Roberto and Erik
Rejoice Tottenham Hotspur fans! Everything you want to see happen this season will happen.
Here are the all important top two Spurs dream results, predicted with a ray of sunshine and a blessing from the footballing Gods.
Roberto Soldado WILL strike gold
Having failed to settle in Andre Villas-Boas spearhead position in front of a barren wasteland behind him, Soldado struggled to work out what he was actually meant to do in an attacking capacity.
Score goals? Obviously not, as he seemed to ghost around waiting for wingers to deliver a cross or cut-back. The problem was our wingers were inverted (a posh way of saying they cut into central positions, and then lost the ball).
He then completely forgot what to do when the ball when it did arrive at his feet, kicking wide or over the bar. Roberto instead preferred to dominate in deeper positions, passing the ball to team-mates in a radical departure using the witchcraft of ‘link up play’.
Having brilliantly reacted to the ball hitting him in the face to score against Schalke, the confidence to roam in and around the box might be returning. If Mauricio Pochettino decides to allow for intricate one-two’s with other footballers to provide angles and acute runs he might find himself involved in areas that are prevalent to why he was signed in the first place. Play to the strengths of the formation and to the player.
If Soldado does not take chances with conviction, then salute Emmanuel Adebayor instead and strike-out the heading above. That's Adebayor that manages to find space and craft and create chances to score where Roberto failed. The very same Adebayor that then gets utterly slated for disappearing and not getting involved enough when the goals dry up. Strike out the fans.
Erik Lamela to lay the ghost of Bale to rest
There was no controversy last season with Lamela. He wasn’t a flop or failure. Just hype and expectancy with love from a departing talisman and the pressures to see him immediately replaced. A near ‘£25M and some’ price tag will instantly demand some ilk of repayment. Except this was a touch unfair. This was not a finished article player. Bale departing was on his way to becoming one.
Franco Baldini signed Lamela, much like he did for Roma from River Plate and it is unclear if AVB even wanted him. Regardless, this always looked like a Daniel Levy ‘profit for the future’ project.
Lamela arrived light-weight like a rabbit in the headlights. It is hardly a surprise when you consider he was plucked from the comfort of space and time in the Italian League to the pit-bull nature of the Premier League.
He was easily knocked off the ball yet showed glimpses of graceful close control. But ultimately wasn’t prepared. The old chestnut of acclimatisation shouldn’t be discounted. Erik wasn’t ready to destroy, much like a young Gareth Bale took time to mature into the beast he is today.
Then injury ended his season. Cue hilarious ‘I found Lamela!’ social media jokes that got funnier every 10,000 times they were repeated. Now he’s back, bulked up and with an Argentine coach to aid him.
Can he be a game-changer like Gareth before him? Why not. He is a different type of player yet one that can excite just as much, if you dare to remember his flashes of brilliance for Roma.
Cuts in from wide, shots, scores. His evolution won't be too dissimilar to Bale's in terms of blossoming and maturing physically but unlike Gareth's accidental return to the Spurs line-up and his move from left-back to left-wing to left-them-all-in-his wake, Lamela has to truly conquer the tempo of the Premier League first. He has the talent but he has to fit into everything, not just a position and team formation. The unforgiving nature of our English game lacks the casual culture of Italy. That evil streak of arrogance that every truly great player possesses will need to be fought to be claimed.
The likes of Lamela and Soldado need to look as comfortable in the Spurs team as they do together in Instagram. Share the love guys.