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The Erik Lamela Experience Week 5: Great Expectations

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How £30 million colors everything about Erik Lamela

Erik Lamela had a good week and, for once, it's not hard to explain how good a week he had.

You can do it with numbers. Against Sunderland, after being subbed on in the 67th minute Lamela completed 100% of his passes and had an assist that led to the game winning goal.

Against Crystal Palace he played 87 minutes, lead the team (along with Nacer Chadli) with 4 key passes, put 2 shots on target, and forced a pretty incredible save with his free kick.

Over the course of the season, he is the joint leader for chances created in the Premier League with 14, and no player in England has more key passes per 90 minutes so far this year.

Putting numbers aside, I can do it with vines and gifs.

Against Sunderland he carved open their defense with a series of amazing passes, including this game winning assist.

Against FK Qarabag he scored a surprisingly tricky goal one on one with the keeper.

Last week against Crystal Palace he forced a pretty spectacular save from this free kick.

Even if you don't break down the games into numbers and highlights, his performances have stood up to the eye test.  And yet, when you try to convince people that Lamela is finally settling in the side it is hard to not be perceived as if you are trying to convince someone that lizard people staged the moon landing in Benghazi.

And there's a good reason for this. From the day he arrived in North London until the day he leaves, the transfer fee we paid for him will color nearly every opinion of him. And not only was Lamela's the club's record signing, he was bought in the wake of Gareth Bale's departure, handed his number, and named his heir apparent. That's a lot of expectations to put on a guy.

Some people will never be convinced by Lamela until he starts at least sort of reminding people of Gareth Bale. Which has led many other Spurs fans, which has often included myself, to look for any silver lining they can find to Lamela's performance. While sometimes he has provided the kind of performances you can build optimistic expectations upon, too often he leaves us grasping for straws. Now, in his third season at Spurs, we have reached a point where even the most rational Lamela partisan can seem like he's trying to convince you that his performances are hot enough to melt steel.

But ever since the window closed, Lamela has been putting up numbers that would get Ryan Mason retroactively inducted into the '66 England team. However, what we want from an unexpectedly good academy product is very different fro what we want to see from our record signing.

It might be as simple as Lamela needs to score more goals to be accepted by the fans, but I'll take this level of performance over a sustained period of time, even if it does make me sound like a raving lunatic.