It may have taken Erik Lamela well over a year to start to shine in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt, but Spurs’ £25.7m man is just starting to find his feet at White Hart Lane. The Argentine international has shown glimpses of quality this season, and he finally scored his first ever Premier League goal in Spurs’ 2-1 home win over Burnley on Saturday.
It’s been a very strange first season for Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane. After winning his first four games in charge, Pochettino’s side struggled for consistency thereafter. But after picking up three wins on the bounce in all competitions recently – including reaching the semi-final of the Capital One Cup – Tottenham’s season is well and truly back on track.
Lamela, who took Gareth Bale’s famous number 11 shirt on arrival at White Hart Lane, has played a big part of Tottenham’s success this term. The 22-year-old only scored once in 17 league and cup games last season, but this term he has already found the net on four occasions. Pochettino seems to be a big admirer of his fellow countryman, and has utilised him 25 times already in all competitions so far.
The tricky winger was outstanding in Tottenham’s victory over Burnley last weekend. He ran at the Clarets’ defence at every chance, demanded the ball, and took his goal expertly well. Although the Argentinian hasn’t performed consistently enough in a Spurs shirt since his arrival, he has shown enough signs recently that he could pay back some of his his hefty transfer fee after all. Lamela was one of a number of Tottenham players who were criticised when things weren’t quite going to plan during certain periods of the season. But the winger has shown the resolve and character to silence his critics of late.
Spurs currently sit seventh in the Barclays Premier table – level on points with their rivals Arsenal, and four points off of 4th placed West Ham. Seemingly overnight, Tottenham’s season has turned from disappointment to optimism. The Lilywhites comfortably qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League two weeks ago, and last Wednesday’s impressive 4-0 League Cup quarter-final win over Newcastle United has seen Pochettino’s side turn things around at White Hart Lane pretty drastically.
Eyebrows were certainly raised when Tottenham spent a huge chunk of their Gareth Bale money on the signing of Erik Lamela, and after a disappointing first season at the Lane, rumours circulated that he could have been on his way out of Tottenham. But to be fair to the the player, he has certainly gone a long way to show why Spurs paid so much for the 22-year-old. Lamela has always had the ability, perhaps he just needed an arm over his shoulder, but under the guidance of his new boss Mauricio Pochettino, he is starting to flourish at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham travel to the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day to face rock-bottom Leicester City. Then Pochettino’s side must turn their attention to an improving Manchester United, before entertaining current table-toppers Chelsea in back-to-back home games – and Pochettino will be hoping a rejuvenated Lamela can be the difference as Spurs continue their fight for a top four finish.