As Tottenham Hotspur enter the business end of the season, they would try doubly hard not to repeat the mistakes of last season when they somehow managed to finish below Arsenal. Andre Vilas-Boas can of course call the services of a much stronger and improved Gareth Bale, who has almost single-handedly driven Spurs ahead this season.
But the ex-Chelsea gaffer will need all the help he can get from his squad. Both Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor have not hit peak form this season and Bale’s excellent form and especially his goals, have managed to make up for their lack of goals.
While Defoe has manged 10 goals in 28 appearances, Adebayor has managed just 2 in 18. But the Togo international has more passes per game at 22.3 compare to the Englishman’s 14.3.
Although Defoe’s record is way better than Adebayor’s, it’s logical to play the Togo striker when Spurs opt for the lone forward up front. Big and strong, one would expect him to hold the ball up better. He would also act as a focal point for the long ball. But Defoe’s pace, finishing and ability to work the channels gives him an edge.
Adebayor is more involved in the team’s build up play than Defoe, even if the latter has been more lethal in front of goal. Defoe though may taken more than double (3.7) the number of shots per game than Adebayor (1.5). While one hogs more of the ball and the other takes more shots on goal and that in a way impacts Bale; the player you would want the ball to be with in dangerous area. Obviously without Defoe, who is basically a poacher, Bale will get more chances in threatening areas. Adebayor works harder off the ball and tends to drift to wide more than Defoe does. This in turn, allows Bale space in central areas.
At times this season, AVB has started with both of them in a 4-4-2; strange considering it such a rarity these days, especially with foreign coaches. But lately he has preferred the lone striker and among the two, Adebayor should be the natural choice. He hasn’t been lethal in front of goal but he compliments Bale better. Defoe could be a vital option from the bench as he can stretch the game with his pace and score crucial goals.
With nine games to go, Spurs and AVB would look to get the best out of both their strikers and Bale to cement a Champions League spot. The added bonus of course would be if they finish about rivals Arsenal.