A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about Clint Dempsey and his season at Tottenham being, well, not up to par. Since then, Deuce has seemingly woke up. He has scored 3 goals in the past 2 games, and he has figured out what he needs to do to improve his perceived ineffectiveness.
I was pretty hard on Dempsey because to me it looked like he wanted to earn his spot in the starting eleven his way, and didn’t want to change his playing style to fit the system. While I still find that to be somewhat true, I also have seen flashes of the Dempsey that Tottenham fans thought they would be getting this season. As of late, Dempsey has found the scoring touch, and has come up with big goals when it matters. His two goals in the Europa League semi-final tie that ultimately led to Tottenham being eliminated were vintage Dempsey and he did all he could to try and pull out the win for Spurs. Against Manchester City, Dempsey — like all of Tottenham — woke up in the second half and his second half strike started the comeback for Spurs.
The fact of the matter this season though is while not performing at the level he did at Fulham, Dempsey is having a season that is still solid. As inconsistent as he has been, he has come through when called on, and that is admirable. Manager Andre Villas-Boas seems to have found that the best spot for him to play Dempsey in is in a right midfield/right attacking midfield role. This way, Dempsey can cut inside and still play centrally in the middle of the field. As lots of people in the comments of the last Dempsey post pointed out, he is a player that likes to be free on the pitch. And it was evident that sometimes it’s exactly what Spurs need. In their Basel game, Spurs struggled to find a reliable attacking option outside of Dempsey, which is why you can’t really criticize him for wanting to float inside. Adebayor was relatively ineffective against Basel, and although he played the full 90, he failed to make an impact.
For the foreseeable future, Dempsey has earned his spot in the team at right midfield. Right now he’s thriving in that role, and his continued production could be the key for Tottenham to get in to the UEFA Champions League. In the right midfield role, he has scored 3 goals this season and has a higher average match rating than Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor. He also has earned Man of the Match in the past two games while playing on the right side. If Dempsey continues to play out on the right for Spurs at a high level, and with Gareth Bale back from injury and picking up where he left off, Spurs could be headed for a top four finish. The real question for them now is the striker situation. Should Jermain Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor start for Spurs? Defoe has 15 goals and 3 assists this season while Adebayor has scored 6 and assisted on none, so you can make your decision on that one.
I give Dempsey the credit he is due for his recent performances. He seems to have figured out what he needs to do to become a real threat in each game, and I give AVB credit for finding the spot on the field for Dempsey where he can thrive. No longer is this a season of discontent for Dempsey, but more of a season of figuring it all out at a new club. For now, Deuce is firing on all cylinders and is proving his worth at Tottenham.