Is Erik Lamela undroppable?

Erik Lamela is fast approaching three years at Tottenham Hotspur, yet continues to divide opinion – at least on social media. While some of us can appreciate him for what he offers to this dynamic Spurs side that is starting to realise its potential, others are still unconvinced. Are they right to be?

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Article by Nathan Flint

Let’s take a look at Lamela’s three seasons at Spurs. A goal and three assists in what was by all accounts a disappointing first season for the Argentine, in which appearances and form proved difficult to come by. Last season saw a much better return of four goals and seven assists, evidence that he was beginning to get accustomed to the Premier League. With four games to go this season, Lamela has ten goals and seven assists in all competitions – a total of 17 - putting him fourth behind Eriksen (20), Alli (21), and Kane (28).

So the evidence shows that his goal output has improved each season. That’s inarguable. But for those of us who have been patiently waiting for the South American to emerge as a vital part of this Spurs team, it’s the rest of his game that has made it worth the wait.

If we take a look at Lamela’s tackles per game over the last few seasons, again we see an 
upward trend. From 1.4 tackles per game in 2013/14, to 2.2 per game the following year and 2.5 per game so far this season. It’s fair to say that Lamela has taken his time in settling in to English football but the talent that we all knew was there is now beginning to show. Look at the individual player figures for the 3-0 demolition of Manchester United and you’ll find further evidence of his improved workrate.

In that game Lamela made nine tackles – more than anyone else – while at the time of his substitution he had also covered more distance (11.29km) and made more sprints (64) than any other player. Not forgetting the pinpoint free kick to assist Alderweireld for the second before adding a third himself with a sublime finish. He registered another assist in the next game, Monday’s win at Stoke.

It’s easy to claim that he’s simply a player in form. What we’re actually seeing is a player who is not only realising his potential but one who is becoming integral to the team. The recent draw at Anfield was always going to be a tough game but Lamela’s pace, workrate and direct attacking were sorely missed as we left with just a point. His replacement, Heung-min Son simply didn’t have as much of an effect on the team despite possessing plenty of talent and attacking endeavour.

A player of Erik Lamela’s ability was always going to succeed in the Premier League, it was just a case of whether or not we as fans had the patience to wait. Let’s not forget what happened with Gareth Bale during his first few years at Tottenham. We all know how that ended. I’m not saying that Lamela’s career will take a similar path. I’m just glad his journey led him to White Hart Lane, where I hope we can continue to watch a player whose ability, passion, desire, hunger (Google ‘Rose Lamela’) and most importantly talent, are unquestionable.

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  1. Anonymous10:25 am

    I've always thought Lamela has been played out of position as such, if you look at his previous club stats he played through the middle, the problem for him is, Deli Alli & Eriksen are in front of him in the que for that position, forcing him wide. Also I think Lamela has been some what lucky that Chadli got an injury as if it wasn't for the injury perhaps Lamela wouldn't have had so many games this season. In the whole, I think he's done ok. He's not blown us away but done just enough to keep his position. COYS!

  2. He's been undroppable for me since the first Arsenal game. The game shifted noticeably when he was substituted (less defensive pressure, energy)... and they went on to concede a draw. He has creativity, especially on breaks and in the open, but it's his intangibles that contribute to making this team so good.

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