Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino left star playmaker Christian Eriksen out of the starting line-up against West Ham United on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Belgium international has been in impressive form in recent weeks, which has seen Eriksen being deployed on the left.
On Sunday, Pochettino decided to leave the former Ajax star out of his line-up altogether, and it backfired.
Dembele struggled to make an impact in the first half and was rightly taken off at the interval, with Eriksen coming on in his place.
The 23-year-old was deployed in central attacking midfield, and it was his introduction that helped Spurs step up their game in the second half.
As the stats table below shows, Eriksen was far more effective and creative than Dembele in his preferred position.
|Total Dribble||Total Cross||Accurate Cross||Touches||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Chances Created||Total Shots||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
True, Dembele has looked good in central attacking midfield in recent weeks, but if there is a direct choice between him and Eriksen for that position, then it is the latter who should be preferred.
Against West Ham, Pochettino should have started the Dane. West Ham have not been in great form in recent weeks, but as they showed at White Hart Lane, Sam Allardyce’s side are no easy pushovers.
One cannot say for sure that Spurs would have won against the Hammers had Eriksen started the contest, but they would have certainly had a better chance of doing so with him in the line-up from the first minute.