After a slow start to life at White Hart Lane, Sigurdsson has popped up with numerous crucial goals for Spurs recently and with Bale and Lennon sidelined, his input will be vital between now and May.
I don’t care how fattening it may be or heart attack inducing it is, humble pie is the best flavoured pie known to man and it’s following Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-2 draw with Everton that I find myself tucking into my biggest slice of pastry encrusted snack to date.
Following the arrival of Lewis Holtby, many had expected young Gylfi Sigurdsson to see his starting opportunities at White Hart Lane limited. After a slow start to life with his new club, and the consistent yet hardly scintillating form of Clint Dempsey, a number of fans felt the Iceland internationals’ input into the first team would be significantly limited.
Utilised sparingly under Andre Villas-Boas as a result of the form of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Dempsey, it wasn’t a shock to see him continuously begin encounters from the bench. However, he didn’t allow the lack of competitive action to get him down and worked hard to force his way back into the the first team plans of the 35-year-old.
He was rewarded for his hard work in the second half of the West Ham United win, coming from the bench to net the equaliser prior to Bale’s thunderbolt in the dying embers of the victory at Upton Park.
Unsurprisingly, Sigurdsson was rewarded with a place in the starting XI for the North London Derby the following weekend and duly delivered, setting up Bale’s opener in the 2-1 win. It’s certainly been a productive period for the Iceland international, who netted his sixth goal in 10 games for club and country with his 87th minute tap in on Sunday.
In the enforced absences of both Bale and Lennon through injury, Sigurdsson has regularly been called upon to provide the necessary width on the left flank, something he put to good use in the 3-0 Europa League win over Inter Milan, providing the assist from the left for Bale’s opener.
He again operated in the position during the 2-2 raw with Everton, with Clint Dempsey and Lewis Holtby expected to provide the necessary creativity behind lone striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Again, his positional sense and creative nous worked to full effect, with Sigurdsson one of Spurs’ top performers during the 90 minutes, along with Adebayor and Kyle Walker.
With Spurs in Europa League action again on Thursday night in Switzerland against FC Basel, a second leg encounter that is still up in the air as a result of Sigurdsson’s deflected strike in the 2-2 draw last week, it’s likely the midfielder will be called into action once again over the this week to fill the void on the left flank.
Villas-Boas insisted that a return to action for both Bale and Lennon is still over a week away, with both expected to be fit for the visit of Manchester City on the 21st, but the trip to Switzerland may well come too soon for the pairing.
While missing the duo would’ve been somewhat of a nightmare in the past, the upturn in form of Sigurdsson means the loss isn’t as hard hitting as many expected. Granted, it would be ideal for Bale and Lennon to be available for selection, with Spurs particularly narrow in stalemate with Everton, but the increasingly impressive performances of ‘The Gylf’ has fans confident that a result can be attained both in the Europa League and the Premier League, respectively.
It’s also come at the best time for Spurs are they continue their assault on the top four. With Chelsea and Arsenal both in the hunt for a Champions League berth this season, and the business end of the campaign firmly upon us, Villas-Boas needs to utilise the strength of his squad in order to secure that place in Europe’s elite competition next year.
The form of Sigurdsson couldn’t come at a better time it has to be said. With the games becoming that much more important and each point gained vital if Spurs are to secure the top four place, the Icelander has begun to impress those doubters from earlier in the season and it was evident again during the draw yesterday.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enjoy some more of that humble pie currently airing out on the window sill.
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