lot of debate about who scored the winner, but the majority of news sources have given it to the Dane. Regardless of whether Harry Kane got a touch or not, it was an excellent set-piece delivery and it was a piece of skill that led to the goal.
This is set to be Eriksen’s best goal-scoring season since arriving at the club. He has now reached the ten-goal mark and he has only managed to do that once before, which came during the 2014/15 season and, with six matches to play, he is likely to better that tally.
This season his shooting accuracy has increased to 67% from 52% last season. That represents a sharp increase and suggests that he has been working on that part of his game.
In terms of creativity, his contribution and underlying stats have slightly regressed, but he remains one of the best midfielders in the league in this department.
His averages chances created per ninety minutes has dropped from 3.19 to 2.59. Meanwhile, he has eight assists this season, which is down from 15. That will be an area of disappointment, but it has been a positive season of continued improvement, overall, from Eriksen.
Tottenham remain in the driving seat when it comes to finishing in the Champions League places as they have established a healthy lead over Chelsea. However, Pochettino won’t want to settle for that and will want his players to push on to finish as high as possible.
At the time of writing, they are four points behind Manchester United in second and are set to face Jose Mourinho’s men in the FA Cup semi-final.
If they are to finish second and win the FA Cup, they will need Eriksen as his best and his performance on Saturday suggests that he is hitting top form at the right time of the season.
Michael Keane is vulnerable at Everton after Mason Holgate’s weekend performance
Paired alongside Michael Keane, the 21-year-old gave a mature performance in victory over the Saints and there is now a very good chance that he will be given future first team opportunities.
This could leave Keane very vulnerable, with the likes of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma yet to be considered for the starting XI.
Keane hasn’t done anything near enough to live up to the reputation that followed him after his £30 million move from Turf Moor two summers’ ago.
After a difficult start to life in Merseyside under Ronald Koeman, he has since fallen out of contention for Gareth Southgate’s England side.
The former Burnley man has looked sluggish and error prone and there is a feeling around Goodison Park that he will become drastically exposed against some of the more menacing top flight sides.
With £27.19 million summer signing Mina on the verge of full fitness, following the World Cup, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him replace Keane in the first team in the coming weeks.
This change would pave way for a young, fresh and exciting centre-back partnership of Holgate and Mina – a solid platform for Silva to build his new team around.
Is Pedro Obiang the answer for Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham?
The Spaniard is yet to feature this season.
Something is yet to click for new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, with the London outfit falling short in their first two Premier League games of the 2018/19 season.
This weekend saw an opening day away defeat to Liverpool followed up by a 2-1 comeback victory for Bournemouth at the Olympic Stadium, accompanies by a performance that will have disheartened even the most optimistic of fans.
Despite spending over £100 million during the summer window, it is evident from the first two games of the season that the Hammers need a ball-winning central midfielder, capable of bringing balance to the defence and attack.
Sitting on Manuel Pellegrini’s bench is Spaniard Pedro Obiang, who became Slaven Bilic’s first signing for the club, back in 2015. The midfielder was a regular in West Ham’s side up to Christmas last season, but he made just one appearance in the Premier League since February.
Athletic and capable of moving the ball forward, the 26-year-old will be a much more dynamic option than ageing West Ham captain Mark Noble. Meanwhile, he would also improve the spine of the team defensively.
Up next for the Hammers is Arsenal. With a central midfield or Noble and Wilshere/Rice clearly not working, it seems a no-brainer for Pellegrini to promote Obiang to the starting XI for the upcoming clash against Unai Emery’s side.
On this day: Leeds cash in on Wood, Coutinho told he’s staying and Seri’s Barca links
What were the big stories in football a year ago today? Including Leeds United, Liverpool and Fulham.
One year ago today and Leeds United lost their talismanic striker Chris Wood to Burnley. After a tumultuous summer of rumours and conjecture, the club’s leading scorer left in a club record £15 million deal.
In his two seasons at Leeds the New Zealand international scored an impressive 44 goals in 88 games for the Whites.
Leeds were desperate not to lose the player and ended up paying for his absence. They failed to replace him, with nearest replica Pierre-Michel Lasogga falling short of expectations.
Wood has since gone on to establish himself at Burnley, scoring 11 goals in 26 games during his first season at Turf Moor.
Leeds now have Kemar Roofe firing and also signed Patrick Bamford this summer.
A year ago today and Liverpool had managed to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian had been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout last summer.
However, as reported by Sky Sports a year ago, Liverpool made it clear Coutinho was going nowhere.
In the end, it proved to just be a stall. Coutinho completed the inevitable switch to Barcelona in January for a fee of £146 million.
However, many Liverpool fans would perhaps argue the club are now performing better than they ever did when Coutinho was at Anfield.
Signed by Fulham this summer, a year ago today it seemed Jean-Michael Seri was on his way to Barcelona.
Marca suggested that Barcelona had met the apparent £36.6 million release clause in his contract at Nice. Unfortunately, that clause had expired.
With Barcelona not willing to pay more, they moved on.
Seri joined Fulham this summer for a club record fee.
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