Emerson Royal put in his best performance since joining Tottenham Hotspur this summer as they defeated Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The Brazilian right-back was drafted in on deadline day, signing in a €30m (£26m) deal from Barcelona, and finally, the north London outfit caught a glimpse of exactly what he had to offer.
In a game where Heung-min Son excelled with two assists and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg ran the show from the engine room, it was the 22-year-old defender who was an unsung hero for Nuno Santo and his side.
No player recorded more touches of the ball than Emerson (86) as he was a constant threat down that right flank.
Not only was he a rock defensively but he also got up the pitch to contribute in the final third.
As per SofaScore, Emerson recorded a match-high four interceptions, helping thwart the threat of wing-back Matt Target and Danny Ings, who was on his side in Villa’s two-man attack. He also made six clearances, two tackles and won a whopping ten duels.
The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick wrote in his post-match ratings column:
“A promising showing after a tough start in the Premier League. Committed and aggressive defensively and got forward well, creating a big chance for Son at the start of the second half.”
Indeed, the £26m-rated dynamo won three free-kicks, created one key chance and managed to pull off 100% of his dribbles, via SofaScore, further suggesting that he was capable of contributing in the final third.
It was only his third start in the Premier League but for the very first time, Nuno witnessed a player that should be starting there week in, week out. He’s a breath of fresh air in comparison to Serge Aurier, who left the Lilywhites by mutual consent in the summer.
According to football.london’s Alasdair Gold, the Brazil international has impressed staff with his “incredible” fitness levels and we saw some of that during the match today.
The Hotspur faithful were equally impressed by Emerson, too, with many expressing their delight with his performance.
On a day where Spurs ended a run of three straight heavy Premier League defeats, it was the new summer signing that went hugely under-the-radar and deserves plenty of credit for such a showing.