Entering the Tottenham Hotspurs starting lineup with limited success but occasional flashes of brilliance last season, Erik Lamela has finally begun to hit his stride this season with more confidence. His ball-handling skills have always been apparent, though he has demonstrated that he does better on the correct side of the pitch instead of where AVB originally attempted to use him. He has proven a successful target for emerging superstar Christian Eriksen, connecting for a serious threat to opposing defenses. The goal he scored to seal the Burnley match, his first Premier League goal, has been hailed by peers and pundits as a beautiful stroke, hinting at the player he has the potential to become. His teammates and coaches have all continued to assert that this young man is something special, and now he is beginning to give audiences the proof that this is truly the case.
Toward the beginning of the Tottenham season, it was thought that the Lamela experiment might have been one that had failed to realize the expected goals. There was talk of giving him playing time in order to showcase him for potential transfer window deals. That showcase, however, has turned into more than an audition for teams interested in acquiring him, but instead it has become a window into a world of potential which has captured the imagination of fans and players alike. The young man has become somewhat of a phenomenon. The numbers still have yet to come up to a level where he will command huge numbers in his contract, but that time is coming. The exciting thing about Lamela, and it is exciting for Tottenham and their fans, is the visuals associated with watching him play. The deft ball maneuvering as he passes the opposing defenses and the sometimes spectacular goals that he pulls off provide a spectacle the likes of which only a few players in the league are able to maintain on a weekly basis. This is the type of player that captivates the fans and keeps them coming back. This is the type of player that a team keeps rather than shopping at the transfer window. Lamela has not only hit his stride, but he has done so in front of a global audience, and likely secured a lengthy stay in Tottenham in the process.
The Tottenham attack has not seen the consistency of production that will keep them in the hunt for a top four spot. Going into the January break, if Lamela and Eriksen can keep them earning points and not losing any ground in the standings, then there is a good chance that the transfer market will provide at least one or two new strikers to join with them on the attack. Seeing the performance of this duo, along with the inconsistent but spectacular talent of Adebayor, has emboldened club management, giving them the confidence that with the right pieces added during the break. a march to the top four is more than possible. In the final legs of the season, it might not just be Lamela, but the entire Tottenham Hotspurs club that hits its stride.
Commentary By Jim Malone
Image courtesy of Calcio Mercato – Flickr License