Lucas Moura becoming Tottenham's Mr. Reliable
Background image: Bluejam, CC BY-SA 4.0
Touted as the next big thing for Brazil several years ago, Lucas Moura hasn't quite realised his potential as far as the Selecao are concerned. That's not due to a lack of ability. The forward has it in abundance. After excelling at hometown club Sao Paulo, Europe was the next frontier to conquer. A move to Paris Saint-Germain looked the ideal leverage to do so.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out as envisaged. Moura started out with much promise under Laurent Blanc, making vital contributions as PSG dominated the domestic scene. His most productive season was 2016/17, during which he scored 12 goals in 37 league outings. Change in the dugout then left him in limbo.
Moura was viewed as more or less surplus to requirements by Unai Emery. His role in Les Parisiens' star-studded team was continuously reduced. That resulted in him making only five appearances in 2017/18, all as a substitute.
With his career heading downhill, something had to give. In came Tottenham Hotspur with an offer. It was an opportunity Moura could not turn down. His humble bows before fans while being unveiled spoke volumes. It was a real opportunity to get himself back on track.
A man with a newfound mission, the Brazilian has gone about his business with utmost dedication. He gives everything for Spurs. The winger will tuck in to provide another midfield body, play out wide to give the team width and track back to do defensive duties.
Oftentimes, Moura rises to the challenge in crucial games, bailing Tottenham out when the going is tough.
Moura's heroics last campaign wrote his name in Spurs folklore. Not many players can come up with a hat-trick in desperate times to take their team to a Champions League final. Even the great Lionel Messi couldn't produce when Barcelona needed a single goal to progress at the same stage.
Benching Moura for the showpiece against Liverpool is perhaps Mauricio Pochettino's biggest mistake as Tottenham manager. Who knows what magic the Sao Paolo-born would have produced if preferred to unfit Harry Kane.
That's in the past now. The Argentine coach is determined to take Spurs to the next level. Any trophy will do.
Pochettino's side have started the new season where they left off. After picking up maximum points in their opener against Aston Villa, a 2-2 draw at Manchester City was a solid result. Saturday's match brought back memories of defeating Pep Guardiola's men on away goals in April's Champions League quarter-final. Although that was great, beating them to the Premier League title would be even better.
Tottenham failed to pick up a point against City last term. Their recent draw could go along way. After all, the title was won by a single point last time out.
It's thanks to Spurs' Mr. Reliable. Moura stepped off the bench to score the all-important equaliser. With a goal and an assist already to his name, he could prove a big weapon for Tottenham this season.