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Tottenham relying on unpredictable Adebayor
As Jermain Defoe crumpled to the floor, so did Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations. Or so it felt. The England international striker twisted his ankle badly and had to be replaced, and while the impressive Lewis Holtby again made claim to a starting place with an effervescent performance, the lack of a recognised striker on the bench was truly troubling.
The extent of Defoe’s injury has yet to be confirmed but he left the Hawthorns on crutches, wearing a protective boot. While Gareth Bale’s superb strike won the match against 10-man West Brom, Tottenham cannot add yet more responsibility onto the young Welshman’s shoulders. If there is any good fortune about Defoe’s injury it is that it coincides with Emmanuel Adebayor’s return from the Africa Cup of Nations. Unfortunately, the way the big Togolese has performed this season does not hearten the Spurs faithful.
Three goals, a red card and not a lot else from 18 appearances indicate Adebayor’s poor form. As soon as a permanent deal for the then Manchester City striker was mooted warnings about second season syndrome and a fall in motivation were floated by fans of his previous clubs. There is no doubt that on his day Adebayor is a handful for any defender. Tall, strong, great in the air, agile, quick on the ground, with sublime finishing: World class. On his day. However, when not on his day he is a dead weight, a burden carried by the rest of the team, and after an outstanding first season at Spurs, White Hart Lane has seen less Dr Jekyll and more Adebayor’s Mr Hyde this term.
If Defoe is absent for weeks and potentially months, then Adebayor will have the responsibility of leading the Spurs attack. This may favour the striker as he likes to believe he is the main man, and with the attacking talent behind him he may feel Tottenham have returned to the free flowing football experienced under Harry Redknapp. Adebayor can offer a much needed physical presence upfront which Spurs have lacked, despite the hard working and game Dempsey filling in up front from time to time.
If only Adebayor had Dempsey’s work rate and determination, then Spurs would have the world-class striker they so desperately need. As it is, Adebayor will hold Tottenham’s future in his hands, or at his feet to be more accurate. To miss out on the Champions League again could see their best player leave, and with eight goals in his last 11 games, Spurs would be a shadow of the team they are without Gareth Bale.
By not getting in another recognised striker, André Villas-Boas and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy have played a risky game. They will be hoping Adebayor is ready to repay his transfer fee and earn his wages because if he cannot, Tottenham are in trouble.
Posted by Tottenham fan Alan Frost
Follow Alan on Twitter at @AlanFrost_HT