Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are the players that receive much of the acclaim from critics and fans alike but one player often flies under the radar and that is Lucas Moura: Tottenham Hotspur’s unsung hero.
Lucas Moura: Tottenham’s Unsung Hero
Moura frees up space for those around him with his pacey dribbles, drawing in defenders, and even when he doesn’t get past his man he is invariably brought down for a free-kick and keeps Tottenham on the front foot, something that at times this season they have been guilty of not doing.
In the Premier League tie against Crystal Palace on Sunday 7th March, it was Moura’s tenacity that helped give Spurs the lead as he harried and pressed Luka Milivojevic and set Kane free on the left-hand side. Kane then had an easy ball to play across goal for Bale to tap home. Both Bale and Kane pointed straight to Moura when celebrating the goal as they knew that it was him who was the instrumental factor in that goal being scored. Players like Moura are a joy for strikers to have around as they work hard and take much of the pressure away from teammates.
As already mentioned, Moura can draw defenders into making fouls simply due to his close ball control and the pace at which he dribbles. He was the most fouled player against Palace according to whoscored.com as he was brought down three times and all directly from attacking dribbles. Whilst on that occasion the free-kicks did not lead to goals, it still demonstrates his value to the team.
Looking at the Palace game and also the home win against Burnley, Moura made as many tackles as anyone else and was also successful in making three interceptions in the Palace win equalling those made by Sergio Reguilon at left-back. Jose Mourinho is a fan of players who offer something in every area of the pitch, and that remains the reason why Dele Alli is still struggling to get a starting berth in the team. Moura is becoming quickly irreplaceable.
In 40 appearances in all competitions this season, Moura has scored eight goals and this is one area where he can improve and contribute even more to the team. Bale has hit goalscoring form, Kane is in a rich vein of form as well so the pressure is less on Moura to score but he showed his finishing touch against Burnley when he took a cross down from Reguilon and dispatched the ball with his left foot. His use of both feet also keeps opponents on their toes as he can go either way.
In the Champions League semi-final in 2019, he scored a famous hat trick against Ajax and despite not hitting those heady heights when it comes to goals quite yet, the talent is undoubtedly there and would go some way to making him a complete footballer.
Lucas Moura: Tottenham’s Quiet Star
Moura is now becoming one of the first names on Mourinho’s team sheet. Selfless, skilful, hard-working, and a perfect teammate who is happy to do the skilful things but is equally as happy to do the dirty jobs and get stuck in. He might not win all of the major plaudits but there can be no doubt that with some fine-tuning he can become an even better player and for opponents, that can only be a bad thing. For Tottenham Hotspur, they have a real gem, and sometimes those that fly under the radar can do the most damage.