Erik Lamela is back! Coco made his first Premier League start in over a year on Wednesday for Tottenham Hotspur against Brighton & Hove Albion, starting and playing 74 minutes against the Seagulls in Spurs’ 2-0 win.
It wasn’t perhaps the most picturesque of wins for Spurs, but it was three points, an important three points that put Spurs back into fourth place. That can’t be overstated: Spurs tend to excel in the busy holiday fixture period where their fitness tends to get them through during a period where other clubs can struggle.
But enough about the match, this article is a Lamela love-fest, and let’s rank the players to a suitably appropriate theme: Erik Lamela yellow cards. It’s like a greatest hits tour through Coco’s career. (The irony that he didn’t actually pick up a yellow vs. Brighton isn’t lost on me here.)
Erik Lamela: Coco made his first Premier League start in 14 months and was one of Tottenham’s two best players on the day. For this reason, and because this entire theme is about him, he gets a five star rating. He is just the best and I love him. (Also, he was pretty good vs. Brighton, everything else aside, and you could see how he adds another dimension to our attack.)
Son Heung-Min: Is there a player who is more in form on Tottenham’s side right now than Sonny? Four goals in four games, and he again looked direct and dangerous, even if Brighton’s bunkered defense stifled a lot of his attacks. Can’t see how you leave him out of the side at this point.
Janric Vertonghier: The Dutch-English midfielder, raised in Portugal, rarely put a foot wrong against a Brighton side that had a couple of decent opportunities in transition. A solid showing. Hopefully he carries that form over into the match vs. City.
Christian Eriksen: It appears the rest helped him a great deal, as he’s looked more like his old self the past two matches than he has for just about any game in the past month. His free kick to Sonny’s head for the second goal was divine.
Serge Aurier: No, he totally didn’t mean for that to go in, but it was a lovely ball regardless. One of the better outings I’ve seen from Serge, and he had some nice interplay with Moussa Sissoko on the right flank.
Harry Kane: Still not quite sure how he didn’t score in this game. Had numerous opportunities that were either blocked, cleared, or that he inexplicably missed. Had a pretty nice game overall, and there’s nothing really to worry about here.
Hugo Lloris: Wasn’t called into action all that often, but when he was, he was up to the task. Stayed calm during Brighton’s few chances and had one good save.
Mousa Dembele: Used his strength to good effect in midfield as a substitute for Harry Winks. The midfield improved when he came on.
Moussa Sissoko: A serviceable job in midfield beside Winks. Interacted well with Serge Aurier on the right flank, and while Sissoko didn’t set the world on fire, he also didn’t do anything especially stupid playing in a deeper role. He was fine.
Dele Alli: Wasn’t happy to start the match on the bench, but with City looming it made sense to rest him against Brighton. He got a late cameo, ran around a bit, blazed a ball over the bar. Whatever.
Danny Rose: I think Danny himself would say that this wasn’t his best performance ever in a Tottenham shirt. Improved in the second half, but am I wrong in wondering if he might have been the better left back option to play against Manchester City this weekend instead of Davies?
Harry Winks: Winks struggled playing as the more defensive midfielder against Brighton, but I think he was there out of necessity. He succeeds when he has more defensively sound players around him — think Dembele or Dier — but he was beaten on defense a few times and made a number of bad passes under pressure. No reason to worry — Winksy is super young and had a tough job, and this was more a personnel/rotation thing than something to be concerned about. But he had a pretty bad game.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Erik Lamela picking up a yellow card for dissent.