This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Tottenham Hotspur have sorely missed Erik Lamela.
The Argentine was a regular fixture in the team at the start of the season, making seven starts in the Premier League, against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
His final appearance came against Red Star but a thigh injury sustained in training ruled him out of the clash with Liverpool and he has since been absent, missing the draws with Everton and Sheffield United.
This is really the story of the 25-cap Argentine’s career.
Since his move to north London from Roma and including this season, Lamela has missed 88 games through injury, with one setback lasting over a year.
And yet Spurs have missed his relentless energy.
Per WhoScored, he has scored twice and registered one assist in the league this season but he also averages 1.4 tackles per game, 1.2 fouls, 1.6 key passes, 1.3 shots and a pass accuracy of 84.1%.
He is not as subtle as Christian Eriksen, nor is he as powerful as Dele Alli, but there is a pitbull-esque quality to Lamela. He routinely sets the tone at the top of the pitch, pressing the defence and attempting to win the ball back.
And that is without mentioning the fact that he can fill a gap on the right-hand side of the pitch, something he’s done twice already this season.
While Spurs have endured a difficult start to the season, the absence of Lamela has clearly stung.
It remains to be seen when Lamela will return to action – his injury history suggests it could be against West Ham, or it could be next season – but it is certain that he will bring with him a dynamism that Spurs have been lacking.
Until then, they will continue to miss the 27-year-old.