Nabil Bentaleb put in a controlled performance for Tottenham against Fiorentina.
Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb put in a mature performance against Fiorentina, demonstrating the rapid progress he has made over the past 12 months.
A year ago he was settling into the first team after being given a chance by Tim Sherwood, a year on he is a key player for Mauricio Pochettino's side and almost undroppable on current form.
While some players return from African Nations Cup tournaments and struggle for form, the Algerian has come back better than ever.
The 20-year-old Lille born midfielder dominated the midfield battle in what was at times a war of attrition against a Fiorentina team who sought to frustrate Spurs and prevent them getting into their normal rhythm.
Bentaleb touched the ball 96 times, this was more than any other player on the pitch at White Hart Lane. The nearest any body came to that was Kyle Walker with 83.
To get a feel of how much control Bentaleb had, is shown by the highest touch count of any Fiorentina midfielder being David Pizarro - 58.
The youngster played all 90 minutes and completed 87 per cent of his passes, with the only wastefulness displayed coming in his shooting - attempting three shots at goal which all landed off target.
He was a disruptive influence in midfield too without possession, making three tackles, a figure only bettered by defender Jan Vertonghen with five - and his four interceptions were also the most of any Tottenham midfielder, and more than the starting Fiorentina midfield combined.