While Gylfi Sigurdsson produced a succession of incisive passes, Moussa Dembele demonstrated a monstrous ability to retain the ball, Bale and Lennon terrorised down the wings and Sandro dominated proceedings from deep midfield it was Jermain Defoe’s vintage centre forward performance that really caught the eye for Tottenham against Reading this weekend.
His explosive pace and positional awareness showed he was either one of the players who had truly learnt to understand the apparently complex ’70 page dossier’ provided by Andre Villas Boas or that he is still the instinctively brilliant striker defenders have come to fear over the past 10 years.
But when Clint Dempsey warmed up to come on a distinctly unimpressed Emannuel Adebayor sat behind him, with a face like the proverbial smacked bottom. A player of Adebayor’s class is obviously right to be annoyed at being on the bench; if he wasn’t then there would be something wrong with him as a professional.
But is it all his own doing?
At the start of the summer it seemed the Adebayor deal would be the fastest of the window after an impressive loan stint last term and clear mutual desire for him and Manchester City to part ways.
In the Togolese striker’s defence much has changed at White Hart Lane and a ‘wait and see’ attitude made sense after the dismissal of Harry Redknapp and arrival of Andre Villas Boas. Yet the reported reason behind such a delay is the striker’s refusal to accept a pay-cut, which has resulted in his former club Manchester City subsidising some of the apparent £175,000-a-week salary he is currently earning, just to get rid of him.
The delay forced him out of a regular pre-season and the opportunity to cement his place as the main front man of a Spurs forward three. During that time Jermain Defoe has excelled, obviously working hard in pre-season in understanding not only what AVB wants from him as a lone striker but also Roy Hodgson for England.
Is it possible that Adebayor’s delay in agreeing a deal at White Hart Lane has essentially cost him the opportunity to earn that first team place?
Whatever the case Jermain Defoe has shown his predatory instinct transcends the football pitch, seeing his opportunity and taking it quickly with little apology has become a trademark in his game. On this occasion the result seems to be the position of Andre Villas Boas’s main man in the striking option.
What do you think? Has Adebayor shot himself in the foot?