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Tottenham Hotspur’s Defoe injury – A blessing in disguise?

I’m going to take a punt here and say that Defoe getting injured could be blessing in disguise (cowers as he fears the inevitable missiles coming his way)…But seriously, hear me out.

A lot has been said about Adebayor, or lack of over the last few months. Performances not up to scratch, goals alluding him, attitude wrong etc etc. Well I’m willing to counter that argument, throwing some potentially misguided trust in the man, with a series of points.

First and foremost for me, Adebayor has not been used/played in his correct or favoured position this season. There is a clear lack of understanding between himself and Defoe, so to play them both only makes Spurs too direct, and nullifies an attack where confusion and a lack of continuity set in.  If you look at the way Harry used Adebayor, and compare it to his more recent appearances, there is a stark difference…

Adebayor loves to be the focal point in a team, he enjoys that spearhead role where the rest of the team look to him to convert their creative work, or support the rest of play. If you have ever watched this man live, he needs to feel ‘wanted’. Harry was brilliant at getting that side out of Adebayor, and we saw it in his most formidable season at Arsenal.

Let’s have a look at Adebayor’s stats last season in this role, with a quick comparison to Defoe’s contribution this year.

He started 32 games in the premier league, scored 17 and had 11 assists. For me that is a pretty impressive record for a lone striker, and I can’t help but feel these stats are often forgotten when people consider Adebayor’s future or worth to the club. Compare that to Defoe this season so far, and you will see, whilst his goal tally is good (10 in 24 starts), he has only managed 3 assists.

Adebayor’s contribution as a lone striker has significant, often non credited advantages on a team (I say that with caution, as I’m discussing the man with a good attitude). He causes problems for defenders in a way that Defoe can be marked out of a game. Not only is his height an advantage, but his general athleticism and ability to hold onto the ball play a huge role in developing attacks, particularly on the counter, a style very familiar to Spurs. His first touch can often be poor, but once he has to ball at his feet, it takes a very good tackle to remove it. The benefits this proceeds on a team are only highlighted by his assist contribution last season.

He also loves to play with a creative midfielder supporting him. Van Der Vaart was superb in this role. His creative genius is a loss, not only to Spurs, but to Adebayor as well, and that should not be under estimated. It is not all bad news though, judging by new arrival Holtby’s introductory performances, I think Spurs may just have found a key that unlocks this problem.  A system with Holtby just behind Adebayor, and Bale/Lennon wide is effectively what worked so well under Harry. For me, regardless of Holtby’s inclusion, playing a lone striker with Defoe the lead, has made Spurs too direct this season, and has a part to play in their not so exciting home form.

Adebayor has something to prove now, the honeymoon is well and truly over and he is fully aware of the pressure mounting on him to perform. Whatever we say about his finishing (definitely not a natural) his movement is very good, he works harder than he gets credit for and in my opinion is a better leader in that role than Defoe, especially in the box when balls are arriving from wide areas.

As hinted above, Adebayor is certainly not without his flaws, finishing and first touch spring to mind first. However I think there are legs in a system like this for Spurs, and I’d love to see AVB give it a try this weekend.

There are of course wider readings you could do on this subject, and further stats to be investigated. One thing is for sure though, on current home form alone Spurs would finish 6th, and with some crucial home games to come ( Le Arsenal to mention), a settled and proven striker will be essential in the race for Champions League football. What do you think?

Thanks for reading

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