VDV v Defoe: Who’s the man to partner Adebayor?

by admin

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Another game, another three points for Tottenham and Harry Redknapp. The old adage of winning while not playing well but picking up three points has been a distant stranger to Spurs in the past yet has held true for a handful of their recent encounters; so often have they been accused of being flat track bullies that it must almost be just as pleasing to edge past the likes of Blackburn while under-performing than it was to blast past Liverpool for Redknapp.

Spurs have rumbled into life after a galling start to their make or break Premier League season; two tests failed at the start of the new campaign have given way to a run which now stands at five wins and one draw in their last six league games. Happy times at the Lane it would seem.

But there is a little headache developing for Redknapp, and while it may be a welcome one there is no doubting that one of two rather large egos will be hurt sooner rather than later.

Emmanuel Adebayor has arrived at the club and there is no doubt he is number one – but who is the man to play alongside him and contribute the goals to fire Spurs into the Champions League once more?

Rafael Van Der Vaart and Jermain Defoe are the prime candidates for the job; before the 2-2 with Newcastle Redknapp admitted there wasn’t room for both men in the side – against Arsenal, Redknapp tried to accommodate both men which frankly didn’t work. Van Der Vaart – classy but not exactly full of running – was stranded on the right wing and was perhaps at fault for the Gunners equaliser while the midfield pairing of Luka Modric and Scott Parker were overrun by Arsenal’s central trio and unable to provide the ammunition for Defoe to fire.

Defoe has always thrived on being the little aspect of the classic little and large centre forward partnership. Peter Crouch proved to be the ideal foil at Portsmouth which helped facilitate his move to Spurs while the same player helped bring the best out of him as he bagged 18 goals in the 09/10 season, so surely he can play alongside Adebayor, a man with twice the talent of Crouch?

There is no doubt about Defoe’s ability as a finisher despite his lean spell last time round, he is perhaps the most natural finisher in the Spurs team, but there is certainly some doubts about his quality as an all-rounder, about whether is a fit for Tottenham’s pass and move verve.

Van Der Vaart meanwhile arrived at Spurs as the golden boy, as a man to build the team around as they went in search of making an impact in the Champions League, but since his arrival his veneer has been somewhat tarnished by his inability to finish a game, giving rise to theories he is either unfit, unhappy, or unwilling to chip in with enough effort to match his undoubted finishing and passing.

The Dutchman has proved himself as the perfect link between midfield and attack and has scored four goals in his last four league games, and appears to be the man Redknapp prefers.

Defoe will no doubt get the nod at some point but Van Der Vaart’s all-round ability, his contribution to the scoresheet and his influence mean the writing could be on the wall for Defoe.

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  • dan

    I would say Defoe. While as individuals, there is no doubt that Van Der Vaart is the more talented player, I feel that we are simply a better team with Defoe. Something seems to be lacking when van der Vaart plays, I think that it is no coincidence that we have fallen back into the old habit of edging games by one goal since Van Der Vaart has been in the team. An all too familiar theme from last year that can see wins turn into draws late on. The last 4 games have been 1-2, 2-1, 2-2, 1-2. Not bad results at all, but all of these games have been harder than was necessary and I think the reason is because of Van Der Vaarts inclusion.
    In the Arsenal game Redknapp tried to force both into the same line-up and we were massively over run in midfield, with Defoe probably doing more tracking than Van Der Vaart.
    A solution however, is the very simple matter of squad rotation. Picking games in which 442 would be best, and ones that 4411 would suit, something Harry seems inept at. He sees Van Der Vaart as part of our best 11, and in his eyes this is the team that he should play at every opportunity.

  • Roy Singh

    Carry on with the rotation policy but don’t hesitate in dropping anyone who underperforms – this is the rule of the game & should be respected by all players.

  • Biggie

    how about dropping Adebayor and partnering VDV with Defoe, because at the moment VDV has been scoring the goals, and Defoe looks eagier to score when he comes on

  • Ray

    It is always hard to drop a man when he is scoring goals but if that man doesnt pull his weight in other areas then he can become somewhat of a liablilty which IMO, VDV is. I know that a lot of you will disagree with me because the guy is a fine player, very skillful and scores goals but how often does he track back when we need him to? (by his own admission he hates doing that because it detracts from his game), how often are we left vulnerable in the middle of the park because he goes walkies which enables the opposition to out number us and giving them the space to get at us? are defenders scared of him(lots of tricks but no pace to talk of)? It is a difficult situation really and would have been an easy decision if he didnt score goals. I would much prefer to have a solid midfield platform of Bale, Modric, Parker, Sandro and Lennon with Ade causing havoc up front, pace and power, scares the living daylights out of defenders. Ade is also good at cutting out attacks by closing down defenders, something our boy VDV does not do too well. First attacking sub would be Defoe replacing Lennon if he isnt cutting it. Of course, this will not go down too well with VDV, his ego will not allow him to accept this scenario. Like I said, it is a difficult situation.

  • tony

    think arry has it exactly right.play one if he doesnt do the job,bring on the other one.for years there was nobody to replace defoe now there is.we are in a win ,win situation.as regards defense one is a puffin billy ,the other is to lightweight.

  • Colin SC

    Keep all three, Put Defoe on the right he does track back, and he also stretches the defence. It is not a sensible question really as VDV does not ‘ partner’anyone when put up front. He tucks in behind them isolating them. They are overmarked and dont score much, he has more space and does score. This is why our strikers are having a bad time of it, he is played every game they usually dont score he does.
    I constantly hear our strikers are bad or lazy or … etc. It is inconcevable that they have all turned bad unless something is making this happen. It is the strikers (and the managers) job to find a solution, because one person scoring (even at about 20 a season) damages our chances of CL, we need at least two scoring at that level and that cannot happen in this formation.

  • Yawo

    @Biggie…..U cant drop adebayor, and imma tell u why….See VDV is a great finisher, just like Defoe but Defoe has more inpact on the game than Vdv though…Adebayor can score goals, thats a fact but has somethin none of thez two great players have…He creates goals…even when he doesnt scor, he will be the one who start the action for the goal..He already made Vdv scored twice and Defoe once….the perfect exampl will be the goal vdv has scored 2weeks ago, when adebayor picked the bol from a defender and gived it to vdv who scored..defoe or vdv would have tried to score by themself….i think adebayor play more for the team than for his goals, and thats why he cant be dropped


    I think we should try both on a rotation basis. Start with VDV alongside Adebayor and bring in Defoe at the start of the second half unless VDV has performed extremely well in which case he can continue to play for a while.. I also think we have to be fair and encouraging to Pav who is a talented player. When we do have a comfortable lead over a team, we should give him a chance to play replacing any one of our strikers.

  • Michael

    Guys please remember one thing, and seriously, this is the thing that all articles keep forgetting!

    Ade is on a LOAN move, and his wages are higher than Tevez = He wont be here next season, unless another loan is somehow made. So spurs will be getting a new striker instead of ade in the summer, possible Damiao who knows..

    That means the 2 people certainly not leaving automatically will be defoe and VDV. Personally i dont see any reason to get rid of either of them – yes i agree our strikers score less with vdv on the field, but that doesnt exactly mean that we are shit with him playing.

    Personally i’d still rotate between defoe and vdv, possible trying to give defoe some more time than he gets now, and if he proves to be scoring perhaps he should be used more in general than vdv.

  • Michael

    Basically I agree with John Adam. However I dont agree on Pavly… I see him as dead wood, even though he saved our asses with a perfect freekick.

    IMO sell pavly this winter and snatch damiao or doumbia or something. That will give them half a year to settle in where Ade is still here to be our main man coupled with either VdV or defoe, so perfect performances from our new striker wont be a MUST, as we will have others capable of doing the job. If one of our 3 current players get injured, well just more time for the new guy.

  • Colin SC

    I agree with John Adam with one difference. Try Defoe and Ade, without VDV occasionally, this was an excellent combination against Liverpool and hasnt been used since. Bring VDV on second half he often gets tired and subbed about 15 mins into second half anyway.
    We need to get any new strikers this window so we understand their strengths going into the next season. Also because as Michael says we are unlikely to be able to afford Ade next season so we need to be prepared … Pav just doesnt seem to have enough in his engine to play at the level we are aiming for. However the system we play does not help strikers scoring anyway, just VDV.

  • N2 Spur

    Getting bored of these silly posts now.

    The top sides have a plethora of attacking options / formations etc, not a set pairing.

    We need VDV because he’s top class, scores and makes goals and does it in the big games.

    We need JD because he offers different qualities.

    We need at least 1 more permanent top class forward because we are a bit thin on the ground compared to the options City, Chelsea and United have…. this afteral is where we want to be no?


  • Colin SC

    N2 .. I agree, problem is we do have a set pairing, VDV in the pocket and Ade as a lone striker. While we do score I would like us to not be so predictable and explore other options. We are winning games, this by a combination of good defending, luck and minimal scoring . In recent games VDV is scoring more than the other strikers, Ade is having a minor drought, a well known prolific scorer? why does this sound familiar?
    … Our performance at liverpool was a great performance in a totally different pairing, we have never played in the same formation again… why?
    PS ‘Silly posts’ .. People are allowed opinions and these blogs are exactly the place to vent them, if you are bored with other peoples opinions have a cuppa and dont look.. ;-).

  • http://www.dexysden.co.uk jason

    i personally think that ade feels more comfortably with defoe along side him .But everyone knows we’re blessed to have vdv on our side ‘and its not only him all dutch players in the premier leage are just worldclass van persie,kyut,Drenthe and Robben a few years ago

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