Defoe and Ade need to get back in their box

The lack of goals from Spurs’ strikers has been highlighted regularly over the last few months. Emmanuel Adebayor has just two Premier League goals this season and hasn’t scored since New Year’s Day. Jermain Defoe on the other hand came blistering out of the traps, but is without a Premier League strike since scoring at Villa Park on Boxing Day.

Whilst both strikers look a little short on confidence, both need to be getting back in the box to score, having moved away from the area over the last couple of months.

Adebayor needs to be in the box to score

What Spurs 0 Fulham 1 highlighted was the need for a striker to get in the box with the Cottagers sat deep. Emmanuel Adebayor failed to do this and it wasn’t until Jermain Defoe came on that we started to create chances.

For all of his dropping off and helping build and link the play, Adebayor is a penalty box predator. Last season, all 17 of his Premier League goals came from within the 18-yard area, as did 87% of his shots.

This term has been drastically different, as Emmanuel Adebayor has been drifting further away from the area since his last league goal against Reading.

If we look at where he received possession against the Royals, we can see just how many times he gets the ball in the box. He receives a number of through passes down the inside right channel, as well as a cut back from this area to score at the far post.


Emmanuel Adebayor passes received Spurs vs Reading.

In the nine matches since his last Premier League goal, Adebayor has been away at the African Cup of Nations, but his decline in getting the ball in the box is quite dramatic.

PL Matches
PL Matches
Mins on pitch782356
Pass received2.6 mins3.9 mins
Pass rec in penalty area11 mins19 mins
Shot in box43 mins60 mins

The Togolese international has been receiving the ball less since his last Premier League goal, taking possession every 3.9 minutes, as opposed to every 2.6 minutes before. This equates to 11 less passes received per 90 minutes on pitch.

He also sees a lot less of the ball in the penalty area, receiving it every 19 minutes in recent matches, as opposed to every 11 minutes before . This has seen him drop from taking a shot in the box every 43 minutes earlier this season, to every 60 minutes since his last Premier League goal. It’s a far cry from a shot in the penalty area every 34 minutes last season when he was scoring for fun.

If we look at a couple of recent matches, we can see how he is not receiving enough of the ball in the box.

Arsenal were criticised for their poor high line tactics, but this did keep Emmanuel Adebayor from getting the ball anywhere near the area. Fulham on the other hand sat deeper and Ade did get the ball in the box this time, but it was from mainly high balls and crosses. He did score two headed goals last season and has one this term, but he is far more potent with the ball at his feet.


Emmanuel Adebayor passes received against Arsenal and Fulham.

The decline of Defoe

Jermain Defoe was flying at the start season, notching ten times in our first nineteen Premier League matches. His fall off in goals since then has been as dramatic as Emmanuel Adebayor’s lack of them all season.

Jermain’s struggles have also seen a decline in how often he is getting in the 18-yard area.

If we look at his form in the Premier League before and since his last goal, we can see that he has a more of a marginal decline than Emmanuel Adebayor, but still a fall off.

PL Matches
PL Matches
Mins on pitch1602649
Pass received4.3 mins4.2 mins
Pass rec in penalty area18 mins21 mins
Shot in box36 mins40 mins

Jermain Defoe is still receiving the ball as often, but like Emmanuel Adebayor, he has also seen decline in his penalty area touches and shots.

When he scored his last league goal against Aston Villa, Defoe was getting the ball in the box down both channels. It was this kind of display that also saw him net twice against Fulham.


Jermain Defoe passes received, Aston Villa vs Spurs.

In his last start away to Liverpool though, he rarely got the ball in the final third due to the Reds playing three midfielders centrally, forcing him wider and deeper.


Jermain Defoe passes received, Liverpool vs Spurs.

Defoe did come into the game against Fulham last week and had two great chances in the box in the 30 minutes he was on the pitch. Although he spurned both opportunities, the intent was at least there. This is what we need from our strikers if we are going to get them back firing again.

Defoe and Ade need to get back in their box

Last season the pair scored 25 Premier goals between them, with 22 in the box. This term they have 11, with 10 from inside the area.

If they want to get back on the goal trail, both Jermain Defoe, and more importantly Emmanuel Adebayor, need to get back in the box to score.

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