Erik Lamela scores great goals for Tottenham Hotspur and Brendan Rodgers goes on the offensive

Our Paul Radley dives into the talking points from this past week in English Premier League football.
Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his goal during their Premier League match against Burnley at White Hart Lane on December 20, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his goal during their Premier League match against Burnley at White Hart Lane on December 20, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Flat-track bully Lamela

Erik Lamela is the scorer of great goals rather than a great scorer of goals.

That much is obvious, given his two main contributions to Tottenham Hotspur’s season so far.

The “rabona” he scored against Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League in October was so spectacular, his teammate Jan Vertonghen declared the competition for the world goal of the year over.

Then on Saturday he curved in the winner against Burnley at White Hart Lane with the sort of precision that would have made a Swiss watchmaker feel clumsy.

Tellingly, both were against humble opposition.

If the Europa League were any more low key it would be inaudible, and Burnley are struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League.

If Lamela is really going to start repaying the hefty investment Spurs have made in him, he needs to be performing such feats against the top sides, too.

Rodgers’s wild aim

Liverpool’s forward line have an errant radar at present, and their under-pressure manager is similarly scattergun.

After Liverpool somehow contrived to draw with Arsenal – and that only thanks to a 97th minute equaliser – Brendan Rodgers went on the offensive in his television interview.

In the space of one sentence in reply he heaped blame on his defenders, the referee and a cheating Arsenal forward.

“I think [Alexis] Sanchez dived when he realised he was not getting the ball,” Rodgers said of the free-kick leading up to Arsenal’s opener at the end of the first half.

He may have had a point. Sanchez was clipped, but slow-motion replays suggested he still had enough poise to plan his mini-somersault to make sure the referee noticed.

Eclectic England

English football recently rolled out its new vision for the future of the game, at its high-spec, state-of-the-art, money-is-no-object national training facility.

Quite what the “DNA” project is going to produce years down the line is anybody’s guess. A Masia imitation? The German model? Some replica boys from Brazil?

Back in the present, the three most threatening English forwards are Charlie Austin, Saido Berahino and Andy Carroll. None of whom is exactly an advertisement for any sort of system.

The first is a former bricklayer, the second a war refugee. And the third is an old-school centre-forward whose method looks as retro as the kit he plays in at West Ham United.

England supporters would probably enjoy seeing any of those three leading the line for the national team, though. Vive la difference.

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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