The final player, and lone striker, of To the Lane and Back’s best XI falls to Emmanuel Adebayor.
Adebayor, Adebayor, his dad’s an accountant, his mum studies law are the chants that now echo around White Hart Lane in recognition of Tottenham’s new Togolese hero. It may have gone a bit different in seasons past but since his arrival at Spurs, even the most hardcore of fans has seemed to forget his Arsenal past.
Then again, he became a hero in many Spurs fans eyes as a result of his celebration against his former employers when he scored for Manchester City in the 4-2 over Arsenal at the beginning of the 09/10 season, sprinting 90-yards before sliding on his knees in front of the travelling support sparking angry scenes in the away end.
Ok, hero may be too strong a word to use but it certainly built some before burned bridges with the Spurs faithful. Now that he has arrived at White Hart Lane, and appearing to enjoy himself in the process, the goals have come at a time when they were needed most and following the 3-0 and 5-1 defeats to both Manchester sides, Adebayor’s presence and ability to play as a lone forward, and do it well, has certainly changed the way Spurs play and boosted morale around the lodge ten-fold.
With three goals and two assists in four appearances, he has managed to endear himself to the Spurs faithful, despite only joining a little over six weeks ago. Some believe his signing, albeit on loan, to be the best of the season, an outlandish statement considering his short time back playing in the Premiership. His six-month stint at Real Madrid appeared to rejuvenate his stagnating career, having been outcast with Manchester City and with the confidence from motivational tactician Jose Mourinho, Adebayor began to find the form that made him one of, if not the, most feared strikers in Europe.
His pace, strength, eye for goal and aerial ability, all traits of a world class striker and the 27-year-old packs each individual strength in abundance, as Spurs fans have come to learn in seasons past against both Arsenal and Real Madrid. Now at Spurs, and under the watchful eyes of Harry Redknapp, a manager known to bring the best out of any player, he is continuing his upturn in fortunes. Hungry for goals and eager to impress, Adebayor fits the bill perfectly for an ambitious Spurs side still looking to really establish themselves as a top four side.
With the ability to play up front on his own, or with a strike partner, Adebayor is the striker that Spurs have been crying out for since the departure of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. Confident, arrogant and, to an extent, world class is exactly the type of player the club have needed in recent seasons and many feel that had he been a Spurs player last season, heck, even in the latter half of the season, a top four finish would have been guaranteed. His arrival also appears to have bought out the best in Jermain Defoe, who looks back to former self with Adebayor up alongside him and it’s unfortunate that the England hit-man wasn’t included in this starting XI.
Redknapp has admitted that he would like to sign him on a permanent basis, a testament to his performances thus far but at the same time, Adebayor would have to drop his wage demands otherwise face further disappointment with City. Nonetheless, with the Togolese giant in the squad, many now believe a top three finish is well within Spurs’ grasps, such is the impact that has been made following Adebayor’s arrival. Clearly an improvement on Pavlyuchenko and Defoe, if he can stay fit then there is no reason why Spurs can’t achieve their highest ever finish this campaign especially with Adebayor leading the front-line.