At the start of the season Manchester City had a couple of strikers deemed high maintenance and disruptive by the club and decided to let one go on loan. Does anyone get the feeling they chose the wrong one? While they decided to stick with Carlos Tevez who since going on strike and is paid a quarter of a million quid a week to take Saturday’s off, Emanuel Adebayor is leading the line in the best Spurs team in 50 years. What were City thinking?
The truth is at the time plenty of people thought the same but it’s fun being smug in hindsight so here we go.
Averaging a goal every two games Ade has been instrumental in Tottenham’s nosebleed inducing climb up the table. The nine he’s notched for Spurs already this season is just four shy for his season best for City. But it’s more than his goals that’s made him crucial to Tottenham’s chances of doing something special this season. His clever movement and ability to stretch defences help create space for Tottenham’s other attacking talents to wreak havoc. He’s provided 36 goal-scoring opportunities already this season with six being converted and his work rate off the ball is outstanding. Add to that he’s only suffered defeat once as a Hotspur and it’ll come as no surprise that the Premier League's official statistics - the EA Sports Player Performance Index - place Manu as the third most effective player this season behind Wayne Rooney and Bob Van Persie.
‘He’ll start with a flurry of goals and then once he feels he doesn’t have to prove himself his ego will grow while his performances will fade’, they said (I’m paraphrasing).
But it’s not a total love in. His profligacy in front of goal is a bit of a worry. His nine goals have come from 34 shots on target and of the 58 efforts he’s made 24 haven’t worried the goal frame. That seems a low conversion rate. Arsenal and City fans warned me about this since the news filtered through that we’d signed the big Togoan on loan until the end of the season. ‘He’ll start with a flurry of goals and then once he feels he doesn’t have to prove himself his ego will grow while his performances will fade’, they said (I’m paraphrasing). Looking at his time at City you can see why. Manu scored in his first four league games for the Citizens then steadily went off the boil as a change of manager curtailed his opportunities as the new man looked to bring his own front men in. A year after Ade signed City brought in Mario Baoltelli, six months after that Dzeko was bought. Once the writing was on the wall Adebayor gave up.
But at Spurs something feels different. He’s a popular member of the squad and, despite his mistakes in front of goal, loved by the club. He’s integral to the way we play and seems to revel in the responsibility. As the only player of his type in the squad our reliance on him is almost total. Hopefully today it won’t prove the case but I don’t hold out much hope.
Ade’s contribution to Tottenham’s cause has been sizeable just at a time when an injury hit City could do with him back. His early contributions to City are on par with the excellent work he’s doing at Spurs. It seems the difference between the Adebayor who played in light blue and the one grinning in a white shirt is continued desire. I trust Harry will carry on getting the best out of him for the second half of the season. One thing is for sure, we’ll miss him today.
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