Christian Eriksen returned to the first XI on Thursday night after three games on the bench. He put in a sparkling second half showing that helped spark a late Spurs comeback. It was a man of the match performance but what do the statistics from the game show?
This data is taken from the excellent website, WhoScored.com. First lets look at his average positioning:
Eriksen is circled. When compared to the other wide midfield player, Andros Townsend (number 17), he played much more centrally and much closer to the forwards, particularly Adebayor (number 10). This partnership was key, combining for the second goal. The Togolese striker ran Eriksen close for man of the match.
Next lets look at some of the numbers:
|Touches||Total Passes||Key Passes||Crosses||Shots|
|1st||Eriksen : 101||Dawson : 77||Eriksen : 4||Eriksen : 6||Eriksen : 5|
|2nd||Dawson : 93||Eriksen : 73||Rotan : 3||Rotan : 4||Adebayor : 3|
|3rd||Fryers : 91||Fryers : 65||Townsend : 2||Soldado 3||Konoplyanka : 3|
|4th||Rotan : 87||Rotan : 61||Adebayor : 2||Naughton : 3||Soldado : 2|
So Eriksen had the most touches of any player in the match. For a wide player this is quite impressive (of course, as we have seen, Eriksen was drifting infield). This shows how involved in the game he was. Much of our attacking play went through him.
The Dane is second in total passes. Only Michael Dawson completed more, and obviously these were in far more defensive areas (the fact that a defender tops the list indicates the problems Spurs faced during this match).
Perhaps more pertinently, Eriksen made the most key passes (those that directly lead to a shot at goal) and the most crosses. So the passes that he made were frequently in dangerous areas, and had the potential to create chances.
I should add, he actually had the worst pass success rate of any Spurs’ player apart from Lloris and late substitute Harry Kane, at 75%. This is understandable given he was operating in areas near the opposition goal, where the margin for error is smaller. He was taking risks in order to try to unlock the Dnipro defence. A key pass near the opponents goal is generally less likely to succeed than rolling the ball sideways two metres in your own half.
Finally, Eriksen had the most shots at goal. So as well as creating chances, he was often on the end of them.
Add to this his freekick goal that was the catalyst for the comeback, his assist for the second goal scored by Adebayor, and his “assist” for Soldado’s disallowed goal. All in all a very impressive performance. Surely he has to start in our next game against Cardiff.
It begs the question: when Tottenham were trailing 1-0 at Norwich and needed a goal to keep their Champions’ League qualification challenge on track, why was he left on the bench?
If you have any thoughts on this, please leave your comments below.