Gylfi Sigurdsson Must Maintain Level of Play for Spurs to Stay Successful
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s opening goal in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea shouldn’t surprise the White Hart Lane faithful.
Tottenham spent lavishly to replace Gareth Bale over the summer, but it’s the form of the Icelandic player that can take Spurs to the next level.
Easily overlooked in a squad that now possesses the likes of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado, the attacking midfielder is quickly becoming one of Andre Villas-Boas’ most influential men.
This transformation has been a sudden one. Sigurdsson earned his move to Spurs with a stunning season at Swansea in 2011/12, but since then, he has struggled to grace the Premier League with a consistent run of form.
Gifted with classy ball control, excellent passing ability and an eye for goal, the 24-year-old is excelling in a role of increased freedom after Bale’s departure.
The Welshman’s exit isn’t the only factor helping Sigurdsson string together effective performances. Now playing alongside versatile midfielders such as Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Etienne Capoue, he is afforded more opportunity to burst towards the opposition’s box, without the need to track back.
Regularly cutting inside from the left—a position that was filled by Bale last year—Sigurdsson’s productiveness has improved now that his naturally attacking style has been unshackled.
While the likes of Eriksen and Lamela offer a far more explosive game, Sigurdsson’s ability to maintain his recent level of play is vital for Spurs to remain in the hunt for trophies. His energy and willingness to create space along the forward line not only allows his teammates extra room to manoeuvre, it takes the goalscoring onus away from stuttering striker Soldado.
The former Hoffenheim hero, who posted a similar run of form during his time in the Bundesliga, should be considered the loose-fitting link between a midfield and attack that is difficult to pin down. Spurs’ shape-shifting style is perfect for Sigurdsson to enjoy increased freedom and receive the kind of possession that lets him influence games with the ball at his feet.
As highlighted in Sigurdsson’s two-goal performance versus Norwich, he is absolutely capable of winning Spurs points with quick moments of magic. Against the Canaries, the improving player racked up a pass success rate of 91 percent, hit the target from three of his four shots and even managed two interceptions, as recorded by Whoscored.
Do Spurs look better with Sigurdsson in the side?
While his pass rate dropped to 75 percent in the game against Chelsea, the Iceland international effectively cleared the ball three times and exerted defensive pressure when called upon. Jose Mourinho’s men threatened Spurs with counter-attacking breakaways more often than most teams will manage this season, but Sigurdsson remained committed to his duties.
Andre Villas-Boas has an endless array of options at his disposal. As we head towards the third month of the season, Sigurdsson’s performances continue to impress in a Spurs side that is more than equipped for a shot at the Premier League’s top three.
Should Sigurdsson’s effectiveness grind to a sudden halt, the Portuguese manager will find it extremely difficult to coax out the same level of quality from one of his replacements. With great freedom comes great responsibility, and since AVB has let Sigurdsson off the hook, Spurs’ quest for glory has gained real momentum.
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