Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to net at Upton Park for Tottenham last night, hopefully signalling an upturn in his fortunes at the club.
When Gareth Bale’s 30 yard strike rippled the back of the net to give Spurs all three points against West Ham, all the focus, quite rightly so, was on Tottenham’s Welsh superstar but it is another player who should receive some praise.
Gylfi Sigurdsson entrance in the 56th minute, helped change the game in Spurs’ favour and it could be the definitive moment in Gylfi’s Tottenham career where he finally feels he is a Spurs player.
Signed for £8 million in the summer, the Icelandic international has had a disappointing season, before yesterday’s match Sigurdsson’s only Spurs goals had come against Carlise and Maribor.
He’s been used sporadically throughout the campaign only starting six Premier League games and five of those coming at the start of the season.
Before yesterday he had been lacking in luck. Three matches he had been close to having that moment.
The first against Everton in December, Tottenham’s last league defeat. Introduced in the 76th minute with not much time to make an impression, Gylfi hit the crossbar from outside the area with the score 1-0 to Spurs.
If that effort flies in, Tottenham win a crucial game and Sigurdsson gets his first Premier League goal, in turn it doesn’t go in and Spurs concede two late goals to lose.
Next up Stoke at home, subbed on in the 77th minute, in injury time his glancing header looks to be going in but Begovic brilliantly saves and it finished 0-0.
Then finally against Norwich at Carrow Road, a game Bale scored another wonder goal. Two minutes after coming on with the game poised at 1-1, Sigurdsson’s dipping shot from outside the area was wonderfully saved by Mark Bunn to again prevent Gylfi from getting the winner.
All players need that ‘moment’ when joining a new club, Jermain Defoe had it on his debut against Portsmouth but some players need to wait for it, Gareth Bale’s didn’t come until we beat Chelsea in the 2009/10 season.
Finally Gylfi had that game, although you could forgive him for have a sense of déjà vu when he hit the post from outside the area and then saw Adebayor somehow miss the rebound header from just a few yards out.
It wasn’t just his scrappy first league goal for Spurs that made this his game, it was his overall performance.
Given a longer cameo than usual of 35 minutes, he helped turn the game in Tottenham’s favour, even if West Ham took the lead shortly after his introduction.
Playing on the left, he provided Tottenham with more width than Lewis Holtby but more importantly it was his direct approach that put West Ham on the back foot.
Several times he would run at Demel dragging him out of position, which in turn provided space for Vertonghen to make overlapping runs and when O’Brien moved to right back, Sigurdsson would force him inside too.
In addition to this he was more of an attacking threat than most Spurs player only Bale and Caulker having more than Sigurdsson’s three shots.
Sigurdsson was impressive for Swansea last season scoring seven goals during his six-month loan spell, and looked an excellent player.
Can yesterday’s performance give the twenty-three-year old renewed hope and confidence that he can be a success at White Hart Lane?
Spurs have a big end to the season, and Gylfi will now hope play a big part for them in the race for a top four finish and prove his worth.
image: © biologyfishman