Emmanuel Adebayor must impress in north London derby
Tottenham Hotspur news: Emmanuel Adebayor has to improve against Arsenal
Gareth Bale has grabbed the headlines and it is not just Tottenham that should be thanking him for driving Spurs into third place.
Emmanuel Adebayor has failed to find anywhere near the form of last season and with Jermain Defoe recovering quickly from his ankle injury the Togo international needs to start scoring sooner, rather than later.
Bale’s thunderous 30 yard winner in 90th minute against West Ham on Monday may not have been needed if, at 1-1 in the second half, Adebayor had not missed a near open goal from four yards.
Bale told Sky Sports: "We had a lot of chances, especially off corners. Caulks [Steven Caulker] had a few chances, one went on the post, Ade had an easy one. The important thing was we got the three points."
The Welshman was right, the three points were the important thing, but if Spurs had dropped points, especially as Joe Cole’s goal that put West Ham in the lead came so soon after Adebayor’s miss, the spotlight would have been on the former Manchester City and Monaco forward.
The media is beginning to get on his back and his manager, Andre Villas-Boas, has already had to defend his only fit striker.
Villas-Boas told The Mirror: "Injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations took him out for lots of games.
"He can still be the player we saw last season. We are doing everything we can to unlock his full potential."
The Portugese boss knows Spurs cannot rely on Bale’s magic to rescue them but it is hard to tell if Sunday’s north London derby is a blessing or curse.
Adebayor went from hero to villain inside seven minutes in the reverse fixture in November, opening the scoring before being sent off for a reckless lunge on Santi Cazorla.
Which Adebayor will turn up at White Hart Lane – the one out to prove his old team wrong, the one who will lose his head, or the one who barely turns up?
Adebayor’s work rate has improved despite his poor form, but there is a lack of confidence epitomised by the miss at Upton Park. As Villas-Boas has pointed out, injuries and the African Nations, coupled with a late starting pre-season and the form of Defoe in the lone striker role, has prevented Adebayor from gaining confidence.
However, since his return from South Africa the tall target man has had a run of games in Defoe’s absence and failed to shine.
With the departures of Rafa van der Vaart and Luka Modric, the Spurs side is no longer built to suit the striker and three goals in 20 appearances paint a very sorry picture.
There is no questioning Adebayor’s ability but his motivation and desire have often been doubted, especially after an impressive first year at his various clubs.
However, while his efforts were ultimately misguided in the match at the Emirates, Sunday’s game in a crunch battle for the Champions League places could be exactly what Adebayor needs.
If the striker can start finding the net then Spurs will be looking to hunt City and leave Chelsea and Arsenal far behind.
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