A quick early season check on what areas Tottenham's record signing may already be doing better in.
Tottenham started with Erik Lamela in Saturday's London derby Premier League opener at West Ham. Given his impressive preseason form, we've taken a look at the 22-year-old's performance?
It is of course a little bit of a stretch to compare the Argentine's 61 minute appearance at West Ham to all of his games from last season, especially considering that half of his time on the pitch Spurs were a man down, but given how Lamela has once again come in for some criticism after the game from pundits, it is worth taking a quick look to see if there is anything that indicates he is set to have a stronger season this time round.
Below we compare his average stats from last season with his performance against West Ham.
Erik Lamela 2013/14
|Team||Passing Accuracy %||Dribbling Success %||Touches / apps||Was Fouled / apps||Dispossessed / apps||Ground Duels Won %||Apps||Mins|
Erik Lamela against West Ham 16th August 2014
|Team||Passing Accuracy %||Dribbling Success %||Touches||Was Fouled||Dispossessed||Ground Duels Won %||Apps||Mins|
The stats above indicate that Lamela was more successful in several key areas during his sole difficult appearance against West Ham. Though his passing accuracy is a little lower than he exhibited during his debut season, the former Roma man saw more of the ball despite Spurs being down to 10 men from the 29th minute onwards. He had more touches than he managed on average last year, and drew more fouls while managing to only be dispossessed once.
The winger displayed several skilful touches on Saturday, and successfully managed to use such ability to go past opponents on more than one occasion.
One area he will need to work on is his goal threat, he didn't manage to get any shots away against West Ham, though again this could be because for much of his time on the pitch Spurs were pinned back.
Intriguingly, considering that Mauricio Pochettino is encouraging a pressing game at the White Hart Lane outfit, Lamela managed to win 55% of ground duels for possession at Upton Park, an excellent amount for an attacking player.
Lamela does look to have a little more weight on him this season, compared to the slight frame he arrived with. If nothing else, what he needs now is to build up his understanding of the relentless pace of Premier League football, something he will only get through minutes on the pitch. It will be interesting to see what kind of role he plays in the coming weeks as Spurs, hopefully, keep all eleven men on the pitch.