Gareth Bale rightly stole all of the headlines on Monday night after another Tottenham Hotspur masterclass at Upton Park. However, one man that also played a massive part in changing the game was Gylfi Sigurdsson.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Iceland international since his £5m move from Hoffenheim. Having already turned down Liverpool in favour of a move to north London, Sigurdsson was certainly making the right noises before he had even kicked a ball.
But while the likes of Dembele and Vertonghen found the transition into the side with ease, things were slightly more difficult for Sigurdsson. Despite scoring seven times in 18 appearances for the Swans last season, many of which were absolute crackers, the Icelander seemed largely off the pace in the early stages of the season.
Unsurprisingly, and as is all too often the case when a player doesn’t start off like a house on fire at Spurs, some sections of the White Hart Lane faithful were already beginning to lose patience. With Dempsey chosen as the preferred option off Defoe and Lennon and Bale in fantastic form, the Iceland international had to bide his time.
There has been a huge slice of misfortune too – striking a beautiful shot off the bar against Everton that would have made it 2-0 and game over, bringing out a fantastic save from Stoke City’s Begovic in the dying seconds at White Hart Lane in December, inches from scoring against Liverpool and even managing to hit the post (again) at West Ham.
It’s no wonder then, that Sigurdsson’s first Premier League goal in Spurs colours wasn’t exactly the best he will ever score. Having said that, there is nobody that has deserved a slice of luck this season more than him.
In his short spell at Spurs so far Sigurdsson has impressed me as much with his attitude as he has his performances on the pitch. Even when the going got tough at the beginning of the season, Gylfi has never once moaned about his lack of opportunities. Even if early performances weren’t glowing, one thing that you can never fault is his work rate and professionalism.
In recent games Sigurdsson has started playing with a lot more confidence and adds a much more potent attacking threat than he has previously – credit must be given to Andre Villas-Boas for keeping faith and having the tactical nous to work with him to improve his all round game – one wonders if Sigurdsson would have fallen the way of the Pavlyuchenko’s and Pienaar’s if a certain Mr Redknapp had still been in charge at Spurs.
Sigurdsson’s form is picking up at a key time in our season and with eleven games to go, as well as at least two more Europa League games, the squad is needed now more than ever. For me personally, Gylfi has to start against Arsenal this weekend. While I have been hugely impressed with Holtby, his passion and enthusiasm could actually work against us (we all know what happened with Ade) and tomorrow is an occasion for cool heads.
If he does get the nod, Gylfi could be another factor in not only defeating Arsenal, but proving a massive step in Spurs’ quest to dine at Europe’s top table once again.