Former Ajacied Christian Eriksen is Spurs’ chief creator

Tottenham Hotspur have been massively on the up since the arrival of current manager Mauricio Pochettino. The club recorded its highest ever finish in the Premier League last season, third, and are on course for, at least, another top four finish under the guidance of the devoted Argentine.

Pochettino’s team has a reputation as being one of the meanest defensive outfits in the Premier League. This is down to excellent coaching and a mammoth spine containing ex-ajaccied’s Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen plus midfield colossuses Moussa Dembélé and Victor Wanyama. Poccetino’s well drilled defence and midfield creates a solid platform upon which Spurs’ star creative performers can take centre stage including leading actor, Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen is the creative hub of the whole team. Forwards Dele Alli and Harry Kane also carry the burden of creating chances for each other and the rest of the squad however their main asset is their goal scoring ability. Meanwhile, deeper midfielders Dembélé and Wanyama are largely there to offer pressure relief and to keep the ball ticking over as neither of them possess the creative ability required to consistently break lines and produce chances.

The anatomy of the dazzling Dane is composed of his crisp first touch, elegant dribbling, beautiful balance, ice cold calmness and composure, wicked deliveries, from both open play and dead ball situations, beautiful bending free kicks and a level of two-footedness that is second to none. A skill set learned and honed in the world renowned Ajax youth set up.

Although this might seem like an over exaggerated list it really isn’t, the man is one of the most well rounded attacking midfielders around with his only minor negative perhaps being his lightweight frame. In his defence, he has grown noticeably in physical stature since arriving in the Premier League. Perhaps in order to keep up with the physicality of the league or perhaps down to Pochettino’s preference for a team of strong, resilient footballers.

In comparison with the rest of the league’s top attacking talents there very few who parallel Eriksen in terms of creating chances. This season in the Premier League only Kevin De Bruyne, with nine, has more assists than Eriksen, with eight, tied with North London rival Alexis Sánchez. The rate at which Eriksen is racking up assists in the league is backed up by his chance creation stats. Eriksen has created 66 chances for his teammates, tied with De Bruyne, which is more than double any other Tottenham player and the second most in the entire league behind the recently departed Dimitri Payet on 72.

The reasoning behind Eriksen’s mega numbers is, almost definitely, the variety of ways in which he can carve out a chance for his teammates. Eriksen creates through delicate slide-rule passes elegantly kissed behind defenders, through set piece scenarios and through scintillating balls whipped into the box from wide positions with scary accuracy. You only need to look at Tottenham’s dismantling of top of the league Chelsea for evidence of this.

Eriksen produced two, almost identical, crosses fizzed into the box from the right hand side, directly on to the head of Alli, on both occasions, who tucked them away with ease. The sight of Eriksen setting the table beautifully for Kane or Alli to serve up a piping hot finish has become all-too regular for the Tottenham faithful.

Eriksen doesn’t cower away in front of goal either. The silky Scandinavian has notched up five league goals this campaign so far and 28 across his three and a half years in English football. For a midfielder these are very respectable stats, in fact, no Premier League midfielder since February 2014 has more combined goals and assists than Christian Eriksen.

What impresses me most about Eriksen’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net is the various ways in which he can do it. The Dane has a vast array of finishes stored away in his footballing arsenal including tidy close range finishes in the box after striker like runs in behind, curling long shots, tasty half volleys, a scattering of full volleys, driven long shots (although he has personally stated he prefers the curling long shot), deft chips, tap ins (both fox in the box style tap ins and being quick to react to goalkeeper errors style tap ins), and even a few headers. This is without mentioning that he performs all of these shots off both feet regularly, with ease.

His recent goal against league leaders Chelsea emphasised the magic of his left foot further. A gorgeous out swinging left footed strike into the top corner past Belgian international Thibaut Courtois.

Notching up a wonder goal and two assists in Tottenham’s two games against Chelsea, arguably the best team in the league, this season also underlines Eriksen’s ability to perform in the big matches. Just when it matters most.

The quality which ties it all together is his ability to glide around the pitch with the ball at his feet. His dribbling skills are excellent, coupled with his divine first touch makes him a force to be reckoned with. He possesses an abundance of moves to beat a man and is very prone to a cheeky nutmeg. In fact, Eriksen produced one of the finest nutmegs I have ever seen back in 2011 against Vitesse, utilising a fine scoop turn which left Davy Pröpper reconsidering his career choice.

Given the multitude of skills and talents at Eriksen’s disposal, learned through the Ajax youth academy and relentless training, it’s no wonder he is one of the Premier League’s top creative talents, one of the world’s most well rounded attacking midfielders and a Danish international star. Tie this in with his driven personality, his humble nature, his general “nice guy” persona and his birth on Saint Valentines Day it’s no wonder Spurs, and football, fans have taken him to their hearts so quickly.

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