Dominant Dane sparkles as Tottenham topple United

Sports

It took Christian Eriksen less than 11 seconds to make an unforgettable statement on his return to the lineup, showing how much Spurs have missed his presence of late. 

Eriksen is the lone Tottenham starter blessed with an artist’s creativity and an entrepreneur’s vision.

Though his opening goal, the third fastest in Premier League history, had more to do with anticipation, canniness and, as his gaffer put it, a teachable sense of belief. Talking about belief, his goal – which he finished with the killer’s instinct – injected Tottenham with exactly that.

Eriksen’s goal, taken in context with his overall performance, was a mere drop in the ocean. The masterful maestro made six key passes according to Who Scored, but it felt like he was ripping apart Manchester United’s defence like a butcher’s blade through bone every time he had possession.

Eriksen played a first-time ball to Harry Kane in the first half, delivered a stunning free kick that Eric Dier headed over and threaded the needle in the second half, putting Son Heung-Min through on what should have been Spurs’ third.

Eriksen, back to his inspirational best

It reminded me of his performance against Ireland in the World Cup playoff qualifier, when he scored a hat trick while concurrently breaking a nation’s collective heart. Sure, he didn’t score against United, but his performance had the same creative spark, youthful energy and decisive dominance.

But last night’s showcase came against one of the world’s best clubs, not a mediocre nation whose hopes of making the World Cup were more aspirational than realistic.

United, even after being exploited by Spurs, still lay claim to the stingiest defence in the Premier League, having kept a clean sheet in four straight encounters before last evening’s match. Only their Manchester counterparts have conceded as few goals.

The dazzling Dane, after two weeks off through illness, looked fresh and full of life. Maybe it was burnout that weakened his immune system and led to him contracting the flu. Regardless of what caused the sickness, it looks like a case – based on his supernatural display against the Red Devils – of short-term pain for long-term gain.

If Eriksen continues in this rich vein of form, Spurs will be guaranteed a top four spot to go along with a deep run in the Champions League.

(This piece originally featured on Tottenham HQ. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen ascends to demigod status

Opinion, Sports

Christian Eriksen made it a night to forget for the Republic of Ireland, whose dreams of qualifying for the World Cup were dashed by the demigod Dane’s hat-trick heroics.

It was an evening of international football that will be eternalized in Danish folklore after Tottenham’s midfield maestro enjoyed his most prodigious performance, both for club and country.

Constantly creative, threatening and dangerous in the center of Tottenham’s midfield, Eriksen has never been so magisterial, almost demigod-like in dispatching a team and country in such a merciless way.

While scoring a hat-trick at any level is no simple task, more impressive is the stage on which he pulled it off. Ireland took the lead in the sixth minute from a Shane Duffy finish before Andreas Christensen equalized in the 29th. Eriksen then put Denmark on his shoulders, scoring three unanswered goals less than 40 minutes apart.

Ireland’s fortitude and resilience gave them a chance to pull off the unlikely upset. The difference in class, however, shone through, the cream eventually rising to the top. International football matches are parity-laden, won and lost by the slimmest of margins.

Those tiny winning margins usually come down to a moment of pure class. A single magical moment wasn’t enough for Eriksen, who was clearly unaffected by the grandeur of the occasion.

The 25-year-old looked like he was enjoying a recreational kickabout at Spurs training ground on Hotspur Way, such was the impressiveness of a performance most players don’t experience in an entire career. And all of it coming on the road, in a particularly hostile environment.

Eriksen immortalized by hat-trick heroics

I won’t be surprised to see Eriksen’s profile – and market value – skyrocketed after last night’s fairytale display. He has propelled himself into an unfamiliar, and unachievable, world for most, one defined by improbable feats of perfection. Few players can relate to how Eriksen feels today, among them another Spurs legend, Gareth Bale.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo also deserve the plaudits that come with lifting an entire country to new heights, taking their rightful place as national heroes. But unlike Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic, Eriksen is humble and virtuous, forever placing his team’s wellbeing ahead of his own.

Football ability aside, it’s the reason he’s so beloved on the white side of North London.

In the aftermath of the defeat, Republic of Ireland bench boss paid homage to Tottenham’s star.

“We were beaten by a side that was better than us and has a world-class player in the team, who was absolutely magnificent. Eriksen is top class and he showed it.”

All of this bodes extremely well for Spurs ahead of their most important fixture of the Premier League season. Eriksen is clearly walking on air, his confidence on par with Achilles after becoming the hero of the Trojan War.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dane forgoes flying back to London on a commercial airliner, instead spreading his wings, once again taking matters into his own hands, or feet, depending on the situation.

The appendage in question matters not for Eriksen, whose larger-than-life figure will be haunting anyone associated with Arsenal Football Club in the coming days.

(This piece originally feature on Tottenham HQ. Feature image by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)