A struggling Manchester United managed to come away with a narrow 1-0 victory over F.C. Copenhagen in their third group game of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.
While Man United struggled to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal, central midfielder Christian Eriksen proved to be the playmaker they required in order to unlock the visitors’ defence and secure a much-needed victory.
After coming on for Sofyan Amrabat at the start of the second half, it was clear that Eriksen was being relied upon by Erik ten Hag as the player who would rejuvenate United’s midfield as they searched for three points.
Much of the Danish international’s performance was understated, given that he took a single shot on target while making zero attempts at dribbling.
In defence, he appeared ineffective as well, losing possession four times while failing to make any tackles.
He also made just one clearance and one interception during his second-half cameo.
Where Eriksen did excel, however, was in his passing game, which is his primary function after all.
With 35 touches of the ball, the 31 year old attempted 29 passes.
He successfully completed 26 of them, making for an impressive 90% passing accuracy.
Eriksen also successfully delivered three of his four attempted long balls, along with one of his two crosses.
The Danish midfielder’s moment of magic came in the 72nd minute when he hammered a surgically-precise cross into the box toward Harry Maguire, who headed home United’s winner to send Old Trafford into jubilation.
With his passing masterclass and ability to make the most of limited touches on the ball, Eriksen showed that he still possesses heaps of creativity that comes in handy during matches where United are otherwise struggling to engineer scoring opportunities.
Furthermore, Eriksen has proven that perhaps the time has come for Ten Hag to insert him back into the starting lineup, especially as some other central midfielders continue to exhibit poor form.
(Stats via Sofascore)