With Jermain Defoe having agreed to leave White Hart Lane for Toronto’s pastures, Tim Sherwood and Tottenham Hotspur are left with just two senior strikers at the club–Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor.
The newly-appointed manager recently admitted he needs a top four finish this season. That in mind, as the January window inches to its close, he would be wise to squeeze a replacement for Defoe through the door.
Doing so is especially crucial due to the fact that Sherwood has shown a preference for the 4-4-2 formation. With just two strikers at his disposal, if one were to sustain an injury–Emmanuel Adebayor in particular– their quest for a Champions League place would be curtailed.
Spurs can ill afford to lose the Togo international, given the fine form he’s in. The club hasn’t been as prolific in front of goal as many expected them to be, in light of the plethora of attack-minded signings they made over the course of last summer. They’ve scored only 29 goals so far, which is less than all the teams ranking in the top eight in the league. This, obviously, isn’t top four stuff.
Their joint-top scorer is Adebayor with five goals, which says a lot, given he only recently came back into the side following the appointment of Sherwood. Soldado, also on five goals for the season, hasn’t worked out thus far. Only one of his goals have come from open play (during the 2-0 win over Aston Villa back in October), with the rest coming via the penalty spot.
Adebayor, on the other hand, has netted all his goals from open play. He looks a player reborn under the English manager, pulling wide, dropping deep, and troubling opposition defenders with his tireless running and physicality in and around the penalty area. But he can’t carry this team on his own throughout the second half of the season.
The club’s goal-scoring problems isn’t down to just poor finishing. The problem lies with their creation of chances, or lack of creation of chances. Spurs rank third in the league for chances created (269), but only have 18 assists, which sees them rank ninth along with Swansea, who have also been goal-shy this season.
Furthermore, they rank third in the league for shots attempted (360) and fourth for shots attempted outside the area (137), yet tenth for shot accuracy. Basically, Spurs have lacked patience in their build-up play, opting to let fly from long range rather than work the ball into the box, thus utilising the wonderful technique and movement at their disposal. The chances they have created have largely been in harmless positions, as opposed to the decent chances they would’ve had if they worked the ball a lot more.
Soldado is a player who thrives on good service–as does any striker–as well as having players to link up with. He hasn’t really had either so far, which has been to his detriment. Once Sherwood gets his players to be more patient in possession, particularly the midfielders, the goals should start flowing from sources other than Adebayor. And should he add to his options up front, then that would only serve to boost his team’s challenge for a Champions League qualifying spot.