Tim Sherwood played the Danish playmaker behind the lone striker against Swansea, with the pair striking up an immediate understanding.
Tottenham made it five Premier League wins out of their last six games with a 3-1 victory at Swansea on Sunday, with the north Londoners pushing for Champions League qualification under Tim Sherwood.
The new Spurs boss has reverted to a 4-4-2 formation since being appointment, but left Roberto Soldado on the bench at the Liberty Stadium and instead favoured Christian Eriksen playing in the number ten role behind Emmanuel Adebayor.
But, how did this tactical change impact Spurs, and is it something that Sherwood will persist with?
Of all Tottenham’s new summer signings, Eriksen was the one that installed excitement in the majority of the White Hart Lane faithful. The Dane has had a hot and cold start to life in north London, but over the last month has improved markedly and looked like a man capable of being Spurs’ main creative force.
His cross for Adebayor’s opener against Swansea was quality of the highest order, while the ex-Ajax man took up dangerous positions and seemed to have an excellent understanding with the Togolese forward.
Having Eriksen play more centrally will allow for an additional attacker on the left, on this occasion filled by Nacer Chadli, but it may well be that Andros Townsend looks to play in this role once he is back to full fitness.
Playing the Scandinavian in the number ten role means that he can help out with defensive duties in midfield when needed, and could also interchange with Gylfi Sigurdsson when the Icelander was introduced from the bench.
The role seems to suit Eriksen much better also, as even when he has been utilised from the left naturally drifts in-field anyway.
Despite only having one out-and-out striker, Spurs still offered a threat in behind Swansea and looked no less of a goal threat. Even if it wasn’t Adebayor getting past the home side’s back four, others were able to get ahead of the lone forward. A perfect example of this was Mousa Dembele’s run forward to get one-on-one with the opposition goalkeeper in the second half, in which he really should have scored.
Eriksen’s central role ostracises Soldado, who has worked hard for his new side without delivering the goals expected of him. The Spaniard is unlucky to be dropped, but the simple fact of the matter is that Adebayor is the form striker at Sherwood’s disposal.
Playing two strikers in the 4-4-2 formation has seen Soldado be pushed wide in a bid to find space, with the former Valencia man and the African similar in their style. Eriksen as an alternative to Soldado offers more craft, creativity and looks likely to provide more chances for the in-form Adebayor.
Soldado will work hard and look to convince Sherwood that he is worth a place in the starting line-up, which will give the Spurs boss the option of giving Adebayor a rest on occasion, or reverting back to the 4-4-2 formation.
image: © Jon Candy