A good day at the office for Fred. Gave away 2-3 needless fouls that allowed Fulham to put everyone in our box, but he more than made up for it with that assist. A Herrera-like performance.
I don't think there's a big difference in Eriksen's current level and Fred. Of course Eriksen was a better footballer, but he doesn't have the same energy he once did. They're both better at some things and worse at others compared to the other.
I think for the final Fred is a better idea. I'd go with that Brazilian partnership. More defensive solidity, running power, pressing potential. We need to be aggressive, we can't just sit in and wait to get opened up. We have to defend yes, but we need competitiveness, tackling, covering passing lanes that City use into Haaland.
I think there would be an opportunity to bring in Eriksen when the energy City start with dies down. Maybe he will find a crucial pass. If we start him he'll be knackered in 50 minutes and probably not a big factor in the game.
I hear you. It may happen, too, because Eriksen has been subpar since he came back from injury.
But a defensive plan rarely relies upon one specific player. The way we get overrun in the midfield sometimes is a systemic weak spot - a glitch in the matrix - of our man-to-man oriented press. If the opponent manages to bypass the press through the central channels, we risk finding ourselves in a spot of bother no matter who plays there. It's happened at Ajax, too. Plus, pressing, in particular, hasn't much to do with running an energy levels. If that was the case, players like Xavi, Iniesta or Gundogan wouldn't get anywhere near Pep's line-ups.
Fred's true qualities are second balls and the pressure he applies on the first attacker. These qualities are valued even more when he puts in a good performance, because he's been playing for years for a team that doesn't run much and is allergic to challenges. Having said that, and in ETH's defence (should he pick Eriksen in the final), at this level, running and stealing the ball is half the job done. It all amounts to zero, if after wards, your first touch and your vision lets you down. And let's not kid ourselves, today's assist isn't typical Fred stuff. So, in a game where we'll probably have about 30% of the ball, ETH may go for the player who might make the better decisions on the ball, the little time we will have it at our feet.