Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t really got going for Spurs this season. One year on from a successful loan stint where he achieved double figures in goals and assists in the Premier League, Adebayor has scored just twice.
The reasons for his failure to fire this term are numerous; stemming from not getting a pre-season; then injury; then suspension. It’s fair to say that he didn’t really have the chance to get going until match day 16 in the Premier League against Everton in December. Then after six appearances, he jetted off to the African Cup of Nations to put another halt in his stop-start campaign.
With Togo out of the tournament and Emmanuel Adebayor returned to Spurs, we will now have to rely on the misfiring striker.
So could we finally be about to see last season’s Ade?
There are a number of factors that are aligning which indicate a successful return is around the corner.
Finally match fit
He missed the whole of pre-season and didn’t train whilst his move from Man City was drawn out to epic proportions over a loyalty bonus. After just two substitute appearances, a spell on the sidelines followed as he was out injured. Once back, a couple more cameo appearances followed from the bench, but after returning to make his first start against Man City, he was sent off at the Emirates.
Whilst able to train during his three-match suspension, he wasn’t getting vital minutes on the field to get match sharp and it showed on his return against Everton.
Six starts followed our trip to Goodison and he arguably had his best game in the fifth of those at home to Reading. However, just as it looked as if he was finally going to get his season going, he disappeared for the African Cup of Nations. Had he stayed behind, he may well have continued to improve with more game time in AVB’s system.
The tournament may have come at the wrong time for Ade from the standpoint of proving to Spurs that he was getting back in the groove, but it has served him well. Four complete matches for Togo saw him gain more match sharpness, as he scored once and set up another of their four goals.
Ade’s return will see him with the game time under his belt that he needed given the stop-start nature of his season.
Spurs in need of movement
The vital element that Emmanuel Adebayor brings with his game is movement. He plays as a central striker, but will often come out to both flanks or short looking to link the play.
Last season this was a feature of his game, as I looked at in “The most important thing Emmanuel Adebayor brings to Spurs.” This was a major factor in why he not only scored goals, but also created them.
Just before leaving for Africa, Reading at home was really a tipping point in his season. Not only was the movement there, but also the chance creation.
Adebayor covered the ground, as he scored and fashioned opportunities for others. The first time he had looked anything like the player we had on loan last season.
Now he is back from the African Cup of Nations and match fit, his movement should help stretch defences that have crowded us out in recent weeks. Norwich, West Brom and even Man Utd have all adopted a defensive strategy against us in our last three Premier League matches.
The movement that Adebayor brings could prove vital to unlocking more defences and take away some of the double coverage that Gareth Bale has been seeing recently.
Emmanuel Adebayor the lone ranger
The injury to Jermain Defoe whilst unfortunate, will allow Emmanuel Adebayor to operate as a lone striker.
It’s not really a secret that the pair have failed to flourish this season. Defoe has only scored once when they’ve been on the pitch together in the Premier League, whilst Ade’s two is not much better. This is nothing new, as it was a similar story last season when Harry Redknapp used either Defoe or Louis Saha alongside him, the 5-0 drubbing of Newcastle aside.
Emmanuel Adebayor prefers to operate on his own. With Defoe out of the equation until March and with us failing to land a striker in the transfer window, Emmanuel Adebayor will be a central number nine again.
This will mean that he is the focal point of the attack, but will also allow him to link with Lewis Holtby who has an eye for a forward pass.
Adebayor likes to get shots away in the box – last season 87% of his shots were from inside the 18-yard area – and this is where he scores his goals. Lewis Holtby has already shown that he has brought his aggressive vertical passing from Schalke and this will benefit Emmanuel Adebayor getting in to scoring positions.
A point to prove?
There is plenty of evidence to support the theory that once Emmanuel Adebayor has a contract his effort goes south. So far this campaign, he hasn’t given the sceptics any reason to believe otherwise.
The stop-start nature of his season means that the jury is still out, but time is really of the essence with the patience of many wearing thin. So, will Ade return motivated from the African Cup of Nations with a point to prove?
Time for Emmanuel Adebayor to shine?
There are definitely a number of factors that are in Adebayor’s favour, most notably now being match fit and the chance to be a lone front man. Clint Dempsey has talked about how long it took for him to find his feet in his new role at Spurs without a pre-season this year and his performances have gradually improved. Emmanuel Adeabyor will need to react quicker with games fast running out.
He was extremely motivated to win over the fans and prove his worth last season; will he have the same determination to finally get his campaign going this term?