Tottenham have had one of the best attacks in the Premier League during recent seasons and the influence of their two advanced midfielders is central to that. Mauricio Pochettino has favoured a 3-4-2-1 formation, which has allowed both Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli to take their games to the next level. They have each added consistency and regularly contribute in the final third. The reason the team’s been so successful is that the two of them provide different qualities to the attack.
There are few players that are more consistent in their creative output than Eriksen and he is now regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League after four full seasons as a Tottenham player. This is a part of his game that he excels in over Alli. Since the start of 2016/17 season, the Danish international has created 127 chances at a rate of one every 28.8 minutes. During the same period, his team-mate has created 64 chances at a rate of one every 55.7 minutes.
In terms of assists, Eriksen unsurprisingly beats Alli during that period as he has contributed 17 compared to the England international’s eight. Although the 21-year-old can create chances for his team-mates, he does so in a different way to Eriksen. He doesn’t possess the vision or long passing range that the Danish midfielder does, but he is technical enough to contribute creatively as well as to offer a goal threat.
Alli’s main strengths lie in front of goal, as he possesses excellent movement and is very good at being in the right place at the right time. He has a striker’s instinct in the final third and that makes him a good foil for Eriksen. During the start of last season, he has scored 20 goals, with one coming every 178.35 minutes. That is a record that a lot of Premier League strikers would be proud of and that is a testament to how good the midfielder already is at this early stage of his career.
His partner in attacking midfield scored ten goals or one every 365.9 minutes. They complement each other well and they often combine for a goal, with Eriksen providing it for Alli. Alongside Harry Kane, there is a case that Tottenham have the best attack in the league. Their styles mesh together perfectly and their relationship has developed to a near-telepathic level. Although they remain a dangerous team, Tottenham are not as effective if one of the front three are missing. If they all manage to be available for most of the season, Spurs will be competing at the top of the division.
It is difficult to pick out which one is more important to Tottenham. Eriksen has started the new season in better form, as he is averaging 3.43 shots and 2.89 chances created per ninety minutes. Currently, he is more influential than Alli who is averaging 2.71 shots and 2.2 chances created. It is sometimes forgotten that the Danish international is only 25 and he still has a lot of time to develop into one of Europe’s best midfielders.
Tottenham have three of the best attacking talents in Europe and if they can manage to keep them together for the long-term, they will emerge as a force both in the Premier League and abroad.