With only eight games left to go in the fight for a top four finish in the Premier League, Tottenham will be hoping that one of their strikers can find a bit of form to help them with their pursuit.
There is no denying that both Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor have struggled this term and the lack of purchasing a striker in the January transfer window could return to haunt them once more.
With Adebayor not completing his permanent transfer from Man City until late in the transfer window, he arrived severely lacking in fitness and match practice. As a result of this AVB opted to start with Defoe ahead of Adebayor. Defoe repaid the faith shown in him with four goals in the opening five matches.
With Defoe in good form and Adebayor struggling with fitness and niggling injuries, the latter was left frustrated on the sidelines for the opening part of the season. Having been used to being the main man the previous season and scoring an impressive 17 goals last campaign, Adebayor has been a shadow of his former self this year.
When Adebayor was signed, there were mixed feelings from the Tottenham faithful. On the one hand you had those that saw him as an excellent target man, the focal point to our play and the only player to reach double figures for both goals and assists last season. On the other, you had those that were very wary of his past. With a point to prove Adebayor can look unplayable, with a contract signed sealed and delivered would he have the same desire as he showed last season?
There also seems to be a split between Spurs fans on whether Defoe or Adebayor should start as a lone striker. It appears that you can’t be a fan of both and they have demonstrated countless times this season that they are unable to play together – something that AVB has persisted with on too many occasions.
Whatever your preference of striker, there is no denying that they have both been massively out of form this season. The table below looks at how they have performed this season and compares this to last season’s stats.
Defoe has played considerably more minutes than Adebayor. As mentioned above, Adebayor suffered from fitness issues and then missed games through suspension (following a ridiculous challenge against Arsenal) and then participating (and failing to return back from on time) in the African Cup of Nations. Safe to say his season has been more than a little disrupted for one reason or another.
Neither of the two’s goal scoring records are good enough for a team with aspirations of challenging at the top. Despite scoring four goals in his first five games, Defoe’s goals have completely dried up. He has not scored in the league since netting in the Boxing Day win over Villa. That has seen him stretch his run of not scoring to nine games. In addition, apart from Chelsea, all of his goals have come against lower level opposition.
Adebayor’s scoring record has been even worse. He has managed a pathetic two Premier League goals all season. The worrying thing being that he hasn’t even looked like scoring, rarely getting in to the positions to score a goal. When he has, he has missed 9 out of 10 of his clear-cut chances – the miss against West Ham with an open goal glaring at him summing up his season. In fact so far this season he has only managed 20 shots – that’s a shot every 54 minutes.
As you can see from the above, both players had more impressive goal scoring records last season. Defoe averaged a goal every 117 minutes last season compared to every 215 minutes this season while Adebayor had one every 167 minutes last season vs. every 538 minutes this season.
If we extend this beyond goals to see if they are creating chances for others, again it makes for worrying reading. Between them they have only created 48 chances for team mates and have only assisted 3 goals – all from Defoe.
Not only has the goal scoring burden been placed firmly on the shoulders of Bale (16 to his name) but the strikers are not offering anything from a creative perspective either. This is something that Adebayor was so effective at last year – working hard and creating for others.
Defoe has always shown himself to be greedy, taking on a shot himself when others are better placed so you wouldn’t expect Defoe to create too much.
Looking at our striker’s stats it makes it even more depressing when you look at the two top strikers in the league. Suarez and Van Persie are not just scoring goals; they are creating plenty for their team mates too.
If Tottenham had a top class striker that was able to score at the rate of a Suarez or an RVP they would surely have had at least 4th spot tied up by now. The performances of their current strikers are not at an acceptable level for a team with aspirations of securing Champions League football next term.
Like all Tottenham fans, I am hoping that at least one of them can find some form in the run in. If not, it could mean missing out on Champions League football once again and questioning why a striker that can produce the goods was not brought in. Tottenham have been crying out for one since Berbatov left….
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