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Is it Time for Tottenham to give Christian Eriksen a break?

Is it Time for Tottenham to give Christian Eriksen a break?

When Mohamed Salah etched his name into Egyptian history by firing his nation to a first World Cup for almost 30 years, it was difficult to see how things could get better for the new Liverpool star.

Somehow they did, with a continued upturn in form seeing him score eight goals in his next nine games and become the Premier League’s leading goalscorer.

While there wasn’t the same sort of history attached, Christian Eriksen’s emphatic hat-trick to fire Denmark past the Republic of Ireland was more stunning than Salah’s spot-kick.

However, what has followed for the Tottenham playmaker has certainly been less impressive.

In the following four games, Eriksen has failed to provide a goal or an assist, with a solitary point collected from three Premier League games as Spurs have slumped out of the title race.

The underlying stats are even more concerning, with the Opta data, which powers single-matchday fantasy game Dribble, showing he failed to hit the target with either shot against Leicester on Tuesday night, while his pass completion rate was down to a season low of 71.4%.

That prompted Mauricio Pochettino to make the rare decision to haul his playmaker off despite Spurs trailing Leicester 2-0.

Interestingly, while he has been previously subbed off five times this season, it was the first time the Argentine boss has removed Eriksen without his side already winning. Even Harry Kane has not been shown such unwavering faith.

As if to further to highlight the Dane’s ineffectiveness, his replacement Erik Lamela, returning from over a year out, assisted Kane just moments after entering the game.

That ability to provide assists has been in stark contrast to last season, when he set up 15 goals in the Premier League, at an average over one ever 211 minutes, compared to one every 593 minutes this season.

Much has been made of Spurs being distracted by their Champions League campaign but Eriksen’s stats point to a draining campaign.

From Tottenham’s first four group games, in which they impressively ensured their qualification, the 25-year-old covered more ground-per-minute than any other player to have been involved in over 200 minutes of action.

When you consider he has also covered the fourth most ground in the Premier League this season, it comes as no surprise that 24 appearances in three-and-a-half months is taking its toll.

With the fixtures continuing to come thick and fast during the Festive period, the 20% of Sky Sports Fantasy Football bosses owning Eriksen must, like Pochettino, make a tough call as to whether it is time to give the great Dane a break.

Featured image by Дмитрий Голубович of soccer.ru, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.