Tottenham midfielder Lucas Moura stole the limelight at Old Trafford on Monday night with a double against Manchester United, making him Maryam Naz’s pick for The Offside Rule Premier League player of the week.
Press, press, press
Lucas ensured that the United defenders had no time on the ball with his constant pressing. He made it incredibly difficult for players like Paul Pogba to track back and receive the ball as there was no leeway for cute passes.Embed from Getty Images
His drive and determination to win the ball back had a negative effect on United’s confidence. There were several moments where his presence caused David de Gea to mis-time his goal-kicks; this nervousness was also present in the passing abilities of those in front of him, including Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. These mistakes allowed Spurs to win back possession further up the field which Harry Kane and Dele Ali often capitalised on.
Driving runsEmbed from Getty Images
Perhaps the most attractive thing about Lucas’ play is his ability to drive through the opposition’s midfield and defence with the ball at his feet. In the first half against the United, he was unlucky not to win a penalty on the back of one of these runs. Yet, Jones and Smalling were unable to stop him in the second half – this led to his stunning second goal. His pace and strength were a breath of fresh air in Tottenham’s midfield, adding another dimension to their attack.
While he may have been criticised last term for not scoring enough goals, this season Lucas has got off to an amazing start with three goals in his first two games. In Spurs’ victory against Fulham, his curling shot evaded goalkeeper Fabri’s reach, and at Old Trafford he scored from a similar position for his second goal.
There is no doubt that he will be a threat going forward for Spurs. His attacking capabilities will be needed against other title challengers such as Liverpool and Manchester City.Embed from Getty Images
Lucas might have stolen the limelight this week, but there were spectacular performances by players across the league games that also deserve a mention.
Wolves’ Willy Boly scored a priceless goal on Saturday to earn a point against last season’s champions Manchester City.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool’s James Milner, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard also turned heads, but this week Lucas rightfully deserves all the plaudits.
Now in his first full season under Mauricio Pochettino, many have expected him to step up his game. Yet, based on what he has produced in these opening few matches, the Brazilian has shown that there is more to come from him.
Follow Maryam on Twitter at @mnaz98