Tottenham Hotspur legend Glenn Hoddle has told Sky Sports that he is happy to see Mousa Dembele being played further forward in midfield in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old Belgium international is a versatile player who can play in central midfield as well as in a more attacking role.
Signed from Fulham in the summer of 2012, Dembele has largely been deployed in a conservative role, but manager Mauricio Pochettino has started to use him further forward in recent games.
In fact, Pochettino has actually deployed Christian Eriksen on the left to accommodate Dembele in a central attacking post in some games.
Former Spurs manager Hoddle is pleased to see the Argentine take this approach with the ex-AZ star and backs him to be a key player against Chelsea in Sunday’s League Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium.
“With Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen floating around in that position, it will be difficult for Chelsea to cope without Matic,” the 57-year-old told Sky Sports. “He’s a massive, massive player…
“Dembele needs to be mentioned here, it’s not all about Eriksen. Dembele has been pushed forward, something I’ve been wanting for years since I first saw him, because he started too deep but can fly past people very easily.”
Mousa Dembele or Christian Eriksen?
While Dembele has shown that he can function well in an attacking midfield role, it remains to be seen whether Pochettino would want to play him in that position against Chelsea.
Last weekend the Belgian started as the creator-in-chief for Spurs against West Ham United at White Hart Lane in the Premier League, but he failed to do anything of note.
In fact, Dembele was taken off at half time, with Eriksen coming on in his place and doing a much better job, as the Opta Stats table below shows.
|Total Dribble||Total Cross||Accurate Cross||Touches||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Chances Created||Total Shots||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
If there is a direct choice between Dembele and Eriksen, then the latter should be given the preference.
While the Denmark international playmaker has proved that he can play well when starting on the left, he is best used in the central playmaking role.
Dembele is more physical and robust than Eriksen, but the 23-year-old former Ajax star is more creative and inventive.