Emmanuel Adebayor was given his first start of the season by Tim Sherwood in Tottenham’s Cup defeat to West Ham. He made an impressive return, working hard and scoring the second half goal which looked to be taking Spurs into the semi-finals until the visitors’ late rally with two goals in the final ten minutes.
Adebayor’s performance and his outstanding goal, volleyed home from Jermain Defoe’s cross, saw him top the poll on HotspurHQ. He was the only player in contention for top spot winning 59% of the votes. The other players claimed a few votes but no-one could challenge Adebayor.
Adebayor has had limited connection with the first team squad this season, side-lined by the previous manager who banished him to train with the young players at one point. The striker travelled to Moldova for the Europa League match against Sheriff but didn’t get off the substitutes bench. His only appearance was when he came on in the second half of Tottenham’s humbling experience at Manchester City.
Two Questions1. Did Adebayor play according to Sherwood’s instructions?
After the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, Adebayor had a point to prove with his selection in Sherwood’s first team. The interim manager reverted to 4-4-2 and selected two strikers and two wingers. Adebayor worked hard in a roving role, dropping deep and at times receiving the ball from the defenders inside his own half deep, not something you would normally expect of the striker. Jermain Defoe played the more forward role.
Adebayor is often criticised for lack of effort so did Sherwood designate him to take on this much more involved role or had he expected the Togolese striker to play as an out-and-out front man to link up with Defoe and be a constant presence for crosses into the penalty area from Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend? Was it Adebayor in his desire to make a point to the absent AVB that drove him to that extra effort and involvement in the game?
2. Will Adebayor perform like that on Sunday at Southampton?
When he is motivated Adebayor is a very difficult player to play against. He showed that last season when AVB picked him to play against his former club at the Etihad Stadium. It was his first start of the season in mid-November following his permanent move to Tottenham that summer. Determined to do well against City he was a constant thorn in the flesh of the home defenders throughout the first half as Spurs held an interval lead. Tiring in the second half he was replaced as City scored two late goals. A week later at the Emirates against another former club he was even more fired up and scored the opening goal of the game as Spurs dominated. In his endeavour to do well, he was then sent off for an over-robust challenge after 16 minutes, leaving 10-man Spurs to go down to a heavy defeat. Then followed a three match suspension which further delayed his involvement last season.
Having proved his point against West Ham will Adebayor be so inclined to work as hard away from home against Southampton on Sunday or will he revert to type bringing frustration to spectators with a lack of interest and effort, producing a lethargic performance to match?
If Emmanuel Adebayor is selected by Tim Sherwood for the Southampton game, we will all discover the answers to these two questions.
Which Adebayor do you expect to see against Southampton?