Some say football isn’t an exact science, but there are some things that you simply know it won’t work. One of them is when you replace Lionel Messi with Erik Lamela.
The Tottenham winger was in a good form for the Argentine national team this year and that’s why Patón Bauza chose him to replace the Barcelona star. But it never worked as expected, and the local media didn’t take it easy on him.
Last night, Venezuela, at home, went 2-0 ahead and Argentina had a decent comeback to find a draw, but the result was still considered to be disappointing.
Lamela was one of the most criticised players. He received a 4 rating out of 10 from Olé, being the worst of the team alongside the Manchester United duo Sérgio Romero and Marcos Rojo.
Taking Lamela as the focus, Olé columnist Hernan Claus said “not even his assist saved him from a bad performance”.
He also compared the player’s match to what he’s used to doing in the Premier League: “Erik played in almost the same role as at Tottenham, where every weekend he has highlights of skills and passes for goals. But this time he could never impose one on one and most of his attacks ended in inconsequential touches.”
It was obviously harsh on him. Lamela wasn’t only replacing one of the football greatest players, but was also in an attacking system which was lacking its main players, such as Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Playing away games at the South American World Cup Qualifiers is never easy, and he certainly deserves another shot to prove himself before being smashed like this again.