Supporters are very quick to rubbish a player and with Tottenham’s defeat to Newcastle on Sunday, it has happened again. It is too early to write off any player and with seven new signings in the summer, critical Spurs fans had plenty to choose from. After an exciting start by Christian Eriksen at Spurs when he was influential on his debut and scoring his first Spurs goal against Tromso, he has found it more difficult to adapt to football in England and some have questioned his ability suggesting he was too lightweight for English football and the Premier League.
His debut against Norwich allowed him to display his passing ability when he was fully involved in the game and played his part in both goals that day. He found it more difficult in subsequent matches and especially in the home defeat to West Ham when he was deprived of time in midfield as the visitors packed their defence and midfield. He was omitted from the next league games but played in the midweek matches.
In last week’s Europa League game against FC Sheriff he played for 80 minutes but his display was still lacking his true quality as he was overshadowed by an improved performance from Erik Lamela who scored his first Spurs goal and had a greater influence on the play. Eriksen found himself caught in possession and giving the ball away in dangerous positions which would have been punished against higher class opposition. Although not at his best, after an uncertain first half he improved after the interval and managed to show some glimpses of what he can do. One particularly pleasing moment was when he picked up the ball in midfield and made a run to the edge of the penalty area where he unleashed a shot which the goalkeeper was relieved to punch clear.
With Andre Villas-Boas seeking to increase greater into the team following the scoreless draw at Everton, he opted to start Eriksen against Newcastle. Unfortunately for Spurs it was another goalless performance with the attention being on the Newcastle goalkeeper who kept Spurs at bay.
The blame for no goals again fell on a lack of creativity from the midfield with Eriksen among others appearing to have limited influence on the match. A closer look at the statistics for the match shows that Eriksen did play a greater part than may have been evident at the time as Spurs saw shot after shot saved by Tim Krul.
OptaJoe tweeted a number of relevant stats from the game.
- Tottenham’s total of 14 shots on target without a goal is the most by any side in a Premier League game since 2006-07.
- Tim Krul made 14 saves in this game, the most by any Premier League keeper in a single game since 2006-07.
The tweet about Christian Eriksen shows he had a greater involvement than many may have thought.
Eriksen, like Lamela, has found it difficult to adapt to the rigours of football in England with its physicality, pressure and the competitiveness of the Premier League. In a game where he didn’t have the best of matches, Eriksen, however, still managed to create more scoring opportunities than anyone else and could have had a goal only for Krul getting a foot to his shot at the last moment.
9 – Against Newcastle, Christian Eriksen created nine chances for his teammates; more than any player in a single game this season. Spurned.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 10, 2013
The Danish international and former Ajax star recently received his country’s Player of the Year award for 2013 and with perseverance, support and encouragement Eriksen will come good at White Hart Lane. Those over critical supporters who are writing him off already have perhaps been too quick to make their judgement and have their say.