Mauricio Pochettino will be thanking his lucky stars that he has Mousa Dembele in his ranks when he reflects on his side’s impressive 2-2 draw with Juventus in Turin.
If Dembele was starting in midfield for the Old Lady on Tuesday night then Tottenham would have flown back to London with the advantage being in the Italian side’s favour.
In fact, Pochettino should be ringing former White Hart Lane boss Andre Villas-Boas to personally thank the Portuguese for bringing Dembele to Tottenham for just £15million in 2012.
Mousa Dembele acknowledges the Tottenham supporters after his terrific display in Turin
Harry Kane will be grateful he is playing in front of a player of Dembele’s supreme calibre
Dele Alli congratulates Dembele on his performance after the 2-2 draw with Juventus
Dembele ran the midfield with most of his touches coming towards the left-hand side
An analysis of the stats on the night showed Dembele was Spurs’ most impressive player
Dembele would be worth at least four times that fee in today’s market because he is one of the best in the business at controlling a midfield and running at the opposition with his unique dribbling style.
The Belgium international could have dropped his head when he gave away the free-kick which led to Gonzalo Higuain’s opener in the second minute.
Tottenham looked to be heading towards the Champions League exit door when Higuain doubled his side’s lead from the penalty spot after just nine minutes, however Pochettino’s men stepped up to swing the pendulum in their favour.
Harry Kane proved he is a world-class finisher, Christian Eriksen showed he can produce magic on the biggest stage but it was Dembele who was the best player on the pitch.
Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic, who are no mugs having played for some of the biggest clubs during their respective careers, couldn’t get anywhere near Dembele even when Juventus were given a two-goal start.
The former Fulham man’s statistics show just crucial he is to Tottenham’s chances of progressing to the latter stages of the Champions League and finishing inside the top four.
Dembele made 99 passes during his night of brilliance and 95 per cent of those were successfully distributed to a Tottenham team-mate.
He won all four of his attempted tackles, created two chances and made seven dribbles to bring the ball up the pitch.
Dembele also put in a fine performance against Jack Wilshere and Arsenal’s other midfielders
The former Fulham man starred in Tottenham’s impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United
Rio Ferdinand (pictured) and Steven Gerrard lavished praise on the Belgium international
Steven Gerrard, who knows all about bossing a midfield, was among those who waxed lyrical on Dembele on Tuesday night.
‘I thought (Mousa) Dembele’s performance was magnificent,’ Gerrard said on BT Sport. ‘I can’t remember him putting in a performance like that on that stage. I thought he was terrific all night.’
And Ferdinand echoed Gerrard’s analysis: ‘Dembele was a player who people were looking at and saying he doesn’t create enough, he doesn’t do this, he doesn’t score.
‘He’s been withdrawn in that midfield to dictate the tempo of a game and he is doing that better than anyone at the moment.’
The 30-year-old failed to buckle under the pressure at a packed Juventus Stadium showing composure and nous to supply the goods to Eriksen and Kane.
And this wasn’t a one off. Dembele, who continues to suffer from chronic injury problems, has recently dominated Paul Pogba, Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere in recent games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Dembele has scored just one goal since the start of the 2016-17 campaign but Pochettino will not be worried. The Belgian is an untouchable along with Kane and Eriksen.