Tottenham made some eye-catching signings during the summer, with Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso joining the club. They strengthened the midfield options at the club and although it was feared Christian Eriksen would depart, the Danish international remains in North London.
Due to the quality available to Mauricio Pochettino, it has been a surprise to see Erik Lamela start all four Premier League matches. The Argentine has struggled to hold down a regular starting place, but he is now finally finding the consistency to match his obvious ability.
Lamela is moving into his seventh season at Tottenham, displaying longevity that the majority of players fail to commit to in the modern game. It is now the norm for players to move on after two or three seasons at a club, as they either outgrow their team or they transfer for regular minutes. The Argentine has only played more than 1000 minutes in a Premier League season on two occasions. During the last campaign, he managed 973 minutes, contributing four goals and two assists.
Throughout his time in England, Lamela has regularly had periods of promise, but he has yet to ever show the consistency required to be a regular for a top-six team. After four starts, it is highly likely that he is going to be a more prominent figure this season. For a player that was signed for his mercurial talent on the ball, the 27-year-old has become a hard-working winger. He is often chosen for his work rate and his incredible pressing ability from the front.
The attacker averages 1.8 ball recoveries per game, showing his tenacity out of possession. Meanwhile, he averages 1.8 shots, 1.3 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game. He isn’t a high performing attacking outlet, but he manages to complement the more talented attackers in the team. Pochettino relies on Lamela and that speaks volumes about his role in the Tottenham squad.
His most influential contribution came at the most unlikely of times, as he got a goal and an assist against Manchester City. Few expected Tottenham to get anything from the game and on the run of play, they should have left the Etihad Stadium with no points. Yet Lamela stepped up and made the most of his rare forays into the City half. He took a chance with his shot from range, which surprised Ederson and got the first equaliser. The second came from an excellent set-piece delivery, as the Argentine set up Lucas Moura.
After the international break, it could be that Lamela is dropped from the starting eleven, but he hasn’t travelled to join up with Argentina. He has remained in North London and that continuity may see him given another start at the beginning of the new season. The beginning of the Champions League will see rotation and the 27-year-old should see regular minutes over the next couple of months.
It has been an excellent start to the season for Lamela, as he has emerged from the shadows at Tottenham. Many expected him to be the one to miss out after the summer transfers, but he has been more prominent than ever and his start has to be seen as a real positive for the club.