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Eriksen and Oscar key to derby clash


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When Tottenham Hotspur missed out on the signing of Willian to Chelsea, supporters were understandably distraught.

The Brazilian had undergone a medical with Andre Villas-Boas’s side, only for their London rivals to launch an 11th-hour bid that eventually saw him sign on at the dotted line at Stamford Bridge.

The need for a subtle creator to link the midfield and attack was a necessity following the initial three games of the season, in which Spurs failed to net from open play.

Two days before the 1-0 loss to Arsenal at the beginning of the month, the North London side confirmed the capture of Christian Eriksen from Ajax.

The Dane had been linked with a number of Europe’s top teams, so the deal to take him to White Hart Lane has been dubbed a real coup for the club.

While the 21-year-old wasn’t involved in the North London Derby, Spurs fans were left salivating following his debut against Norwich City.

An assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s opener before laying the pass to Paulinho to pick out the Icelander for his second in the 2-0 win over the Canaries capped off an impressive start to life in England.

However, having come up against relegation candidates Norwich and Cardiff City, Eriksen will face a much sterner test for Spurs on Saturday, where he’s expected to start against Chelsea.

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While the Denmark international has been lauded for his displays for Spurs, much has been made of the beginning to the season by his expected opposite number at the weekend, Oscar.

The Brazilian has started four of the Blues’ five Premier League games this term, the latest of which saw him awarded the WhoScored.com man of the match with a rating of 8.66 in the 2-0 win over rivals Fulham.

Oscar has all but solidified his position in the Chelsea starting XI under Mourinho and has been lauded by pundits and fans alike after a notable start to the campaign.

This has seen the 22-year-old net twice in the league, both of which were clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, as well as the opener against Basel.

However, where Eriksen stands in stronger stead is his creative capability, picking up four league assists for Ajax and Tottenham combined this season compared to Oscar’s none.

This is further highlighted in the latter’s average of three key passes per game for his new club to the latter’s 1.8.

Evidently, while Oscar is offering a greater goalscoring threat from a position behind the striker, Eriksen is capable of playing that killer ball that will unlock the defence in the blink of an eye.

With a 91.2% pass success this term, an ability to retain possession for Spurs is a further aspect of Eriksen’s game that is superior when compared to Oscar (84.6%).

This innovative threat from behind the striker has seen him win the admiration of the Spurs faithful after just two league games for the club, while aiding in their thrilling start to the season.

Against Chelsea, however, Eriksen is likely to be granted less space in between the midfield and attack, especially if Mourinho deploys both Ramires and John Obi Mikel as the double pivot in midfield as he did against Fulham.

However, Spurs’ supporters will be expectant of the Danish creator to provide the attacking impetus in the London derby on Saturday.

By Ben McAleer @BenMcAleer1

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find more stats including live in game data and unique player and team ratings.

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