Christian Eriksen Vs Cesc Fabregas How The Midfield Maestros Compare As Chelsea Head To Spurs
After their 1-1 draw with Southampton at the weekend, Chelsea head to Tottenham Hotspur on New Year”s Day, with the Premier League leaders hoping to continue their excellent recent record against their London rivals.
But Spurs, unbeaten since losing 3-0 against Jose Mourinho”s men on December 3, have been playing well of late and on home turf will be looking to give their top four hopes a real shot in the arm.
If Mauricio Pochettino”s side are to do precisely that, then the guile and craft of Christian Eriksen – enjoying a standout season so far – will likely prove vital.
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But Chelsea have their own artful dodger in central midfield, the brilliant Cesc Fabregas, whose £27million summer arrival has added an extra layer of quality to last year”s Champions League semi-finalists.
Whichever chief creator gets most joy in the first White Hart Lane clash of 2015 will likely lead his side to victory. But how do they compare? With some help from Opta, let”s take a look:
PACreator: Eriksen turns away from Muhamed Besic during the win over Everton
Harry Kane has earned plaudits for his form this term, but if Spurs were to announce a Player of the Year right now, it would be difficult to argue against Eriksen.
The Dane has fitted seamlessly into the high-pressing style Pochettino has been looking to employ, despite harrying and pressing defenders not really being his natural game. However, the team”s growing style has enabled Eriksen, playing most often from a No.10 position, to get on the ball in the middle and attacking third”s of the field.
And increasingly, he”s began to make things happen for Spurs, pulling strings, playing forward passes into a striker or out wide to the likes of Nacer Chadli, Aaron Lennon or Erik Lamela and finding space 25 yards from goal from where to shoot himself. In truth, the Dane”s cerebral style, despite him being only 22, has been the dominant force on Pochettino”s Spurs.
Statistically however, the ex-Ajax man”s overall involvement pales in comparison to Chelsea”s No.4.
Fabregas” arrival at Stamford Bridge has seen him stationed in a deeper midfield role than we have been used to seeing him in recent years; In his later years at Arsenal he was often positioned as the most advanced of a central midfield trio (where he has been used recently by Mourinho), while at Barcelona he was often used in a variety of roles within their front trio, or supporting from central midfield.
However, with the Blues the World Cup winner has dropped into a deep-lying playmaker role, with more scope to dictate play from deep. Nominally he starts alongside Nemanja Matic, but Fabregas is given scope to wander from that position and get on the ball wherever he sees fit, whether 30 yards from goal or five yards in front of his own defence. Crucially though – something patently different from his time at Camp Nou – he now rarely plays with his back to goal.
All in, Eriksen is crucial to Spurs, but it”s no surprise to see Fabregas has made over 600 passes more than the Dane, despite having only played 49 extra minutes this term. In terms of accuracy, Fabregas use of the ball is superior, with 87.46 percent of his passes finding their target, whereas Eriksen finds his target 83.56 percent of the time.
Additionally it”s not surprise to see that he has had over 600 more touches either.
Shooting and Goals
That the two playmakers are now spending their time in different zones of the pitch – Eriksen something like 20 yards or so in advance of Fabregas – it”s little wonder that the Dane is getting more shots on the opposition goal than his Spanish counterpart.
While Fabregas has managed 14 shots at goal (nine on target, five off) in the league so far this term, Eriksen has managed double that, popping off 28 attempts (14 on, 14 off).
As such, it”s little wonder that despite Fabregas being more accurate, he”s scored just twice, while Eriksen has already helped himself to seven league goals. That means that while Fabregas is scoring once every 798.5 minutes, Eriksen is notching every 221 minutes for Spurs.