If Tottenham Hotspur are going to claim a Champions League place, then its likely they will have to rely on Emmanuel Adebayor at some point. That should have started this weekend, but the striker’s delayed return to the UK after the African Cup of Nations meant that Spurs had to leave him on the bench for the match with Newcastle United.
The questions about attitude that have surrounded Adebayor during his time in the Premiership inevitably resurfaced as a result of a confusing week, and the worry for Spurs fans that he was about to become a problem at the club, rather than pick up the form that was so important to the side last season.
However in the end Adebayor came off the bench to produce a performance that gives plenty of hope about his role in the next few months. Instead of the lethargic, disinterested player that had turned out for Spurs in the games before the African Cup of Nations, Adebayor looked sharp and keen to make a good impression.
If that attitude can be maintained, Spurs will feel highly optimistic about their chances of a Champions League place, as an in form Adebayor in front of the likes of Bale, Lennon, Holtby and Dempsey looks a mouthwatering prospect.
Clearly, a twenty minute burst from the bench isn’t enough to truly see where Adebayor is right now, and the next four matches will be telling about how much of an impact he will have on the season.
First up in the league Spurs have two London derbies, going away to West Ham in a couple of weeks time, before welcoming Arsenal to White Hart Lane the week after. After that, Andre VIllas-Boas’ team will head to a resurgent Liverpool. Before those matches, Spurs welcome Lyon to London in the first leg of their Europa League tie.
At some point in those matches Jermain Defoe might return to the squad, but it’s certain that Adebayor will have a huge role to play throughout. Unbeaten in ten in the league, and with an exciting Europa League draw to look forward to, if Spurs maintain their form through the next few weeks they will be well set for a successful season. If Adebayor is off the pace, and the team struggle, then there could be echoes of last season’s collapse in the minds of the players.