Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen was billed as one of the potential difference-makers ahead of Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Chelsea but, while the Dane had his moments, it was an overall frustrating outing.
The midfielder created some early promise for his side, bouncing a 20-yard free-kick off the bar after just nine minutes, but flitted in and out of the game from there, as Spurs’ hopes of repeating their success over Chelsea in the 2008 final never seemed to get off the ground.
John Terry and Diego Costa did the damage - both with the aid of deflections - either side of half-time, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side had the best of the possession but never looked close to matching the incisiveness shown in the New Year’s Day 5-3 win over their London rivals at White Hart Lane.
Eriksen flattered to deceive in that particular matchup and, while he was much more active on the ball in the Wembley encounter - recording a match-leading 84 touches and the second-most passes behind Nabil Bentaleb , it's telling that he was unable to provide a breakthrough moment over the course of the 90 minutes.
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The former Ajax star was let down somewhat by a lack of movements from his teammates, as proved the case in Thursday's 2-0 defeat at Fiorentina, but he was also kept in check by Kurt Zouma in a makeshift defensive midfield role, as the Chelsea youngster gradually forced him deeper as the match wore on.
After experiencing a fine run of form from late-November which saw him net four last-gasp winners in the Premier League, it's somewhat concerning that Eriksen’s production has dropped off a touch in recent weeks, having failed to register a goal or assist in the past six matches.
There's no doubt that he's one of Tottenham's most talented and crucial players but, if they are to salvage their season with a top-four finish, then Pochettino will need his star midfielder to get back to his best moving forward, starting with Wednesday's visit of Swansea City.