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A Whoscored Rating Of 8.30 – Stats Say This Totttenham Star Is The Best In Europe

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Is Tottenham's Christian Eriksen the league's most influential creator?

Tottenham’s contest against West Bromwich Albion could have proven to be an extremely tricky one for the Lilywhites. Spurs had failed to win against the Baggies on the last four occasions at the White Hart Lane ahead of the Saturday’s meeting. However, when the referee blew the final whistle, that rut was broken as Tottenham ran clear 4-0 winners over Tony Pulis’ side and if not for the inspired Ben Foster in goal, who made eight saves in the game, the scoreline would have been much more different. What made the triumph more appealing was the fact that Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool had struggled to get the better of the Baggies at home, this term.

Yes, West Brom were without two key defenders in Allan Nyom and Jonny Evans, but Spurs made absolute mincemeat of the visitors on the evening. Harry Kane completely deserved all the plaudits that came his way for his brilliant hat-trick, but it was another player whose displays got the Tottenham supporters pleased to no bounds – Christian Eriksen.

The 24-year old had started off the season quite slowly and his performances didn’t hit the peak until late November, despite having signed a new contract earlier. However, Eriksen has been totally unstoppable ever since. His assist for Kane and Tottenham’s first goal on Saturday was his eighth of the season. Only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (9) has more across Europe’s top five leagues this term. Five of those eight assists have come in the last eight Premier League outings. The fine goal against Chelsea in Tottenham’s 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge seemed to have been the catalyst for the Dane this season.

Is Tottenham's Christian Eriksen the league's most influential creator?

And it has been visible starkly on the field. According to stats website WhoScored.com, of all the players to have featured more than once since the 25th of November 2016 – the day before Tottenham visited Stamford Bridge – Eriksen has the second-best WhoScored rating (8.09) only behind Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (8.17). The Danish international’s ratings in the 11 games preceding the Chelsea encounter was much lower (7.02), indicating how he has kicked on since that evening. Traditionally a slow starter, Eriksen has managed to hit his peak for Tottenham and that coinciding with Harry Kane’s great run has turned the North Londoners into a force to reckon with.

A major reason for this sudden upturn in form has been due to Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical switch to a three-man defence system. In the new 3-4-2-1 system that the Argentine has deployed, Eriksen has been absolutely thriving behind Kane and alongside Dele Alli. The switch has managed to lift the Dane’s effectiveness in the final-third, affording him much more creative freedom and opportunities to exploit the spaces between lines to devastating effect. Hence, it comes as no surprise that only Dimitri Payet (74) and De Bruyne (60) have made more key passes than Eriksen (59) in Europe’s top five leagues this season – 33 of those have come after 25th November, more than any other English top-flight player.

With Kyle Walker and Danny Rose providing the width with their penetrating runs on the flanks, Eriksen has been given the chances to maximize his effectiveness from his excellent distribution skills, picking the pair out constantly and unlocking defences with ease. This has been done by the trio with great effect in recent weeks with the full-backs bombarding down and Eriksen picking them out to stretch their opponents’ backline. And with Harry Kane dropping deep at times for the ball or drifting out wide and taking defenders with him, it has provided another outlet for goals from Alli and Eriksen who are afforded a lot of space due to that while playing behind the lone striker.

Is Tottenham's Christian Eriksen the league's most influential creator?

Alli has been an excellent performer for Spurs and can have a great impact with his late runs into opposition boxes and has already scored 10 times this term. Eriksen has created three of those ten strikes, forming one of the most fruitful partnerships in the Premier League. With the solidity that Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele bring to the midfield, Eriksen and Alli have been given the license to toy with the defences, in knowledge that they are not relied upon heavily to perform their defensive duties.

With Eriksen acting as the deepest attacking outlet for Tottenham, it gives them an alternate dimension to their approach as was witnessed against West Brom in the lead-up to the second goal. The ball was played to Eriksen who had held himself back and his effort took a deflection off Jonas Olsson before it was directed into his own net by Gareth McAuley. It was also evident in the 2-0 drubbing of Chelsea earlier this month when the Dane held his run and waited for the ball at the edge of the area to pick out Alli twice leading to the two goals.

After the victory over the Blues, Pochettino, speaking about Eriksen, said, “He’s a very talented player and we’re very happy with him. But he’s another player that can improve. In the last few months he’s improved a lot. We need to push him to try to get another level.” Eriksen seems to have taken his gaffer’s advice and continues to thrive in the new system. A WhoScored rating of 8.29 against West Brom took his overall average for the season to 7.51, which currently is high enough for him to feature in the Premier League Team of the Season.

On current form, there are very few better than Eriksen in the Premier League and with a daunting fixture against rivals Manchester City up next, Tottenham will be hoping their star playmaker continues in this rich vein of form. The last time these two teams met, Eriksen played an influential role as Spurs downed the Citizens 2-1 and he will have a key part to play if Tottenham are to win their seventh league fixture in a row and continue to pile the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.