The real reason Tottenham Hotspur miss Christian Eriksen

Jul 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen (23) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen (23) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Christian Eriksen has been gone from Tottenham for nearly 15 months now but Spurs have still not found a way to replace the Dane’s production. Eriksen’s playmaking responsibilities have largely been picked up by Harry Kane among others. However, the 100+ shots Eriksen took per season are nowhere to be found.

It’s the Shots, not the Set-up Spurs Miss

Tottenham certainly misses the energy and ground cover that Christian Eriksen provided but most of all they really miss his shots. Players, like Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura, and Erik Lamela, bring a similar kind of energy and help create turnovers in the opposing half that lead to opportunities.

Likewise, Players like Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, and Kane have taken on those additional play-making duties Eriksen used to handle. The pass from Ndombele through to Kane for the second against Newcastle was simply superb.

Harry Kane himself has taken on a large part of the play-making Eriksen you to do and who has matched the Dane’s highest ever assist mark in the Premier League at 13 with 8 matches to go. However, the consistent barrage of 3 attempts per game has simply not been replaced.

Tottenham miss the attempts Eriksen had

From 2016-2019 as Spurs were in their heyday under Mauricio Pochettino, Christian Eriksen averaged 104 shots per season, second only to Harry Kane during that time. For a little perspective, Kane is currently the only Tottenham player with over 100 shots (106) and the next most is from Son, who has only 51 attempts.

Yes, there are eight matches to go, but it seems unlikely that son will get the seven attempts per match necessary to match the production that came from Christian Eriksen. In fact, Son has never shot a ton, with 81 the most attempts he has ever had in League for Tottenham.

To fully appreciate what Eriksen brought to Tottenham, you need to consider his averages per 90 minutes. At 3.06 shots per 90 minutes over those three seasons, only Kane and Gareth Bale get shots off at a higher rate from the current squad. More importantly, Eriksen struck his shots on target at a rate higher than 1 in 3 at 36%. With 1.14 shots per 90 on target, Eriksen would be fourth on this Tottenham team behind only Kane, Bale, and Lamela.

Where Eriksen was shooting from matters too

The thing about all these shots from Christian Eriksen is that they were mostly from distance. Over those three seasons, the average distance per shot for Eriksen was from 22 yards, well outside the box.

In Tottenham’s current team only Harry Winks, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, and Eric Dier average an equal or greater distance. However, combining the three have only taken 27 shots and scored once all season long. Not one other Tottenham player’s shot distance averages greater than 20 yards.

This matters because of two reasons. First, Eriksen was great at these distance shots, which led to some goals. Eriksen averaged almost 9 goals per campaign during those seasons. More importantly, those shots lead to opportunities.

For every shot attempt that is deflected wide or parried away, Spurs may have gotten a corner. The rebounds and second chances from those shots lead to opportunities too. Ultimately, the lack of someone besides Harry Kane who is willing to shoot consistently as Eriksen did is hurting Tottenham.

Sort of like the saying out here with the lottery where you cannot win if you do not play, well with Tottenham, you cannot score if you do not shoot. The loss of Eriksen and his 100+ shots per year seems to be a big contributing factor. So whether you think Spurs should try to bring Christian Eriksen back or not, no one can argue that they need to replace his attempts. Just another example of the ongoing failed transfer policy at Tottenham.

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