Eric Lamela has had plenty of bad luck with injuries over the last two years, but last night he notched his first goal for Tottenham since September 2016. This goal will be a big boost for him and the team going into Saturday’s North London derby.
The goal marks a continued comeback for Lamela, who was instrumental in Tottenham’s draw with Liverpool on Sunday, controversially winning a last minute penalty. The goal and this penalty award will certainly up his confidence going into the weekend, and he will be a man that Arsenal need to watch out for.
Despite his good form, Lamela is unlikely to start. Son has been a revelation since taking his place in the side, with his flair and unpredictability making him a nightmare to defend against. Lamela’s reinvigorated self will give Tottenham a top class option to bring off the bench, and if the game is stretched, his pace and trickery could cause problems for Arsenal’s leaky backline.
Currently, Tottenham have Son, Alli and Eriksen ahead of Lamela, but the Argentine winger is a very different option to all three. Lamela will run at the Arsenal defenders, we will put them under pressure, and he will cause problems for Monreal or Kolasinac when he cuts inside from the right. He also has the ability of going outside, and processes a reasonably strong right foot. He is also capable of a delightful Rabona when he’s on song, which Arsenal will need to be wary of.
This wide option will enhance Spurs’ attacking play from the wide areas, ensuring Trippier / Aurier and Ben Davies have more to work with. Erikson and Alli like to operate in central positions, functioning best when they have the ball at the edge of the box, while Son is a tireless runner, who constantly targets space with his intelligent movement.
If Tottenham find themselves chasing a goal, Lamela is a fantastic option to bring on to stretch the defence on a big Wembley pitch. This will give Arsenal’s backline something different to think about, and could potentially cause havoc to a defensive unit that are far from organised.
On the flip side, Lamela is also a great option if Tottenham are trying to see out the game from a winning position. His work rate will ensure he protects his fullbacks, while his pace will give them an outlet if Arsenal are attacking, allowing them to hit them on the counter.
Arsenal must watch out for Lamela on Saturday, as his presence will cause problems. With his confidence now back in check, the best of Lamela may be set to arrive.