One aspect of Soldado’s play that has surprised me is his willingness and ability to challenge much bigger centre backs for aerial balls.
At 1.79 metres (5’10 in old money) Soldado isn’t exactly a shorty, but he is not a giant either. However, he uses all of his cunning and body strength to trouble much bigger centre backs as much as possible and wins an unlikely share of the high ball. Sure, he’s no Alan Shearer or Martin Chivers, but compared to the more diminutive Defoe he is a more effective outlet.
That cunning also shows itself up in his penalty box movement. For a goalscorer, Defoe does not get on the end of many crosses, his one move being to stop his forward run and await the pull back. Soldado offers a lot more, adding the front post cutback to the far post loiter.
Robbie also makes runs in behind but a chronic lack of service – Spurs have attempted only five through balls in the league this season – means at the moment he is just wasting his energy. If Spurs can get on the Spaniards wavelength, we could see even more from the striker.
There is also a petulant streak to both players, maybe as a result of coming up against big bruising defenders, but whereas Defoe can occasionally lash out with an arm (or a nibble) Soldado for the moment looks much more constructive with his aggression, although his elbow into Phil Jagielka’s ribs on Sunday showed both petulance and frustration.