The Real Emmanuel Adebayor Turned Up for Tottenham at Chelsea


While Gylfi Sigurdsson stole the headlines for Tottenham with his late equaliser at Chelsea, it was Emmanuel Adebayor who inspired the Tottenham comeback to salvage a point which keeps alive their Champions League campaign.

Emmanuel Adebayor [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]It has been a poor season for Adebayor at White Hart Lane. After last season’s success with Spurs, much was expected of the Togolese striker this time around. With only 3 Premier League goals and one assist this season he has received much criticism in the media and from supporters for his lacklustre displays giving the appearance of disinterest on many occasions. His missed penalty in the Europa League quarter-final shoot-out with Basel  brought much derision and scorn upon him but he chose last night in Tottenham’s most important game of the season to show the real Adebayor.

Adebayor is a complex character with a strong personality which has been evident throughout his career. He rode the crest of a wave last season at Tottenham following his signing, on loan, from Manchester City with 18 goals and 12 assists in all competitions and was a major influence on the team. He was one of the reasons for Tottenham’s progress in the first seven months of the season. This year, however, since signing on a permanent deal in August he has failed to make an impression or a major contribution to the team.

Having made the difference after being introduced against Southampton last weekend, Andre Villas-Boas showed faith in him and opted to start with Adebayor ahead of Jermain Defoe for the crucial and possibly season defining game against Chelsea.

With Chelsea a goal up and dominating the early stages of the game, it was looking tough for Spurs but with almost thirty minutes played, Adebayor picked his moment to show the quality that everyone knows he possesses. Receiving the ball inside his own half after Spurs had managed to clear from another Chelsea corner, Adebayor set off towards goal with Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale in support. Chelsea defenders backed off, expected the striker to pass and not anticipating any danger given Adebayor’s form this season. Twenty yards from goal Adebayor elected to shoot and curled a perfect shot around Cech and into the far corner to revive Tottenham’s belief and his own.

Encouraged by this success, after a quiet opening half an hour, Adebayor worked hard and caused Chelsea defenders problems with his control and hold-up play which at times reminds me of a gangly baby giraffe struggling to stay on his feet. This time it worked and with Spurs growing in confidence as the match progressed and Chelsea tired, Adebayor had another moment of great influence with a delicate back-heel to play in Gylfi Sigurdsson for the equalising goal. Benoit Assou-Ekotto with a delighful curled pass/cross found the striker who bamboozled the Chelsea defence with his back-heel to create the opportunity for Sigurdsson.

Moments later Adebayor was played through by Tom Huddlestone, only to be incorrectly flagged off-side. Then as the game went from end to end in those final minutes, Adebayor led a breakaway with minutes remaining to release Scott Parker on the right but the cross was easily collected by the goalkeeper. With Gareth Bale having a subdued evening, Adebayor led the Tottenham revival with his goal and all-round performance, his best of the season by a long way.

Andre Villas-Boas spoke of Adebayor’s contribution after the match in an interview with the BBC.

"“Ade was immense today and deserved his Man of the Match award. He has been struggling with some pain recently and it was great to see him up there.”"

There’s only question remaining. Which Adebayor will turn up at Stoke on Sunday?