One of my favorite things about the genius knucklehead Gerard Deulofeu is the symbiotic relationship between his inventiveness and his indolence. Take this moment from this weekend’s thrilling 3-3 draw against Bournemouth:
Almost any winger in the world receiving a pass where Deulofeu did, with space down the wing and only two people to beat, would beat feet down the touchline to get in better position to cross one into Romelu Lukaku.
Deulofeu, however, had other plans. Right when he picks up the ball, he looks none too interested in sprinting. Rather than doing all that running, he instead picks his head up and surveys the pitch. He spots Lukaku making a run in behind the center backs. Again he decides against bursting down the flank to get in better position for a cross and instead reads the angle, times Lukaku’s run, and flips a perfectly curved through ball/early cross that keeps his striker onside, evades the surrounding defenders and goalkeeper, and gives Lukaku enough space to take a touch and fire in a goal.
Borne of Deulofeu’s lethargy was a brilliant moment that he possibly alone in the Premier League could visualize and consummate. Because he didn’t want to run, he did something way better. He is the best.