Tottenham Hotspur: Is Fernando Llorente Any Better Than Crouch?

Peter 'RoboCrouch’ Crouch and Fernando ‘The Giant’ Llorente both play at White Hart Lane this weekend but who should be Tottenham Hotspurs' striker next season?
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Peter 'RoboCrouch’ Crouch and Fernando ‘The Giant’ Llorente both play at White Hart Lane this weekend but who should be Tottenham Hotspurs' striker next season?

Peter 'RoboCrouch’ Crouch and Fernando ‘The Giant’ Llorente both play at White Hart Lane this weekend but who should be Tottenham Hotspurs' striker next season?

Style of Play

Neither is particularly quick. In a foot race it would be less the hare and the tortoise more hair growing vs. paint drying. However if big Fernando and bigger Pete decided to do a dine and dash because they forgot their wallets it’d be Crouch who’d get caught and have to do the dishes.

In general Llorente is more mobile than Crouch. You’re more likely to see him lead the line moving centre backs around and running the channels. Crouch tends to pitch up on the opposite side off the box looking for long diagonal balls to knock down.

They are both brave. The difference is Crouch being brave means he’ll concede a free kick. Llorente bravery earned him a few goals in Spain by wanting it more than the defender.

Peter Crouch: 8/10 Can be very effective for the way we’ve played but lack of movement makes him easier to ‘figure out’.

Fernando Llorente: 9/10 Extra mobility makes him better suited to play as a lone striker.

Strength In The Air

Peter Crouch is obviously a threat in the air but is more likely of the two to give away free kicks on the continent. It’s not necessarily his fault since referees were specifically instructed to look out for the big man a few seasons ago. Now when he plays anywhere they spend the Euro he’s pulled up for a foul every time he jumps. Also it’s hard to shake the feeling that Pete doesn’t use his 6 foot 7 inch frame to it’s full potential.

Athletic Bilbao play a more direct physical game than most teams in Spain and Llorente dominates aerially in La Liga. It would be interesting to see how he gets on with some of the bruisers who play in the Premier league. He didn’t get much change out of Carvalho when Real Madrid went to Bilbao last season but Ricky always had Crouch in his pocket whenever they met during his Premier League days.

Peter Crouch: 8/10 Gives away too many free kicks but some teams just can’t live with him.

Fernando Llorente: 8/10 If he can dominate in England like he does in Spain this should be a nine.

Experience

At club level Crouch has the edge. He’s played in the Champions League 39 times including a final and made 404 appearances for clubs and country over 11 seasons. At 30 he’s played at every level in English football and has picked up a Championship winners medal (League One at the time) and an FA Cup.

At only 26 Llorente has turned out 204 times for his club played in a couple of domestic cup finals but marginally more impressive managed to grab hold of a World Cup winners medal in his 18 international caps. Enough. Said.

Peter Crouch: 7/10 in pure terms he has more experience but at a stage of his career when experience is a nice way of saying ‘getting old’.

Fernando Llorente: 8/10 He hasn’t put in the man hours Crouch has but his experiences of playing with the very best players at the highest level is where Spurs want to go next season.

Finishing

Llorente can score with any part of his body. Whether it’s right foot, left foot or with his head he’s capable of a perfect hat trick every time he enters the pitch. He knows how to make the most of his massive frame when getting his head to things; Spurs two winger style should suit him. He’s also lively in the box and scores poachers goals. Plus he also scores against big teams. Llorente scored against 4 of the top five last seasons, including away goals at Real Madrid, Seville and Villarreal which suggests a certain composure in front of goal.

Not one of the strongest parts of Crouch’s game. He’s not great on the dribble, unconvincing one on one, he’s not got a very powerful shot and he’s not a right place at the right time striker in the mould of Gary Lineker. He can score overhead kicks though and he’s a b******d for any sort of acrobatic volley, which I rate.

Peter Crouch: 6/10 Despite being a striker you don’t buy Crouch because he’s deadly one on one. Has a nice line in difficult volleys but they don’t come around often enough.

Fernando Llorente: 8/10 20 yards or closer, left foot, right foot or header the bloke can score you a goal.

Set Pieces

a) Attacking

Athletic Bilbao scored 19 goals from set pieces last season, the second highest total across Europe’s top 5 leagues. When it comes to Bilbao’s set pieces Llorente is identified as the main man. Crouch is always an unwelcome sight for the opposition on free kicks and corners; you wouldn’t want to deal with either of them, especially if you’re Arsenal.

Fernando Llorente: 9/10 Identified as on of the biggest set piece threats in Spain.

Peter Crouch: 8/10 Causes mayhem but doesn’t score.

b) Defending

Athletic are also known for their prowess at defending set pieces in Spain, however Zigic, Carroll, Drogba and Kenwyne Jones don’t play in La Liga. Plus there’re a shed load of goal scoring centre backs who would like nothing more than to run up Fernando’s back and nod one in. Crouch is generally an asset in the box when defending a set piece. It’ rarely his man who scores which is something you can’t say for every striker in the league. Like Didier Drogba takes real pride in defending the front post. Unfortunately he did score a costly own goal in what turned out to be our biggest game of last season the one nil defeat away to Manchester City.

Peter Crouch: 8/10 Usually excellent at defending the near post. His one major lapse proved very costly indeed.

Fernando Llorente: 7/10 Remains to be seen how he’d cope with the nightclub bouncers who play in the Premier League on an overcast Wednesday in (insert northern town here).

Assists/Contribution Outside The Box

Llorente had two assist to Crouch’s nine last season. But despite all that Fernando either made or scored 21 goals for his club in all competitions last season to Crouch’s 17. On his good days Crouch will make two and score one with a centre back unable to get near him. On a bad days you’re better off nailing a 2 by 8 piece of timber around 25 yards out and ping balls at it hoping one will bounce off in the right direction from a Benoît  Assou-Ekotto cross field lob. Nando on the other hand seems to score every other game whether his passing game is on or not.

Peter Crouch 8/10 Crouch’s unselfishness was key to getting the best out of Rafa Van der Vart.

Fernando Llorente: 6/10 Doesn’t provide as many goals for teammates, but as long as he’s scoring who cares.

Penalties

Llorente is Bilbao’s designated penalty taker. He’s scored added time winners and notched from the spot at the most intimidating grounds in Spain. I have a real fear about the quality of Tottenham’s penalty takers. Fernando would allay some of those fears.

Crouch isn’t known for his prowess from the spot. He’s scored big pens early in his career but is rarely asked or invited to do the business from 12 yards. Highlights include his hat trick penno vs. Young Boys but when you think of Crouch and penalties you think of his dink over the bar against Jamaica in the 2006 World Cup warm up. Awful, awful penalty that.

Peter Crouch: 6/10 I’m not entirely convinced he can kick it that far.

Fernando Llorente: 9/10 Consistent and confident from the spot.

Touch (For a Big Man)

Both have decent touch (for a big man). By virtue of being Spanish Llorente has a bit of silk in his toes. But Crouch is the man who popularised the phrase in the English game in the last ten years. No English player has had it ascribed to them more this century.

Peter Crouch: 8/10 Did I mention Crouch scores overhead kicks? Now that’s a touch.

Fernando Llorente: 7/10 No complaints but he’s no Berbatov.

Final Scores

Peter Crouch: 67/80

Fernando Llorente; 71/80

A resounding victory for Fernando Llorente, if I’m honest I probably marked Crouch up because I’ve got a soft spot for him. This is no time for sentimentality, Llorente should be the future of the Spurs attack. I only know one person who would have Crouch at Tottenham ahead of Llorente and that’s because my mate Dan shares the same surname as him. If Llorente’s goals fire Spurs back into the big cup I think Crouchy (my mate) will live without there being someone in a Spurs shirt with his name on the back.

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