Eriksen dazzles in dream debut
Tottenham 2 Norwich 0
Of the many bricks being assembled in the great post-Bale Tottenham rebuild, it looks like they may have saved best until last. Christian Eriksen, the final of the flurry of signings made this summer, secured on deadline day, made an eye-catching debut full of brightness, smart movement and refined touches. The Dane possesses the kind of talent you could build a team around.
That's quite an accolade to pin on a 21-year-old, but Eriksen demonstrated the breadth of qualities to make Andre Villas-Boas' faith in his promise quite understandable.
Given the responsibility to make his new team tick, he seized it, and his eye for a pass prompted two goals for Gylfi Sigurdsson. Eriksen looked entirely at home on his White Hart Lane debut, and the crowd took to him from the moment he was introduced. By the time he was substituted, accompanied by a hearty ovation 70 minutes later, the Tottenham faithful were hooked.
This newly assembled compilation of Spurs players have looked in need of a creative spark, an orchestrator to bring fluency to their attack, and there was considerable anticipation about what the former Ajax prodigy could bring. If anything, an accomplished debut only whetted the appetite for more. It is a sign of the high expectations Villas-Boas has of Eriksen that he was immediately asked to pull the Spurs strings. He prompted moves and took most of the set-pieces.
"It was a great debut for Christian," said the Spurs manager. "For a player of his age, his experience and movement between the lines is fantastic. He's a pure No10. His individual quality makes a difference. For his age it's quite impressive."
Eriksen was positioned at the heart of the trio supporting Roberto Soldado, with Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend stationed on either side of him.
Tottenham took the lead in the 28th minute, when Soldado and Eriksen combined to tee up Sigurdsson, who tucked confidently past John Ruddy for Spurs' first Premier League goal from open play .
As the combination between Eriksen's stylishness and Soldado's relentless chasing begins to improve over time, these two new players will bring a variety of problems to opposition defenders. Tottenham were so dominant the chances came routinely.
Eriksen was again involved for the second goal, steering play wide to Paulinho. The Brazilian's cross drifted straight through Ruddy's hands, and Sigurdsson arrived to tap in his second. Villas-Boas described the Icelander's contribution as man-of-the-match quality, and praised the attitude of a player who is sometimes marginalised, but always grabs opportunities when they come his way.