Emmanuel Adebayor needs to get in the box to score

Thursday night sees us travel to Lyon for the 2nd leg of our Europa League clash and Emmanuel Adebayor will be a key factor as Spurs look to grab an away goal.

Relatively anonymous in the first match at the Lane last week, the Togolese striker was coming too deep, too often. A sole moment when he was put through on goal by Moussa Dembele highlighted what he should have been doing more of against a sitting defence.

Emmanuel Adebayor does usually offer great movement across the whole pitch, one of the strengths he brought to the team last season. However, against a team dropping off and making themselves hard to play through, he needed to get in the box more.

Emmanuel Adebayor against Lyon

In the first leg last week, Emmanuel Adebayor struggled to make an impact on the match as he was forced to come deeper looking for the ball. He likes to drop off the front and drift out to either side to get involved in the build-up play, but then he needed to offer himself as a target in the box.

He was quite willing to be the focus for long balls played forward from the back, as well as from Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but needed to get in the box.

The one time he did get a good sight of goal as when he was fed through by Moussa Dembele, only to slice a first time effort wide.


Emmanuel Adebayor passes received Spurs vs Lyon.

This also had a knock-on effect on his passing. Emmanuel Adebayor, as we know from his double-digit assists last season, can set-up a team-mate. As a result of coming deep against a sitting defence, his passes are mainly backwards, as he was constantly laying the ball off.


Emmanuel Adebayor passes played Spurs vs Lyon.

In the return leg on Thursday, we will need more from Emmanuel Adebayor and he needs to get in to the box to do it, as this is where he had success for us last season.

A fox in the box last term

Whilst Emmanuel Adebayor is not a ‘hang on the shoulder of the defender’ type of player in the mould of Jermain Defoe, he does get his goals from being in the area.

All 17 of his strikes in the Premier League last season came from shots inside the box, with both of his efforts this term also coming from within the 18-yard area.

Mins on pitch2962881
PL goals172
Shots inside box87%87%
Shots on target46%48%
Mins per shot attempt29.6 mins38.3 mins

Emmanuel Adebayor takes an extremely high percentage of his shots from close in, which has remained constant at 87% this season. What has changed is the frequency of these shots, with an effort every 38.3 minutes this season, as opposed to every 29.6 minutes last term.

The primary reason for his shot frequency being down is due to the fact that he has partnered Jermain Defoe, whereas last term he operated solo. Another factor is that this season he has also struggled against defences that have sat deep.

Emmanuel Adebayor against sitting defences.

Emmanuel Adebayor has had trouble against defences that have played deeper, looking to restrict the space for Gareth Bale to get in-behind them. As against Lyon last week, Emmanuel Adebayor has also struggled with finding space to get the ball in the box in order to get shots away.

Our trip to QPR was a prime example, where they played almost as the away side, looking to sit eleven men behind the ball in their half and hit on the counter.

Emmanuel Adebayor barely received a pass in the area, so he couldn’t get a good strike at goal and was substituted just after the hour. As a knock on from being forced further out to receive the ball, his own passes played also lacked the set-up balls we’d seen last season. With plenty of backward layoffs and only three forward passes in the final third, his chart looks distinctly similar to the Lyon match.


Emmanuel Adebayor struggled to get the ball in the box against a QPR team that sat deep.

That’s not to say he can’t get the ball in the box against teams that back off though. Against Stoke a few matches before, he had a very effective game against a Potters side that also got men behind the ball.

In this match he worked the channels much better, whilst also showing good movement around the formation in the final third. He received the ball 5 times in the box; got two shots away and also made some penetrative passes as he attempted to set up a team mate.


Emmanuel Adebayor passes received and made Spurs vs Stoke.

Whilst Lyon are not Stoke, we need this Emmanuel Adebayor to show up for our Europa League tie at the Stade Gerland on Thursday.

Gylfi Sigurdsson has talked of the need for an early goal and the Togolese striker will be one of the players expected to get it. Emmanuel Adebayor is capable of doing it, but this season it sometimes seems to be more of a case of if he is willing.

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