Why Christian Eriksen is now one of the league's best midfielders

Why Christian Eriksen is now one of the league's best midfielders

Christian Eriksen has been excellent since the turn of the year and has played a huge role in helping Tottenham consolidate their position in the top four. There had been a fear that they would fall off the pace after Harry Kane’s injury, but they have won their last five matches and the Danish international has played a huge role in that. At the age of 25, he continues to develop his game and is showing signs that he is ready to consistently perform as one of the best midfielders in the league.

In years gone by, Mesut Ozil has been talked about as the best number ten in world football and it is interesting to compare him with Eriksen this season. The Tottenham man averages 2.63 key passes, 2.98 chances created and 3.94 shots per ninety minutes. Meanwhile, Ozil averages 2.69 key passes, 2.95 chances created and 1.54 shots per ninety minutes. These underline that the 25-year-old is heading in the right direction and is now competing with the very best in his position. He is matching Ozil in terms of creativity and poses more of a threat in the final third as he gets into goal-scoring positions more frequently.

Looking at their overall contribution, Eriksen averages 0.25 goals scored and 0.36 assists per ninety minutes. The Dane has had a better end product than Ozil this season, with the German averaging 0.26 goals scored and 0.26 assists. His form during recent weeks has been incredible and he has been helped massively by the change to a 3-4-2-1 formation. During Tottenham’s last eight matches in all competitions, he has scored four goals and assisted seven times. He is truly in a rich vein of form and if he continues, he can really establish himself as one of the leading midfielders in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino asks a lot of his players as he expects them to work hard without the ball. This was a part of Eriksen’s game that was initially under-par, but he has improved over the last 18-months and his defensive figures clearly show that he does his bit out of possession. He averages 1.03 tackles won and 0.75 interceptions per ninety minutes, which is almost two ball recoveries per game. Considering he plays in an advanced role, this is impressive and highlights how he offers more to the team than influence in the final third.

The Danish international has been at Tottenham since the summer of 2013 and he is now performing at the level that everybody knew he was capable of reaching. He has continued to develop his skills on a yearly basis and he will be hoping to improve on last season’s contribution in the final third. The 2015/16 campaign saw the midfielder contribute six goals and 13 assists over the course of the season. Eriksen is currently on seven goals and 10 assists this year, which means that he is three assists away from achieving another season of improvement. He will also have his eye on breaking ten goals and ten assists for the first time in his Premier League career.

This will be his fourth completed season at White Hart Lane and it has the makings to be his best. It has been good to watch his development under Pochettino as he continues to improve under the Argentine coach. The recent move to a 3-4-2-1 formation has brought the best out of the Danish midfielder as he now has the freedom to roam in central areas, as opposed to being put on the wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. His performances have gone under the radar, but he is now one of the best midfielders in the league and he is crucial to Tottenham’s continued development over years to come.