The one thing that Tottenham had been crying out for since selling Dimitar Berbatov was a top class striker – someone who could hold the ball up, bring others into play and most importantly put the ball in the back of the net. Signing Adebayor seemed to tick all of the boxes – a player with pace and power and someone who constantly found the net at White Hart Lane for his previous employers….
Just recently I have heard a number of fellow Tottenham fans be very critical of Adebayor. He doesn’t score enough goals, his finishing is poor, and he is always offside. I can appreciate their frustrations. One common criticism that I have heard recently is that he is lazy. To me, that is a lazy criticism. If anything he works too hard for the team. Dropping deep and picking up the ball and bringing others into play is something he often does – spending large proportions of the game on the left hand side where we would really want him in the middle as a target man in the area.
A quick look at the stats shows that Adebayor is more than just a goal scorer – he is also very adept at bringing others into play, creating chances and providing a number of assists.
The first table looks at the attributes that all goal strikers should be judged on – goals.
With 9 goals, Adebayor is our joint leading scorer with Bale with 9 goals. This equates to a goal every 198 minutes or an average just shy of a goal every two games. Not too bad at all – especially if you consider that he has recently had 3 goals incorrectly ruled out for offside. Had those goals have stood, Adebayor would be looking at a goal every 148 mins – an average better than a goal every two games. In fact not too far off a goal every one and a half games – a pretty impressive record. Additionally, his chance conversion would have increased from 15% to just over 19%.
But it is not just goals that we should consider in his play. He is instrumental in how Tottenham play, being the focal point of the attack – holding the ball up and effectively bringing others into play. The table below looks at Adebayor alongside the other main attacking/creative players in the Spurs team. Only Gareth Bale (45) and Luka Modric (36) have created more chances from open play than Adebayor (34). As well as being joint top scorer, Adebayor also has the joint most assists from open play with 5 alongside Gareth Bale. This is 2 more assists that Van der Vaart and 3 more than Modric – two of the most creative players in the Tottenham line-up.
Despite not having scored since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea just before Christmas, his overall performances for the team should not be underrated. Since that game, he has been unlucky not to score the goals that some of his performances have deserved.
Tottenham fans will be hoping that he has as good a game against Liverpool on Monday night at Anfield as he did in the home fixture – one of his best performances in a Spurs shirt. As well as scoring 2 goals that day he was everywhere – as the screenshot from the Stats Zone app below demonstrates. This looks specifically at the areas where Adebayor received the ball. Not only was he lethal in front of goal, he also dropped deep to instigate attacks and bring others into play.
Adebayor has been a great addition to the Tottenham team and one of the main reasons they are still in touching distance of the top 2. It is only a matter of time before he gets the goals that his performances deserve.