Analysing Christian Eriksen's Performance from Tottenham vs. Benfica

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Analysing Christian Eriksen's Performance from Tottenham vs. Benfica
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Christian Eriksen was one of the few good performers for Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-1 loss to Benfica in their Europa League last-16 first leg at White Hart Lane.

Fielded out on the left-hand side, the Dane had some fine flourishes, creating some good chances and executing a superb free-kick for Spurs' only goal of the night.

However, despite Eriksen's goal, it will be a long way back for Spurs in the second leg and the North London side may not be staying in the Europa League for much longer.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Eriksen's beautiful free-kick, which nestled in the top left-hand corner to make it 2-1, drew praise from many.

Jason Roberts on the BBC said: "That was fantastic quality from Eriksen, he makes it look easy but I can tell you it's not."

"Excellent quality and Tottenham are back in this game now."

The 22-year-old was making his first appearance for Spurs for a couple of weeks having sustained a back injury.

And he was farmed out on the left wing, not his usual No.10 role. Many were baffled by the decision from Tim Sherwood to play youngster Harry Kane in Eriksen's preferred position:

While journalist and Opta analyst, Raj Bains, commented that the former Ajax man perhaps was not that comfortable playing out wide:

However, despite his unfamiliar position, he did manage to impose some of his creative flair on the game.

Early in the second half, he slid a lovely ball through from the edge of the box to create a great chance for Emmanuel Adebayor to score.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

However, that piece of play seemed to highlight the error of playing him out wide. His best position is as a No.10, running at players and running the game.

He did still manage to contribute Tottenham's most significant blow with his wonderful free-kick from the left-hand edge of the box, a consistent feature of his game:

On his return to the side, Eriksen made a good account of himself, but his obvious quality was wasted on the left.

He is the kind of player around whom a great team could be built, and he is arguably Spurs' best asset at the moment.

After two poor defeats in a row—they were thrashed 4-0 by Chelsea at the weekend—Sherwood would do well to play Eriksen more centrally when Spurs take on Arsenal on Sunday.

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