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Talking Tactics

Eriksen and Silva worthy of centre stage

Adrian Clarke 14 Apr 2018

Adrian Clarke on the in-form Spurs and Man City's playmakers who merit star billing on Saturday evening

Christian Eriksen and David Silva are likely to be the two most influential players when Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Both midfielders have produced some scintillating football recently.

Eriksen has created three goals and scored twice in his last five Premier League appearances, while Silva has netted a trio of goals and of assists across the same period.

Runs from deep

If their wonderful skill and in-game intelligence is clear, Eriksen and Silva’s movement off the ball often goes under the radar.

They are both hard-working midfielders who excel at finding and exploiting space.

For example, Silva’s last three assists for Pep Guardiola's side have all come from runs down the left to receive passes.

From there he has teed up goals for Bernardo Silva (v Chelsea), as well as for Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling (v Everton).

Silva's goals have been similar.

He made a sprint from wide to inside to complete a fabulous team goal against Arsenal, and his brace at Stoke City came as a result of two bursts into the penalty area.

Eriksen v Silva: How they compare
Last 5 PL matches Eriksen Silva
Mins  450 429
Distance covered (km) 62.3 55.0
Sprints 309 245
Ave speed (km/h) 7.7 7.4
Dynamic Dane

Eriksen is even more athletic than his City counterpart.

His mobility is a fantastic asset for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

He covers more ground than any team-mate and in most matches he also travels further on average than Silva.

The 26-year-old is deceptively quick and evasive for opponents.

His goal against Stoke this month, when he made up ground to finish off a Dele Alli pass, was typical of a midfielder who is so difficult to track.

Consistent contributions

Eriksen's ability to pass, cross or shoot instantly with both feet has made him more unpredictable than Silva, who relies on his left foot to offer most of his threat.

Over the course of 2017/18 these two have shown tremendous levels of consistency.

And as the end of the season approaches they are both peaking at the same time.

Eriksen v Silva: Last five matches
Last 5 PL matches Eriksen Silva
Shots 18 11
Shots on target 7 4
Key passes 11 13
Assists 3 3
Goals 2 3
Passes in opp. half 268 304
Succ open-play crosses 3 2

Guardiola and Pochettino will each have a plan to limit the influence of the opposing playmaker, but, given their outstanding form, it will be easier said than done.

Also in this series

Part 1: Newcastle hopes safe in hands of Dubravka
Part 2: How Kenedy has given Newcastle fresh impetus
Part 4: Why Austin can be Southampton's saviour

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