Few players light up the Premier League like Christian Eriksen when he’s on form. But there’s always a frustration around the corner for Tottenham fans when a player with so much talent often slows games down or fails to put his stamp on the game.
But the Dane isn’t just a wisp of a player who drifts in and out of games. He is a truly world class talent who can run them when he’s on form. And in a Premier League which is enduring the increasingly wide gap between the haves of the top six and the have-nots of the rest, that can be a potent weapon.
Against West Ham on Thursday night, Eriksen, like the rest of his Spurs teammates, may not have had the best night of their footballing lives, but he was still effective. And when looking at the stats, it’s clear that he was involved in the best things that his side did.
Eriksen, playing in an advanced role, had more shots than anyone else on the pitch and more touches than anyone other than Ben Davies. What’s impressive is that the players having the shots aren’t usually the ones getting all the touches. The Danish playmaker was given space to play in front of the Hammers defence, which is why he was able to drop deeper and get so much time on the ball, but his attacking instinct when he got it was important, too.
With 74 passes made throughout the game, Eriksen’s evening was mostly about recycling possession and making his team tick. With three key passes – more than anyone except Dele Alli – he certainly did that.
But in a game where the opposition sits deep and attempts to stifle your creativity and hit you on the break – just as the Hammers did to Manchester City and Chelsea before Christmas – every attack can be dangerous to your own team if you give the ball away. The fact that Christian Eriksen made more interceptions than any Spurs player tells you just how instrumental he was to his side’s defence, too. For each of the chances he created with a key pass at one end, he stopped one at the other. And as contributions in a tight game against a bitter rival, where a point is sealed through a wonder goal from your winger go, that could well have been vital.